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 Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry

Out of the Cliche

If anyone asks a guardian, what would be one of the biggest drawbacks of the current global scenario, minus the pandemic in itself; among them one would be the absence of schools. The loss is felt more acute, if the child is from the primary classes or below. Though on the other hand, these “online classes” become an eye opener for the guardian or parent as far as the teaching beyond the books is concerned. And yes there are no cliches. If a boy wants to paint, it is fine for te safety of home is there, ad if a little girl wants to build a Lego car, let her do it. The stereotypical boys-cars and girl-dolls to draw, doesn’t really take a place in the freedom of their home. Yet sadly, the camaraderie between their own peers, the social play takes the back-stage.

“A tree stands strong not by its fruits or branches, but by the depth of its roots.” Anthony Liccione

Through all this, both parents and teachers once again realize the what a child should really learn. Though the online learning pressures mount up, one of the saving grace is that it can be done in the child’s own time, despite the hassle of striking the balance between “study screen time” and “fun screen time”. The parental regularity of seeing not just their ward, but all the respective students score charts isn’t a chance occurrence these days. In short the gentle reminder that education is not just in but also of the classroom and beyond the books, is a must for these days.

Whether a spectator, competitor, enthusiast, discoverer or experimenter; as long as any child indulges in their interest, imbibing in a love for learning and interests in and beyond the books, that’s all that matters. Each of us have just one life. To live it true to our own self by the right morals, beyond the projected image of society is a gift and blessing in itself.

Confessions of a Born Spectator

One infant grows up and becomes a jockey,
Another plays basketball or hockey,
This one the prize ring hates to enter
That one becomes a tackle or center,
I am just glad as glad can be
That I am not them, that they are not me.

With all my heart I do admire
Athletes who sweat for fun or hire,
Who take the field in gaudy pomp,
And maim each other as they romp,
My limp and bashful spirit feeds
On other people’s heroic deeds.

Now A runs ninety yards to score,
B knocks the champion to the floor,
Cracking vertebrae and spines,
Lashes his steed across the line,
You’d think my ego it would please
To swap positions with one of these.

Well, ego it might be pleased enough,
But zealous athletes play so rough
They do not ever in their dealings
Consider one another’s feelings.
I’m glad that when my struggle begins
‘Twixt prudence and ego, prudence wins.

When swollen eye meets gnarled fist
When snaps the knee, and cracks the wrist,
When officialdom demands,
Is there a doctor in the stands?
My soul in true thanksgiving speaks
For this modest of physiques.

“Athletes, I’ll drink to you
Or eat with you,
Or anything except compete with you,
Buy tickets worth their radium,
To watch you gambol in the stadium,
And reassure myself anew
That you are not me and I’m not you”.

Ogden Nash

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 Family and Society, Personal Musings, Photography Art

Of Import

Hindsight is often a painful thing, but in retrospect a gift in disguise. Unfortunately, the latter bit is well appreciated years later.

The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What one needs to remember that the thoughts running through, song whistled or felt in the morning, doesn’t mean much in what is it. Instead it holds a special place for it gave wings to fly for the whole day.

Whether it be a big house or a small one, as long as it is a “home”, it is indeed a blessing to feel so.

If it follows that one is alone or by self for now, or enfolded by family and friends, more than the style or way we live, embracing life as a harmony of sensations. Of the sparkling moments evened out by the more mundane, dull or unsavoury ones; life is to be lived and felt as a whole.

More than the words that float about us around us, unless one deeply knows who they are from within; life along with her best parts and gifts may be lost in the wind.

More than that, over time, one realizes that we are a part of a bigger fabric. Each of us holds a special song, a tune or a turn; part of a special thread. This is felt by the heart and soul living within each of us. All this is what makes one, every now and then, be able to thaw out the iciness and bring in the gentleness in the world that surrounds us. As time refines us, one realizes that these are the things that really matter the most.

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

Splash of Promise

Improvisation is a must, especially when running a houseful of tiny feet. This subtle fact is realized, when off-hand promises are called into account. When guile doesn’t help, it’s time to bring out the big guns and aim for a happy outcome. Alas, real life, especially for us big ones, it doesn’t always happen so.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11)

Each of us may have had our fair share of promises. As the years go by, we realize that some mayn’t be kept as duly when said; while others may happen over time, albeit in a manner such that the snail may go at a faster pace. Yet many a time, we just let those words go fade away, for the mind and the heart feel those words would stay in the infinite emptiness.

