We Who Walk …

They say we’re just passing through this place…
that we won’t be here again.
That there’s scenery along the way, but it doesn’t matter.
That there’s cheap clothing and expensive clothing, but we are buried in rags and our bones turn to dust, so what’s the Big Deal … Armani vs Value Village?
Passing Through Life

 

They say that no one really knows our journey except We Who Walk It … they say that no one ever really hears what we say, except We Who Say It [ and half the time we’re not listening anyway ], so … what’s all the Noise About. Anyway.

Is Anyone Listening?

They say that No One every goes “back”; that we all go forward only. There is no going back. There is no “back”. You turn around and the cozy home you left is a pillar of salt, or an empty lot, or mummified cat left by a Pharaoh to some unknown Goddess. “Back” is not a word that exists in many languages.

They say we’re just passing through this place: walking determinedly or dancing. Or sometime stumbling. Or a Silly Walk like Monty Python, or a Handicapped walk, like a Frog whose legs were lost in a Romantic French Restaurant … But it’s our very own Walk. And do we LIKE IT, they ask, with that funny Psychotherapist Look in their eyes, DO WE LIKE IT.

Do we like this Little Walk in the Park, this Very Short Walk, this Momentary Walk Under the Aboriginal Skies, this Pastel Walk in a Field of Dreams, this Halting and Struggling Uphill Climb to some Temple we hope exists at the Very Peak of The Tibetan Mountain of the Dead …

They say we’re just Visitors Here. The guests of some Unknown King. Rented Vehicles and False Passports. Secret Agents who have forgotten their Assignment.

And the Dome of Silence is lowered once again. And * Ah Yes * now I remember my assignment. Smell the Colors, Water the Flowers. Nourish the one Seed that bears the Sweetest Fruit.

… and Taste
… this Fragrance
… called “Magic”

Mandala of Me …

MANDALAS.
So, there is a Secret Art defined…

Some things speak to us: they are intricate, scientific, complex, inviting, technical. I always understood mathematics – to some degree. Logarithms could be exponential, or just plain boring. “Algorithms” can be a matrix of proportional expressions that Google uses to judge a website’s worth.

Or an “algorithm” could be the matrix of your dysfunctional family’s ingrown communications protocols. The matrix we grew up in, is sometimes the matrix we still sit in, unless we’re truly “left home”.

Sometimes, you have to “leave home” to find home.

Or … let’s just say ALWAYS.

Mandala Aloe Verra
This Thing follows you around wherever you go…

A MANDALA, according to my momentary cauldron of uninhibited thought processes, is a symmetrical chemical arrangement, where eons of light have traveled through several Milky Ways, just to fall on your cheap computer screen and arrange “pixels” – made in China – in a way that reminds you of your innate and deep core or center.

I am awed by this sort of thing.

Partly because of the inherent beauty in such an easily-contrived mixture of bad photography and good computer graphics. Partly because it speaks of the Unlimited Arrangement of Things Possible.

Remember Drugs?

Remember what we saw through our Closed Eyes and Open Pupils back in the sixties? We don’t forget that because it spoke to us. Again: about the Deep Arrangement of Things that Occurred Long Before We Were Born.

And the Voice it spoke with is the Voice that is still speaking. The Deep Arrangement of Things. The Arranger. The Lone Arranger.

It’s kind of like the Inner Florist Shop of God. Contains all these Astounding Blueprints of Life. Molecular Chemistry that would blow David Suzuki’s Fuzzy Skull apart. Things Secret to us that are Beyond Sacred, known by All, Discussed by Few, Enjoyed by only a Handful.

And offered to YOU.

Judith’s Buddha-Land, Part III

We Continue our Hike in the Woods.

 Salt Spring Island- Above Clouds

We begin our hike – again – in a Kingdom of Clouds.
Well above the Waterways, the distant and indifferent
Oceans that separate these Islands from the Sun.

Elements: Sky, so Big.  Water: so far away, yet shimmering,
inviting, calming, serene – millions of sequins.

A Million Stars in the Field of Light

So, the Earth is Next.
As are the Standing People,
the Friends who grow out of the Earth;
Protecting, inspiring, uplifting us.
Helping us, Healing us, Guiding us,
Feeling us, Freeing us, Softening the Blow
of the Pointless and Nasty Architectures
of man-made creation.

