We follow nature

Last weekend we got about 4 inches of rain overnight. When I went on a hike, and saw what’s in this video, I thought “Funny how the water followed the path.”

Who follows who?

My mind immediately alerted me to a potential fallacy. A “which came first” idea presented itself. Isn’t it more likely that water made this path? Rain overflow creates little streams, especially in the spring. Some are freshets, have a relatively deep bed, and can run for months if its a wet season. Not great for a path.

But a lot of time there are washes for when a big storm overflows the system of ponds and streams and rivulets, and more water runs off. As water always does, it tends to gather and find a way to flow down. I’m thinking these are the path makers: yes they get wet, but only briefly, and dry fairly quickly, which means we can walk on them most of the time.

Humans are smart, and you can also say we’re either thrifty or a bit lazy. It is far easier to follow a path given to us by nature than to have to hack a new path through its bushes, trees and tangles.

So my new thought is: “Look how we follow that path of water.”

Back for #Tankatuesday

Haven’t written in a bit, but I’m back with another #tankstuesday

This one is an actual tanka, 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic form.

I am wandering 

Even though I know this trail. 

The green buds are new. 

Dressing the familiar in 

Bright and renewing beauty. 

Hope you like it! Join in here.

Beauty of death and decay

Yesterday, I wrote about how a carpet of yellow pine needles helped me understand the idea of the individual within a greater unity.  

I kept wanting to write about the decay aspect of the pine needles. After all, they are coating the ground because they have fallen. Though they were once growing, attached to twig branch and bole, now they lay where they fell. 

I didn’t write about it because it led me to a different concept. We all are familiar with the circle of life, and we know that death and decay are part of it. But I like examples, they make me think of the deeper parts of a general idea. 

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The end of numbers

When the relevance of numbers disappears, that’s oneness.  

I thought of this while walking a path bathed in yellow pine needles. With the word “bathed”, I’m trying to express the expanse of the needles. Pressed under my feet, stretching behind me and ahead. Blanketing the woods to either side. Stretching in every direction beyond my view.  

I think of the process of counting each one. I try to glimpse meaning beyond the absurdity of the task. Absurd because how long would it take to even count the number in ten square feet, never mind the huge expanse in Great Pond State Forest?

When the relevance of numbers disappears, that’s oneness.  

The idea is attempting to express the woven unity of this carpet of needles. A vast, interlinked skein. Yes, made of individual shafts, but the repetition speaks to me a giant tan fabric. Is not fabric made of many connected threads? 

Envisioning this helps me better understand the Taoist concept of merging the truth of individuality within the connection of totality. Losing numbers in this small world of pine needles, that are losing their color and returning to the earth, connects me to the immense unity that I am apart from and a part of. 

The peak of family and friendship

For this weeks #SundayStills photo challenge, the prompt is #peek-a-boo. It does give the option to use peak, so I went with this picture of our niece and her fiancé at the peak of a local hill. Also, this is a peek into the life of my wife and I, as we develop a growing friendship with this wonderful couple. We’re looking forward to another visit this weekend.

This challenge lasts all week. If you want to join, check it out here.

Excerpt from Tao of Thoreau

I was going through my book looking for good passages that I will use in a philosophy unit in one of my classes. This passage stood out to me:


We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities.

We loiter in winter while it is already spring.


Earlier, Thoreau warned not to try to turn spring into summer; here he warns not to obsess on the past. Lao Tzu said:

Why was it that the ancients prized this Tao so much? Because it could be got by seeking for it, and the guilty could use it to escape the stain of guilt. This is the reason that all under heaven consider it a valuable thing.

Learn from mistakes and missed opportunities and apply this learning going forward.  Practice forgiving yourself, especially if you have accepted the lessons from your mistakes.

If you are interested in buying my book, click this link.


Five-hundred books!

I have to say, this brings me a lot of pride and joy. I’ve said before that it was a tough decision for me to self-publish. Not just because it felt like a defeat to not get accepted by a publisher, but more importantly I realized that I would have to promote the book myself.

I guess I’m doing a pretty good job!

I was thinking today about the rejection letters that I received when I submitted Tao of Thoreau for publication. Two of them were real disappointments because they expressed interest at first: I really thought the dream would come true. Due to those near successes, I held on to the idea of being published, until I finally made the decision to give it a go.

Now, I’m thinking of each of those books as an acceptance letter. And that’s a good feeling!

I think I’ve turned a mental corner about my writing. I feel more like an accomplished author every day, and the wannabee dreamer is being put behind.