NAIVE (and a trail walk)

 A Word Like Light: NAIVE

         The older I get – and I’m now 81 – the happier I am to know that I am utterly naive. When I was younger, I prided myself on increasing my knowledge – exploring the complexities of life and coming to all sorts of important understandings. I guess I felt like it was inevitable that I would eventually comprehend most of the meanings of life. It was as though life was an extremely complicated puzzle, but one that could eventually be solved by a person with a deep-thinking mind. Now, however, in these rousing senior days, a new and seemingly older sun has slowly risen and shown me the incredible beauty of what I can only call unsophistication. I see, in this new light, that I am as ingenuous as the gentle leaves swirling in the trees these days. Leaves don’t understand their lives. They simply sway and swing – and effortlessly fall when autumn comes, and more and more now, I’m swaying and swinging with satisfaction and innocence, trusting that life is leading me in perfect ways. Does that mean I’m living like an immature kid? Yes, perhaps – and proud of it, because when living things reach maturity they begin to die, and I feel, in a way, like I’m just starting to truly live, like I’m a naive 81-year-old kid, wide-eyed with wonder at what this universe performs every single second. Yes, there is death and destruction here and there around the world, but my naivety helps me also see the goodness and graciousness that’s literally everywhere. I’m thankful for my 81-year-old childlikeness. I do see the darkness, but, like a boy, I am awed by the stars shining above every darkness.


Today, Delycia and I took another refreshing hike on the trail at a Avery Farm Nature Preserve, and all I could feel was my astonishing good fortune at being able to do something like this it the age of 81. I felt youthful and spry as we walked, even when I had to occasionally pause on an upslope to catch my breath. The woods around me seemed to sing, in their winter silence, about the specialness of old age. Senior trees seemed to stand still in respect and esteem as we passed, and the far-off songs of birds sounded like praise to me. I definitely was a lucky old dude as we paced along with spirit. (Below are some scenes.)



Monday, September 19, 2022

         Today will be a day of great power. A multicolored sky will have the ability to softly blow clouds and light along the softly passing hours, and peacefulness will rule over silly worries and fears. All decisions will be made by the eternal present with its natural authority, and quietness will have a secret command over everything. Each and every moment will be masterful in making everything happen that needs to happen. Feelings will flow under the sway of the universe itself, and awareness will show its supremacy in its hidden, humble way. I won’t have to grasp anything today, because everything will be in the easy and supreme grasp of right now, and I won’t need to resist anything since everything will have satisfaction sitting in dominance inside it. Today will be a day of supreme and everlasting power – for me, for all of us, for everything, and forever.   


There is a power that works inside us,
a wind from a forest forever. 
There is a motion 
like ships on the sea
in our hearts, 
and a quick whistle of kindness
in every morning of our minds. 
There is something you must see – 
a breeze inside you all the way,
the start of springtime every day.  
“Flower Power”, oil on canvas by Julie Hermanson



Friday, February 11, 2022

         Today I will be introduced to countless marvelous aspects of life. Each moment will bring into being a brand-new beginning of everything, and I will be there to witness it. Life, today, will continually initiate new methods and means, as well as new thoughts, feelings, scenes, events, people, and things. Fresh experiences will continually be set in motion by the Universe, and peace and satisfaction will endlessly get going all around me. Passing moments will make me acquainted with quietness and wisdom, and the sky and its shifting clouds will advance new ideas about peacefulness. Grass and trees and streets, if I let them, will introduce me today to appreciation and satisfaction, and my chair in the sunroom, as always, will announce the appearance of happiness. 



Tuesday, February 8, 2022

            In the summer, when I hear birds calling back and forth across the yard, I sometimes make believe they’re calling me. “Hello, Ham,” I hear them saying, “pay attention to what’s happening. Don’t miss this amazing day.” There are other calls that seem to come to me: the call of trees around our house as they wave in the wind and want me to watch them carefully; the call of the pendulum clock on the wall in our living room as it ticks and tells me to make the most of all the moments; the call of a clementine on the counter to come and enjoy its juiciness. As a teenager, I was encouraged to listen for the call to the ministry from a God who seemed to reside somewhere in the sky, but since then I’ve found another God, the One that lives in all of us, including birds and trees and clocks and clementines, the One that loves to let me know about the beauty of each newborn moment, the One that calls to me to see the sacredness of everything. Those are the calls I’m listening for on these effusive and satisfying senior days.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021


         Each moment today has the potential to be very rewarding. They won’t all be to my liking, or exactly what I hoped for, but they could all be satisfying. I could take a deep, grateful breath each moment and say, “Yes, this is precisely what I need.” The key is getting my small, pesky ‘self’ and its pestering desires out of the way so I can clearly see the prizes offered in each and every moment.

(about Bill M., 87, Blessings CT)

His grandchildren are growing up,
but at the same time,
their Grandpa Billy is growing down –
and grateful to finally be doing it.
Instead of reaching for higher achievements
and superior status
(which he spent decades doing),
he's walking down into the sweet valley
of satisfaction.
Instead of climbing toward ever more knowledge,
he's resting with the easy wisdom
that comes with contentment.
Instead of higher and better awards and rewards,
He's searching for the commonplace prizes
presented by every present moment.
The sight of a small toad
hopping down in the grass 
means way more to Bill
than reaching some lofty goal
or accomplishing some tricky task.
He says let kids be the ones who grow up.
This elder citizen is growing down
into the friendly fields
     of fulfillment.  



Saturday, July 31, 2021

         The word ‘satisfied’ comes from the Latin word ‘satis’, meaning ‘enough’, and today I hope to remember that life provides more than enough for me each and every moment. I should be pleased with whatever happens today, because, in one way or another, it will be a bountiful gift. Just the beauty of breathing in and breathing out should bring me contentment, and simply sitting silently at my desk and clicking the computer keys should keep me smiling with satisfaction. The ability to easily get up out of a chair in my 79th year should bring me gladness today, since it is truly an amazing skill, and each passing scene I see should bring me the good cheer of a child with a new toy. Indeed, life itself is a brand new toy I will receive each moment, a gift of unfathomable value which should fill me, all day, with the sincerest kind of satisfaction. 

Two scenes from our walk on the shore of Long Island Sound yesterday …

Delycia stopping for a picture
a lovely seaside cottage