Sometimes Flower Solitary

Sometimes it’s a Solitary Flower.
It just calls to you.

No Loud Songs, no Rock’n’roll.
Just a quiet little Entity: happily growing
where they are planted.
Happily adding their delicious and humble
tune to the vocabulary of the local gallery.

Always appreciated because of their solitude.
Their “one-ness”.
Their subtle but sweet
Mirroring of the Human Condition.

We are truly Alone in our own Sweetness.

AND THEN …

Upturned Roots.

Upturned Roots of a SkyRocket Denizen

I had to print this picture BIG.
It’s just so Luscious and so Green and so Edible
and so Incredible.

These sculptures are not arrogant “installation art shows”
by those who pretend to have “insight”
into Human Nature.

These pictures do not stumble over themselves
in Intellectually-Ordained  Descriptives
that need Dictionaries and Law Degrees.

They are simply Found Art of the most Noble Kind.
Jungle Animals whose Days have ended in Glory:
steeped in the Green Benevolence of the Big Painter.
Painter of the Sky.  The Oceans.
Dreams of the Trees in the Burgundy
of Dusk.

The country of your Eye.
The comfort and shadow
of the small resting place
you call “Home”.

Green Infinity, Onward We Go

Green Infinity.
Onward We Go.
These Open Paths
Are simply Doorways into Trust.
Walking in the Palm of Some Big Hand.
Lined with cotton moss,
occasional Crickets.
Eagles Soaring.
And the odd
Skeleton
of things
that Left
the House.

Inadvertent Vertebrae Thoracic

These are simply Bones.
They belong here, more than I do.
Perhaps a deer, a cow, a large mammal.
We have the same bones; these are in our back.
They are delicately sculpted, every facet and dimension
has purpose.

Now covered in Moss and Straw,
it offers shelter to ants and small bugs.
And supplies yet another sculpture;
a true “installation” of true “art”
that someone gave his life
for the immortality of the Hills.

These things Speak to Us.

Just a Play

Sometimes, it’s just a Play.
Of Shadow, light & Love.
The things that Grow inside us,
and the crumbs we feed to our
only Child.

These things are Alone,
and they remind us of US.
They stay alone,
we pretend to “go” …
back to some place labelled “home”.

But we know we’re only travellers.

... and we will travel again.

And
We will Travel
Again.

Judith’s Buddhistic Paradise – Part II

Outdoor Plumbing The Thing about outdoor plumbing is this: if forces you to get in touch with your bowel movements.

Which is about Your Body, and its priorities.

Not your stupid iPhone.  Idiot Phone.  Text Messing.  What who’s neighbor is thinking about the color of your missing teeth or your mother’s favorite night-time fantasy.  Who cares anyway?

The Thing about Outdoor Plumbing, is, it’s part of slowing down and feeling the Breeze, the Breath, the Trees, the Depth.  The stupid silent and fragrant Wind that you’ve been ignoring in your Rush to get Nowhere.

The Thing about Outdoor Plumbing, is … it’s 100% organic, natural and gives back to the earth the very clay that we ingested mere hours ago.  Clay Hamburgers.  Clay Ducks.  Clay Coffee, Sugar and Creme.  Clay Pigeons and Parsley.

The Thing about Outdoor Plumbing, is that it’s You and You Alone with You.  Can you stand the thought of this Blind Date of Dates?  Can you sit comfortably and politely with Who You Are at the Smelly Center of Things and Celebrate Making More Smelliness at the Center of Things?

PART II of PART II – Hike In The Woods.

So, we go on a Hike in the Woods, on the second day of Arrival in the Lost Art of Now, in the Found Land of Buddha, on the Sacred and Unknown Humble mountain-top of South Salt Spring.

And we immediately find two Missing Submarines In The Woods.  The Beatles could have made a Song About This.  But, since they didn’t, I will.  “The Missing Submarines”.  Here we go.

SONY DSC

The Navy was Missing Two Submarines.
They were known to be “Items of Interest” to Captains and Cooks alike.
They fell in Love quietly, while playing with Whales,
and forgetting Guns, Warfare and Sailor’s Small-Tales.

