He Was Running
He was running, like the wind, it blew past his ears and swept back his hair.
The day was bright and the air fresh and cool. He was young, his muscles
were strong, and he almost flew down the path barely touching the ground.
He was running toward her, he could hear her call now. His heart leaped
with joy and he trembled at the thought of her waiting for him. His heart
pounded in his ears and he felt the warmth he felt when he was near her.
She took his breath away.
She called again and he opened his eyes. His heart pounded. She was
looking down at him in his chair, more beautiful than ever. "Its time for
your medicine. Are you OK?" Her concern warmed her face as she
touched his hair. What had he ever done to win her heart? After all of
these years, through thick and thin ... He took the pill and the cool water
quenched his thirst.
He relaxed and smiled up at her. Feeling lucky beyond words he closed
his eyes to rest ... They were next to that little stream again. It was the
most beautiful day he could remember and somehow he knew that the
sweet girl he was with would be with him for the rest of his life.
A warm breeze gently touched his hair.
I’m happy. I feel as young as I did 30 years ago, inside.
But who’s hands are those on the keyboard?
I’m happy, but the appearance of those hands seem
just cause for some apprehension.
I can still run like the wind, but only in my dreams.
I still anticipate, but my plans have a shorter time line.
My hunger has become somewhat more refined, though
my doctor has her doubts, the portions are certainly less.
I am happy, the sky is still filled with color,
especially the sunsets.
December 17, 2006
“The biggest problem confronting the world today is the illusion
that our differences matter more than our common humanity.”
President Bill Clinton
September 25, 2006
The reason angels can fly is that
they take themselves so lightly.
When I was but a tike my parents were gods.
In puberty I had serious doubts.
By my teens they were just wrong.
With time they had opinions.
As I grew old, my memories of them grew young.
They were not gods,
they were not wrong,
they were young.
I wish I had known them then.
I wish I could know them now.
While cultures vary with time, there are those things which we find beautiful and inspiring that our ancestors also found beautiful and which will inspire future generations. It may be as simple as a pure tone, a fragrance, or a color. Or the warm touch of a baby, a sunset, or just a cool ocean breeze. In the feeling inspired by these experiences there is a commonality that ties us together across the generations. A cave man peering out at the dawn, an ancient Greek steering his boat out for the day’s catch, or someone catching the ride to the office can not help but feel the sense of fresh anticipation and hope with which the young heart meets the cool mist of dawn. The way we sense color, touch and closeness does not change with the millennia. Our species can respond to a tone or a rhythm with enjoyment, with appreciation, and even dance. It is our nature to react to some moments positively. They inspired our ancestors, and they will exhilarate our descendants. In this sense I feel a closeness to those I know of, and those who will know of us. There is time between us but what we share exceeds it.
A teacher can show you the door, but you must enter yourself.
compound interest is the greatest advantage of youth,
more often, it is the greatest weakness.
Trends and cycles are not mutually exclusive.
The only thing certain about the future is that
there will be uncertainty.
Improve your past,
To let your past
determine your future.
To understand nature
you must look past the words
with which you describe it.
Those who speak slowly are often thought to be wise,
maybe it is because they have more time to consider their words.
Stop and smell the roses,
better, Pasture Roses or the Fall Phlox.
THE ZEN GARDEN
There it was, a small assembly of sticks and sand with a couple of pebbles, labeled “Zen Garden”. Humph! A merchant carries what people buy. Silly looking thing obviously put together by those who would capitalize on any trend. A photo showed a pebble surrounded by circles in the sand made by the tiny wooden rake. Like this would bring ease and relaxation! After a day of grading 500 students, a few percent of whom hoped to argue in minutes what they had not achieved in months, the idea of simple route to relaxation was amusing.
Hardly the size of a post card, with less than a cup of sand, silicon. Silicon, a simple element. Silicon. I remembered part of a class lecture, “long ago, in our part of our galaxy, there was a star, huge and massive. It was many times larger than our own sun. Swelled with age, in its heart hydrogen fussed into helium, then helium into carbon, oxygen, silicon, and the very calcium we find in our bones.” With the tiny rake I made several parallel lines in the sand. “As it formed iron, the unimaginably huge, red star began to collapse. The collapse fed itself in an action that is the sole source of the 100 or so elements which are the building blocks of everything.” Carefully, I formed a series of circles around a pebble as I imagined the star going super nova, a temporary beacon in the universe, spreading itself and its planets across the slowly turning galaxy. The stuff of the tiny garden, and the stuff that would become our world and ourselves was formed, placed where it would someday become as we know it today.
Silly little rake, how had they made it?
The pebbles reminded me of a series of rocks along a road near the southern end of the island of Hawaii. There I had sat overlooking the pounding waves of the Pacific ocean. The sea was alive with the consequences of that super nova. Below, lava flowed from the island’s active volcano into the sea adding acreage to the youngest artifact of the ceaseless struggle between land and sea. Within the sea I could imagine schools of creatures that moved as one. I wondered if one were separated from the others would it still move as the others? Nearer the horizon a geyser broke the surface. The haunting howls of the whales had been featured on PBS. Could there be an ancient oral memory of the pod, or perhaps it is the memory of genes that objects to the presence of this 500,000 year old volcano in the midst of their much older breeding grounds. The sea continued its ceaseless pounding, with the advent of humanity it is now over seen by self awareness if not understanding.
