Internet, Nature and Us

One of the great things about the Internet is that instantaneously you can find out information that is in answer to the question asked.

I remember years ago, when asking my Mother, a teacher, how to spell something or where was this or that was in geography and she would say go check the dictionary or the encyclopedia. She was right to encourage me to find the answer on my own and in the process I would learn how to research or use the dictionary proficiently or some other academic or educational skill.

Today, I can type in a few words into the Google browser on my computer and in a moment, the answer is either there or stemming technology presents thousands of links for me to search for the appropriate answer.

All of this is wonderful and educational providing one has access to a computer and has the knowledge of how to use it, but in this post I’d like to mention another profound attribute of the Internet. It is the ability for any user to instantly see our world and our universe.

This attribute was not available when my Mother sent me to the encyclopedia. Sure, some photos were there, but not in full color or even recent photos and certainly not videos.

I have been a long time proponent of acknowledging nature as part of us. I believe that nature has a sentient component that links to our psyche and sends us messages that we are the nature we appreciate and too often abuse.

These messages come wrapped in the beauty we find everywhere in the flora and fauna — if we choose to see it. The photos attached are evidence of my point.

Season’s Sonnet
© 2000 by Rolland G. Smith

As the seasons pass and each one blends in
From the one that departs, there’s a graceful
Tranquil moment for the new to begin
Emerging from a place invisible.
This enchanting change is expectancy.
A dawning time, neither a first nor last
Just new for seasons are a pregnancy.
A renewing, a birth, a soul recast.
So swaddle the seasons, hold them to see
Summer’s bright fall and the white winter’s spring.
Cradle the change in a sweet harmony
Of changes in song and the new they bring.
Seasons and blending, coming and going,
Blessings of nature ever bestowing.

War Dead

President Obama was asked at his news conference last night if he were going to change the Bush Administration policies of forbidding news coverage of coffins returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he would review it.

For their own reasons, probably more political than concern for family grief, the Bush administration would not allowed any pictures of American coffins returning from war. Some, however, did appear on the Internet.

Granted it is a negative message that images of flag draped coffins send home and that’s why all administrations involved in war have kept images of these kind as quiet as possible.

What governments have always failed to acknowledge is that once a warrior is dead, politics end. The dignity of name is important to the validity of service, not only to the family, but to the social and patriotic permanence to our society. Heroes are honored, not hidden.

Hang the politics, these are our dead. They served by choice and honor. They died by circumstance and the hatred of another. Let us acknowledge their remains with images and names and bugle calls in public.

The Appledore

At first it was the sound. Creaks and cricks and moaning groans of teak wood joints in the planking of the deck as the internal timbers torqued from the blowing stress of wind in the sails. Wood on wood, a sound all sailors know.

Straining lines answered back to the groans.

I knew we were underway, but now it was confirmed by the splashing spray and snapping sails. Soon would come commands from the Captain to trim the mizzen sheet before he shouts, “ready to come about”.

The Schooner Appledore, an 86 foot wooden Windjammer, glided or’ and through the wave swells and white caps in the confluence of the Gulf and Atlantic waters. The spray was salty, but warm since the air was cold. The sun lowered closer to its green splash of light in the distant sea; its celestial candle dimmed for the coming dusk then darkened for the hours till dawn.

I am not a sailor, but I love to sail. My poets mind translates the wind to grace as I let it carry me to the lost horizons of time and the wonderment of what’s there.

The salted spray with its mist and aroma ignited my spirit in a liquid flame of awe and I felt my other lives and places on and near the sea.

The mighty clapping flaps of canvas sails slapped me back to the NOW and to the gusty folds of waning winds that heeled the boat to an awkward tilt. I stand with my back braced to the main mast and knees bent ready for instantaneous adjustments in balance. Shanty words come from somewhere in my mind.

“Hi Lo High, sailors cry when God’s on the water”.

The sea has always been measured by the sadness of time and tide and in the cries of separation. Family here, future there. Vast waves of hopes and wishes in between. Adventure? Yes! Fearful too, especially for those who love the result, but know not the process.

I am far more appreciative now of the early explorers who mastered the seas and set humankind on the path of expansion.

Heart Observations

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog then you know that for the past couple of weeks I’ve had the opportunity to make new friends and visit some old ones in Florida. It’s a different mind-set in the warmer climes. The elderly come to escape the cold and the young come to embrace the semi-tropical freedom that youthful hearts crave.

I talked to one interesting fellow who was a mate on a sailing schooner. He taught me how to raise the main and sweat the lines. He had his masters degree in another discipline, but was interested in writing. He seemed to have a hard case of writers block. He was harboring experiences from which to write, but couldn’t seem to find the time to let them sail or sale.

There is a creative energy in every experience we have. If your birth gift is to write then the mind transfers that energy to the heart where it is mixed with the divine spirit and sends it back to the mind as creative thoughts, sentences, paragraphs and stories. It works in a similar ways with other birth gifts like art, music, and sculpture except in those disciplines the energy goes into trained creative hands to manifest as paintings, songs, compositions and form.

Bosco (the Mate) if you read this, set a time each day, maybe two times, to write. Even if it’s ten minutes. Soon you will find that interpreting your experiences through words will be addictive and the blocks will be gone.

I went to visit Earnest Hemingway’s house and now museum in Key West. What a fascinating life he led and what great creativity came from his experiences. He once said he could write a story in six words. He did.

“For sale, baby shoes, never used.”

We each have a birth gift. Finding it is sometimes a lifelong task.