Gas prices

 The price of gas is the life of the planet.


Moving on

For now, this is my/our last day in Portugal. Tomorrow at 03h Fernando will drive me to the airport for my flight to the US.

"Valeu a pena? Tudo vale a pena se a alma nao e pequena." - Fernando Pessoa,  flâneur e poeta

"Was it worth it? Everything is worth it if the soul is not small."


Pessoa's last writing: 29-11-1935
"I know not what tomorrow will bring".
He died next day, 30 November 1935.


Pen and pruning hook

They say "the pen is mightier than the sword". True, but not true enough. The pen is a sword, the sword which is sharpened only when I turn it on myself.

Gone are the adolescent dreams of the glory of a tragic death, gone fascination with battles fought, won or lost. The validation of success is a tattered flag limp in the wind's fury. There is no enduring victory, only quiet at the end of things.

They say "beat the swords into plowshares and pruning hooks". The pen is also a shovel and a pruning hook. Dig and uncover the truth of things, the truth within, truth with a small "t". That is the truth that matters. Prune the rest.


Sung - Conflict


Hexagram 6
Sung - Conflict

Changing lines
/Line Three
He stands on his integrity, no matter what ill winds may blast him. Stand or fall, in the end he will remain exactly who he is.

/Line Four

Realizing the very root of conflict lies within his own heart, he lays down his arms and resolves to accept the things he cannot change.


Phase One

Phase One” from Bring Now the Angels
by Dilruba Ahmed, 2020

For leaving the fridge open
last night, I forgive you.
For conjuring white curtains
instead of living your life.

For the seedlings that wilt, now,
in tiny pots, I forgive you.
For saying no first
but yes as an afterthought.

I forgive you for hideous visions
after childbirth, brought on by loss
of sleep. And when the baby woke
repeatedly, for your silent rebuke

in the dark, “What’s your beef?”
I forgive your letting vines
overtake the garden. For fearing
your own propensity to love.

For losing, again, your bag
en route from San Francisco;
for the equally heedless drive back
on the caffeine-fueled return.

I forgive you for leaving
windows open in rain
and soaking library books
again. For putting forth

only revisions of yourself,
with punctuation worked over,
instead of the disordered truth,
I forgive you. For singing mostly

when the shower drowns
your voice. For so admiring
the drummer you failed to hear
the drum. In forgotten tin cans,

may forgiveness gather. Pooling
in gutters. Gushing from pipes.
A great steady rain of olives
from branches, relieved

of cruelty and petty meanness.
With it, a flurry of wings, thirteen
gray pigeons. Ointment reserved
for healers and prophets. I forgive you.

I forgive you. For feeling awkward
and nervous without reason.
For bearing Keats’s empty vessel
with such calm you worried

you had, perhaps, no moral
center at all. For treating your mother
with contempt when she deserved
compassion. I forgive you. I forgive

you. I forgive you. For growing
a capacity for love that is great
but matched only, perhaps,
by your loneliness. For being unable

to forgive yourself first so you
could then forgive others and
at last find a way to become
the love that you want in this world.



Night bird

Note to self
There is a bird here on Portugal's Atlantic coast I only hear sing as midnight approaches. I love the song. I picked the song for a phone notification before I ever heard it in the wild. Hearing it at night like this is one thing I will really miss when we leave here, one thing among many, but also one of my favorites of all times. I must find out the name of this magical creature, and what she looks like so the memory of her and her wonderful call remains with me when we go.


Industrial battles

Industrial farming corporations battle nature but it is Nature who taught the Kung Fo masters.


Get out of the way

"Knives cut. Buckets hold. Sometimes—the only thing you can do is get out of the way." - I Ching


Picasso's thoughts on poetry

"Poems? There are stacks of poems lying here. When I began to write them I wanted to prepare myself a palette of words, as if I were dealing with colours. All these words were weighted, filtered and appraised. I don't put much stock in spontaneous expressions of the unconscious." He added that long after his death his writing would "gain recognition and encyclopedias would say: 'Picasso, Pablo Ruiz – Spanish poet who dabbled in painting, drawing and sculpture.'"


Treasure box

I just rediscovered this collection of quotes my daughter-in-law sent earlier on of things my grandsons have said and am posting them here so I won't lose them again.

Today Frank asked to be called Fang. Prior to that is was Arrow and before that Orchid.

Frank just asked me: mom, in water versus electricity, does water win because it breaks the electricity? Interesting thinking!

Leo just now: forever plus forever is another time.

Frank and I were looking at a book that talked about the first space missions and how monkeys were sent up before people. Frank did not like this and said, "you don't test on creatures, you test on someone your own size." Thought you'd appreciate that!

Frank just now: what thing do you think will be here after us, after all the people die? Me: I don't know, what do you think? Frank: maybe...robots? Or zombies? 😨



Amateur or Amator

"The very classification 'amateur' has an apologetic ring but that word, from the Latin amator, 'lover'- means one who does something for the love of the thing rather than for economic reasons or necessity. And this is the meaning from which the amateur filmmaker should take his cue. Instead of envying the script and dialogue writers, the trained actors, the elaborate staff and sets, the enormous production budgets of the professional film, the amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom-both artistic and physical."
-Maya Deren, "Amateur versus Professional," Movie Makers Annual, 1959


Summer solstice two days late

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the longest day of year 2021 north of the equator was two days late. I am late writing about it, which I think is a first since I started this blog 18 years ago. 

