On these hot summer days, it would be good to occasionally step inside a soft, refreshing cascade of water . . . and fortunately, something like this is always happening. Right now, as I sit in the early morning at my computer, an easygoing waterfall of fresh thoughts is flowing through me, just as it will be five minutes from now, and all day tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Also, a peaceful stream of blood is rolling through me, as always, and showers of new feelings are spilling over, and quiet currents of breath are tenderly entering my lungs. This life I am part of is an unruffled outpouring of good gifts, though I am often unaware of this ever-present cascade. Will today be different? Will I purposely stay still and feel the streams of life carefully cooling and washing me?
THAT WHICH FLOWS AND FLOWS
He loves his coffee and his wine,
but truly revels in the drinks
that have no end. In several winks
the wine is gone, but the divine
rewards within a cup of Love
can never end. A glass of Trust
holds deep and endless harmony,
and Kindness, like the sky above,
cannot be kept within a cup
and keeps on spilling over while
he drinks and drinks. A smile
fills his face when he takes up
a mug of Gentleness, for he knows
there's always more and more
to have. He loves to freely pour
a cup of that which flows and flows.
Below, some scenes from our beach-walk this morning, with Delycia leading the way …
One dictionary defines ‘panorama’ as an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer, and my daily wish is to constantly enjoy a wonderful panorama of life. I am so often lost in the stagnant cave of my own thoughts, seeing only the mist and fogginess of fears and self-centeredness, and what I need is to get up to the high mountains of awareness and see the scenic view it affords. When seen from the peaks of true wakefulness, life is boundless and breathtaking, far too multifaceted and mysterious to be captured by my little and helpless ego-mind. Each moment and every moment, I can be witness to a view of life – the true view – that is picturesque and limitless and simply astounding, if I step up to the high peaks of awareness. They’re right here, right now, always – these beautiful bird’s eye views of reality. All I have to do is stop, stay still, and look – and be astonished.
Sometimes my good luck seems unbelievable. I’m neither wealthy nor well-known nor uncommonly gifted, but good fortune seems to follow me everywhere. I often, for instance, can’t believe the simple fact that I’m alive on an astonishing planet in an implausibly beautiful universe – that somehow this person called “Ham’ has been given hundreds of millions of minutes of this thing called life. The whole mystery of my life seems totally improbable, as if a magician somewhere in the everlasting cosmos made some swirls with her wand and, presto, here’s Hamilton Salsich. And my incredible good fortune continues to follow me in a round-the-clock way – my heart somehow holding its rhythm 100,000 times each day, my blood reliably rolling through my body hour after hour, my lungs lifting and falling in a steadfast way. All this, to me, seems so far-fetched – so deserving of awe – that it almost requires a down-on-my-knees, lost-for-words reverence.
Below, scenes from our walk this morning on the Beebe Pond trail …
Today will be a day of deliveries – special deliveries, I should say. All day long, splendid and surprising gifts will be delivered to the doorstep of my life – special thoughts, free-flowing feelings, words and sentences to say, events that shine like sunlight. I can have the fun, to day, of waiting at the front door of life to see what uncommon packages will be delivered there. The universe constantly sends out gifts of distinction, and I, like all of us the world around, will be the lucky recipient. Unfortunately, I often overlook these gifts and leave them lying on the doorstep – gifts of unsurpassed thoughts, first class people, second-to-none situations.
All day today, life will be delivering limitless favors. It doesn’t always ring the doorbell, so I had best stay attentive moment by moment. Whole shiploads of exceptional words, ideas, encounters, circumstances, and persons are already on the way!
He marvels at the orderliness
of things. These days
the birds start singing
at exactly five-seventeen,
and the newspaper man
makes his stop at the house
next door at six-o-six.
