Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What Is Your Passion

My wife asked this evening, "What is your passion?"

A wife sort of question if there ever was one.

(Man's mental response: 'Passion?')

"Other than writing," she added.

Ouch. Ummm ...




(The man is now enthused, having finally discovered his passion).

"But, you can fish here, and you never fish."

"No, no, I mean fishing. You know, like--"

[like fly casting, in a mountain lake, with the sun just rising over the eastern hilltops. swimming down the slopes like cold silver and washing across the meadow and plucking up the flower tops and naming every one and trampling through the huckleberries and splashing through the shallow canals and kicking up frogs and salamanders and polywogs and then spilling out gold onto the rocky shore and turning the mirror of deep water to the sky and the sky to the water so that the puffy clouds skim along like boats both above and below, and all of it, everything, comes to lap against your pant-legs, tingle in your fingers, kiss your brow with mist from the tip of your pole and from the line and leader in their seeking arc ...

(you know, fishing, where you skirt the mucky brook by cutting through the woods and emerge again where the rocky shelf spills down from the shore to the shallows to the green of the deep water and you wade out waist deep, lake filling your pockets and your creel and floating your fly box and turning the speckled sides of the caught fish and the creel strap pulling on your shoulder and your forgotten pack of cigarettes wet and your cap bill pulled down against the face-front breeze blowing the mosquitoes back to the grassy verge where you have set a can of beer between two rocks to cool and you see the right spot, the spot you were seeking, where the sility shelf decends and the water turns and a riffle runs along the divide like a rapid snake and a large brook trout suddenly breaks the surface, a poem of three worlds, grace defined ...

(the aromatic smoke of my father's pipe. and mosquito repellent. and trout kept fresh between fronds of grass. and the scent of beer, and wind, and shallow water, and his unshaved whiskers. and the sharp scent of cedar sweating in the sun. and smoke from a campfire somewhere. and lilypads. and the motionless pond in the windless nook. and the minnows that dart just beyond our boot-toes. and the cheese and crackers my mother had sent. and my brother's red hair. his blue eyes. and the far shore from which we had come. and the sun just touching the very top of the tallest tree on the highest hill at the western-most edge of the earth.

(fishing. fly casting. and the long way home.

"Okay. Writing. Fishing. And what? What else? What is your passion?"

What else is there?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Evening Walk in Renon

Evening walk in Renon -- always the same, always somehow new.

Evening in Renon

Ah, such a pleasant evening. While the sun sets, a cool breeze soothes the tired brow of the day and lifts every care to careless caprice, all as insubstantial as paper kites. The children are out in the streets, and their parents, too, and the game of the day is badminton, of which the wind makes gentle farce. "Halo!" they shout, swinging their racquets, chasing the birdie, shaking the singing tree - men, women, girls, boys, bikes, bushes, storefronts, alleys, roses, dogs, cats, bells, gods, and the bakso man with the umbrella - Halo! Just being alive is an incomparable gift which neither wants nor knows a fee.

Friday, July 21, 2017


My not so "furious" friend here is Samuel, whom I believe I have mentioned before. Samuel is a hardworking young man and, aside from working as a doorman at Starbucks, comes here to the house once a week to clean and mop and so on. Additonally, we have found work for him with two friends. Samuel appreciates this, as his wife, who currently in school training to be a teacher, is six months pregnant, and they will need all the money they can get to support the new member of their family. Often, we will have Samuel and his wife stay for lunch. On the menu today: Nasi Campur. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Little Big Tree

A few flowers, pink, hesitant, have returned to the tops of the top branches of the little tree in the back yard which has now grown tall, like a son or a daughter whom one sees every day but sees again, suddenly, in a world apart, already grown, taller than oneself, stretching to its own ends. The late afternoon breeze plucks at the petals, plays the branches like a conductor's baton, a new song woven from two or three notes, that tune set down in the beginning, and fashions of these a life its own. If one listens carefully, one can hear it, though one must, for a moment, leave the foundation aside in order to fully perceive what is new. This composition composes itself, becomes what it is and what it will in the next moment be. It is a song of lifted arms, of open palms, of seeking leafs and blooming buds. It is the song we sang from the very first day, and before the first day, from the far end of an aged galaxy, playing its meaning on strings of starlight, the sole beneficiary of a harmony unknown. 

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Secret Signer

I remember reading in a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald that he would, in the latter years of his short life, occassionally stroll into this or that bookstore, announce himself as "F. Scott Fitzgerald, the famous author", and request a copy of one of his now out-of-print novels. 😅 Inspired by his self-deprecating humor, I occasionally enjoyed a similar quest. I would enter a bookstore, search for a copy of my own out-of-print young adult novel, and then surreptitiously sign the title page, along with a brief, scribbled note. This always felt as if I were defacing the thing, or somehow defiling an otherwise clean copy, and so I would have whatever companion I was with stand in front of me in order to block the view. I could just imagine being detected by a diligent, though humorless clerk, who would wag a finger and say, "You mark it, you buy it!"