Friday, November 13, 2009


He could tell by the woman's deeply creased, too tanned face and froggy voice;
she would lite up as soon as they landed.
Looking down, big things became smaller.
That reminded him of the only time,
he ever saw the shadow of his plane passing over a vast nubby carpet of clouds.
It was like the first time he peed in the woods.
Something more magnificent and powerful was occurring; he just wasn't sure what it was ?

Now that he was airborne, he looked for markers that would be an absolute indication where he was.
He looked for roads, highways, rivers and lakes.
Bodies of water were particularly fascinating.
From above, the blues, greens and purples seemed to paint an abstract of the water's depths.
Another palette called out to the sandbars that ribbed the coast.
Below him stretched out farmland, cities, baseball diamonds and gravel pits.
The predictability of the suburbs displayed patterns of small geometric dots.
People lived in those dots.
At night, the greenish street lights lit the roadways, and the whiter beams of cars made a slow procession of flickering lights.

In remote regions, he liked to follow trails that might wind around mountain terrains.
It was like tracing spirals in the sand.
Sometimes they might lead to a fabulous resort or a stunning lodge or just an old abandoned cabin.
The pathways he liked the best, were the ones that led nowhere.
They were like a pointless conversation, that just trailed off.

He was particularly interested in seeing golf courses, sports stadiums and nude sunbathing.
Fortunately, there were a lot of golf courses.
The fluffy white clouds could be conjured into an elephants, squirrels or manatees.
Once they were at cloud level he wondered if he actually believed in heaven ?
Making up animals or believing in the afterlife were really very different measurements of certainty.
Something he did learn; was water vapor forms tiny droplets or ice crystals, about 0.01 mm in diameter.
Clouds become visible when billions of icy crystals are suspended in the atmosphere above earth.
Every day he looked up into the sky and listened to the clouds.

He wondered what people thought they meant, when they talked about heaven.
Talking and believing are so different.
He wondered if people knew, that heaven was a place for hydrogen molecules.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Map Maker's Mother

A cartographer’s mother made cards to send her daughter.  The mother saved stamps from different countries.  The daughter knew her mother would steam the stamps, releasing them from the letters.  She would mount the stamps on colorful paper.  The daughter studied maps of places that no longer existed.
As she paused, the cartographer would think about her mother's life.

She hoped her mother was happy with the life she lived.
It made the map maker think about her own life too.

Being there is not a place.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Watson and the Shark

The boy's favorite painting was called "Watson and the Shark".
He would stand for hours and gaze deeply into the painting.
What intrigued the boy so much ?
Maybe it was how menacing the shark looked or the grave peril the boy felt for Watson ?
One day while studying the painting, a group of people crowded around him.
They were listening to a woman in a blue jacket.
She said the man holding the rope and the man in the water were doppelgangers.
The boy wasn't sure what this meant, but he could almost feel the savagery of shark's bite.
Given a choice, he'd rather be the man in the boat.
When he grew up, he would bring his children to see the painting.
They would all stand around the painting and talk about who they would be:
Watson, the Shark or the man with the rope.

Identity is in the eye of the beholder.

"Watson and the Shark" John Singleton Copley 1778

The Avatar and Zebras

When an economic crisis came to the ecosystem,
all the animals of the savanna were affected.
Maybe hardest hit were the zebras.
During tough times, nobody really liked black and white stripes.
Historically, belt tightening was a conservative preoccupation.
As hard as the zebras tried to become either all black or all white;
it never seemed to work.
They asked for assistance from a higher power.
Vishnu summoned Parasurama; Rama-of-the-axe to go the savanna
and quiet the crisis.
Although Parasurama was a warrior god; he was revered for his ability as a strategist.
The problem as Parasurama saw it, was one of perception.
Because everyone was concerned about the economy,
the zebras stood out as petulant and uncommitted.
Parasurama decided to make it rain and turn the arid savanna
into a mud bath.
All the animals became cloaked in a dark, muddy suit.
Everyone looked the same.
Now the animals focused on solving the problems; rather
than only assigning blame.
Eventually, peace and prosperity returned to the savanna.

Parasurama took his axe and ascended to the higher spiritual realm.

Perfection is unattainable, but acceptance is another story.

Photo credit : Peter Bland

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Avoidance Theory and the Greyhound

This Italian greyhound was rescued from a life of racing and poor treatment.
With the largest heart and percentage of fast twitch muscle of any breed, this greyhound was exceptionally gifted.
He was a solitary dog; preferring only the company of his beautiful mistresses.
They called him Manny.
When time came for a walk and the taking care of business;
Manny was expedient, staying well clear of other butt sniffing dogs.
His belief was a good day meant no contact with anybody,
especially other dogs and people who felt they should pet all dogs.

One day, Manny was curled up and nice and cozy dreaming about running with a pack of other greyhounds.
It was like everything was shiny, in slow motion and he was happy.
Suddenly he awoke, stretching his long body and yawning.
The dream intrigued him because he wondered if he had it all wrong.
Manny was most introspective, even for a greyhound.
He decided to change; he would smile, sniff butts and nuzzle people.
Precisely at that moment, he realized the glory of life was living.
At last, Manny felt the pure joy of simply being Manny.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Three Wishes

Three black crows were perched in a dogwood tree.
The first crow asked "If you could have a wish come true - what would it be ?"
The second crow said, "I'd wish for a winning lottery ticket."
The first crow said, "I'd be the winner of a reality show."
They asked the third crow, "What to you wish for ?"
The third crow, who was slightly depressed said, "I'd be happy to sing show tunes all day long."

