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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Shapes of Things

I have my eye caught by shapes and designs where ever I go. Sometimes I am lucky to have my camera with me. I hope you enjoy seeing them. I enjoy them. The bridge below is at Filmore Glen State Park in Moravia N.Y. the rest of the shapes are found in the vicinity surrounding my home.

A bridge in the forest,

... the grace with which it impresses the mind as viewed through the trees from a distance. It possesses a grace, an almost impossible concept of stones suspended in the air. 'Can't be!' But there they are

The bridge presents many shapes depending on the perspective in which is it viewed, but all are elegant and graceful

The apple tree has seen some hard years,
it will probably see some more. My eye was caught by the tortured shape it had assumed, and my thoughts were of how it refused to give up and continued on

Mother Earth:

The shapes appear randomly. I find this one intriguing and evocative of the fecund sensuality of life.

Tranquility in the wee hours of morning.

The gentle colors of the night sky
evoked by the light of the moon, the peaceful outline of the barn someplace in the universe, nestled together they are partners in an eternal waltz in the ballroom of the moon.

Photographs and text by David H. Roche Copyright 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thoughts on the 'Tao'

The 'Tao' as revealed by Lao Tzu in the 'Tao Te Ching', represents a conception of the way things are that makes a lot of sense if you take the time to consider it. The wisdom of the 'Tao' is something that has nothing to do with wheeling and dealing or with the artifice that is generally displayed in 'polite' society. It is not what people ordinarily call wisdom. Many times in the 'Tao Te Ching, the author explains that the 'Tao' appears to be not much at all in the way things are customarily judged.

What is comprised in this 'wisdom' is that those who see the 'Tao', pronounced 'dow', most clearly, understand that by allowing it to work it causes things turn out right. Conversely they understand that by interjecting good intentions and 'corrections', conceived of as solutions, something is added that will not work out the way that is best. In other words they know that by interfering with the processes and wisdom of the universe they will 'screw it up'.

When one is 'wise' with the 'Tao' he is at peace with this answer. He walks purposively, in the shadows sometimes, but into the light.
The Tao Te Ching translated by Raymond B. Blakney can be read at this site:
A really delightful translation of the Tao Te Ching, 'the 'Way' and its characteristics' can be downloaded at no cost from the Internet Archives at this link. This is an audio book in mp3 format.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The passage of seasons is the timepiece of the universe. It is also a teacher and if one takes the time to go to class, that is if he stops to think about what it is that has happened in the years that have passed and what is happening in the present that is in directly in front of him, he will be able to make the most of everything and invest that passage of time with meaning. If he doesn't he will find it bewildering and pointless.

Society is geared to make this passage seem meaningless. It is designed to make you see your life to be nothing more than that of a consumer of gadgets and in the end nothing more than profit for the healthcare industry.

Don't settle for that explanation. You are worth more than that.

Life is a spiritual situation. I have been reading a book titled 'Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest' by Ella E. Clark. I bought this book on a trip out to Mt. St. Helens in July of 2006 at one of the observatories along the way to the summit. What speaks to me is that the natives of that area understood the land to be alive and regarded it as a person.

Many of the tales recounted begin something like this: 'Long ago, when the mountains were people'. For them every aspect of life and their environment was invested with a significance beyond that which was seen. For them there was something else. There was a great spirit that superintended the life on earth and made all life sacred. The environment was animated.

Many of the tales recount how the people got greedy and wanted more than the environment could provide for them and that they began to behave in a way that was not in accord with good manners and that they suffered for it. There are tales of what we understand now to be geological disturbances but which they ascribed spiritual significance to in much the same way as other people in other parts of the world did to similar events. And who is to say that there is not spiritual significance in the geological functions of the environment? The 'Spirit' is deep and infused in all life, certainly so it is in these details as well.

It is my belief that spiritual significance abounds in the mundane unfolding of life and that these people, no matter how primitive they may appear to 21st century standards, had a vital spiritual connection that is not available through conventional religions. I would go so far as to say that it is precluded from the conventional monotheistic religions that depend on moralistic teachings and cultic prohibitions to enforce modes of behavior designed to eacape the wrath of the prevailing deity.

How much better it is to be in accord with the flowing of life than with rigid words and pointed threats printed in books to which you must bend your will. How much better to take what is given than to reach for more than is available.

So I have this small poem in accord with these thoughts and a few photographs to illustrate what I understand life to be about.

The Colors the Birds the Way, Me and You

This May morning is the pew I sit in today,
the spirit of the earth and universe blowing over my skin
while robins, bellies swollen, flit from yard to tree;
grasses gripped in their beaks.

The colors that have appeared
one after the other from below
as they have done year after year
tell me more than the Book of Revelation

about what is to come.
They came before,
they will come again.
The colors, the birds, you and me.

The photographs that follow were all taken in my yard beginning with the very first crocuses to blossom in March and ending with the first blossoms of lilacs that I took today. In their entirety they show how life and time flows naturally and they indicate that the only way to find a step in tune with what life is all about is to go with that flowing.

Beauty to be perceived in so many ways as the Moody Blues said in their 'In Search of the Lost Chord' album. Check that out. It's right on!

This is a sunrise as seen from the end of my driveway marking the beginning of another day. Another step in the life process. Part of the whole. Glorious isn't it? What can you buy that can compete with something like this?

At this time, in late March there were lilacs that did not appear as lilacs. But I know better than to think otherwise . I have seen them come and go for 33 seasons in this place without change. They are lilacs! Believe me! They perfume my yard every May and I look for them to do it. And they will!!

It's hard to see these scrub branches as lilacs isn't it? They look like dead branches. Don't be fooled.

In between March and May this is what happened.

Daffodils appeared in the snow right on time.

In the snow! And they just kept on going....

...and then the tulips came...

and more tulips ...

and wind flowers ....

and violets.

But last, the lilacs that were so dead in March show themselves ready to live again.

Such is life and if religion or spirituality are to be real they must conform to it.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.