Nevertheless when those believed to be empty promises do happen, the first feeling that swamps through is the gift of His Grace. Once this is known, the feeling of awa and surprise lights up within the self. In building our plans or going by our regular, we often tend to overlook the fact that there is He supreme above all of us. Every now and then, as we are shown, His Love and His Grace has the power and gift to dissolve the stones across the path or give us strength to chart a new route. His Promises hold true for those with His Faith, whether it be smaller than a mustard seed. The strong belief and faith that each of our rainbows will come in our due time, would bring in the light to chase away the shadows of uncertainty. And when the mind is being weighed by those unfulfilled promises, know that each of us will have our share our share of His Rainbow, all we need to do is to survive through the torrential rains or gales, whichever way it may be. Till then, hold true, pray deep, preserve on, buckle down and let His Love and Strength lift us from within.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”(James 1:17)

God’s Rainbow
by Author Unknown
The falling rain dissolves into mist
And the thunder begins to die
As the sporadic lightning fades
An arch of color pours from the sky.

Rainbows appear after mighty storms
When things look their worst
Just when the sky is darkest gray,
Out of Heaven does a rainbow burst.

God first sent the rainbow to Noah
As a sign that His word is true
The rainbow’s eternal message
Still speaks to me and you.

The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise
That He will guide us through any storm
That He will ease all our troubles,
No matter what their form.

When you feel battered by life’s storms
And you are filled with doubt and dismay
Just remember God’s rainbow is coming,
For it’s blessing you have only to pray.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts, Reflections, Work

Hazy, but in Form

The usual say, is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Sadly no one ever mentions, how to get the going part. In short, where or how does the inspiration for the going strike. For now, the skies offer some comfort.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.” Nido Qubein

Have you ever seen the shape of clouds ? They flit, they float, they reshape and they transform. The new game was a chance discovery by the kids. From heart shaped to fluffy shaped pillow like, or the wisps that looks like boots, the skies offer a break from the mundane and the lag of the present. The beauty of the endless forms of white scattered across the dusky or bright to dim skies, show one of the endless possibilities of the world.

“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.” Muhammad Ali

While nature has it’s own furies and wrath, the clouds in the skies offer a semblance of comfort in the tough moments. Each time one falls, look to the skies and the answer shall come to the self later. As for the cloudy and rainy days, the skies after may hold the rainbow in the vastness of own.

 

Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Contention

Each of us have one of those days wherein, the entire day starts off a sour note. The “what-ifs” and “if’s” plague us to the extent that one may have a couple of hours (or even days) of uncertainty, despair and anguish. While dwelling in it, things never make any sense at all. Later when the dust-storm settles down, things get a little clearer and the realization comes. The latter being that one has to either go with the flow, against or modify it to own heart’s content. The million dollar way out, is how to settle the storm within.

“It’s not always necessary to be strong, but to feel strong.” Jon Krakauer

Looking back, the sudden bout of “going downhill within” quite often stem from our own insecurities. Of whether what we have done so far, was any worth or whether we would be able to follow and do a little of our dreams in the near future. The hard fact is that these feelings are bound to stay and surface every now and then. The trick lies in not letting those “feelings” get ahead of us.

“So how to temper down the storm ?”

The answer never comes easy. But it helps never to forget how far one has come. The roots that we have come from and how far we have made it. Though the journey may hold many more miles ahead, to savour the success of the past and the present, no matter how small they may be, are important. The chart of our dreams need to be looked into again, to find our present standing in the map. Then we fold it, take a deep breath and dig out the shreds of will, strength and courage from within. Finally with one foot ahead of the other, the attempt to is made to find a way ahead. Though the gait may be shuffling in manner, the point is to try and be who we want to be. Not a mold of another, but who we are at heart.

As the phrase goes, “Accept that some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue” but the fact remains that one still holds the belief within that they can try. All it lies is not in giving up, but holding onto the flame within. As one reaches to the safe side and traces out those “storm days”, few of which may be buried deep in the recesses of the mind; the sheer survival of those dark hours gives strength to face the trials over time.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Henry David Thoreau

Be Who You Must Be
Diarmuid Cronin

I don’t know where you are on your path
I have never stood in your shoes
I see not with your eyes.
I know not what your purpose is here
In this stage of your evolution
But I feel blessed to know you
As you are not in my life by chance
And you are my teacher
As I hope you learn from me
I pray I show reverence to you
I pray not to judge you
I wish to let you be
Who you are
Who you dream of being
I will just be beside you
And watch you grow
And the day will come for sure
When we will know why
Our paths crossed this way
And until then my friend
Be who you must be