A Word Like Light: ANIMATE

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

         The word ‘animate’ comes from the Latin word ‘anima’, which means ‘soul’ or ‘life’, and this anima is constantly lighting a soft and lovely fire under me and everything. I sometimes see and feel this refreshing flame, but only when I stay still, and look and listen. Each moment is prepared to fully enliven me. It’s like a superpower breathes new life into me every single moment, over and over, with cheer and good-heartedness, all day and all night long. Right now, as I’m typing these words, everything I see around me is being energized just by being here, right now. The old pens and pencils in the jar on my desk are actually brand new in this new moment, standing in a way they’ve never stood before. Our couch with its blue cushions seems to be cheered-up simply by being present, and the windows in the dining room show scenes outside that are, in some ways, brand new, scenes I have never seen before in all my 81 years. My old, faithful lungs are constantly rousing me up by bringing me approximately 26 sextillion molecules of air each moment, and my heart gives my body a buzz by moving blood cells at the rate of 3 feet per second, rolling roughly 83 gallons of blood zestfully through me every hour! And then there are thoughts and feelings, which somehow blossom inside me by the thousands, unfolding fresh and boundless light hour after hour

         For certain, the anima, the soul and life of what is called ‘me’, is firing-up itself, second after second, stirring up endless newness, and with absolutely no help from this separate so-called ‘me’!


Sunday, October 10, 2021


“She said she was just beginning to understand her selfishness.”  — Sarah Orne Jewett, in “Miss Sydney’s Flowers”             

I don’t think I’m any more selfish than the next person, but strangely enough, like Miss Sydney in Jewett’s story, I seem to be just starting, at age 79, to understand my particular type of selfishness. I’m not an unusually greedy person, and I do show a reasonable concern for others, so I don’t think my personal kind of selfishness is especially spiteful. No, what I’m beginning to see is that I am selfish simply because I’m consumed with concern about my “self”, the supposedly separate person I call “me”. I’m starting to appreciate the fact that most of my thoughts have been about this “self”, hoping to either protect it or enhance it or use it to stand strong against others. Somehow, over the years, I’ve nourished the notion that nothing is more important than shielding and strengthening this small, separate self called “me” — and now, almost 80, I’m just starting to understand how irrepressible this preoccupation has become. This, to me, is selfishness of a high order, and it’s something I want to hold up in a light, look at clearly, and then hopefully leave behind. This meager and insignificant “me” which has occupied so much of my time for almost eight decades must be set on the scrap pile where it belongs. The only “self” I want to support and make stronger in my senior-citizen years is the one called “Life”, the  vast, mysterious marvel of which each of us is an indissoluble  part. That would be a commitment, a dedication, worth undertaking, far more praiseworthy than the pledge to protect a silly little “me”.  


Tuesday, September 7, 2021


            It’s fun to think of each day – each moment, each thing, each event, each thought – as being enthusiastic. The word ‘enthusiasm’ derives from the Latin word enthusiasmus which means’inspiration’ or ‘frenzy’, and the Latin comes from the Greek word ‘theos’, which means ‘god’ – so I like to picture each day as being inspired, and in a frenzy, about opportunities to show off the sacredness, the godlikeness – of absolutely everything. I see each moment as eager and lively, excited to present some brand-new miracles to me. I picture everything as being enthusiastic. The chair I’m sitting in is passionate about keeping me comfortable, and my desk is wholeheartedly committed to securely holding my computer and keyboard as I type these words. Even these words seem passionate as they parade across the computer screen just now. And thoughts – how vivacious they are as they throw themselves around inside me, while my feelings spiritedly sway and spin. I like to think of life – or Life, with the nickname of ‘Now’ – as a zealous adventurer, and I love the thought that I am its constant companion, an exuberant follower of a dynamic and hearty hero.


One day, 
the word 'agreeable' 
gave its best gift
to a sadly quarrelsome man,
and the man suddenly saw 
the wisdom of assenting.
He turned to his wife 
and wished she would speak 
so he could agree,
and he gave his enthusiastic consent 
to the wheezing in his lungs. 
At breakfast, 
the lukewarm coffee 
gave him the chance 
to be courteous to it, 
and he greeted a pain in his foot
in a chivalrous manner. 
He made some mistakes that day,
which made him mad, 
but he simply smiled 
at his anger, 
and it softly disappeared. 


Thursday , June 17, 2021


            ‘Big’ is not a fancy word, not one of those multi-syllabic words that can make a sentence sound smooth and sophisticated, and yet it is a word that says a lot about life, about today, and about every single moment. Life itself is big – very big. There’s no way that the vastness of life could ever be measured. I, and all of us, live in a universe of colossal size, and our individual lives are just as immense, spreading out endlessly in all directions. To myself, I usually seem fairly small and trivial, but when I step back and see the ‘big picture’, I see a life called ‘Hamilton Salsich’ that’s as spacious as the boundless sky. Today, too, will be huge, ‘a big day’, a stupendous unfolding of major miracles. I probably won’t notice many of the miracles, but they’ll be there, always unrolling in their almighty way. Every breath I take will be a marvel, and every thought that throws itself across my life will be stupendous in some special way. Each person I see today will be somehow significant, both for me and for the universe, and all the passing moments will be consequential and far-reaching. Today, life will be a ‘big shot’. Each moment, if I listen carefully, will ‘talk big’ to me, and will ‘think big’, as well. Life will carry a very ‘big stick’ today, and I hope I can pay attention as it swaggers around, almost – but not quite – ‘too big for its britches’.   


Right now
there are pencils and pens on desks,
and there are thoughts 
throwing themselves across the skies of lives, 
and there are moments made of miracles, 
blossoming and prospering. 
Right now, 
no one is normal,
everyone is bizarre
in the best way. 
Right now, 
never take your eyes off 
right now.