We had touched the moon, but we would never change the course of even the nearest stars in our own galaxy. An insignificant galaxy in an ocean of trillions that reached to infinity itself. An island of four hundred billion suns in which ours would someday vanish without a trace. The Universe will not note the passing of humanity in any measurable way. Stars will continue to form, supernova will continue to salt the cosmos with the elements of life and awareness. Galaxies will continue to turn, the seas of other worlds will pound, and other beings will be filled with wonder. How incredibly wonderful to be, to know, to understand, to be silicon, calcium, iron.
A voice, “may I help you”. The question seemed to move backwards! A momentary thought of trying to explain, the desire to share, a momentary glimpse of the frustrations of ancient Zen. The answer “No. Who would remove this from here?”. Obviously suspecting sarcasm the sales person glanced at the tiny assembly of sticks and sand, at the pebbles.
The greatest learning comes from a question, but understanding must come from within. Had I let my students down? Next term I would try harder. How fortunate to be able to address 500 young minds, to help start self awareness along the path to understanding. To share the enjoyment of being. I must think of the right questions. What a splendid garden!
May 14, 1999
Savor life, it only happens once.
You can not step into the same river twice.
My Dad, who was a police officer, use to insist in a broad sense that what you see depends on where you stand. As a specific example he would tell of a court incident. An accident had happen at a crowed intersection and he had picked four bystanders as witnesses. After hearing the testimony which did not even agree on the number of cars or their colors, the judge looked out across the crowed court room. Then he asked “Officer Gatewood, are these witnesses from the same accident, or did you pick them randomly from this room?”
Smiles are contagious.
Sure there are problems with growing old,
but consider the alternative.
I am an 18 year old girl trapped inside an 81 year old body.
Only the person in the mirror grows old.
We are not getting older, we’re just getting shorter.
(Their daughter in law)
It snowed yesterday, in January !
If he finds God, and repents,
who do we execute,
the man on death row,
or the man we remember.
Hang him, it will teach him a lesson.
Like the harvest moon,
the mind can focus on our problems
blowing them all out of proportion.
Hold you hand at arms length and
cover the rising moon with the end
of your small finger.
Do not follow in the footsteps of the men of old,
seek what they sought.
It is wrong to be right
at the wrong time.
To hate is to be hateful.
To love and to be loved
We seek to improve ourselves,
why do we not accept similar change
A thousand observations do not a theory make,
but a single observation can a thousand theories break.
I wish I had known then what I know now.
Never be the first to try something new.
What is expected of the parent by the child
and of the child by the parent
is largely based upon first impressions.
There is more room in a broken heart.
Every exit is an entry to somewhere.
Half of luck lies in recognition.
Serendipity visits not the idle hand.
Sometimes I wonder,
why did I not see this before.
Do others see in this what I see,
or do others see much more.
How can I share this insight,
or am I just the last to see the light.
One can learn to be right,
but only the wise
know how to be right.
Google knows and tells all.
Sometimes you just have to rephrase the question.
People agree that most of the gods man has worshiped
were just figments of his imagination.
Where they disagree is which ones.
The principles of chaos and uncertainty seem
to apply as much to everyday life
as to physics.
Given enough time all things are not only possible,
they are likely.
Engage brain before opening mouth.
It is easier not to say it,
than to take it back.
First, try to see it, or hear it,
from their point of view.
Maturity index is usually correlated
with intelligence index and education.
Wisdom is not.
Do not waist life on a lost cause.
Know you enemies,
know your advisors better.
If it was intelligent design,
wouldn’t it work better?
Why are they called Yukon, Trail Blazer, and Explorer?
Always approximate first.
Always ask at least one question.
Learn from yesterday.
Plan for tomorrow,
but live TODAY.
(Modified from a T-shirt.)
Emotions are the greatest gift,
and the greatest liability,
of our heritage.
Learning is the one enjoyment that does not pale with time.
Five years of A’s and B’s look much better
on a job application than
four years of rushed B’s and C’s.
Memories owe their existence to their owners.
Emotion clouds judgement.
There are no absolute truths in science.
Science can not prove this or that,
instead it strives to determine if it is likely
Good is not done for recognition.
An advisor who agrees with you is of little value.
A good advisor will point out the strengths and
weaknesses of alternate points of view.
Steer. Anticipation transcends regret.
The trick is to grow together, not apart.
It is weakness to suppose that
the only way to overcome your enemy
is to kill him.
There is a wide gulf between knowing
Few make it across that expanse
without doing a little paddling.
One place to start on health care might be with the law of
supply and demand. If you want your trip to the doctor to be
a little cheaper, how about graduating more doctors?
A good start might be to reduce the costs of medical school.
If a doctor owes thousands of dollars a month to her graduate
school, she is going to add that to your bill.
A little incentive might help too. If you tell her, after all of
those years of school and residency, that she is going to
become a government worker she is unlikely to start medical
school in the first place.
To deflect the irresistible force
is better than to be run over by it.
Knowing when to sell is as important as knowing when to buy.
The answers to life’s most profound questions
are perfectly obvious.
The Universe will not note the passing of human kind,
nor will our artifacts stand the test of time.
Our significance lies within what we feel for each other.
Do not be afraid to love.
I do not know if, when, or where I heard most of these, but they
make me smile when they come to mind. I hope the reader has a
similar reaction. I have been told that some of the above are
original, maybe so. Credits for the rest would be appreciated.