A Few Bugs

Posted: July 15, 2021 in Humor, poet, poetry, writing

  I just got a new computer, but I still have a few Bugs to work out.

 

O.C.

I would describe it as gnarly. It has been split by ice, dried by drought and trimmed cruelly by storm winds. It sheds not only leaves in the summer and fall but branches and long dry sticks during the winter. Squarely sawed stubs of once strong branches protrude from its trunk. The wounds were undeserved and now are only slightly healed with a green rounded rim. The constant and predominate southern winds have trained our willow’s branches to spread reaching northward, permanently posed in a windswept profile even on the few calm days of summer. But despite its rough life, its trunk grows thicker and it gains a few feet of height each year.

The globe willow, even growing untended in the wild, is a most beautiful tree. As its name implies, its branches will naturally form a very rounded shape as if from a Grant Wood painting. That is what drew my first attention. It has rough thick bark and in its mature form casts a very thick cool shadow. But the species is known for its poor disease and insect resistance, which I found out only after choosing to plant it. My tree chose to ignore the rounded branches shape genetic characteristics, instead grows weak branches and retained its poor health reputation. It has survived many doses of insecticides and antibacterial sprays. Until now, I was unaware that a tree could unwind its own DNA helix.

Today I read of the Oriental bonsai tree. As I write this I realize that I may now better understand my 18 year old globe willow. The bonsai trees are grown in a small pot or tray. Through careful pruning and training, the tree is caused to flourish in a stunted growth state. Wire is used to bind the branches and trunks to force it to grow in whatever way the “gardener” prefers. They are an amazing and beautiful addition to a home. Imagine having a whispering pine tree growing in your home that is smaller than the average table lamp. But there is something more intangible and harder to explain about these miniature trees. Growing a bonsai requires a meditative state and the cutting and pruning should be approached with a Zen-like state of mind. It is all about harmony, peace and balance. Only with harmony between nature, man and soul will the tree flourish.

But I’ve read that most of the bonsai tree inter-meaning and Zen has been lost to the general public in the last few years. Westerners look at this tree as only decoration and added atmosphere to their homes. The trees are losing popularity because the Zen is lost. Maybe this too for my globe willow.

Oh it started off in Zen, I planted my little globe willow exactly on my birthday just 18 years ago. How much closer to harmony between nature, man and soul can you get. With the help of two steel posts, wire and rubber hose to cushion the bark, I braced my new tiny 2 inch in diameter tree so it would remain straight for its first couple of formative years until it was strong enough to stand against the wind on its own. But I didn’t think of meditating about it either before or after. Just a few years later when aphids invaded, as I sprayed the insecticidal soap, gently washing each branch and leaf, no prayers, meditation or aaahummmms were uttered. The tree grew at the mercy of the winds, being pruned violently during each storm. Not the required Zen-like state of mind to promote flourished growth, but admittedly done with a closeness to nature. The wire of the wind has formed it branches to lean and flow northward instead of the familiar globe shape of its brothers. No thought was given this, the gradual change was hardly noticed.

With all of this, the tree lives on, though gnarly, leaning, battle scarred and robbed of its intended form and handsomeness. It is still able to cast a cool shade, protect my home by breaking the wind and ice and growing steadfastly adding character to our yard. Perhaps there has been a speechless connection with man all along. The two share the same traits, the same scars, the same stubbornness for life. Perhaps a cosmic connection was made at the time of the first turn of the spade to prepare for its planting. Much like the man that shares its birthday it grows old. Perhaps there has been a harmony between nature, man and soul and both have flourished from it, although awkwardly, surviving and growing despite the forces. Bonsai, the western world’s largest bonsai may be growing in my front yard.

I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a Zen thing.

DSS

Yesterday I watched a mother robin that was feeding her young offspring that had just taken flight from its nest and fallen near our old pear tree. It made me think of this post that was written a few years ago. Perhaps one of my favorites.

Flight On Top

I am thinking of the bird’s nest built on the spring season wreath that was hanging on my front porch at home this summer. I thought the eggs would surely be hatched by the time I returned. Perhaps then the young birds, mouth wide open, would still be begging a meal from mother robin and stealing a bug or two from their nest mates. Or maybe if I was long coming  home, they would have flown the nest, placing their trust in the thin air as I am today traveling far from my home.

It is always sunny here on top, above the clouds. As the wisps of mist turn to thin clean air, we break into a hidden world above the cloudy day. Towering columns reach high but try as they may they still are beneath us. Our earth thousands of feet below is now only white vapor and rain and clouds covered by sunshine.

One hundred and five minutes, that’s how long it will take to travel what would take my four-wheeled conveyance eleven and a half hours. I’m traveling seven times faster but there is no breeze to my face or rumble at my feet. And as far as I know, no one on my bumper, to the left or right of my lane or rambling too slow ahead of us. How can others sleep while I am wide-eyed. I have traveled 12700 miles by air this year so far. I have never kept track of the miles in earlier years. Tell me, how many miles does it take until a guy is able to read a newspaper, play a computer game or sleep while being 35000 feet in the air and traveling 535 miles an hour? How many miles until you are deadened to the marvel of it all? Keep the orange juice, forget the pretzels or peanuts, don’t bother me, I’m looking out the window and wishing I was up front.

Nothing better than being on the way home. Check your bags, who cares if you’ll never see them again. No reason to drag your dirty laundry with you in the tightly packed, neatly tagged and tiny wheeled canvas Samsonite. Sure, keep the computer and camera but pack the little black bag so you are traveling lightly. You need at least one hand to drink the Tim Hortons or Starbucks. Worry about balancing the coffee and watching the scenery, not balancing two bags and keeping sight of your replaceable possessions. Don’t waste your time and energy protecting your “stuff”. You are miles from home and seeing things that you may never have the chance to see again, even if it is just a pretty girl or a set of 4-year-old twins each carrying a complete boxed set of Matchbox cars that Dad gave them on his way to war.

DSS

( From 4 years ago )

Time Out!

Posted: April 11, 2021 in creative writing

I’ve been taking some time off. I may be back now.

I’m not going to talk about last year or even the first three months of this year. But I can say it has indeed been one hell of a roller coaster ride. This last 12 months the ride has really messed my hair up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC

Again we are told Where.
The invisible where.
Searching for the mystic chords of memory
we were told binds us to the graves
of the brave, young and the innocent.
These thin chords made only of the light strings
of loud sounds and trailing smoke.
So easily absorbed, so quickly dispersed among the mist.
Chords so soon broken and forgotten.
Nothing done.
And still not touched
by the better angels of our nature.

E.

  • Italics – Phrases by Abe Lincoln from 150 years ago

E wrote this quite a few years ago, I forget which crazy unimaginable event inspired it then. But this last week brought it to the front again. I love quoted short phrases of Lincoln. He said so many words that need repeating over and over. “Better angels of our nature” is quoted often by historians. “mystic chords of memory” is just too beautiful to let stagnate. The amazing thing is that they both were extracted from Lincoln’s inaugural address. His speeches and letters just hypnotize me and only got better into his presidency. Although this inaugural speech was placating to the South, many of his words were inspirational.

Lincoln’s inaugural address was given as our nation was going into civil war. It would do all of us good to again read more of his other speeches. After what we all have stood by in shock and witnessed January 6th and what may happen in coming days, the inspiration of his words will be needed. His words of placating that day did not stop the civil war but Maybe if his other words were repeated enough, maybe if they are read just one more time, this madness will be stopped.

John

In my life of being one with the Universe, I have an innate sense of the Earth’s seasons. You may say “What a broad statement!”. But it is true. So grounded into my DNA, I need no calendar. I need no reminding. I have no need for preparations of a holiday. I wake up on the days of Solstice and Equindox and my ancestral brain’s spinning gyroscope is tilted to the seasonal direction. I have but a twing and I just know. I feel I have a small astronomical relationship, perhaps a brotherhood, with our solar star. My gimbals are re-caged on each season to the proper degrees of earth’s tilt and my life continues to spin renewed through our Universe’s marveles of emptiness.

Such is the life of John

How Hard the Life

Posted: December 11, 2020 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
Tags: , ,

What have I to say?
I can say the sweet things, the accepted things
the heart warming, precious things.
Speak of love and the expected things.

But how hard the life?
The road of bumps and gravel dust,
of roadside weeds and ungated railroad crossings.
And always forgetting to look both ways.

The life of pebbles that break windshields
and jiggling of toilet handles to prevent a flood.
Watching dimly lit gas gauges on E
and quickly mown lawns with untrimmed edges.

Oh, to notice the perched hawk, saying hello to him and following his stare as I pass
Wanting to remember the first days of the new seasons
and to watch the Sun and the Moon
and to know when and where they will rise and how full it will be on my free Sunday.

How hard the life to forget these things?
How good the life?
To want these, to have hope of these.

I am as much as the beetle stranded on his back.
For even he struggles to right himself and live.
If he, then so will I.

DSS

 

This is the first poem that I posted on WordPress in September of 2013. But one that I wrote so many years ago. I think it is time to dust it off and give it a little light once again.

Dodging the Bullet

Posted: December 9, 2020 in Everyday Life, free verse, poet, writing

It’s December once again, hopefully for the total 31 days. December, we’ve almost made it. If you are like me, this year of 2020 really stinks!  A good thing did happen though. A thing that seems strange that I even have to mention it. A good thing that in the past could have happened to me alone but not to my entire family and friends. I am thankful that all of us did not die. Only a few of my family died and only a few of my greatest friends are now gone. All of us were exposed to the same thing but most of us escaped or survived from it. We are thankful to be alive.

Some of us only survived because we were consciously and totally aware of our surroundings and the risks. If the risk was unescapable, we stayed home. We can do that, we are retired, we don’t have to go anywhere. Groceries are picked up at the curb in a car, we are in masks and with windows up we yell through the glass if we have to talk to the masked person loading the car. We mask because the kids loading our trunk are masked. They are very brave. I am not sure they understand how brave they really are.

Another reason we are alive, we believe in science, we wear our masks and we do not follow a foolish man.

E.

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.  ~Author Unknown

To that quote I add this.

Several Billion Cells

As my cells group to make me who I am each day
I feed them, give them air, water, shelter and transportation
I am the vehicle for the DNA to satisfy their sexual urge to survive
I think I am in control
but really I am cursed to be at the whim of billions of cells.
And I think I am only as one, an island
As I care for my army of cells each day
I ignore their multitude and only think of me not we
I think I am coordinating my efforts
but I am only the result of their needs
Is it for my sanity or the need of the whole
that they allow me to think I have a soul?
Is that the false hope, the vapor that holds me together?

DSS

Appointments

Posted: October 17, 2020 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry
Tags: , , , ,

The town has a well-groomed courthouse square
surrounded by uneven red brick streets.
Like most towns, 24 times a day,
the bell tower clock strikes the hour and old men check their watches,
As if they have places to go and appointments to keep.
But they sit on the green donated park benches
that have names engraved in brass.
They watch the fall leaves fall
and sit to feel the fall breeze against their faces.
Some whittle, some stuff their tobacco pipes
and some spit into throwaway cups.
And everyone knows the name of the town dog
that runs free, unchained but friendly,
that searches with wildly wagging tail,
sniffing at pant legs, pockets and shopping bags,
As the fall leaves burn and the smoke rises
And the old men only sit and whittle,
smoking their pipes and spitting into throwaway cups.
Nervously checking on appointments
that they have never made but they all will surely keep.

DSS

DSS wrote this in September 2013, there may be a couple of people who haven’t read it yet.