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Daily Archives: July 25, 2014

Contagious Disorder: Spread the Love

Yesterday my car was parked out front and it was run into. The damage is to one door and the car still runs. What was impressive was the fellow who ran into came to the door and told me about it. He took responsibility for what had happened. I thanked him and today, when I spoke to his boss, I shared my appreciation for his gesture. It is in the simple daily acts that we meet each other face-to-face. Ideologies and theologies are set aside. The word journey comes from the French journée meaning the events and activities during the day (jour). These are spaces we see and greet the other as human, being responsible for them. There is no government, no media, no agenda. It is just us in each other’s presence.

SwittersB & Exploring

Have you noticed of late, the reaching out by others to spread the love? Perhaps it is the chaotic tempo of world affairs. It could be we realize part of us, as a culture, as an individual, is going numb with the overload of depressing events. Couple that with an inner sense that we are being played on many levels and we are reverting toward, digging back down toward basic truths and values.

One of those is reaching out to help those around you. I see a sincere sharing of positive energy. Not the flower child, glassy eyed mantras of the 60’s (yes I was alive then) but rather mature, seasoned, real love. Shared for the betterment of those we touch…for no other purpose than we know, now, at our core that we must do this at a one on one level to stay human, to stay at inner peace…

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Axe Handles

I mentioned in The Wild Rose I am reading Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry. I read this poem several times over the last few months trying to make sense of it. At first, I thought it was a personal and it begins that way. Gary Snyder describes his work teaching his son to throw an axe and shaping the axe handle to fit the work.

As I reflected on the poem, I realized it is about important traditions passed from parents to children. We hone and polish what we wish to retain forming the axe handle. It is a handle for us and our children which provides security as we polish and remove the unwanted.

Most of the time, we are unaware of the work we do without taking time and reflecting. In those moments, we realize what changes, what remains, and what is added knowing each generation makes its own adjustments.

To do it well, we mindfully and attentively approach the work remaining fully present.

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
“When making an axe handle
the pattern is not far off.”
And I say this to Kai
“Look: We’ll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with-”
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It’s in Lu Ji’s Wen Fu, fourth century
A.D. “Essay on Literature”-in the
Preface: “In making the handle Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand.-
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

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