To walk

Walk – to move along or travel on foot at a moderate rate; to advance in such a manner that at least one foot is always on the ground, but always to advance and not retreat and wallow in the misery of hate.

Talk – to speak to another, and so, express ideas or thoughts.

“To walk the talk,” by example, to do what we demand of others.

Promenade – pour se marche à pied à un rythme modéré; Pour avancer de telle manière qu’au moins un pied soit toujours sur le sol, mais toujours pour avancer et ne pas reculer et étouffer dans la misère de la haine.

Parler – converse à un autre, et ainsi exprimer des idées ou des pensées.

“Faut-il joindre le geste à la parole,” par exemple, devenir ce que nous demandons aux autres.

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Checking in and out

adventure_red_cap_oil

Checked my computer for emails, posts, and tweets; found there is nothing needing my attention, so, I am checking out, mindful that:

What we do we may partly compute, but what we experience can only be felt.

adventure_red_cap

And what we say will never be understood by those who don’t experience life as it really is.

Family Reunions

For twenty-three years I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now, well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it! – Auntie Em, Wizard of Oz

auntie_em
Tell ’em Auntie Em

 

The Great and Wonderful Oz is leaving home and going to a family reunion in Asheville, North Carolina. The reunion is coming up quickly, and Oz is driving so he can think back on all the forgotten years and, more importantly, what he has to say. How strange it seems to reconnect with cousins one hasn’t seen for so many years.

The gathering will include old and new, cousins who hardly know one another except by name; and surely a spouse or two who scratches their chin and wonders, did I marry into this?

And if someone did a blood test, they’d find we are mostly English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and French, with an odd lot thrown in for a surprise.

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As George Burns said, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in a city far, far away.”

Words

 

 

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Alone, a noun is just a word
That waits for a verb
Then, like a face
That’s hardly recognizable
It smiles, it laughs, it comes alive
Until you say,
“That’s what’s his name.”

Sometimes I find the sunshine can’t make me happy

sunrise-beach

 

Sunshine almost always makes me happy, but not today.

Sparrows flutter about the backyard, a blue jay lights upon a deck chair nearby and is soon joined by its mate who passes a worm beak to beak. Honeysuckle blooms; its smell is sweet. The big oak tree shades the yard and the squirrels have not yet descended from their nest above, but I see them watching and waiting for me to leave.

I am sad and know not why. It wearies me the whole day long.

The online dictionary defines moodiness as being “contented one moment, then sad the next, then angry, then joyous, then irritable.” Here I am in Oz, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining down it swarm rays on my face, and still, I am sad.

It’s a bit irrational, but don’t worry, like the weather in Oz, moods change.

I find sometimes sunshine can’t make me happy

The sun shines and the weather’s kind,
but I am sad and know not why,
it wearies me, you say, it wearies you
all day long from dawn til dusk and dusk til dawn
this restlessness that can’t be stilled.
It wears like a rock within a shoe
and can’t be shook.
To learn how it came to be
such a want-wit sadness makes,
and I know it can’t be helped,
Knowing that
it takes too much
to know thyself.

Apologies to John Denver

The Rise of the Machines

“… you just can’t differentiate between a robot and the very best of humans,” said Isaac Asimov, I, Robot. Except, thank goodness, the fact that we can eat hamburgers; that alone, my friend, might be the only difference.

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The Rise of the Machines

Robots are in the workplace, we just haven’t noticed.
Ray Kroc knew this when he pitched his multi-mixer to the MacDonald’s brothers in the 1950’s. Now, one multi-tasker bot from Momentum Machines can patty, flip, and serve 400 made-to-order burgers in an hour, and could soon replace an entire McDonalds crew.

Needed restaurant “generalist” to supervise the machine. No education required.

Kansas Spring

March 31, 2017

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It is spring again in Kansas.

March 31st, the course of the sun has run halfway through Aries, the sign of the ram. It is Kansas and so it is the South Wind, not the West that warms the earth. The farmers give thanks for the sometimes-gentle rain that falls from the heavens above, and curse instead when it hails.

The earth, which a few weeks ago, was brown and grey is now green and lush, and the morning’s silence is broken by the Robins’ song.

What follows is a modern translation of Chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.

Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: Modern English, French, and original Middle English,

Modern English

English did not become modern until William Shakespeare and the King James translation of the Bible, a fact that will surprise many “modern” high school English students.

When April with its sweet showers
Hath pierced the drought of March to its root,
And bathed every vein in such liquor
By which virtue engenders the flower;

When the West Wind also with his sweet breath,
Has inspired In every woodland and field
The tender crops, and the young sun
Has half its course within the sign of Aries run,

And small fowls make melody,
That sleep all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them in their hearts),
Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,

And pilgrims to seek strange shores,
To distant shrines, known in sundry lands;
And specially from every shire’s end
Of England to Canterbury wend their way,
The holy blessed martyr to seek
Who helped them when they were sick.

Language Barriers

When I was a little boy the joke was told,
Q: Why did Peter throw the butter out the window?
A: To see the butterfly.

It is a joke that works in English but not in French, since butterfly in French is papillon.

