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The Year of the Cat

  Some songs.. some poetry… some words are so full of images…. close your eyes and listen to beautiful prose… if the scene does not unfold in your mind, and play out in your imagination the words were not properly connected.

   Al Stewart made a masterpiece with his ‘The Year of the Cat’ song in the seventies.   This one comes across as a movie set in Morocco to me… beautiful…. stuning… awesome… certain to be listened to for many centuries.

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turned back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat.

She doesn’t give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow ’till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears
By the blue-tiled walls near the market stalls
There’s a hidden door she leads you to
“These days,” she says, “I feel my life
Just like a river running through
The year of the cat”

She looks at you so cooly
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you take her, to find what’s waiting inside
The year of the cat.

Well morning comes and you’re still with her
And the bus and the tourists are gone
And you’ve thrown away the choice and lost your ticket
So you have to stay on
But the drum-beat strains of the night remain
In the rhythm of the new-born day
You know sometime you’re bound to lose her
But for now you’re going to stay
In the year of the cat.

 

 

wonderful world

Tao teh Ching
Chapter 47

One can open oneself to the world without leaving the house,
Without looking out the window one can know the way of Heaven.
The further one goes and the more knowledge one accumulates, the less one knows.
With this way; one can know and experience without traveling,
Observe clearly without seeing,
And accomplish much without doing anything

 

   What a wonderful world we have… what a huge diversity of plant and animal life….. wonders abound.. it is all too astounding and amazing to fully grasp…. wondrous.

  With such a wonderful world to explore… it is a wonder that I so seldom leave this little sheltered canyon and venture out….

Luckily, with the advent of the Internet, it is so much easier to find out about far-flung regions and peoples without ever leaving home.

There’s no place like home…..

   Loreena McKennitt is a strong vocalist who also composes beautiful pieces of music with a heavy Celtic/Mideastern flavor. One of her songs, ‘Santiago’ has been put into a music video format by a fan who inserted moving images of peoples from around the world engaged in one of those most interesting human pursuits… dance.   It is an emotional journey into the abundance of human ‘types’ we have…. truly, one of the most interesting and moving videos I have ever seen.

On Marriage

   Nature has given each species certain hormonal urges to ensure procreation. Mankind has these same urges…
   Often nature ensures that animals are ‘hard-wired’ to see the differences in others of the same species as likely indications of a suitable mating partner.   This is a method that ensures the mating units are not too closely related… this widening of the gene pool leads to what we call ‘Hybrid vigor’.  It is this ‘Opposites Attract’ feature that gives us widely dissimilar people who find some common interest in one another.

Ladies Love Country Boys
Trace Adkins

She grew up in the city in a little subdivision,
Her daddy wore a tie, Momma never fried a chicken,
Ballet, Straight A’s, Most likely to succeed

They bought her a car after graduation
Sent her down south for some higher education
Put her on the fast track to a law degree

Now she’s comin home to visit
holdin the hand
Of a wild-eyed boy
with a farmer’s tan

And shes ridin in the middle of his pickup truck
Blarin Charlie Daniels yellin, “Turn it up!”
They raised her up a lady
but there’s one thing they couldn’t avoid
Ladies love country boys

   This song is something like Vickie and me… she grew up in Orange County… she really never knew anyone with a garden until she journeyed to the country to visit her brother who was working on a local landscape crew due to his knowledge of Spanish. She saw a whole new life in the bush after she met me….

   But it sure was a different life than the city… we lived for a time in a tow-behind 27 foot travel-trailer. We grew much of our own food, and had no Television. As the song said… it was as primitive as could be. And it was fun, and new for us both.

   While the initial onrush of ‘Romantic Love’ is heady and easy to flow along with…. it is the long-term committed relationship that requires constant work, and forgiveness and love… and may require a bit of that in varying degrees each and every day….  To forgive and to accept and to deal with shortcomings and problems is the only way to continue.

   Just as Reba says….

 

~Reba MyIntyre~
‘I Keep On Loving You’

“Love takes the patience of Job”
That’s what my Mama always said
‘Faith is the belief in something more than what you know’
That’s what the Good Book says
You gotta play the cards you got
Who knows what fate is holding
At times you gotta go without knowing where you’re goin’

That’s why I keep on lovin’ you
I keep on lovin’ you
Through the ‘baby don’t leave mes’
And ‘never will agains’
And ‘I promise tos’
I keep on lovin’ you

Lord knows we’ve had our share of fights
Our sleepless nights, our ups and downs
We’ve had plenty and then some of ‘baby I’m gones’ and turnarounds
Sometimes I swear it might be easier to throw in the towel
Someday we’re gonna look back
And say “look at us now”

That’s why I keep on lovin’ you
I keep on lovin’ you
Through the baby don’t leave mes
And never will agains
And I promise tos
I keep on lovin’ you

   I’ve heard it said that “Men marry women hoping they’ll never change… Women marry men hoping they can change them”.

