Thursday, May 5, 2022

Note: I start my reflection today with a quote from a poem by John Keats. In this poem, Keats writes about how the Spanish explorer Cortez and his men must have felt when, in their explorations, they reached a mountain peak where, to their surprise, they suddenly saw a vast body of water, later to be named ‘the Pacific Ocean’.


“Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes

He stared at the Pacific – and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise –

Silent upon a peak in Darien.”

— John Keats, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”

I’m always hoping to more often feel what “stout Cortez” and his men felt on that “peak in Darien”. Keats pictures them standing on a hill above the Pacific Ocean, staggered by the scene, and I would like to foster more of that kind of bewilderment and wonder in my life. Cortez and his men saw a startling sight, and every day – every moment – I am witness to scenes which, in their own special ways, are just as amazing. Hard as it is to remember during the sometimes wearisome routines of the day, the various circumstances that arise around me are as unique and mystifying as the Pacific Ocean, and really, the only suitable response to them is honest amazement. The life I share with Delycia is my “Darien”, and wherever I happen to be is the “peak” where I can look “with a wild surmise” at the inscrutable magnificence of life. A “surmise” is a guess, a supposition, a hunch, and that’s honestly all I have when it comes to understanding the things I see and experience. In the end, they’re all complete conundrums to me. If you ask me to make clear the mystery of even the simplest circumstance – the look of lamplight on a table, the sound of a car coming past the house, the whole sky shining at 7:00 a.m. — all I could do is make a hit-or-miss guess, a “wild surmise”. A better response might be to stay respectfully silent, like the astonished explorer and his men.


Below … some scenes from our walk on Napatree Beach this morning …

… and here’s Delycia with her next-door neighbor friend …



Friday, March 4, 2022

         Today, like all of them, will be an imperial one, and I hope I can appreciate the majesty of it. Every single moment, even worrisome ones, will be somehow magnificent, dressed in princely clothes and arriving with impressive pronouncements. I should make a slight but serious bow to each moment, showing obeisance to its splendor. On our daily walk, I’ll see the trees curtseying as stately breezes sweep through, and my thoughts may often feel more majestic than a sunrise. All my feelings today, even the smallest, will be kingly and queenly, as if royalty is right beside me. True, most of the time I’ll just be walking or standing or sitting in our small, humble house, but there will be something distinguished even in the soft carpets, and even a cup of water will have a royal look.  

Below is our chalkboard poem for today …


Thursday, August 5, 2021


         It’s fun to think of a day as being noble – and truly, all of them are. This day that lies in front of me – this splendid August 5 – is of noble birth, having been created by the infinitely magnanimous universe. All of its 16 hours that I will be awake for will be honorable, each of those 960 minutes will be stately and glorious, and all those 57,000 seconds will be awe-inspiring beyond description. Trouble is, I may not be ‘awake’ enough to appreciate the loftiness and splendor of this unique – but also very ‘typical’ – day. Because of my fairly steady habit of musing and fantasizing, I may miss the magnificence that will stand at the center of each moment today. Lost in busyness and bustle, I may forget that today is made from stars and atoms that burst into being before time began, and that all of its hours will be as sublime as sunrises.  As I write this, at 4:59 a.m., I am on the threshold of marvelous and flawless August 5, 2021. May I be filled with awe and esteem for the next 57,000 seconds.