The Natural Bridge

Many take shelter from feeling too much within
Some will tell you it’s a mortal sin
To fly so high and steep so low
Just as Perceval in tales of old 
But to know when all else fails
When all is lost down the streets of desire
And the blind eye of regret is all that one feels
You will soon come to a realization that the truest feeling is within the heart
That light and love are born of a sacred vow
And the only real freedom there is, inhabits this very moment
The only thing they can take away from you is the gift of solitude, to fear it, to be deprived of the comfort of one’s own company
And to subsequently demolish the natural bridge to the universe…

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October

“All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to the field, hollow and the lone voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.” -Thomas Wolfe

Looking back over my life, it appears October has been a singular event for me in many ways as the first frost, covers like a blanket of crushed ice across the top of lawns and the roof of houses and barns. And what are some of the things that remind me of October? The end of the harvest… the harvest moon… the music of Bach… sleeping with the windows open… old dogs warming their chilled bones by the fire… geese flying in formation… blackbirds sing in the dead of night… bats waking from the rafters of an old barn heading toward an ageless nocturnal ritual…

The sweet fragrance of gardenias… the delicate colors of pansies… freshly brewed coffee… the season’s first hot chocolate… days of contemplation and wonder. The reflected light from the setting sun… clear and cool nights… the cat sleeps longer… dogs bark louder…hobbits drinking beer in the post-dawn sun… bats returning from a hard day’s night as squirrels gather nuts and acorns for their winter stores… the month of my diagnoses…. red-tailed hawks… walking man singing frost is on the pumpkin and hay is in the barn… my daughters birth… owls… and you are on my mind.

*Copyright-2019-9-JC

Dragonfly

I’m told that your ancestors go back to the mystic mountains of old where there are stories of many a dragons lair teeming with gold. In truth, you’re one of the first creatures to crawl out from the birth waters of Mother Earth. Many years removed from those times not only in size but also in temperament as you witnessed the Bodhi Tree, the Sermon on the Mount, the first singing of the Veda’s. With translucent wings, you fly over a tranquil pond untouched by ripples, as your mind is calm and untroubled by the dance of time and space, going beyond the known world; fluid, poised and powerful as a dancer of ballet.


Either from the gods of old or from the universe as claimed by modernity, His is the method of our forefathers that you lay secret too, where one’s connection to one’s ground of being is one with all there is.

You are the harbinger of change and maturity mining from a deeper well. A red-tailed hawk in your service flies upward to the sky, retrieving a message from the west wind destined for you.

Like a still point, you hover, meditating in your quiet way, for the awareness of an enlighten Heaven and Earth. Then to fly with wings interdependent to the six directions, across land and sea as you give witness to Gaia. Is she doomed for giving life to her less than noble children? Is it time for Shiva’s dance of fire? But alas the destroyer is also the creator, a continuum of divine proportions.For you are the very epitome of change, as you make your way through the very air you call home, onward to time evermore.

copyright2019-9-jc… images by pixabay55

In Vagabond Dreams

Not all who wander are lost”
-Tolkein

No, we are not lost but locked hand in hand with a destiny not always understood. We set forth not by force or a lack of responsibility but in love; a love which rules with the heart’s intensity for truth… jc

I’ve arrived back from my sojourn, none the worse for wear guided by Hermes, the messenger of the gods… seeking the grace of his good council. Such wisdom as has been drawn from a cauldron of nine maidens for centuries on end.

It isn’t necessarily the physical miles that earn one trust on the road but if the distance isn’t owing to any fan fair or parade as such but to what might be called an eternal state of mind or being. For example, how bizarre would it be to see the eternal in William Blake’s grain of sand, to sense it on a spiritual level? The miles that role can achieve this phenomenon for you. Some may call this day a daydream but all give evidence toward a spiritual exsperience.

As we see that it is the journey that is of most importance and not necessarily the physical destination. So what of this trip we’ve been on. It is indeed relative to call it long or even arduous. It’s relative to each of us.

One feels the need for the open country, the crowded city, the mesmeric ocean, or the reclusive mountains at any one point in life. And as time moves on to an uncertain fate, so does the wandering spirit we give title to as the gypsy, the pilgrim, the bohemian.

Is our faith blind? Maybe not, but still allow me to sail to the other shore to live, to learn, to contemplate. And I will be sure not to walk before its time, to only setting forth when the red-tailed hawk appears in the new dawn light with a secret from the sky and calls me on to another home.

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All In Time

As many of you know I struggle with Parkinson’s disease. In the years since my diagnoses so much has changed either because of me or in spite of me… work, moving, kids, meeting new friends and renewing old ones. Never was I one to try and deny my circumstances for it was cathartic just to know this is what ails me, now what can I do. Sure I tried to conceal my tremors and the way I walked but time has a way of liberating all secrets. In the guise of this generative, physical and cognitive condition I do battle with the dragon time and time again for time comes to the aid of every decision under heaven, be it an angel in heaven or devil in hell. There is much truth in this as Perceval and the ailing Fisher King, seeking the question, “what ails you, Sir, what ails you”? Compassion flowering the good earth. Perhaps it is also a bit like Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “man must not distance his brotherhood even with the worse of men.” For sometimes your the dragon and sometimes not.