They Eloped One Day.
The Whales helped Whisk them Away.
They ended up on a Mountain-top Buddhist Center
A little Rusty, Crusty and Old
but Thankful for being so Bold
as to Defy Logic, Proportion and Duty
To end up in a place of Magnificent Beauty.

And here they Sit, Passing their Time:
Poor as a Beggar, with Nary a Dime.
But their Hearts are Happy; Light as a Feather.
They endure Snow, Heat and Bugs…
(and all kinds of Weather.)
They Sing like the Whales – when No One’s Around…
They’re true-Blue Buddhists and their Bliss Abounds!

Runaway Submarine

Judith’s Buddhistic Paradise

(a Retreat atop an Island of Serenity).

Well, two days is not a long time to spend in Paradise.  Fortunately, Paradise has many forms, fingers and flavors.  It seeps into our lives through the Cracks In Things.

Judith has been care-taking at the KDOL Buddhist Retreat Center on Saltspring Island for some time.  She’s in charge of Gardening, occasional meals & errands and helping take care of the resident Lama, Lama Karma Phuntsok.

Besides her duties in taking care of residential business at the KDOL Center, Judith has organized a casual, “come-as-you-are” retreat for the end of August / early September  2013.  I was pleased to partake of 2½ days of sublime beauty, nature and gourmet cooking from the Mountain Diva Herself!

Judith Mountain Diva

One of the most pleasurable and spiritually-beneficial aspects of my stay on Saltspring was the delightful culinary creations, offered by Judith, any time of day that struck my fancy.

And being somewhat ‘city-lagged’, my waking hours were an odd combination of unpredictable sleeps, hikes, silences and star-gazing moonlight indulgences, that, all in all, had no rhyme, reason or season to them.

The women’s side of the retreat center, where Judith had staked out her territory, is a rustic village of small 1-room cabins, set around a temple or meditation building, and a kitchen.  The Kitchen was our favorite hang-out, basically because this is truly the temple of the digestive system!  And what offerings this temple does provide!

Deer at the KDOL Buddhist RetreatWe share this idyllic setting with Denizens of the Animal World.  Actually, didn’t see much else than Deer.  And plenty of them. Apparently, there’s nine or so that frequent the hill beside the kitchen area.  Four pairs of Does & Fawns and one occasional Buck.

Judith offers them kitchen scraps, which they make a nightly pilgrimage for, and who’d-a-thunk?  It seems that this indeed is their “pizza-of-the-day” treat; they come from miles for their evening rituals.  They kind of look at you funny.  With those Big, Deer Eyes.  So Cute.

But nervous creatures.  Make a loud noise, and they’re history.  I tried my morning Elk imitation, but they weren’t impressed.

One of my favorite parts of the whole journey is the Ferry Ride.  It’s always kind of a “religious experience”, riding these huge white honking boats across the scenic channel of water that separates the Mainland from the Gulf Islands, and the largest island: Vancouver Island.  Nice on sunny summer days, but nicer still, in its own damp, oceany, “west-coast” way, when the seasons turn – when grey skies prevail and the cool winds sing in the sails (so to speak: ferries have no sails).

Ferry Ride to Saltspring Island

Ferry Rides, for those living in this part of the world, are some kind of Right of Passage. You leave behind some fragment of lives lived, and, face to the wind, breathe in the fragrance of the Unknown, the Vapors, the mists of Uncertain but Fragrant tomorrows.

It’s kind of like a “going”, with no easy and certain picture of where you’re going to.  Perhaps a mini-re-birthing session of sorts.  With onboard Starbucks’ and Boat Burgers to boot.  It’s a treasure-chest of rich sensations.

Opposite ferry in Parallel UniverseSometimes, you can even see another ferry going the opposite way, in a neighboring “Parallel Universe”.  All for a seventeen-dollar foot-passenger ticket.  Cool, eh?  It even gets better when you’re a decrepit 65 years of age: it’s free to travel the ferries on week-days!  Whoa!