Stranger still, his breath
enters and leaves with precision,
his quiet heart
carries on its duties
in a dependable way,
and the stars stay
where they're supposed to stay.
to consider this
as he eats his perfect
piece of toast
and dawn delivers
another ideal day
at his doorstep.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
To me, there is nothing more enjoyable in life than consenting. The vast, miraculous river of Life is constantly carrying me along in its majestic route, and I have the great pleasure, each moment, of acceding to its wishes, whatever they might be. This morning, I awoke from a night of tossing and turning, and it would be easy to be angry about that – to tell the river of Life that it should have flowed more smoothly – but it’s much more gratifying to actually be grateful that I am part of an infinite river that knows precisely where it should go, and can carry me along in a smooth, powerful, and always charming way – if I’m wise enough to yield to the charm. Indeed, an up-and-down night could actually be a pleasant and refreshing way to rest, if I could open my heart and simply go along with its special kind of flow. It might bring me unusual rewards I’d never noticed before, the way a kayaker can spend hours flowing around rocky, tumultuous bends and come suddenly upon a vast sunrise scene of utter peacefulness. I guess I need to give happy permission to my occasional nights of wobbly sleep, for there are surely gifts hidden inside those trembly, unbalanced, river-like hours.
LETTING LIFE LIVE
This might be a day
to let life live through you,
thanking it and caring for it
as it flows in its fulfilling way
from distant stars
to other distant stars.
Each moment today,
you could, with pleasure,
permit the power of life
to unfold through you,
simply by saying a silent Yes.
You could quietly consent to
whatever life wants to do,
since life knows no limits
and will do it anyway,
so why not cheerfully wonder
what will happen
and then happily let it?
And here are a few scenes from our walk this morning in the Coogan nature preserve …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, September 20, 2021
This day – like all days – will be talented beyond measure. Indeed, I might want to simply stare in astonishment, all day long, at the brilliant accomplishments of each moment. Take the skillfulness of my eyes, for instance. In some miraculous ways, they are able to reveal marvelous scenes to me moment by moment. Right now, at 4:27 a.m., my old but somehow always newly gifted eyes are allowing me to see my small desk and yellow notes and one blue-and-white pen and one yellow pencil and scattered specks of dust – a scene that blind people would fall on their knees to praise if they could suddenly see it. And then there’s the masterly work of my ears. How can I even begin to appreciate the first-rate work they do in bringing beautiful sounds into my life each moment. Today – all day – I will hear the simple but sensational sounds of everyday life – gurgles and bubbles and wheezes and clicks and rattles and hisses – and I hope I can give them the attentiveness and thankfulness they deserve. Even as semi-deaf as I seem to be at 79, my still artistic ears will give me gifts of sound all day today. Even now, as I sit at my desk and type, I am blessed by the smooth rolling and tumbling and swishing sounds of the clothes washer performing its early-morning services. How did a grizzled old guy get so lucky?
Listen up, this light-hearted day says,
and you'll hear the harmonies
of thoughts as they sing inside you,
and the songs of water from faucets,
and the winsome sounds
of soft shoes on carpets.
Listen up, this daring day says,
and let the blessed sounds
of the melodies of cars passing
and praising the streets
prepare you for steady celebration.
Listen up, this gracious day says,
for your lovely lungs
are welcoming the music of breathing
into your lucky life.
Some friends of mine are occasional bow hunters, and I guess I’m a sort of hunter, too. My friends hunt mostly deer, whereas I hunt, in my sporadic and somewhat casual way, mostly goodness. My friends probably stalk their prey silently and seriously, and I sometimes do the same – quietly watching for signs of goodness, sneaking up on it, hoping to see it clearly in all its ordinariness and splendor. I know there’s a significant overpopulation of deer, making them easy to spot during hunting season, but surely goodness teems and overflows far more than deer, enabling me, if I’m sincerely stalking it, to catch sight of it everywhere. This world of ours is a goodness hunter’s paradise. There’s goodness in every face I see, every smile, every glance between friends, every hand offering help. There’s goodness, somehow or other, in every house, every car, every store, down every street. I sometimes set out on a lighthearted and lucky hunt, knowing I’ll see success within a few minutes, maybe just across the street where birds are bringing sticks to a new nest. That’s goodness, and it’s given to all of us to hunt and be happy with, no bows or arrows needed.
GIFTS ON THE TRAIL
a spoken-on-the-spot poem
made on April 12, 2021, at 8:02 a.m.
on the Denison Pequotsepos Trail
Bring me your gifts,
bird songs. Shake up
my life in a soft way,
like our footsteps
smoothly saying hello
to the trail, as life
takes its time,
and the birds
share their sincerity
and the goodness
of the great earth.