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Sail On

My sails catch wind from inhospitable surroundings into darkened waters. And to see any light only intends to surround me with more darkness. It is in this velvet serenity that at times I feel most at home. Give me the bare shadow of a new moon or the slight crescent of the bull moon so not to take away from the seemingly contradictory warmth of a dark cold night. I visit this place often and its focus is always on a new understanding, a perception different from the previous stay but somehow the same in its approach to life and love.

©jc2019-9… Images by Picsabee …

Song of the City and the River

In the heart of the night, In the cool falling rain, There’s a full moon in sight, Shining down on the Ponchartrain, And the river she rises, Just like she use to do, She’s so full of surprises, She reminds me of you, In the heart of the night Down in New Orleans. -Paul Cotton

I was born in the city of New Orléans or maybe the proper wording is, ‘the city was born in me.’ For biology and geography do not always equate to the affections one may have with this city by the Mississippi River. However, this is the only hypothesis that offers any explanation to why a person born far from this storied land experiences an acute scene of being ‘one’ with the area while others born into it leave; never to return.

There is a love, hate relationship with the city and its environment and the rest of the world. If ask my place of birth, eyes will light up with enthusiasm or withdraw in contempt. Both the interest and scorn associated with the amount of decadence and corruption New Orléans is infamous for. But this is only part of the story, as there exist a multitude of reasons to love or hate this place I call home and the clues lie within the cadence of the various personalities and the history that makes up this hallowed ground and how they unite into one symphony.

To get the full gist of my birth city, one needs to understand the character of the populace influenced by the geography of the area. How the passing of time from one generation to the next along with the constant ebbing and surging issuing forth from the Mississippi River through the centuries have affected the ethos of the culture, a culture rich in the hardships and miracles of life and the ability to say yes to living and to dying. The city is synonymous with the river and in many ways one born or moved to the environs of southeast Louisiana is forever influenced by the river and its lore. Hardly a day goes by that its force is not felt in one situation or another.

There exist a tug of war within my heart when I moved away years ago that never quite subsides. To stay can leave a person without direction wandering aimlessly in a desolate wasteland of his or her own making. To leave can haunt your soul, for a part of you is gone, never to return the same. Whether you stay or leave, a balance is required and the ability to pay homage to the mighty river and its city is of necessity. When I moved away I soon came to appreciate and love my place of birth all the while knowing I could never have stayed or could I ever move back. We each needed distance from each other, so in time we’d learn to love and respect one another.

There are many gods and demons in this land, and each one must be dealt a hand and given its due. They intersect, sometimes in harmony, other times in hostility. They come from every direction; from the Catholic Church to Voodoo rituals passed on from Haitian immigrants and influenced by each subsequent nationality that has come to call this land home; Spanish, French, English, Irish, Creole, Cajun, Native American, African, German and so on. So we light our candles, make the sign of the cross in front of every church, and buy our voodoo dolls… we dress up for Mardi Gras, go to confession on Ash Wednesday, fast for the 40 days of Lent and do it all over again after Easter, all to live in an uneasy peace with ourselves.

The French explorer, La Salle claimed the river and the land drained by its waters for France in 1682. The land named Louisiana after King Louis XIV while the river retained the French pronunciation of the Native American word, Misi sipi meaning “big water”, a dialect of the Algonquin language group comprising such tribes as the Ojibwa, Fox, Cheyenne, Cree and the Algonquin. The Lakota referred to the river as the “Grandfather of all Rivers”.

For La Salle, the Native Americans, and all who have seen the river and sense its greatness as it meanders down from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, some 2,340 miles, one is easily humbled by its grandeur. In numeric terms, it is staggering. If you judge the distance to the headwaters of its longest tributary, the Missouri River, the distance is 5,970 miles. At its birth, the river is twelve feet in width and only one and a half feet deep, a mere child; and as it gathers age on its long trek south the river is 3000 to 5000 feet wide with a depth of nine to twelve feet; a venerable respected elder.

About 593,000 cubic feet of water discharged every second, the sixth largest expulsion of water in the world. With its numerous tributaries, comprising other predominate rivers as the Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and the Arkansas rivers, about 1,150,000 square miles of land drained, the largest in North America as far as land mass concerned and the third largest in the world.

This consensus of water is a spiritual one, the godhead of waters. Orthodox, secular, and metaphysical, it knows no prejudice to any creed or dogma. Hence the nicknames, Father of Waters or Old Man River…..

When I was younger, many nights I sat by the levee staring out at the expanse of water down from the crescent in the river across from Jackson Square. Sometimes I would ride the Algiers ferry over to the west bank. In my imagination, I saw the entanglement of river, land and city reminding me of the big and little dipper and the North Star. The river is Ursa Major, the Missouri and Ohio Rivers are Alfa and Beta, the Gulf of Mexico is Ursa Minor and the shining jewel of New Orléans, Polaris. It became a constellation, always there to guide me wherever I lay my hat.

