Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry

Standing Strong

As the downpour continues unabated for more than two days in a row, getting across the lawn to even close the gates at night are a hassle. From hopping between the deep pools to stepping on the stones laid across the path and below the tall branches laden with green leaves breaking down the torrential downpour to drips of rain. Though the skies are mostly laden with gray, the mornings are spent on assessing the visual damage across the fields and lawn. The scene of dead branches and a tree split by lightening, brings about the dark reality of life to surface.

The cycle of life as one may call it. The birth of life and the scene of destruction. Nature has her own way of showing her love, the cycle of balance and the end of an old or on the other hand, fresh beginnings.

All these and the words of Herman Hesse come to mind, on seeing the scene of chaos. Though fast forward a week ahead, the colour of the fresh flowers and the shades of varied bright colours across the fields, show how much beauty and revival is possible, once the mess is cleaned up. Likewise, our lives be so. After every fall, we pick ourselves by self or with help, clean up the mess and move on. Staying in the flow, eventually we will reach the point where the rainbow ends.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Two Back, One Forward

“Roadblocks are nothing new. Going around them is the real issue.”

Words same or almost similar ones often echo in the recesses of the gray cells, especially when faces with those unexpected blocks. Truth to tell, those what we do expect, one can often deal with them. Those that just turn up, out of the blue, are what makes one stumble, often failing to get up soon after the fall.

So what’s next then ?

Procrastinate a bit. It isn’t a crime to do. For a while, getting out of the scene, doing something dissimilar or a remote similarity, gives us the breathing space to regroup and move ahead. For those of us who didn’t need them, well and good. But for the rest of us, sometimes those cups of tea, a swing in the hammock or just a walk around the block, gives us a fresh perspective and gives us back the inner mojo. Soon the roadblock becomes just another phase, and we move on. Don’t rush in, but just breathe. What if another comes along ? Find a way, none out; then breathe, do something else for a change and sooner or later all those roadblocks will change or the new turns open up. All it takes is those little steps, even though they may be few back and one forward. Tick along, we’ll soon be there.

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Meister Eckhart

The Room of Ancient Keys
by Elena Mikhalkova

Grandma once gave me a tip:

During difficult times,
you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future,
not even what might happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Take off the dust.
Write a letter.
Make some soup.
Do you see?
You are moving forward step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Get some rest.
Compliment yourself.
Take another step.
Then another one.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow
bigger and bigger.
And time will come
when you can think about the future
without crying.
Good morning.

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Reflections

Add them Up

For one to realize the frailty of life versus time given to one, scanning the first few pages of the newspaper is enough, or just listen to the morning news hour. For some who thought they had time, there wasn’t any. Whereas others have been blessed with a second chance, good or bad, only time knows the final outcome. Through all this one realizes how blessed one has been. In fact, these thought bring out the true meaning of what “we have never realized”.

One never realizes how blessed one has been with a job or any form of employment, till the day the wages stop coming and the money is out of hand. One never knows the gift of a family, unless they come back to an empty set of rooms with no voices, but only those of the media. One never realizes how much they were blessed with their own path to walk and friends to visit, until they are forced to confine within. Instead of realizing the simple gifts of time and life as a whole, we crib that theatres are shut, malls are out and we are all stuck.

“Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.” Mike Dooley

True that life may put one in a bind at times. Yet for every things there aren’t just one or two but many sides which can be explored. While we crib about what we may have missed out on, learn not to lose out on what we have right now. if one had to truly measure up the gifts we have been blessed with, the list made would put out the “so called better things” out with a whiff. As time shows us how fickle she can be with life, let each day be a highlight of the gifts that she offers us, put to use and not left behind in the chase for the perceived better.

How Much Would This Cost?
Courtland W. Sayers

One midnight deep in starlight still
I dreamed that I received this bill:
…………..In account with life:
Five thousand breathless dawns all new;
Five thousand flowers fresh in dew;
Five thousand sunsets wrapped in gold;
One million snowflakes served ice cold,
Five quiet friends; one baby’s love;
One white-mad sea with clouds above;
One hundred music-haunted dreams
Of moon drenched roads and hurrying streams,
One June night in a fragrant wood;
One heart that loved and understood.
I wondered when I woke that day
‘How much this would cost if I had to pay?’

Posted in Daily, Life, poetry, Reflections

DEPTHS

Guarding the pile of newspapers kept safe in the wall unit requires a certain amount of skill, specially in camouflaging the surroundings. With kids and pets running amok in the house, the set of the current week’s newspapers are kept up high, but one has to be wary of their wily ways and means. When the reader wonders the purpose of this, for the daily paper is meant for reading each day and with plenty of “visual media”-nization, why do so. The reason is simple, for the editorials as well as the obituary section. Even though one is well informed of the local news (specially those of the bad type), those pages are scanned through each day, only to read the bare details. When one reads those smaller words, is when figures out the person behind those lives. Noticing such things gives a daily to weekly reminder of not just how precious life and time is, but also how we lived through them.

“It is not length of life, but depth of life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Making a difference never lies in the strength of how much time or resources one has at hand. Instead it lies in the way one prefers to wield them in the best possible manner. Whether it was an unfortunate end or the passage of years slowly over time, the mark one leaves behind is what matters.

When the hue and cry dies down on the weekend mornings, these sections are given a thorough read, for they do deserve it. As the sun rays filter through, the morning sky makes realize the strength of what we hold in our hands and thoughts within. No one knows how long one has. On the other hand when the talents gifted, blessed or acquired put to use in their deserving manner, then whether the days be short or long, one has their due and left their mark in the world and lives around them. Depths do matter as lengths, more or less, doesn’t make a difference. As shown daily through the contrast of day and night, as long as one breathes, live the hours not simply to one’s heart’s content but also to appreciate the chances given or taken, and their due difference made in their right and true manner.

Part Two: Nature

XXXIX

BRING me the sunset in a cup,
Reckon the morning’s flagons up,
And say how many dew;
Tell me how far the morning leaps,
Tell me what time the weaver sleeps 5
Who spun the breadths of blue!

Write me how many notes there be
In the new robin’s ecstasy
Among astonished boughs;
How many trips the tortoise makes, 10
How many cups the bee partakes,—
The debauchee of dews!

Also, who laid the rainbow’s piers,
Also, who leads the docile spheres
By withes of supple blue? 15
Whose fingers string the stalactite,
Who counts the wampum of the night,
To see that none is due?

Who built this little Alban house
And shut the windows down so close 20
My spirit cannot see?
Who ’ll let me out some gala day,
With implements to fly away,
Passing pomposity?

Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, Quotes, Random Thoughts

DETOUR

While trying to get to work, in order to avoid the regular route in lieu of the heavy downpour wherein the roads were mostly water-logged; the plan was to stick to the by-lanes. Whether providence or thanks to an early start, the early morning hours saw less of muck and rush. Though the journey took at least a half-hour extra from the regular allotted drive time; the end result saw a lot less stress within.

“The really happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery, even when they have to take a detour.” Sir James Jeans

Throughout the drive, the running thought was how bleak and unpredictable the morning plans can be. Life in a way, behaves more or less that. Each of us may encounter varied manner of hurdles or waterlogged roads. Some may offer a way out, others fore us to stop and ask for help; while there may be those routes wherein we turn back the way we came and go a different way thereon.

Facing all these blocks, one must never lose sight of three basic things. Among the many basic tenets, few stand out distinct. To always stay strong and aim to survive. To make the best out of any given situation or scenario. Smile, no matter how bad things may get to be, face the hurdle with a smile. For that simple smile within may give us the needed courage and strength to go on.

“Dead-end roads don’t mean you’ve come to your end, just means you need to take a different detour.” Anthony Liccione

Dead ends, detours, deflections or digressions, no matter how small or big they may be; they do crop up every now and then. Whether one likes them or not is irrelevant, for all these are a part and parcel of life. The trick is to never let them to us. Not just knowing that, but believing in it and acting on it; helps one to take the next step forward. All it takes is a keen pair of eyes and clear thoughts.

Ironically some of the detours that life takes us through help to redirect us back to the right track, or onto the true path which may be way off from what was perceived previously. It is only in hindsight, that these realizations may come to light. To experience this, requires one no to be completely bogged down, but to get up and run along with the flow. Eventually it will all workout. Till then the main purpose is to survive the fight, move on and get to the better days ahead.

“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options.
You can climb it and cross to the other side.
You can go around it.
You can dig under it.
You can fly over it.
You can blow it up.
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there.
You can turn around and go back the way you came.
Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, Photography Art, poetry, Random Thoughts

Peril of the Chase

An unexpected turn of events lead to an intense manhunt for the “hardware store”. Unfortunately the regular route was marred by pieces of fallen trees, repair barriers on the road as well as plenty of water logged areas, all courtesy of the rains due to the cyclonic effect. While driving around, we had reached back to the starting point not once, but twice. Whether the told directions were wrong or our Google guide was sifting us through the varied routs, all we knew was that we were in a big circle. Eventually we did find the shop, to get the distilled water for the invertor; but being caught in that loop was one of the nightmare we wished that wouldn’t repeat.