Only you can truly know, what makes you happy.

The Line and the Sea

 It was a December day in Boston.
A man and woman walked towards each other.
Neither one could see the other because there was a hill between.
They were both dressed in black.
Even as they got closer, they were still unsure.

They met at the top of the hill.
After 30 years the man and woman were together again.
They had been lovers in art school when they were young.
In those days they made prints and paintings together.
One night she had too much to drink, crawled underneath a car and would not come out.

They had no idea how to put back the many years that separated them.
At first they were overjoyed to be back with each other, then overwhelmed by the history they no longer shared.
On this cold wintry day; but they decided to go for a walk on the beach.
They found a stick and drew a long, long line in the sand.
Then the man and the woman marked off each one of the 30 years.
For each mark and each year, they told the other a story of what had happened.

The next day they returned to the beach and the long line in the sand.
Over night the tide had washed the line away; and returned it to the sea.

There are no lines in the sea.

Untitled [Big Sea #1] Vija Celmins

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Mathematician and the Squirrels

A mathematician lived alone in a little white house, near a tall oak tree.
On Tuesdays he ate tuna casserole.
Each day he spent 6.5 hours working on equations and theories.
On Sunday he went for a long walk and would try to identify every tree he would pass by.
When he went to work at the college, he only walked on streets that began with the letter "B".
One day he saw two gray squirrels chasing each other.
As they raced onto the street, they were both crushed by a large black moving van.
The driver did not seem notice he had taken the lives of these two squirrels.
Ironically, the gilded letters of the truck said, "Death Wish Piano Movers".
The mathematician was stunned.
He thought there must be a connection, but he couldn't be certain.

Sometimes simplicity breeds ambiguity.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Too Short Shorts

Too Short Shorts

There was once a homeless man called "Too short shorts".
He would wear black bicycle shorts that were uncomfortably too small and too tight.
Too short shorts, would stagger and sway from too much drink and would ask people to give him a dollar.
Apparently he felt he needed to be very specific.
The people of the town had generous hearts and many times gave him money or
asked him what he wanted to eat and they would buy it for him.
One day people turned away from Too short shorts.
It may have been the pink furry slippers he wore or possibly the lime green tube top he had on.
No one was really sure.

Always dress for success.

The Woodcutter and the Forest

The woodcutter and the forest

A woodcutter had three sons.
As the boys grew to be men, they left the forest, to live in the city.
The oldest son became an urban planner.
The middle son got into retail.
And the youngest son became a writer.
The woodcutter missed his sons, but knew they must make their own way in the world.
To keep him from being so sad, the woodcutter carved 3 statues of his sons.
One day a fire burned down the forest.
The woodcutter fled the burning trees, barely escaping.
When the fire subsided, he returned only to find his house reduced to smoldering ashes.
The forest was burned down, so he had no way to make a living.
The statues of his three sons survived, remaining miraculously intact.
The woodcutter was torn about what to do.
Should he stay in the burned forest with the statues of his sons ?
Should he cut them down and take them with him ?
In the end he decided to leave the statues in the blackened forest.
The woodcutter hoped one day, the trees would grow back and the forest would return.
He hoped one day a grandson or granddaughter would return to the forest and become a woodcutter.

In life, you always hope to return to the forest.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Berserk Man and the Donuts

A young man in a white t-shirt, went berserk in Dunkin' Donuts.
First he opened the refrigerated cases and smashed gallons of whole, 2% and low fat milk on the floor.
Then he went behind the counter and crashed trays of donuts with colored sprinkles, jelly filled, maple sticks,
├ęclairs, French crullers, Boston Kreme and glazed munchkins; to the floor.
The donuts and the milk mixed crazily on the speckled tiled floor.
Customers ran out, the homeless ran in; but nobody said a word.
It just smelled like milk and donuts.

The pairing of things is sometimes very mysterious.

The Girl Who Loved Giraffes

A girl with dark hair loved giraffes.
She drew pictures of giraffes on her bedroom walls.
She took photographs of things on fire.
Her room was on the third floor, above a restaurant that had a good Zagat rating.
A collection of miniature plastic animals filled her wisteria colored room.
The girl with dark hair adopted a humpback whale named "Gary".
When she felt happy she would go on top of her roof and smile at her world.
Sometimes she blew bubbles so they might cascade around people's heads walking below on the sidewalk.
This angered the old lady, who lived across the street.
She called the police to complain.
The police told the girl she was breaking the law.
Boston had an ordinance called disturbing the peace.
The girl didn't think it made sense, but she wanted to be in compliance.
She knew when she left Boston she'd go to her roof, blow bubbles and smile at the world.

Peace and happiness are not the same thing

Christopher Walken and the Blue Frame

A shopkeeper ordered a beautiful blue picture frame.
Many times he would match photographs from Vanity Fair to put into the frames.
He thought this made them more appealing and easier to sell.
This time he found a great picture of Christopher Walken.
When he slid Christopher Walken's picture into the frame it was like magic.
The frame shone and Christopher Walken looked crazier than ever.
Because it was so stunning, the shopkeeper wanted to show it off and placed it in a position of great distinction;
high a top a shelf  across from the cash register.
One day, a tall, young woman in a dark coat came in and apparently admired it too.
The shopkeeper did not notice when the woman took the frame and put it into her bag.
She left without paying for it.

In difficult economic times, people will steal crazy things.