WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

July 8, 2021

WHIRLPOOL

            On our kayak float yesterday on the Wood River, I occasionally watched the small whirlpools started by Delycia’s paddles just ahead of me, and it got me thinking about the mysterious whirlpool I call ‘my life’. This life I’m living is not the solid, separate ‘event’ it so often seems to be.  As I watched a whirlpool swirling around beside my kayak, it seemed like the perfect symbol of the endlessly revolving movement of what I call ‘my life’. What is labeled ‘Hamilton Salsich’ is actually a continuously transforming swirl in the shoreless river of life. I seem to be a separate and self-governing individual, but in truth, I am a fluidly spinning twirl in a universe that knows precisely what it’s doing and where it’s going.  I need to simply slacken and loosen and learn to appreciate the marvelous  circles and spins life does with me as I swivel around in a river that’s infinitely more amazing than the scenic Wood River.

WHENEVER

Whenever you see a dish 
with crackers and cheese,
listen for a robin's voice. 
Whenever you hear an airplane
looking for its home, 
listen for the songs 
your heart sings. 
Whenever you hear the highway
saying its prayers in the distance,
look up 
and see your life arriving 
like a new friend. 

 

And here are some scenes from yesterday’s kayak float …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Thursday, June 24, 2021

WINGS

            Quite often, life feels heavy to me, like it’s a load that I have to lift and carry, but the truth is that it’s as soft as birds’ wings, and is able to glide and give me remarkable rides. Today, Delycia and I will be floating again in kayaks on the Wood River, and I’ll bet we’ll feel as light – and lighthearted – as life itself is. Any sense of heaviness will be left on the riverbank, and we’ll drift along the river’s surface as freely as life itself flutters from hour to hour and day to day. I don’t mean to suggest that life doesn’t feel burdensome at times, especially when fears weigh me down, but that sense of burden actually derives from my own thoughts, and I can always simply set those weighty thoughts down and feel my inborn freedom again – the wings of my inner spirit – and soon I’ll be hovering above those fears and seeing them for the powerless nobodies they are.  I will love watching the birds soaring smoothly above the river today, and I’m sure it will help me better understand how life itself is a glorious glider. Each moment today will move smoothly and carry me along, and if I stay alert, I will feel the lightness and buoyancy of it all. Even if distress makes an appearance, as it often does, life can lift me lightly up so I can see the vastness of everything and the relative smallness – the tinyness – of my distressful  thoughts.  In that way, whatever problem that seems to be there will easily work its way free and fly away with a wave.   

            To all of us, life can seem horrendous and burdensome, but today, as I float on the friendly river, I hope I can feel the floating ability of life’s wings, and let my little sense of self be lifted up into the limitless spaces of here and now.  

QUESTIONS THE EARTH ASKS US 

Are you tired of me?
Do my miracles seems stale now?
Do you not hear 
my harps in the trees and fields?
Do you not see 
the wings of snow white doves?
Do you not know 
my pure, sweet love? 
Have you forgotten the flower 
that leaned toward you last summer,
and the sunlight that likes 
the way you walk and talk,
and the thousand sacred minutes 
of each day? 
Does nothing come into your heart 
from my hands? 
Have you waved your hands 
goodbye? 

WIND

A GRAND AND SPENDID PROCESS

Somewhere in his book in the Bible, Job says that the words of his wise friends are no more significant than “proverbs of ashes”, and it has me thinking, this morning, about the millions of words I spoke to my students, and how, years later, they are something like dust in the limitless universe of learning. I usually saw myself as a fairly sensible and shrewd instructor as I spoke to my students, but now, looking back, my words in the classroom seem like specks of small thoughts in a sky that goes on forever. The supposedly smart sentences I spoke in class and the lessons I set forth with self-assurance are now simply infinitesimal waves in the endless ocean of my students’ education. Strangely, this is not a sad thought for me, but an inspiring one, for it reminds me of the immensity and majesty of the teaching-and-learning process that I was lucky to be part of for 45 years. I was just one of the countless teachers my students had, including their families and friends and the books they read and the people they spoke to in passing and the sights they saw and all the words they listened to in their young but limitless lives. Their teachers were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and my spoken words just happened to be among them, just happened to float through their rising lives for a few months and then drift off like dust in the vast winds of learning. I feel blessed to have been even a small part of such a grand and splendid process.

+ + + + +

A DAY LIKE FRIENDSHIP

The hours passed in softened winds

somewhat the way friendship begins

with just some gentle words sent out

like signals. Fellowship will sprout

where there are breezes made of kind

and gracious thoughts, and peace of mind

arrives when friendship blows upon

two lives to make a special dawn.

+ + + + +

We took a very long walk (well, for me, at least) this morning (almost 7 miles), and while there were only slight winds most of the time, we two made a wind of our own with our brisk, well-cadenced strides. Take a look: