Yesterday was another near summer day. Uneven heating cooked the cumulous cotton puffs into boiling storm clouds creating a perfect thunderstorm. Summer officially begins this Thursday and the weather patterns of the season and region are upon us.
A little while ago the dappled bright of a partly sunny day sprinkled my meadow and trees with a waving pattern of afternoon light. Slowly the skies became shrouded with a dark gray pall of thickening clouds. A fierce wind cut a path for an oncoming storm. It shook the Oaks and Maples awake to see the glory, if not the fleeting grandeur of a summer thunderstorm.
Darkness emerged. It was like a closed theatre curtain before the opening act. Then a snap of light and the curtain rose. It was an instant dazzling flash like a light bulb’s dying moment. A vivid brilliance flooded the field with intense light. A deafening crack of thunder shook the house announcing the storm just before a pelting rain sheeted my view of the lower meadow.
What a great storm!
I was driving and I watched a storm come closer. I heard the thunder in the distance then the skies darkened. A light sprinkle at firrst was the harbinger of a heavier pour.
When I was a youngster similar weather patterns would signal a thunder storm, but we would not know the severity or duration of the storm system. Today storm tracks are high tech. My smart phone and iPad alert me to severe weather in real time; colorful graphics show the intensity of rainfall and storm cell movement.
Our intuition is a lot like the modern high tech indicators. The problem is that most of us don’t listen to the intuitive thoughts that move in and out of our awareness; they are our spiritual radar.
We lost the internal trust long ago of how to interpret our feelings, our gut instincts, our vibrations of something’s wrong or not right and even sensing our hackles of danger. Our spiritual self however has not forgotten how to do it, only our mind has not remembered.
There is a way to tune into our spirit selves and remember what we think we’ve forgotten. Intention! Intention is the catalyst for atavistic sensing. Giving intent to be aware of our thoughts and their guidance under the aegis of free-will will connect us to our intuitive selves and then the mind can make the appropriate choices.
My region has been inundated with a brood two Cicada hatching. Tens of thousands of these locust size bugs have covered bushes and limbs, pillars and posts, paths and roadways. They look like something out of a Men In Black movie.
Some animals eat them. They are supposedly called “the shrimp of the earth” and are protein rich insects. The Internet has recipes for fried and boiled Cicadas.
The sound they make in their mating call is deafening. It’s a constant high pitch screech that fades with dusk and starts in the morning with the warming sun.
Cicadas are not very good flyers. They’re slow in flight and seem to crash into leaves and brush clinging for a moment or two and then off to another tree seeking an amorous adventure and sounding their mating call.
Once they mate they die. The female drops her fertilized eggs and she dies. The little nymphs burrow into the ground live on tree roots for seventeen years and the process starts all over again.
Cicada’s Lament – a Haiku
© 2013 Rolland G. Smith
Seventeen years underground.
Burrow to the air.
Shed shell, fly, scream for sex, die.
Today is America’s Flag Day. Of all the national things that we hold sacred, our flag is at the top. If we each still believe in the ideals of this republic then our flag is the standard bearer of our beliefs and even though we are busy, and it’s a weekday and the kids have homework and they need to get to soccer practice, we ought to remember this day.
There was a time in our history when our flag was empty of experience. It had the symbolism of a united people and the expectation of greatness, but we were a young country and as yet we had little collective history.
The United States wasn’t even a year old when Continental Congress adopted the flag design on June 14th, 1777. But now, centuries later we remember that our flag is much more than red and white cloth stripes and symbolic stars in blue.
It’s everything that’s ever happened to this country and everything we’ve ever done. It’s victory and defeat. It’s protests and pageantry. It’s honor with humility and shame with remorse. It’s living and dying for principle.
A nation is not its flag. Our flag is the collective body and history of our nation. It’s not only the rights we are constitutionally guaranteed, but it’s also the personal human rights we embrace and grant to others through courtesy and compassion and character.
Above all the flag is our waving symbol for the entire world to see our courage, our liberty, our freedom and our belief in the God we trust.
If you are a daily reader of this blog, you know that I visited the inner woods cabin of naturalists John Burroughs over the weekend. It is called Slabsides and is located near the city of New Paltz in upstate New York.
That visit inspired me to read a number of Burroughs’ writings from his lifetime of literature from the mid-eighteen hundred until 1921.
Recently I walked the lower meadow of my property. It is bordered on one side by a rock wall. I understand in this part of my regions a rock wall is called Irish stone.
I guess it comes from the immigrant farmers and workers who farmed this land and built the rock walls long before I came here and bought this property.
Burroughs once wrote: “A stone wall with a good rock bottom will stand as long as a man lasts. Its only enemy is the frost, and it works so gently that it is not till after many years that its effect is perceptible….
Every line of fence has a history; the mark of his plow or his crowbar is upon the stones; the sweat of his early manhood put them in place; in fact, the long black line covered with lichens and it places tottering to the fail revives long-gone scenes and events in the life of the farm.”
What a powerful writer and now one of my favorites.