©jc2019-9…. Image by Pixabay

Hawthorne’s Chamber

The following passage is found in the notebooks of Nathaniel Hawthorne, dated Salem, October 4, 1836, Union Street. To me, it speaks volumes about the human heart and its longing that is every bit as important today as it was then. But what is most enchanting is it allows me to converse with the past as though Nathaniel was sitting right here, at this moment. It is the written word which allows this sublime bit of magic to take place. Every time we open a book or write a letter to someone, we are emulating the philosopher’s long conversation across the miles.

I often come back to this passage time and time again when I’m in need of guidance or should I say, a jewel on the road to awareness. I hope it leaves you with as much encouragement as it has me.

Best Regards, JC

Here I sit in my accustomed chamber, where I used to sit in days gone by… Here I have written many tales, many which have burned to ashes, many which have doubtless deserved the same fate. This claims to be called a haunted chamber, for thousands upon thousands of visions have appeared to me in it; and some few of them have become visible to the world. If ever I should have a biographer, he ought to make great mention of this chamber in my memoirs, because so much of my lonely youth was wasted here, and here my mind and character were formed; and here I have been glad and hopeful and here I have been despondent. And here I sat a long, long time, waiting patiently for the world to know me, and sometimes wondering why it did not know me sooner, or whether it would ever know me at all, at least, till I was in my grave. And sometimes it seemed as if I were already in the grave, with only life enough to be chilled and benumbed. But oftener I was happy, at least, as happy as I then knew to be, or was aware of the possibility of being.

By and by the world found me in my lonely chamber, and called me forth, not, indeed, with a loud roar of acclamation, but rather still, small voices, and forth I went, but found nothing in the world that I thought preferable to my old solitude till now… And now I begin to understand why I was imprisoned so many years in this lonely chamber and why I could never break through the viewless bolts and bars; for if I had sooner made my escape into the world, I would have grown hard and rough, and been covered with earthly dust, and my heart might have become callous by rude encounters with the multitudes… But living in solitude till the fullness of time has come, I still kept the dew of my youth and the freshness of my heart… I used to think I could imagine all passions, all feelings, and states of the heart and mind; but how little did I know! Indeed, we are but shadows; we are not endowed with real life, and that which seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream, till the heart be touched. That touch creates us, then we begin to be, thereby we are beings of reality and inheritors of eternity.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

©jc2019-9

*Images courtesy of Pixabay

Vishnu’s Dream

Once upon a dream in a time not long ago while sailing the dark silent sea in the vicinity of the constellation Crux which harbors the Southern Cross, our pilgrim found himself immersed in unwritten words, wordless readings, and silent teachings, for he now understood that nature is the true teacher in all of our ways of understanding words. The true understanding of what he read enveloped and afforded him the real test of insight, what he called intuition, instinct, a sixth sense.

The stuff of the mind can be calm in one instance and treatuous in another just like the river, beneath the surface, are rip currents wanting to pull the flow of water under into opposite directions much like the way the currents in the mind work. Indeed some drown in these waters never to be heard from again while others embrace themselves in timeless fluidity.

And where do we go next oh great ocean? Will we find our Pilgrim circumnavigating just as assuredly as brave Magellan did in days of old? Why none other than the cosmic ocean the same one where Vishnu dreams the universe into being for isn’t that what we’re doing, dreaming our lives into being. So we set sail in a boat made of dreams through an ocean made of stardust to the other shore as the backdrop of our lives slowly disappears into oblivion and the next adventure unfolds.

September

As fields of green grass, cover my feet, I place nine rows of nine candles…surrounding a circle of nine candles not unlike the wheels of a bicycle. Flowers grow from the center, and more grow from the adjacent rows of nine for all paths congregate at the center. And the act of lighting these candles is enough to move the very fabric of the universe and all who conspire in that endeavor… they are sacred to my eyes and in the name of love for all who travel this road.

For many love and mindfulness arrive courtesy of September, the ninth month, the month of Virgo, the virgin queen. She is the month of shine courtesy of Vulcan, the god of fire and the forge. Vulcan may be at fault for the abundance of fire on earth in September… from the hearth to natural disasters such as volcanoes and the fires of industry, but most of all Volcans real work is burning off all the negative aspects of personalities and egos of humankind. We see this when Isis disguised as a maid takes a child into the hearth and holds it to the fire.

One must do diligence in this kind of work. Whether chasing angels in Appalachia, lighting St. Elmo’s fire on the open seas or painting the rainbow, one must be quick as Pan and stealth as Mercury. Still, other jobs require a special lightness to the touch and an understanding of symbols like Om with the silent syllable or Shiva dancing in a circle of flames. Everything points to something else and that is the true magic.   

So I am mindful of the sacred order of things in the cosmos, heaven, and earth. I feel like a thief in the night except I’m leaving more than I came with. Again that is the trick as I am the true jester bringing one to a deeper understanding of themselves by way of the true sorcery at the threshold of silliness which lies dormant within each of us until we wake it up with the keys to our imagination pressed firmly in our hands.

©jc2019-9

song of amergin