Arctic Cold


A few years ago I posted the following after a fridged few days. It seems more appropriate even now. To wit:


It’s morning. Temperature is 2 degrees below zero. I have a fire going and feeling safe.


The warmth of a long-ago sun spreads into my room as a log fire dissolves its way to ash giving back the heat and light of many seasons’ growth. Fluid flames dance in a flickering grace of form and orange light. Heat is the result. Light a soft byproduct.


A few feet away is the cold. It is a stinging cold with only a window glass to hold it back. It’s double glass, a bulwark of silica that another temperature and time turned into a transparent glazing of clarity and protection.


I grew up in old houses with single panes of flawed glass. Frost would decorate the panes into a translucent crystal of art, but not now. Modern homes are too tight for nature’s cryogenic beauty to seep in and paint the panes with a cameo of cold. Too bad! How many kids today miss the vision of feathered frost on the inside of a windowpane where they can scratch their design into the thin sheet of ice crystals.


Just beyond my outer pane is an astringent cold that if you stepped outside without protection, it would burn with negative degrees, blister the skin, blink the eyes to tears and tighten the inner nose when a breath is necessary. It’s an arctic tight; the tightness of breath.


The cold on the other side of the glass sets a tension between inside and outside. It cannot penetrate the timid barrier of wood and double panes, but it tries to. It is the knowing fierceness of potential danger and a fire keeps me in the fort of comfort.
Damn, it’s cold!

Wilber Ross

I am morally disturbed at the insensitivity of Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross. He is a self-made millionaire with the alleged wisdom to oversee the mercantile agenda of our nation.

It seems to me that would include the welfare of federal employees.

If you have not seen his remarks by now, you should because his ethic is endemic of the ignorance of the haves to the have-nots. He tried to walk it back to the press after somebody got to him, but it didn’t work.

It’s a “let them eat cake” instead of a bread scenario from Marie Antionette.

The charade going on in Washington is ludicrous. The elite has no idea what it is to live from paycheck to paycheck. If they did, the shut-down farce would not exist. This is why we need citizen legislators rather than career politicians in Washington.

The Responsibilities of Abundance

I had a simple fish chowder last night, and it was filling and fine.

I thought of those throughout the world who have little or nothing to eat and where starvation is a constant worry. Too many count the grains of rice for the pot to feed a family and deal with the ache of hunger as the body eats itself in a wrenching dichotomy to stay alive.

My simple meal was to millions of souls around the world, a feast.

I went to the doctor the other day for a routine check-up. There too I thought of the ease with which I got an appointment and the pharmacy choices I could go to fill a prescription. There are so many millions in the world who have no access to even simple medical treatments let alone to modern medicines to cure or ease a pain.

To get the same medical expertise, most of the world would have to walk for days or suffer in place.

I have a nice home — good neighbors. I have heat, electricity, and freedom from fear. I know millions love their families as I do mine, but who have no permanent home without the hostile and real intrusion of terror and war.

With all these realizations, there comes a moment when I must ask the question, “Why me?” “Why do I have so much and so many have so little?”

I don’t know the full answer, and I suspect I never will until I get to the other side. I do know there are responsibilities that go with abundance.

Giving from substance.

Compassion and aid to those who suffer.

Tolerance of other’s beliefs.

Awareness of need.

The New Congress

Vision is the process by which we construct the future. It is the substance of creation and the positive possibilities of what we can be. From the daily diatribes out of Washington, I do not hear the visionary words that engender the structure of common hope on the foundation of realistic wonder.

From the new Congress, I want to hear reinforcements of American ideals and the legislative action to sustain them. I want all branches of our government to paint me a picture of a sustainable future and color it with ideas and the fragrance of action. I want the genesis of solutions on immigration, health care, ongoing wars, affordable housing, and the litany of other issues entrained in our common society.

Mostly what I glean from ongoing debate is the darkness of past thought, the detritus of false words and the uselessness of egoic pride.

When Alexander the Great became ruler of the world, he came upon a philosopher who was lying upon his back in a meadow and mediating. Having become powerful and wealthy, Alexander became a patron of the arts and intellectuals. He stood before the philosopher and said,  “I am a patron of culture and will gladly underwrite any project you may select; name your wish.”

The Philosopher thought for a moment and said: “You may do one thing for me, your Highness. Please step aside; you are standing between me and the sun”.

Our Congress and our President must step aside from blocking the lights of compromise, compassion and courtesy and lead us to our grandest vision of ourselves.