So, that’s a little bit of “how we got there”.  There’s two ways from the Vancouver side, one is direct from Tsawwassen; downfall is it’s only 1-2 times daily, and it takes a long time: total of 4 island stops, Salt Spring is the last!  The other way is Tsawwassen to Schwartz Bay (near Victoria), a 1.5 hour ride on the Big Ship, then a short half-hour ride to Salt Spring, one stop. Advantage: many sailings throughout the day.

Well, back to the Retreat.

One of the lovely things about this location, is the view of the ocean, in both directions – north and south, along the east edge of the Island.  You’re far enough above the water – 900 meters or so to scope out a majestic offering of blue shadow and lagoon, enough to inspire an artist, meditator or photographer for sure!

Ocean and Sky Panorama, looking east-ward from the Buddhist Retreat CenterYou can click on the picture above, which will hopefully show you an enlargement of this fabulous view from atop the Buddha’s Hill.

MUCH MORE TO EXPLORE in JUDITH’S BUDDHIST MOUNTAIN retreat … stay tuned!
(“Oh to Live on … Buddha’s Mountain … with the Barkers and the Colored Balloons… you can’t be twenty, on Buddha’s Mountain, but you’re thinkin’ that you’re leavin’ there too soon … you’re Leavin’ There too soon.”)

Bus Shelter Ghosts

This day was kind of an odd day.

The sun was out today, which is always a blessing in Vancouver.  But in my little suburb of New Westminster, I took an early morning walk in the Amazing Rays, and – almost at my destination – I saw a curious enigma at a bus shelter located across the street from where I was walking.bus shelter ghosts

Here, the bus shelters are often constructed with clear plexiglass walls, sometimes with advertising posters sandwiched inside them.  This particular bus shelter, bathed in the long rays of April Morning Sunlight, had a very striking pattern of what looked like steam or condensation on the back panel of the shelter, behind the bench where people normally sit.

The condensation displayed itself as a “halo” or “aura” – outlining distinct shapes of 3 human bodies, almost looking like they had hats or some sort of head-gear on as well.   I found it quite amazing!

bus shelter ghostsSo I took out my camera, braved the traffic to get to a narrow concrete median, where I precariously balanced myself while swapping lenses on my camera, and took a series of shots from the concrete median.  Then a short time later I took more shots on my way back from my destination breakfast cafe.

The photos are all quite striking.  I couldn’t help but think of the three people who lost their lives yesterday in the tragic bombing incident at the Boston Marathon.  My poetic rambling self thought, “well maybe these light-halo enigmas are the three souls saying good-bye to us and awaiting their ride out into the Light… “

Whatever the case, it was incredible.  I didn’t find it eerie or frightening at all, just mysterious and somewhat magical.

When light and shadow meet, you get some really interesting metaphors arising as The Art of the Found Moment.

You can see the gallery of my Bus Shelter Ghosts by clicking the link on the side-bar to the right, or by clicking HERE.

bus shelter ghosts

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Office of the Prime Minister
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
CANADA
Jan 24, 2013

Dear Mr Harper,

This is a letter to you, and to those who form your caucus.

For the first time in my life, I am embarrassed to be a “Canadian”.

I was born here in this country, almost 60 years ago. I’ve lived and enjoyed a peaceful, plentiful existence, in what has been up ’til now, a democratic nation, peopled and governed by human beings who respected each other,and who also took the time to respect our environment, all the richness and splendor of nature that we’ve been so bountifully blessed with.

Betrayed by Stephen Harper and his Unholy Alliance to Oil and MoneyAnd now, in front of my eyes, I see you and your government – step by step- disassembling democracy, decimating the environment, and above all, acting in secretive, dishonest ways to bulldoze through legislation which will leave our country and its citizens vulnerable to whatever financial and economic powers want to walk in and literally plunder our resources.

I’m sorry, but the tired old line, “jobs and economy” doesn’t cut the mustard any more. It doesn’t work in a planet whose atmosphere is being poisoned by fossil fuel. It’ doesn’t work, because it’s more than Canadians and their pretty little back yards who are at stake here; it’s the whole of civilization and species as we know it. It doesn’t work, because no line you can give us is going to provide an excuse for the sleazy and embarrassing tactics you’ve used to back off Kyoto and other commitments to planetary cooperation with other nations in easing the carbon payload in our already overburdened atmosphere.