There’s trouble in Turkey.
Once again it’s a fight between those who what to control and those who want freedoms and those who want something and use a demonstration incite violence.
It’s an age-old fight and conflict that only ends in the death of some and hard thoughts for any compromise.
The protesters see the government as authoritarian with a neo-Islamist agenda. The number of journalists now in prison in Turkey is the highest in the world. There are new restrictions on alcohol sales. All items on the neo-Islamist agenda.
Turkey is a Muslim democracy. One of the few and it is now in danger of a widening schism and contentious suffering.
The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is conservative. His support base is religious. He blames the foreign press and says the protesters are vandals and terrorists. It’s a script taken from dead dictators throughout history.
It began as a demonstration by environmentalists to keep a near-by park from being turned into a housing development. Tear gas and water cannon was the government’s response.
Shame on those who bring violence to a peaceful demonstration and shame on the government for an intolerant reaction.
Some questions on a Tuesday morning.
How did a low-level contractor gain access to National Security Agency programs? If it was apparently that easy and this guy had a mind-set to disclose what he felt was important for all of us to know, then so be it.
How come the gunman in the California shooting rampage who was once held for psychiatric evaluation is out there on the street?
Did our State Department cover up misconduct allegations of a US ambassador looking for prostitutes?
Will the United States, if it chooses to do so, arm the right Syrians?
Why not let Nelson Mandela pass with the dignity he deserves?
Why? Islamist bigots, idiots, bullies and murderers connected to Al-Qa’ida kill a 15-year-old boy in front of his parents. They accused him of blasphemy for insulting the prophet. And they wonder why civilized society to angry.
Why are not the world’s civilizations looking at the sunrise and rejoicing in the oneness of humanity?
Why are not we as individuals and citizens within our respective countries saying loudly and constantly that love is the only answer to all conflicts?
I know that these last two questions are Pollyanna, but why not?Edit
I had the pleasure yesterday to visit Slabsides. It is the name of the cabin in the woods that John Burroughs built and is held sacred today by a trust to preserve his presence in the Catskill Mountains and the Mid-Hudson region.
Slabsides was his getaway and if I dare to use a term I find distasteful, his “man-cave” in the late 1800’s and into 20th century.
He did much of his writing in this cabin. He wrote essays for leading magazines at the time. He penned twenty-seven books on nature and relationships. He was a thinker, a philosopher, a naturalist and a keen observer of nature.
Visitors to Slabsides included President Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone and poet Walt Whitman. He and Burroughs were good friends. John Burroughs was a farmer intellect and people gravitated to him because of his simple insight into mankind’s relationship to nature. His writings had a profound impact on the emerging conservation movement in America.
As I stood inside his cabin I could feel the latent energy of past greatness. The spirits of his many visitors linger in appreciation. It was powerful and docent Patrick McDonough was skilled in Burroughs’ history as he recounted stories of Burroughs living here.
I loved it and I will return again and again.
Note: If you’d like to see pictures go to my other blog-sight. The link is on this websight main page. Thanks rgs
I’m in an out of New York City these days working on a hopeful project.
I ride the train into the city and the subways while I’m there. The wonders and the junk that I see are astounding. People poorly dressed, rude riders everywhere, homeless and aimless intermittent on both lines, old and young, the halt and the lame, and even the occasionally a well-dressed man or woman.
I see men and women too in the uniform of the United States Military and they are always treated with respect.
But that’s beside my point in this blog. My point is that I see all kinds of things on the train and on the subway.
On the wall of one train car was this advertisement.
It was a poster for a upcoming Madonna concert. She is pictured, as you can see, in a bondage condition, chains hold her arms and legs in an open position. Sexual bondage is suggested, but not explicit in the poster.
Come on Madonna. Your talent does not require that kind of advertising foreplay. You are much better than that.
In my area the peonies are blooming, as are the miniature wisteria and all the other colorful flowers that welcome in the summer.
Whenever I see the glory of late spring and the blooming flowers I think of an experience I saw a few years ago.
I watched a well-dressed man stop abruptly, as if held by some invisible force. He was in a hurry, given his stride and determined pace, yet when he passed a public garden of blossoming roses the man suddenly stopped, put down his briefcase, and turned to face the beauty that bloomed there.
There were probably sixty rose bushes each with eight to ten blossoms festooning the prickly stems. It was a magnificent site. The plethora of color, in the softness of the morning light, stopped this busy man in his hurried quest.
He stood there surveying the garden patch, spending a moment at each bush. His gaze stopped at a particularly full bush of bright golden yellow rose blossoms. He reached down, not to pick, but gently touched or better yet caressed this gift of nature. He kept his hand there for a long moment as he once again glanced at the entire patch of panorama color.
I thought how fortunate I was to be reminded, in such a tender private way, that no matter the urgency of an appointment, or how focused we are in our thoughts, when nature chooses to embrace us with her beauty and we choose to see it, that moment transforms our thoughts into a passion and we respond with awe.
Thank you Sir for the reminder to take time and smell the roses.