There is a tree. At the downhill edge of a long, narrow field in the western foothills of the La Sal Mountains -- southeastern Utah. A particular tree. A juniper. Large for its species -- maybe twenty feet tall and two feet in diameter. For perhaps three hundred years this tree has stood its ground. Flourishing in good seasons, and holding on in bad times. "Beautiful" is not a word that comes to mind when one first sees it. No naturalist would photograph it as exemplary of its kind. Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brushfires, chewed on by insects, and pecked by birds. Human beings have stripped long strings of bark from its trunk, stapled barbed wire to it in using it as a corner post for a fence line, and nailed signs on it on three sides: NO HUNTING; NO TRESPASSING; PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE. In commandeering this tree as a corner stake for claims of rights and property, miners and ranchers have hacked signs and symbols in its bark, and left Day-Glo orange survey tape tied to its branches. Now it serves as one side of a gate between an alfalfa field and open range. No matter what, in drought, flood heat and cold, it has continued. There is rot and death in it near the ground. But at the greening tips of its upper branches and in its berrylike seed cones, there is yet the outreach of life. I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it. That it has been useful in a practical way beyond itself counts for much, as well. Most of all, I admire its capacity for self-healing beyond all accidents and assaults. There is a will in it -- toward continuing to be, come what may.
My son, you are just an infant now, but on that day when the world disrobes of its alluring cloak, it is then that I pray this letter is in your hands.Listen closely, my dear child, for I am more than that old man in the dusty portrait beside your bed. I was once a little boy in my mother’s arms and a babbling toddler on my father's lap.I played till the sun would set and climbed trees with ease and skill. Then I grew into a fine young man with shoulders broad and strong. My bones were firm and my limbs were straight; my hair was blacker than a raven's beak. I had a spring in my step and a lion's roar. I travelled the world, found love and married. Then off to war I bled in battle and danced with death.But today, vigor and grace have forsaken me and left me crippled.Listen closely, then, as I have lived not only all the years you have existed, but another forty more of my own.My son, We take this world for a permanent place; we assume our gains and triumphs will always be; that all that is dear to us will last forever.But my child, time is a patient hunter and a treacherous thief: it robs us of our loved ones and snatches up our glory. It crumbles mountains and turns stone to sand. So who are we to impede its path?No, everything and everyone we love will vanish, one day.So take time to appreciate the wee hours and seconds you have in this world. Your life is nothing but a sum of days so why take any day for granted? Don't despise evil people, they are here for a reason, too, for just as the gift salt offers to food, so do the worst of men allow us to savor the sweet, hidden flavor of true friendship.Dear boy, treat your elders with respect and shower them with gratitude; they are the keepers of hidden treasures and bridges to our past. Give meaning to your every goodbye and hold on to that parting embrace just a moment longer--you never know if it will be your last.Beware the temptation of riches and fame for both will abandon you faster than our own shadow deserts us at the approach of the setting sun. Cultivate seeds of knowledge in your soul and reap the harvest of good character.Above all, know why you have been placed on this floating blue sphere, swimming through space, for there is nothing more worthy of regret than a life lived void of this knowing.My son, dark days are upon you. This world will not leave you with tears unshed. It will squeeze you in its talons and lift you high, then drop you to plummet and shatter to bits . But when you lay there in pieces scattered and broken, gather yourself together and be whole once more. That is the secret of those who know.So let not my graying hairs and wrinkled skin deceive you that I do not understand this modern world. My life was filled with a thousand sacrifices that only I will ever know and a hundred gulps of poison I drank to be the father I wanted you to have.But, alas, such is the nature of this life that we will never truly know the struggles of our parents--not until that time arrives when a little hand--resembling our own--gently clutches our finger from its crib.My dear child, I fear that day when you will call hopelessly upon my lifeless corpse and no response shall come from me. I will be of no use to you then but I hope these words I leave behind will echo in your ears that day when I am no more. This life is but a blink in the eye of time, so cherish each moment dearly, my son.
Nothing truly beautiful without its element of strangeness, nothing whole without its own incongruity, these (Jacksonville-area pioneer house) ruins sand up from the earth in sacred conjunction. These ruins conjoin the earth and the manmade, moving from one to the other and back again. The Browards built their house out of shell and limestone, and limestone forms naturally from the shells and skeletons of miniscule sea creatures over great periods of time. The Browards shaped the earth upright toward the sky. THey shaped it with doorframes and windows and chimneys. THey shaped the earth up around them as a shelter. But shaped earth was always the earth. Now the walls fall back down and join once again the ground, taken over by roots of ferns and weeds and small trees. The house was always the ground, only contained in an upward suspension. The house was always the earth, but brought up into architecture, and now the house that was always the earth crumbles back into the earth and nourishes new green things -- dog fennel and morning glories and palmettoes and cabbage palms and cedars. A true symbol of sacredness of the earth is earth's reclaiming of human ingenuity.
Perfectly ImperfectWe have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey. I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are. Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey.