And now, you’re wanting to ship this oil – the dirtiest of all oils, to the biggest polluters on the planet, who will further burden our eco-system by refining this “guck”, and even further by burning the end-product and spewing it into the air? You must be joking.

Already, climate change has taken hold of this planet so severely, that science itself is beginning to quake in their boots at the prospect of what is to come. The polar ice caps are melting. Outrageous oil spills have decimated the environment in sensitive Eco-systems that will never be the same again.

And you’re wanting to send this sludge in pipelines, across pristine wilderness, to be placed into tanker ships the size of the Empire State building, which will be plying dangerous waters off the BC Coast to take their horrendous payload to China? “China” – who you’re giving unprecedented sovereignty to, to walk in and plunder our Eco-system and resources?

Who is going to benefit from these disastrous mistakes, these miscalculated tragedies-of-outrageous-proportion just waiting to happen? You and your cronies? Tycoons who have invested in these toxic companies? A few pipe-fitters, welders and machinery operators will have beer and pizza money for a few more years. “Wow”. All this in exchange for decimating our environment, and making us a laughing-stock in the eyes of world citizens who care about this beautiful planet?

I am insulted by the deceit, the arrogance, the irresponsibility and the lack of courage that you and your government are portraying to the Canadian people and to the world at large, in the way you are handling the responsibilities of government.

You are responsible not only to us, in terms of honest and transparent government, but you are also responsible to the people of Canada and the people of this planet Earth in terms of fostering and creating a sustainable future for our generation, and for generations to come.

You are failing in all regards.  What you are doing amounts to Global Environmental Sabotage.

I am ashamed to be a Canadian. For the first time in my life.

Gary B
New Westminster, BC
CANADA

Maple Leaf of an Embarrassed Canada

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here’s Harper’s email if any of you want to add your voice: pm@pm.gc.ca
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JFK :    In  My  words  of  Now

In one of my rare forays into TelevisionLand, I surf the channels and find the movie JFK (1991 – Oliver Stone, Kevin Kostner, et al).  So, I begin watching, and I am pulled in. Very interesting. I thought a lot about it afterwards – here are some reflections.

John F KennedyThat was “my era” – the 60’s – my growing-up years, my elementary-school chapters, my living room on a middle-class street in a middle-class town in a Middle-Class Life.  There are few things in that era of my life that were truly “traumatic”.  Life was predictable and rubber-stamped, day-after-day.  Excitement lived in the extra-curricular seasons of my friends and in the changing imprints of the times. The hippie era, the Vietnam War, the Beatles and the gradual “colorizing” of the drab, mercenary post-industrial baby-boomer value system, fraught with materialism and the predictable charade of status quo.

November 22nd, 1963 began like any other day with the rituals of school and life.  By the end of the day however, the world had changed irrevocably, and the hearts, minds, and emotions of millions were in turmoil.  Somewhere in the early afternoon, we received the news in our elementary school, I even recall alarms and sirens going off; all systems seemed locked down and security alerts in place.  School was suspended for the day and we all went home.  I’ll always remember the headlines in the paper: “Kennedy Killed – Assassin Sought”.

My memories of that day and the character of this event were more like emotional energy imprints, rather than inventories of actual events.  The shock that  permeated the entire culture seemed to be more an expression of some huge unknown atrocity that had happened, containing archetypal imprints of the most horrendous artifacts of humanity’s “shadow” – violence, murder, death, fear, lies, deceit, coercion, propaganda and one of the largest-scale betrayals to be pulled off in Western Civilization.

I followed the Kennedy conspiracy theories from an intellectual distance over the years. It was lumped in with the other pop-culture tabloid concerns that our society chews and spits out: Elvis, Hitler, UFO’s, Crop Circles, The Great Wars, Large Sharks and on and on.

Lately, however, I’ve re-blossomed as a light political-environmental activist of sorts, and in this mode, I’m looking more closely at political leaders, their relationship with money and industry.  How does this pan out in terms of transparency, accountability, impact on our fellow humans, and on the planet itself?