   Best is to pick someone you can put up with, and remain committed to… and hopefully you will have picked a person that can put up with you… and will remain committed to you also.

   I suppose it’s something of a crapshoot… and I never was a gambling man….

   An uncle of mine told me to “stay single, and raise your kids to do the same”… somehow in the sixties that was a really funny line.. cause no one had kids without being married (it seemed).  But he had five or six wives in his time….. he was speaking from experience.

Kahlil Gibran
‘On Marriage’

Then Almitra spoke again and said…
“And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:

You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.
 

   Give yourselves some room…. for most folks being together 24-7 is too tough.  Get out and blaze some paths, encounter some new people… have some adventures…. but always be good.. so that you can come home and be happy to be there.. and have no regrets.  Life with regrets is burdensome and heavy.

But get away from one-another on occasion… just remember:
‘There ain’t no place like home’ 

 

 Train
‘Drops of Jupiter’

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation
She checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo
Reminds me that there’s room to grow

But tell me
Did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance to
Dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way

Tell me
Did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

Can you imagine no
Love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no
First dance, freeze-dried romance
Five hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had and me

Tell me
Did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way
To see the lights are faded
And that heaven is overrated

Tell me
Did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself

And did you finally get the chance
to dance along the light of day?

Yep
Vickie and I are quite different, and yet strangely so alike in so many ways…
and after half a lifetime together we still get along and love one another….
although sometimes we grate on one another….
at those times we agree not to speak of the ‘issues or problems’….
luckily we have a lot of space….

and in a short time… there is no trouble.
Because in time most troubles fade away….
and in the end nothing else really matters but love.
And after we leave, that’s all we can take with us.

God is Love

A gift for the grad, teach me how to live!

Teach me how to live!

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   In just a few weeks, millions of young men and women will graduate from high school or college.
As a friend or family member, you may be wondering what to give this year. Fortunately, I know just the gift your graduate wants.

    Cash. (Yes, the same thing he or she wanted last year.)

    However, it never hurts to throw in a lagniappe, something small but meaningful. Ideally, a graduation gift should encourage the graduate’s dreams, with one eye on the past and the other on the future.

    That’s why I like to tuck the envelope inside a copy of James Allen’s timeless classic, “As a Man Thinketh.”

    Born in Britain in 1864, Allen was a slight boy who suffered from poor health. In 1879, his father – out of work and facing insolvency – sailed to America, hoping to set up home and send for his family. Soon after arriving, however, he was robbed and murdered.

    At age 15, Allen was forced to work as a factory knitter and later as a private secretary to support his family. He found the work mindless and unfulfilling but took solace in the evening among his books, often reading the Bible, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Whitman into the early hours.

    In 1903, he decided to devote himself fulltime to writing and that same year published his best-known book, “As a Man Thinketh.”

    It’s a slim volume, one that can be read in less time than it takes to snooze through the average commencement address. But it packs a powerful wallop.

    The essential premise is that, even if you’re unaware of it, your underlying beliefs shape your character, your health, your circumstances, and, ultimately, your destiny. Your thoughts create your reality. ** You literally are what you think. **

    For this reason, you should be at least as meticulous about the ideas you feed your mind as the food you feed your body, since your life will largely become what your thoughts make it.

    This is not to say that your mind alone can heal a serious illness, fix your finances, or change the world. Allen was no purveyor of New Age mumbo-jumbo. He was, above all else, a pragmatist and an advocate of hard work and effort. Yet he understood that every great undertaking begins with a particular state of mind.

    Or, as he put it:
* Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.

* Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.

* All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts … a man can only rise, conquer and achieve by lifting his thoughts. He can only remain weak, abject and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.

* As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.

* A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will bring forth.

* Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.

    Allen insists that circumstances don’t make you. They reveal you. And while you can’t always command the situation, you can always command yourself.

    Sadly, Allen – frail throughout his life – died of consumption at 47. His nineteen books have sold millions of copies – all of them are still in print – but most were published posthumously. Allen was never a wealthy man, at least in the traditional sense.

    Yet he believed deeply in his mission. His words have inspired men and women the world over. And he was an enormous influence on followers like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale.

    More than anything else, “As a Man Thinketh” is a meditation. But it is also a revelation. Allen demonstrates how your life is enhanced and ultimately perfected by inward development.

    It’s a fine message for graduates just setting out to tackle the world – and not a bad reminder for the rest of us, either.

    Others have preached a similar message, of course. But few have put it in more poetic language:

    “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it. Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it; Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered it.

    Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

    (By Alexander Green, from the web site “Spiritual Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life”; http://www.spiritualwealth.com)

 

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 Graduation is the real beginning of education…
everything before that is ‘Kindergarten’

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~Audioslave~
‘Show me how to live’

Please don't let my dreams run dry...

   We’ve been oranically certified since 1993….
   This is one song that runs right into and through me…
   All I want to do is grow cactus, and live in this beautiful, quiet, remote canyon.

