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Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday: Reflections

I've always had a reverence for Good Friday.  As kids, we weren't allowed to breathe on this day.  No radio, television, sweets, snacks, just fish and platski (potato pancakes).

I've read all four passions in one sitting on Good Friday.

I've made love in a meadow at the top of a hill on Good Friday.

I've written poetry in the style of Federico Garcia Lorca on Good Friday.

I've walked to the top of the mountain and meditated under a tree on Good Friday.

Today, I've taken a walk, reflected on the nature of death, read from some Buddhists texts, some Christian texts, and the texts of the mystical golden retriever who calls himself Jan Zawadzki when he's a few hours to the east but settles for Zavacki and John when he's elsewhere.

In the tradition of the high Christian Churches, it is the day upon which we reflect on the death of Jesus, the Messiah.  Accordingly, I do reflect on his death, and the deaths of other Buddhas, enlightened ones who allow us to deviate from their path to find our own within the guidelines of leading a good life and finding the strength to teach in the face of critics.

A few days ago, a friend asked if I had read 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying'.  I thought that I had and went off to get a copy to ensure I was right.  I wasn't.  I am now.  One of the things I really like about Buddhist belief is its tremendous respect for life and for death.  Death is a mystery, the ultimate adventure, but not one to be sought, only to be found.  Life is a preparation for death which is a preparation for life in the Buddhist tradition.  Heaven or hell are the state of mind you are in when this ultimate reality occurs.  What happens after that is up to you.

In the presence of Easter Rabbits and their colorful eggs, the idea of rebirth is an annual one.  Here, at Steinstrasse 1A, it is a continuous rebirth.  Every morning, I say 'I'm not dead', then wash my face and prepare to die by living my life in the company of everyone I love,  No one is dead to me who has ever touched me as I will never be dead to them.  Even when I die, I live on in them, and when my consciousness is transferred from the realm of death back into a sentient form, they'll come with me.  Whether or not I will be able to access them will depend on the development of my access to the collective unconscious, the wellspring of all knowledge, creativity, and creation.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fog and Impermanence

The fog this morning reminded me of another me.  Like all things, he is gone.  With the exception of the foggy vision in my mind and those of others he touched, no one knows of him.  Remembering his time is not so good for the ego.  He was a handsome lad.  But not so peaceful.  He made the fog in his mind to obscure the fear of failure as well as that of success.  He didn't know that even with fog, the thousand year old moat, the city streets, the people in the invisible houses are still there.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hasn't Been Much of a Winter

The weather's been extremely mild here.  February, the normally treacherous thing, was a study in temperance.  The temperatures stayed over the freezing mark and averaged early spring numbers.  People insisted on the tables being brought out into the market place and they've been using them.  The Stadtfuehrer reminded me of the lines from Faust about the Easter walk and compared it to our present situation.

If the Sun shines in the Winter, the people of Herford consider it a good enough occasion to sit outside and eat an ice cream.

That anecdote, and a cold that's lingered for weeks are all I've got to say for Winter this year.  There's just about enough material for a Haiku, but it wouldn't be very good.

Winter's flat
the grey reflected by the Winter Sun
ice cream is good.....

While I sit around the cafes reading and drinking coffee,  Russians march into the Crimea, Ukrainians man the barricades, and everyone else beats their drum, hoping to drown out the possibility of yet another clash of ideologies to be paid for with human blood. Where have all the flowers gone?

Friday, January 17, 2014

How'd That Happen?

It's been ten years since I first landed in Herford, NRW, Germany, actually eleven if you count the first visit I made in 2003 as part of an acquisition team looking over the company we eventually made a part of the big thing I used to work for.  I started thinking about it a few weeks ago, when my landlord offered to sell me this apartment.  I thought about the price, the possibilities, the responsibilities, the benefits and concerns and the whole internal conversation gave me a really bad case of wanderlust.

With the exception of my homestead in Mayfield, Pennsylvania, where I lived from birth to 18 and then on again/off again between marriages, university stints, and other transformations, ten years is the maximum I've stayed in any one place, state, job, or condition.  The wheels are rolling, the gears are clacking, zeroes and ones are streaming in my unconscious, but there's a catch, I've grown fond of this place.  It affords me solitude, it serves as a hub for my travels because of its central location in Central Europe, entertainment can easily be found, and it's pretty.  It does lack a zen community, but there's always the internet.

Still, I'm an explorer.  I'm not the kind that roams from coast to coast.  I'm more of a microexplorer.  I like to know all about where I am.  There's still a lot to learn here, but Krakow has been pulling at me, and after my trip to Prague a few months ago and Poznan and Warszawa last year, the Slavic genes are saying 'take me home'.  But, still, I'm content here.  No dog, no wife, no worries, enough wood to carve for the next five years and an infinite supply of electrons to scribble with.  But no canoe, something which can easily be remedied.

Am I talking my way into something, or out of it?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year: No Resolutions

I've been writing for about half an hour now, revising, rethinking, rewording.  The outcome is this:
I have nothing to say today, but thank you for listening.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wilkommen in Dezember

The first day in December, the first Sunday in December, and the first Sunday in Advent.  Happy Sunday, Happy Advent.  Happy December.  I never used to think of much other than Christmas in December.  Thinking about gifts to buy and whether or not a ten foot tree was more work than fun.  Thinking about Christmas past and family gatherings.  All of the stuff that most people are concerned with, except for the lights.  I was never big on decorations that blink or dance or resemble abominable snowmen even though they're intended to be Santas or Saints.

A few years ago, I had a bad December.  An era ended for me and I felt pretty bad about it.  I recovered sometime the next March.  I began sitting again and not thinking again and reading the things that always put me in the happy place.  I learned something I'd learned before and that I'll probably have to learn again someday:  alone is not lonesome.  Lonesome is a self-imposed restriction on contentment, as are anger, greed, and all of the other ways in which we make ourselves miserable.

This December holds promise.  Sitting needs work.  No-Mind needs work.  Creativity needs work.  And when I've got something to do, I'm content.  So up, up, and away minions of the Stone Street, it's Christmas time in the city.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Who Cares Where the Time Goes?

I've been away from the keyboard for a bit.  In the interim, I've done a little travelling and a little writing, a little cooking and a lot of walking.

A few weekends ago, I met an old comrade, from my days in automotive, in Fuerth.  We drove to Prague from there and then traversed the entire city by foot/  It was on the order of a forced, but leisurely, march because of our time constraints, but it gave me a good idea of how much time I'll need to really explore this wonderful city.

I returned to Herford from the Nurenburg train station, a place I haven't seen for about 40 years.  The Oberpfalz landscape was surprisingly familiar and comfortably so, after such a long absence.  I'll be back to explore it again.

The Weihnachtsmarkt started up on Monday and has been met by the traditional cold rain for it's first few days.  I did a round of the layout on Sunday, when all of the booths were still shuttered and no one else seemed interested.  I like having things to myself.....

Peace and Good Will from Steinstrasse, where the men know everything, and the women let them believe it.