It’s so obvious – not only from the content of this movie, but from gut-level and intuitive feelings that inform me in my life: that we live in a society whose machinery is controlled by those immersed in silent contracts. ThesePast President unspoken connections of finance and convenience, this unbending loyalty to the rules of a military-industrial complex whose control over our lives is far-reaching: deeply enmeshed into our culture, our character and our mindset, often beyond what we are able to fathom.

We have learned not to question, not to acknowledge or trust own inner gut-level understandings, but to implicitly respect, obey and at times worship, the matrix of beliefs and values we are handed  by societal institutions.  We are so afraid of making waves, that we would opt to drown in a sea of deceit rather than to question some of the basic tenets we’ve been spoon-fed all of our lives.

From understanding a little of Kennedy’s life, he was a peace-maker, a visionary, a leader who wanted to dis-assemble, neutralize, and hold accountable the vast powers and  power-brokers of the machinery that ruled America.   In doing so, he crossed the lines of the many who were benefactors of the industrial / war machine, and he paid dearly for doing so;  he paid with his life.

And then, the legacy of just more ‘corporate’ leaders: more liars, more traitors, more imbeciles who wore the distorted face of power, control and “smooth talk” – the actors, the Hollywood scripting in politics, the boys of the “old school” .  Paperback “heroes” who hide behind the facades of  “family values”, religion, and business-as-usual in order to carry out – consciously or unconsciously – the destructive and anti-human agenda of greed, control and manipulation that sits at the heart of corrupt politics.

But this is more than just JFK and all the actors in the movie that played out, both in real-time and on the screen.  This is about us as humans and our own real voice, the voice of our intuition, our guts, our hearts, our spirit: the voice that knows the truth – the truth at least for self – our path, our real place in life, our real purpose, real celebrations and struggles, our real real reason for living and breathing on this Planet at this particular time.

Where is our real voice, who is our real voice, what words does is speak, what song does it sing?

For some of us, this little voice is internalized and lost.  It’s JFK - Official Whitehouse Portraitburied under the deep and rigid architectures of parental control, polite deference and obedience,  overcoats of religious propriety and morality.  It hides behind masks of the learned male and female emotional protocol, and years of serving the unspoken rules of the majority: what is “right”, what is “called for”, in the minds of generations preceding us.

I think that those who felt betrayed on November 22nd, 1963 wanted to scream.

Scream in pain and betrayal.  Scream in the agony of deceit and massive violence.  Scream forever and ever at the masked men and the fake smiles and the smug gun-toting criminal machinery that kept all the “I’s” dotted and the false paperwork framed on the thin walls of this so-called democracy.   Scream at the shadows and fear that control the hearts of men and women and children all around the world.  Scream that enough is enough – there is no more room for shadow, for darkness, for pain, for deceit.

Scream that it’s time to turn on the lights for all of humanity.

We each have the power and the privilege and the birthright to live in the light of peace and justice. To trust the true voice that guides us on the inside, the voice that wants to celebrate life, liberty and love from a place of knowing. 

The Silent Scream of Mankind, buried ‘alive’ within us, buried for centuries untold, is finally making its way to the surface of humanity’s matrix.  This voice is our own, one that can both vanquish the darkness from within our own castles, and and shed light for once and for all on the forces that shape the world we live in.

 

Doorsteps & Footprints …

 

Raining Gold, and No One Knows...

The Call of Fall.

It speaks and we Listen.

There’s something reassuring about this.  It’s the smells of dying leaves and the colors stirred by November’s winds.  Perhaps a Childhood we once knew.

It speaks of Cycles.  Old Age.  Endings and Birthings.  Nature’s voice – again – among our many Trials and Distractions.  We settle into the warm winds and let them take Umbrellas for a ride.  Like Mary Poppins we Fly.  Over trails, worries, hills, dread, sabotage, relinquishment, hibernation, dreams.

And the familiar song calls us back.  “Us”.  Our Life.  Our Path.  Our feeling of wholeness, belonging, resolve, rest, arrival.

Doorsteps for our Footprints.

It’s a beautiful time of year.

Our region has been blessed this fall with some Days of Sun.  This is the Best Way – in fact the Only Way … to truly see the beauty of the season.  Vancouver’s perennial rain has taken many tolls on many souls.  We won’t get started on that.  Let us instead, dear congregation – sing the Hymn Of Autumn Sun.  Spectacular!  Uplifting!  Cinematography at its best.

