Black & White

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Saw a Westie last night at a local Friday Night uptown event supported by the city,  retailers, restaurants and musicians-all converging together. Cheryl and I petted a West Highland Terrier who was passing by. He was of the same large build and cut as our Carson, except he was wire-haired whereas Carson was a silky haired canine.

Brought back a plethora of memories…all good at the time. It was fun to watch the owner and his beloved dog walk off together after a visit with both!

There are not too many things in this life that are black & white. After birth, death is the only For Sure thing I can think of. Yes, some say taxes, too, but there are far too many tax evaders to qualify this word as a viable “must” in the list of unavoidables (new word!). I could list a plethora of other items which could qualify as For Sure Things in life such as hardship, blessings, mishaps, injustices, joy, diseases, financial crisis’, etc., etc..

This photo represents my black shadow and Carson’s white body. Carson is gone from this earthly existence and I, too, will be gone someday. There seems to be a lot of gray in between and around us…this represents our lives which are a mix of good and bad, happy and sad, regret and contentment.

Regardless of skin color, ethnicity, locale, history, theology, tradition or a bunch of other vital things to consider, the most important thing is our eternal destiny. Recall, we all will die. This is not meant to be morbid. On the contrary, this is meant to be a wake-up call of sorts as to what we accomplish in this life…not a “to do” list, but an “I am” list.

You know my spiritual underpinnings if you read my profile. I am not going to preach. I simply would like for each reader of this post to seriously consider what is next after this life we now live. It seems to me it is rather Black & White.

Blessings to all !

Waiting…

“Early youth is a baffling time. The present moment is nice but it does not last. Living in it is like waiting in a junction town for the morning limited; the junction may be interesting but some day you will have to leave it and you do not know where the limited will take you. Sooner or later you must move down an unknown road that leads beyond the range of imagination, and the only certainty is that the trip has to be made. In this respect early youth is exactly like old age; it is a time of waiting before a trip to an unknown destination. The chief difference is that youth waits for the morning limited and age waits for the night train”. 

By Bruce Catton, Waiting For The Morning Train.

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Bruce is the acclaimed author of many civil war historical novels, and this quote comes from an autobiography of early childhood, entitled “Waiting for the Morning Train”. It is a book about growing up in a small and forgotten town in the upper Midwest of America during the early Twentieth Century. Bruce’s small town was called Benzonia, Michigan, but having not been there I had to use my best choice photograph which should be of the same era.

When I read Bruce’s first paragraph of chapter Three, I was enthralled with the depth of meaning and experience of his description of youth and aging…the perspective of each, but also the difference. How anyone can capture this much life in a few simple verses astounds me. Perhaps I am odd, but this is what I consider profound writing !

When in Drought

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We in the Kansas City area have been in a prolonged drought for months. Plus, we have had extremely hot temperatures during this time. By looking at my yard one would think grass is meant to be brown rather than green…assuming there is any grass !

There are all sorts of droughts in life: spiritual (that’s a big one), relationships, health issues, job, work associates, financial, no change of scenery, hopelessness…and the list will become larger given enough thought, but you get the idea.

Some droughts last longer than others and some are more difficult, as well. What we do during a drought tells us a lot about ourselves. Droughts test our strength and resolve and reveal our limitations. I have been through several seasons of prolonged and difficult droughts and have learned a great deal about myself that I didn’t realize prior to those experiences. And, some of what I learned I don’t like.

Sometimes we come through a drought stronger, and sometimes not so much. However, we do come out of them as changed people. I share this iris with dew on it to remind me that droughts don’t last forever and that there will be times of joy and beauty and purpose. If you are currently in a drought think of this flower with wet petals gleaming in the morning sunlight. Hope is what we need and hope is what I seek for all of our lives. Tomorrow is a new day !

Mother & Child Reunion

 

Paul Simon wrote this song and sang it with his partner, Garfunkle, in 1972. Many theories have been postulated about its meaning and mere guesses abound. This is what we know from Paul…

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He was eating at a Chinese restaurant and saw a dish on the menu called “Mother & Child Reunion” which was comprised of chicken and eggs. He liked the name so much he chose to use it on a song at some point.

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Later, he had a beloved dog who was run over and died. This had a profound impact upon him. As he thought about this incident and thinking about his wife Peggy, he came up with these lyrics. Even he can’t explain it that well- it just came together, he said.

Aren’t these Palomino Painted horses beautiful ? Mother and daughter always together in a nearby field. It does my heart good whenever I see them. I’m glad I had my Canon with me last week. The song just came to me a few minutes ago, and I didn’t even have Chinese food at the time !

America Where Are You Now ?

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Once the religious, the hunted, the weary chasing the promise of freedom and hope

Came to this country to build a new vision far from the reaches of kingdom and pope

Like good Christians, some would burn the witches, later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America, they came by the thousands to court the wild

But she patiently smiled and bore a child to be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken, westward in saddle they went

And ’till the railroad linked ocean to ocean many the lives which had come to an end

While we bullied, stole and bought a homeland we began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America they came by the thousands to court the wild

But she just patiently smiled and bore a child to be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and gray they stomped it-they kicked it just like a dog

And when the war over they stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it’s share of injustice, kind was the spirit in many a way

But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping, now it’s a monster and will not obey

The spirit was freedom and justice and it’s keepers seemed generous and kind

It’s leaders were supposed to serve the country, but now won’t pay it no mind

‘Cause the people grew fat and got lazy-now their voice is a meaningless joke

They babble about law and order, but it’s just an echo of what they’ve been told

Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose. It’s got our heads into a noose. And it just sits there watchin’

The cities have turned into jungles and corruption is stranglin’ the land

The police force is watching the people and the people just can’t understand

We don’t know how to mind our own business ’cause the whole world has got to be just like us

Now we’re fighting a war over there; no matter who’s the winner we can’t pay the cost

‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose. It’s got our heads into a noose. And it just sits there watchin’

America, where are you now? Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?

Don’t you know we need you now? We can’t fight alone against the monster.

(Repeat refrain 3x)

Steppenwolf, 1969, Monster/ Suicide/ America song lyrics

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For those unfamiliar with this song or band, this was one of a plethora of Vietnam war protest songs which also attempted to shine a light on the sad state of political affairs at the time. Draw your own conclusions about our politics, leaders, president, wars, policies and everything-else America. The only political statement I make is that these lyrics seem to fit our time. And, it would be wise for us to “look in a mirror” and to pray because we can’t fight alone against a monster.

Michael