“The thing I’m most afraid of is me. Of not knowing what I’m going to do. Of not knowing what I’m doing right now.” Haruki Murakami

Ironically we do chase a lot of circles in life. Some of the chases may seem meaningful then, bu then lose their appeal as one gets closer. Other circles entice one, but one gets mired in their trap, sinking faster than quicksand. Some circles are those that lead us downhill with it’s subtle turns; driving ourselves to the breaking point. Whether the latter is the end-point or not; only circumstances, time and ourselves can tell. Yet the best circles are wherein we have a little of the best things of life, in doses such that we get to sweat it out as well as enjoy the feel of life. The catch is in what one defines as the “things to achieve in life”.

“Oh what we find, when we stop searching. Oh what we feel, when we stop forcing. Oh what we receive, when we stop fearing. Oh what we become, when we just love.” Creig Crippen

All of us have a chase to do or encounter. While some hunts are worth all the effort, other mayn’t be so. The trick is knowing when to stop, review and reconsider. Doing so will help to redirect oneself, especially when the path is way off the intended course or causes more grief and sorrows, that the flickers of happiness that we want at the least. As life always says that she isn’t made of glitter alone. The pretty things lie in her simplicity and her riches are aplenty for all.

As we cry and chase the baubles, one should make sure that if the price of it is worth the effort or not. For these meaningless novelties may fade away, losing their charm and luster; leaving behind a void made of nothing but emptiness. To be caught is such a bind, is devastating not just to the mind and heart, but also to the soul. On the other hand, when one stops by the road once in a while to just see, feel and observe, the joys of living as such are ascertained and experienced for sure. And the chase for the latter is what brings those special smile on the faces around us as well as in the soul. The question lies in what are we waiting for, and the answers lies with us alone.

Of The Boy and Butterfly

Behold, how eager this our little boy
Is for a butterfly, as if all joy,
All profits, honours, yea, and lasting pleasures,
Were wrapped up in her, or the richest treasures
Found in her would be bundled up together,
When all her all is lighter than a feather.

He halloos, runs, and cries out, ‘Here, boys, here!’
Nor doth he brambles or the nettles fear:
He stumbles at the molehills, up he gets,
And runs again, as one bereft of wits;
And all his labour and his large outcry
Is only for a silly butterfly.

Comparison

This little boy an emblem is of those
Whose hearts are wholly at the world’s dispose.
The butterfly doth represent to me
The world’s best things at best but fading be.
All are but painted nothings and false joys,
Like this poor butterfly to these our boys.

His running through nettles, thorns, and briers,
To gratify his boyish fond desires,
His tumbling over molehills to attain
His end, namely, his butterfly to gain,
Doth plainly show what hazards some men run
To get what will be lost as soon as won
.

-John Bunyan

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Nest of Own

Over the past two days, there have been sudden bouts of stillness in the house. With a few pairs of small feet running around in the house, such an event makes any parent or guardian, anticipating a surprise of any manner around the corner. Which is maybe why, after a couple of similar episodes, yours truly decided to tip toe and follow the trail. Catching up onto the excited whispering and quiet voices, these little eyes were found trained onto the far side of the barn. After a stern couple of “Shhh!!”, the secret was out. They have been watching a pair of spotted nutcrackers build their nest. As they were surprises and exclamations over this activity, the mind wandered over to their exuberant joy as seen through their eyes.

“Early summer days are a jubilee time for birds. In the fields, around the house, in the barn, in the woods, in the swamp – everywhere love and songs and nests and eggs.” E. B. White

Watching these simple activities reminds one of the safe havens and the joys that we find in our own homes. While the early years of our lives, saw us being sheltered and protected within the cocoons of our home, family or even neighbourhood; the years after a decade and beyond saw ourselves slowly exploring the outside world. Somewhere along the way, we all had left our own nests to make new ones. The initial days saw the streak of adventure and excitement come to the forefront, later on it was the survivalist instinct that helped us keeping on building our nest, finding our own niche in life. Along the way, when the going gets tough; we went back to our old nests to get back on track with our feet on ground. When the home of then wasn’t there now, memories of the best years of our lives is what got us through this all.

Each of us need our nests or homes to find our spaces, rejuvenate and regain our strength after a tough journey or even to celebrate from the successful venture. In finding our homes, each of us brace ourselves through the storms. For the lure of these safe havens, is what gets us through the perceived unfortunate events of the time.

Building our own homes doesn’t include the material comforts alone, but also to encompass the feeling of love and kindness within it. To experiences the feeling of home, is one of the greatest treasures that life offers man. In order to do so, one should brace ourselves and watch the world around us; move ahead and take time to breathe and enjoy the simple gifts that each day offers one.

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” John Burroughs

The Skylark
BY JOHN CLARE
The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside
The battered road; and spreading far and wide
Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize—
Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
And o’er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed—not dreaming then
That birds which flew so high would drop agen
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen—Oh, were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.
– John Clare