Language barriers are large but none so great as that observed by the Welsh and English cleric Matthew Henry, There are none so deaf and none so blind, as they who refuse to see and will not listen.

French

Quand avril avec ses douces douches
La sécheresse de mars à sa racine a percé ,
Et a baigné toutes les veines dans une telle liqueur
Par quoi la vertu engendre la fleur;

Quand le Vent de l’Ouest aussi avec son doux souffle,
A inspiré dans tous les bois et champs
Les plantes tendres et le jeune soleil
A couru la moitié du cours en Bélier,

Et les petites volailles chante la mélodie,
Qui dormir toute la nuit avec l’œil ouvert
(Donc la nature les pique dans leurs coeurs),
Ensuite, les gens souhaitaient faire des pèlerinages,

Et les pèlerins cherchent des rivages étranges,
Aux sanctuaires lointains, connus dans les terres diverses;
Et surtout depuis la fin de chaque cours
De l’Angleterre à Canterbury se promène,
Le saint béni martyr à chercher
Qui les a aidés quand ils étaient malades.

Middle English

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 25 October 1400) is the grand daddy of English literature. Thank God he wrote in the vernacular and not in Latin as had been the custom. English is the most polyglot of languages. Sprinkled throughout Chaucer’s English, one observes bits of French, German, and Latin.

If one looks at the words of Chaucer and then listens to the sound, much of the meaning will become clear.

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,

And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

The “hooly blisful martir for to seke”.

Alas, it was St. Thomas Beckett, murdered by followers of the king, who was the “holy blissful martyr” the pilgrims sought to seek. His shrine in Canterbury stood until 1538, when, on orders from King Henry VIII, it and Beckett’s bones were destroyed, and Henry ordered that all mention of his name be obliterated.

Lost in Translation

Even the most literal of translations can be deceiving. Lovers, poets, and politicians know this for that is why words matter. This is a good thing for it means that Google Translate will forever require human intervention.

Some place, some day.

Thoughts on the movie La La Land – It was La La Land until there was Moonlight.

There are dreamers and doers and if I could be but one, I suppose I’d rather dream of things to be when I leave Oz. To go some day to some place I long to go, might just spoil the dream.

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Far away, there is a cabin on the lake I long to go. I will someday but will it be too late?

Loin, il y a une cabane sur le lac que j’ai envie d’y aller. Je vais un jour, mais sera-t-il trop tard?

Ein Baum spricht: Hermann Hesse

“[W]enn wir gelernt haben, die Bäume anzuhören, dann gewinnt gerade die Kürze und Schnelligkeit und Kinderhast unserer Gedanken eine Freudigkeit ohnegleichen.” Hermann Hesse

“[W]hen we have learned to listen to trees, the brevity, rapidity, and childishness of our thoughts gain unrivaled joy.”

Such a lovely thought by Hermann Hesse, I think, that a tree speaks, but of what?

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A tree, as Hermann Hesse says, knows nothing of its ancestors and nothing of its progeny. It stands alone, a giant like Beethoven and Nietzsche, towering over the earth, its branches rustling in the wind, and its roots, intertwined, rooted in infinity.

There is a recent theory that that trees mysteriously communicate with each other, and, if that is right, then Hesse is wrong in thinking trees are solitary creatures whose selfish existence is solely lived for themselves. The theory goes that trees in the forest share with each other carbon and other elements. Diversity is therefore important for it allows one species to give to another species when it is in need. The forest is its brother’s keeper. The tree dependent on the health of the forest for its survival.

That too is a lovely thought.

Ein Baum spricht, a tree speaks, Hesse says.

There is an ancient Elm tree that stands alone in the city where I live. It is a remnant of the many grand trees that once lined the block. Its thick branches droop. When a great wind storm comes, old branches break off and fall to the ground. Each spring thousands of tiny flowers appear, then seeds which cover the sidewalks and street, and having nowhere to take root, are washed away.

Is it sad to be the last tree?

There is an oak tree in my back yard that is at least 100 years old. It is home to a family of squirrels that feed from the seed and peanuts I provide. The squirrels run and play on its grey bark. From time to time they just cling to the bark watching me watch them. The oak tree was here before my house was built. It has seen three families come. It will be here when I am gone.

Who has not gone into the woods to find an ancient tree whose bark is gnarled and face like, whose branches reach out to the sky in supplication to God above. A tree that has stood the test of time, the bitter cold and heat, the drought and rain, and through it all has not complained.

Was sagen die Bäume? 

This begs the question, of what does a tree think?

It stands and watches, much like God, of the comings and goings of life. It is home to the birds and squirrels that nest in its branches. It gives food to the deer that feed below. Its broken branches provide firewood for the traveler who wanders by and needs warmth. It is a repository of time.

Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Persevere, for who knows what tomorrow brings?

“[Und] wenn wir gelernt haben, die Bäume anzuhören, dann gewinnt gerade die Kürze und Schnelligkeit und Kinderhast unserer Gedanken eine Freudigkeit ohnegleichen.”

BÄUME von Hermann Hesse

About Trees, Hermann Hesse