It was an odd oversight as I've been watching sunlight slowly move north for months, waiting for it to finally shine on Plantie. She's the little rescue plant I moved to the narrow gorilla garden along the wall of the parking lot across the street. Others have planted things there as well so it seemed okay. She had outgrown her pot and was beginning to die. The biggest problem in this tiny garden is that a wall shades it most of the year. 

It was only as summer solstice drew near that Plantie and her companions finally got to enjoy the sun's early morning rays, which they say is like mother's milk to growing things. Now that this singular moment has passed, the shade will soon return. 

I miss having my own garden, such is apartment life, but how did I miss the solstice? I was distracted, rushed, busy from the beginning of that day to its end when I finally went to bed. First it was with one of my ongoing medical issues, it sucks getting old, followed by two meetings in a row. I intend to die with my boots on.


Summer residents

Flight path of the swallows

They live as far away as South Africa in the winter but in summer we are graced by the return of the Swallows, Martins, and Swifts. I'm not entirely sure which species lives in my neighborhood, they all look similar, but probably these guys are Swallows. Whichever, it's breakfast time, so I'm enjoying their fascinating aerial ballet. In any case, they all do the same dip, dive, and swirling flight as they mine the air for food but, to be honest, I wish they were Swifts. They especially fascinate me. Other than nesting time, they spend their entire lives in the air. How is that even possible?



 There is another world, but it is in this one." -- Paul Eluard

(Image credit: Alamy)

Restoring nature means we have to learn how to share the world with other species rather than dominate them. The BBC published an interesting article on this topic last month titled The nature reserve with the 500-year plan. Check it out.


May 29 note to self

photo credit: asha
Chiang Mai - Thailand
remains of offerings
from a Spirit House


Off shore spring wind howling around the building. Going though some photos from Thailand 2014. Devotion brings out the best in us. Time takes it all. Even love attends grief.



Tao Te Ching...

verse for today (*):


In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can't be gained by interfering.

(translation by, 1995)


One star universe

Have you ever seen the stars, I mean all the stars visible from your place on earth? Years ago, living in New York city, I usually saw only one star from my hotel room window at night. I have been lucky enough to see them at other times and places but, sadly, perhaps most of us alive today, or at least those of us living in developed countries, have never seen the night sky as it really is, have not peered into the black ocean wherein we on earth float. It is an ocean in which an inconceivable number of stars and universes . . . so bright, some seemingly close, and all so so far away . . . silently float. When you see them, at least for a moment, you might get an inkling of how immeasurably, how infinitesimally small we are, and our beautiful planet with its beautiful speck of a companion moon.

However, there are places on earth where seeing this is still possible. If you care to know, this map includes those areas


51 years later

The message was sent  51 years ago. I received it tonight.

Cast Hexagram


#15 - Ch'ien - Modesty


Within the earth, a mountain:
The image of MODESTY.
Thus the superior man reduces that which is too much,
And augments that which is too little.
He weighs things and makes them equal.


Notes from Coimbra

photo and poem: asha
Note from the future


March - Worm Moon

Worm moon

March 28,

Worm Moon might not the happiest day if you're the worm. If you're a robin it might be a great day. For the rest of us . . . sometimes an ordinary day is best. In any case,  the Full Moon in March is the Worm Moon, and it is usually considered the last Full Moon of winter. It is also called Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, Sugar Moon, and Sap Moon.


Failure is an opportunity


Tao Te Ching...

verse for today:


Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
there is no end to the blame.

Therefore the Master
fulfills her own obligations
and corrects her own mistakes.
She does what she needs to do
and demands nothing of others.

(translation by , 1995)

source: I Ching Online


Spring equinox 2021

 - Happy Vernal Equinox -
beginning of spring in Earth's northern hemisphere
beginning of autumn in Earth's southern hemisphere

Along with dawn, dusk, and phases of the moon, Vernal Equinox (beginning of spring) and the Autumnal Equinox (beginning of autumn) are among the few truly universal events observed and celebrated on this planet, and not just by humans. After all, who hasn't felt like howling at the moon now and then or, sometimes, wake to see early rays of morning light? So today is the Vernal Equinox. For the one moment sunlight crosses the celestial equator moving from south to north, day and night are of equal duration the world over.  Have a lovely day, better yet, have an ordinary day. I don't know about you but these strange days I find myself longing for nothing more than an ordinary day.


Ta Ch'u and the Ides of March

"Others have trodden this Path before you, overcoming the same obstacles facing you now, and making crucial decisions at the same crossroads. Study their journals, watch for their trail markings. Gain inspiration and wisdom from the heroes and learn from the mistakes of those who chose a sidepath. All were Seekers, explorers whose daring mapped a course you can follow."
~I Ching / Ta Ch'u

"Beware the Ides of March."

The thing is, March 15 is no longer the Ides of March and hasn't been for a long time. In the Roman (moon) calendar of Caesar's time, Ides merely meant first full moon of the month. This year (2021) the first full moon in March is on the 28th (sun calendar). All this woo-woo about March 15 is correlation, superstition, and dramatic renderings of history.

When I expand my reference a bit, what I remember is that any and every day is simultaneously somebody's best and somebody else's worst day of their life, and by somebody I mean all living beings on the planet, not just us humans. With this in mind, I'm content letting March 15 be nothing special. As my son says . . . "Have an ordinary day." 



Who made them cry?

 Why not ask the palace staff who were driven to tears
who, exactly, "made them cry"? Megan or Kate? 

It's not a mystery to the people it happened to yet the press and palace carry on as though this is an impossible question to answer therefore why ask it, just go on with the hand-wringing and suggest answers to questions that are not theirs to answer in the first place. It's all a sham.