 

Jason Aldean
‘Amarillo Sky’

He says
“Lord, I never complain, I never ask why…
please don’t let my dreams run dry”

On his knees every night he prays
“please let my crops and children grow…”
’cause that’s all he knows

And he takes the tractor another round….

 

Pickin Wildflowers

Keith Anderson

Baby, what’cha say we go pickin wildflowers?
Got a spot way back in the woods…
sneak away for a couple of hours
you and me baby, pickin wildflowers

 

thousand miles from nowhere

 

‘Thousand Miles From Nowhere’
~Dwight Yoakam~

I’m a thousand miles from nowhere,
Time don’t matter to me.
‘Cause I’m a thousand miles from nowhere,
And there’s no place I wanna be.
 

 


A really good cover of a Dwight Yoakam classic

 

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As for me, I delight

in the everyday Way,

among mist-wrapped

vines and rocky caves.

Here in the wilderness

I am completely free,

with my friends,

the white clouds, idling forever.

 

There are roads,

but they do not reach the world;

since I am mindless,

who can rouse my thoughts?

 

On a bed of stone

I sit, alone in the night,

while the round moon

climbs up Cold Mountain.

~Han Shan~

 

totem1108

 

I almost cut my hair

I’ve been toying with cutting my hair on and off for a half year.  Last week a cousin in Germany sent me a photo of our great grandfather on my mother’s side. I’d never met him as he died a couple of years before I was born.  Looking at the photo…. I decided I finally was ready to cut my hair…. for better or for worse.

 

‘Almost Cut My Hair’
~Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young~

 

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It’s gettin’ kind of long
I could’ve said it was in my way

But I didn’t and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
And I feel like I owe it, to someone

Must be because I had the flu for Christmas
And I’m not feeling up to par
It increases my paranoia
Like looking in my mirror and seeing a police car

But I’m not giving in an inch to fear
çause I’ve promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it, to someone

When I finally get myself together
I’m gonna get down in that sunny southern weather

And find a place inside to laugh,
Separate the wheat from the chaff
I feel …
Like I owe it, to someone, yeah

Ionen

  In nature it is the margin areas that are the most productive….. land animals need food from the open areas that grow it well… but they also need cover and housing in the brushy areas that don’t grow the best browse. Margins and borders are very important in human civilization also… it is the borders that mix the attributes and characteristics of two peoples into one amalgam… in agriculture we call this ‘Hybrid Vigor’. The inculcation of new germ-plasm… new DNA makes a species and a population stronger and more resistant to disease…. the blend of cultures makes for a stronger culture that has thrown off some aspects not conducive to modern life, yet retains a sense of wonder and awe in both cultures…

   Afro-Celtic Sound System is a band that incorporates African rhythms, Celtic singing and instruments and Mid Eastern sounds into a strong mix…  haunting… ethereal…. hard to pin down.. enigmatic. I love it.

  One of their songs that I like best is Ionen…. I don’t ‘get’ the lyrics, but I like the sound.

My Sweet Annette

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought I’d trot out an old tune about love!

 

 

 ‘My Sweet Annette’
~Drive-By Truckers~


Me and my Annette, we was as fond as we could be
We was set to marry in October ’33
I set my sights on courtin’ her, as fine as she could be
I never ever noticed her best friend Marilee
Took a job at the saw mill and I bought my girl a ring,
Had a pre-wedding party, close friends and family
Everything was fine, eatin homemade ice cream
I swear I never noticed maid of honor, Marilee

My Sweet Annette was left standing at the alter

Marilee was taken ill, it was several miles from home
Back then it wasnt fittin’ for a girl to leave alone
Sweet Annette, she asked me to walk her to the door
As innocent as children back before the war

My Sweet Annette was left standing at the alter

Lord have mercy for what we done,
Lord have mercy when two people get along
Neither one of us had done anything like that you see
By the next sunset, I had eloped with Marilee

And my Sweet Annette was left standing at the alter.

 

 

‘The Water is Wide’ is an old Irish tune that’s several hundred years old
Yeah, few can say it like the Irish

 

The water is wide, I can’t cross oer
Neither have I the wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
Oh love is gentle
and love is kind
the sweetest flower
when first it’s new

but love grows old
and waxes cold
and fades away
like morning dew

There is a ship and she sails the sea
She’s loaded deep as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I’m in
I know not how I sink or swim

I leaned my back against an oak
Thinking it was a trusty tree
But first it bent and then it broke
So did my love prove false to me

Oh love be handsome and love be kind
Bright as a jewel when first it is new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew

I sowed the seeds of love.
I sowed them in the springtime,
Gathered them up in the morning so soon
While small birds sweetly sing.

My garden was planted well
With flowers everywhere.
I had not the liberty to choose for myself
The flower I held so dear.

Now, the willow tree may twist
And the willow tree may twine.
I wish I was lying in that young woman’s arms
That once held this heart of mine.

When cockle shells turn silver bells
Then will my love come back to me
When roses bloom in winter’s gloom
Then will my love return to me

The water is wide, I cannot get oer.
Neither have I the wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.