The Homely Ancient Wine of Autumn-Land ...

So, the Triumph.

The war with no battle.  The win-win situation of this Elemental Nature that gives and gives and gives.  Our only challenge is to engage in it and bathe in it and delight in it and drink from it and revive our tired tissues in its fragrant and nourishing breezes.

This is the “church” of the “god” that really DOES exist.  The jubilant voice of Nature, within us and without.  Pay attention to the within … and you’ll be blown away by the without.

Without the within, there is no without, or the without – at most – is just passing scenery, a foreign movie by an unknown director.  Within the within, there is the Director, Producer, Cameraman and Audience … all-together-now breathing in unison … this infinite, momentary, delicious and delightful nugget of the sublime: one moment in the passing fad called “My Life”.

Noteworthy, I assure you.

Appreciation.  Of this time we have.  And it does pass by faster, as we age.  We’re told this, and we acknowledge this.  Something about the cycles and seasons and Wheels of Fire that spin us: they burn an important message into our heart: “Mortality”.

Mortality.

*Hmmm.*

A friend recently narrated an experience she’d had at a party, where the hostess made a sarcastic remark about looking in the mirror and seeing the signs of age progressing.  But after that off-handed dismissal, the subject was changed, and not re-visited.

And she wondered why.  And we shook our heads.  Well we know why.  It’s one of those unwritten, but blindly obeyed rulings about what we can and can’t say.  The “approved discussions” at social gatherings include, movies, politics, the weather … but not Mortality.  Well, isn’t that peculiar.

Astounding Morning Invitation to Sip on the Nectar of the Moment ....

We all celebrate the Day We Arrived.  Every year. And others’ Big Days. The congrats and confetti.  And may you enjoy many more.  But that “other” big day … the one that awaits us all … *uh* … let’s not go there.

Well the TREES GO THERE.  Look at that one right above us.  Those leaves are not coming back.  And in their passing, Their Mortality … they Dance.  They Delight.  They speak beauties indescribable to the eyes.  They literally sing.

Perhaps they’re humble.

Perhaps they haven’t accumulated SUV’s and RRSP’s and little picket-fence cabins on the Lakeside.  They don’t boast and swagger and hesitate and doubt and waste endless time pursuing fantasies of an endless “mind”.  Perhaps they’re just obeying their innate blueprint.

Perhaps the only problem is that we don’t know the sweetness of our Mortality, something like the smell of November Leaves.  The sweetness of our Mortality is that it’s touched by the Breath of Our Immortality, the immortal within.  Without the knowledge of this, then, all we have is religion, beliefs, the mascara of the mind, the man-made perfume of the pundits and priests.  That Old Musty Smell.

Doorstep Yet To Travel

So, my Blueprint Sings on this Quiet day.  Another setting sun.  Another leaf departs from another branch, never to return.  Never to look back, to lament to regret, to grieve.

This is one Doorstep all of our Footprints will pass over.  No need to knock. But something in the Dance of Life carries us, loves us, informs us, whispers the Essential Notices in our ears.  And our True Nature Speaks.

We Listen.

The Drag Queens of Westminster Spring

Well, it’s about time.
We’ve been waiting for the Show for fifteen months,
shivering in Vancouver’s damp, dismal, grey
Rain-soaked Stratosphere.

Now they’re here. Yay!


These are the Queens of Spring, and more importantly – the Queens of New Westminster’s Queens Park Neighborhood. They show up every spring to party for a week or two, and then leave us panting on the edge of our seats, hoping that Summer will be half-as-much-fun as this Great Drag Show of Spring.

They are shocking and unapologetic, for their shameless excess. They are right-in-our-face with their glory, their thinly disguised Macho Femininity.  Their bravado with overdone makeup, mascara and pink, pink, pink … enough to make Callgirls Blush.

Yes, brothers and sisters of the Sidestreet.  They are Magnolias.

And they have been decreed, by the Great Gary Gustaf Bandzmer, to be the Official Drag Queens of Spring.