We are learning that through striving for justice, tears and laughter, seem more dynamic and shared as each step is taken with communal courage together. Record a legacy, they truly lived, not once stepped back on the path that beckoned. I am proud of my partner, of my family, of our friends. We have learned to value the quiet patience of gentle support both, unspoken and felt, heard and embraced. And if we seem cryptic in message at times, we wish to lift to the world the cause as artists, using the language of our nature and craft, to address the twisted currents of current laws and corruption, where ears are dulled from light by agendas, that the beauty of Art may be expressed in the reclaiming of itself, from the wreckage of the court system mired with soiled attorney and tainted judge. Colors to where there is grey, to lift the hues cast in cast iron graves, stamped Summary Judgement, with no judgement applied. So together we formulate, and forge what is possible, while tear stains cheek, falling upon lighted smile, in thought of our loved ones, that keeps our current path clear.
If you know how to be happy with the wonders of life that are already there for you to enjoy, you don't need to stress your mind and your body by striving harder and harder, and you don't need to stress this planet by purchasing more and more stuff. The Earth belongs to our children. We have already borrowed too much from it, from them; and the way things have been going, we're not sure we'll be able to give it back to them in decent shape. And who are our children, actually? They are us, because they are our own continuation. So we've been shortchanging our own selves. Much of our modern way of life is permeated by mindless overborrowing. The more we borrow, the more we loser. That's why it's critical that we wake up and see we don't need to do that anymore. What's already available in the here and now is plenty for us to be nourished, to be happy. Only that kind of insight will get us, each one of us, to stop engaging in the compulsive, self-sabotaging behaviors of our species. We need a collective awakening. One Buddha is not enough. All of us have to become Buddhas in order for our planet to have a chance. Fortunately, we have the power to wake up, to touch enlightenment from moment to moment, in our very own ordinary and, yes, busy lives. So let's start right now. Peace is your every breath.
We've got a lot of guys that have size, speed and quickness. I always judge our recruiting by linemen and this has been an exceptional year. We're always looking for guys at defensive line. We feel like all eight of these guys will have a chance. It will depend on them... and their work ethic.
Wrong Question: How to love?Right Question: Why am I afraid to love?Wrong Question: Why do you love me?Right Question: Do I love myself as much as you do?Wrong Question: Why does love hurt?Right Question: Why do I live in fantasies and expect so much without really giving anything back?Wrong Question: What will you do for me?Right Question: Am I capable of making your life more beautiful?Wrong interpretation: Let's be practical.Right interpretation: Let's be wild and unconditional in our love without pretending.Wrong Confession: I want love in life.Right Confession: I am lonely and I will start by being friendly with myself first.Wrong Advice: Mind and ThoughtsRight Advice: Heart
I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.
Landscapes of great wonder and beauty lie under our feet and all around us. They are discovered in tunnels in the ground, the heart of flowers, the hollows of trees, fresh-water ponds, seaweed jungles between tides, and even drops of water. Life in these hidden worlds is more startling in reality than anything we can imagine. How could this earth of ours, which is only a speck in the heavens, have so much variety of life, so many curious and exciting creatures?
We have come to understand the phenomena of life only as an assemblage of the lifeless. We take the mechanistic abstractions of our technical calculation to be ultimately concrete and "fundamentally real," while our most intimate experiences are labelled "mere appearance" and something having reality only within the closet of the isolated mind. Suppose however we were to invert this whole scheme, reverse the order in which it assigns abstract and concrete. What is central to our experience, then, need not be peripheral to nature. This sunset now, for example, caught within the network of bare winter branches, seems like a moment of benediction in which the whole of nature collaborates. Why should not these colours and these charging banners of light be as much a part of the universe as the atoms and molecules that make them up? If they were only "in my mind," then I and my mind would no longer be a part of nature. Why should the pulse of life toward beauty and value not be a part of things? Following this path, we do not vainly seek to assemble the living out of configurations of dead stuff, but we descend downwards from more complex to simpler grades of the organic. From humans to trees to rocks; from "higher grade" to "lower grade" organisms. In the universe of energy, any individual thing is a pattern of activity within the flux, and thereby an organism at some level.
The campus, an academy of trees,under which some hand, the wind's I guess,had scattered the pale lightof thousands of spring beauties,petals stained with pink veins;secret, blooming for themselves.We sat among them.Your long fingers, thin body,and long bones of improbable genius;some scattered gene as Kafka must have had.Your deep voice, this passing dust of miracles.That simple that was myself, half conscious,as though each moment was a pagewhere words appeared; the bent hammer of the typestruck against the moving ribbon.The light air, the restless leaves;the ripple of time warped by our longing.There, as if we were paintedby some unknown impressionist.
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
The beautiful you is not the color of your skinOr the texture of your hair.The beautiful you is not how tall or short you areThe beautiful you is not rather you’re skinny or overweight by society standardsThe beautiful you is not the degrees you have obtainOr the size of your bank accounts.The beautiful you, has nothing to do with where you’re from, or religious beliefsNor the car you drive or the house you live in.The beautiful you is not the price tag of what you wearThe beautiful you has nothing do with how eloquent you speakThe beautiful you is your kindness and compassion toward othersThe beautiful you is your tolerance and patienceThe beautiful you is your ability to love and forgiveThe beautiful you don’t rush to judge what you don’t understandThe beautiful you is always seeking to evolve into its higher selfThat is the beautiful you and that is what the world needsThe beautiful you is what defines our HumanityThe Beautiful you, Be that Always!