These Volatile Hipsters won't negotiate with anyone ...They come in various shapes and sizes.  Mostly of two persuasions: Pink and White, along with permutations and inter-marriages of the two.   Some are “auto-erotic” – like the Pink Floozie in the upper left Boudoir.   Others do it in two, groups or whole-tree orgies.  Yes, I’m shocked as well.  But … bear with me and I will do my best to explain the juvenile behavior of these wayward blooms.  Be warned though: it may overcome your senses to the point of intoxication.   Find a designated driver for the trip home.

When the Season finally arrives, well … these young princesses are hardly what one could call “shy”.  They begin emerging at the slightest Hint Of Spring.  It’s like, they want to be the first ones on the block with all the color, and they truly do make the most visual noise, often quite deafening to innocent passers-by.

The white ones attempt to appear more “spiritual” – but it’s a ruse.  Outwardly they try to convince  you of their godliness, cleanliness and austerity.  But soon their unbridled passion and thinly disguised extravagance shows though.  They are not the stately nuns and priests one would expect in such wardrobes.

So, these gay, screaming fools basically take over the neighborhood for weeks at a time.  There’s no stopping them.  You can call the Police, you can write letters, you can have private chats with the clergy, for all that matter.  But it’s known by the elders and crones, to be a complete waste of time.

The baby magnolias of springtime ...And, as some might say: they take over the whole town.   That’s right.  There simply is no other show that competes.  They blow those other dancers right out the door.  Japanese plum blossoms?  Good luck.  Any others, of any shape, size or color: they simply don’t match up.  The Magnolias run the show.  “Mob connections” – you think?  The chances are good.  Their competitors never had a chance.  You’d think they’d been ‘whacked’.

Well, it makes us all feel inadequate.  Lousy lovers.  Even with our best – and finest – wardrobes, and you girls: with your most expensive, environmentally-correct makeup, your new color-coordinated accessories … it all falls desperately short of the allure of the Magnolia Queens.

They own the streets and they’re here to stay.

If there’s one thing they teach us about Spring, it’s this: Love Is Not A Polite Whisper.  It’s Led Zeppelin.  It’s Janis Joplin.  It’s the Music turned up to Number Ten.   If Love and Life wait for no one, then Spring is the first out the door, led by the Mad Magnolia Queers.  Talk about “Parades” or doing it in public.  They are not ashamed of being who they are.  In all their glory: they amp it up, they stretch and bloom and arch their velvet, pouting petals in every majestic direction they can: reaching for the Sky, the Sun — and everything in-between.

There is no prude in magnolia Pride!
So, this is a little late.  The show began a month back, and the Majestic Ladies are now showing their age – the few that are still left around.

Such crude and unrefined show-offs, they don’t even try to disguise their age!   The big floppy, velvety, soft, sensuous petals begin to brown and wither … and soon, within days or even hours, they are lying on the ground, inebriated, dead-drunk  – willing to rot or surrender to the merciless rake of the Japanese Gardener.  Whoosh, scritch-scratch, they are gone!  Unceremoniously dumped into some mundane back-alley disposal unit to end up in the civic land-fill, remembered by  … who?

Well, they don’t care.  They’re not egotistical enough to ask for a “Magnolia Graveyard”.  Or will it be “cremation or burial”…?  They care not for paperwork and diplomacy.  No one will have a “Celebration of Life” for them.  Paradoxically, their LIFE is their “Celebration of Life”, not their death.  They celebrate life, by stretching, dancing, yawing, screaming … into their extravagant unique amazing individuality, and they take it to the Nth degree.  Not polite and reserved like us Canadians.

Gay White Sailors waiting for their Love Boat to come ...So, here it is, May 14th.  Spring is finally feeling the Fingers of Summer and the White-Gloved Hand of Winter is gradually letting go.  It seems that it is these courageous blossoms that have paved the way.  They announced Spring, by announcing themselves.  They made a Big Noisy Party and Winter could stand it no more; that Quiet, Icy, Catholic Nun left the house.   And Summer, on it’s Harley-Davidson arrived with a Roar.

Oh, to Live That Way.

Those humble and exotic flowers can teach us so much.

If we care to listen to their song.

How can you miss it?