“Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of moon.” ~ Mawlana Jalal al Din Rum

    

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Advil Cold & Sinus is good, but Theraflu warming relief is better; however, since I only have Advil Cold & Sinus, that will have to do. With any luck, this is just a cold and not the onset of anything else. When I have serious body aches, it’s hard to say whether or not the aches are from my regular pain or whether they have anything to do with being sick, one of the perks (I don’t think so).   

Oh well.   

Last night I just didn’t have the energy for a regular post, and I’m not sure about my output for tonight, but let’s just follow along and see where this takes us . . .   

I have been meaning to comment on the moon, which was absolutely spectacular in its second full moon phase for December. My entire backyard was fully lit in the middle of the night. The frozen surface of the water in the pool glimmered and looked sort of Tolkien.   

I know that those of you who are old enough are familiar with the phrase once in a blue moon, which is a colloquialism for rarely and has nothing to do with the orb’s color.  The phrase blue moon refers to the second full moon in a calendar month, which is an infrequent occurrence, once every 2.5 years to be exact, and the next one is expected in 2012.   

But this year’s blue moon fell on New Year’s Eve, which makes it a generational blue moon; the last blue moon on New Year’s Eve was 19 years ago. Do you remember where you were on New Year’s Eve 1990? Me neither. The next New Year’s Eve blue moon is supposed to appear in the year 2028, after another metonic cycle (which equals 19 tropical years). I won’t even discuss how old I might be when that happens. Anyway, I was aware of this year’s, sorry, last year’s blue moon appearance, but then promptly forgot to mention it in any previous posts, but when I came across the Rumi quote about the reflection of the moon, it stirred my memory.    

“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” ~ Henry David Thoreau 

Sunset Over Lake Dora, FL, by Janson Jones

My friend in Alaska, Janson Jones of Floridana Alaskiana, recently posted two beautiful pictures of the sunset, both of which I am featuring, as well as an older photo of moonrise. Janson and his family went to Florida for the winter break, and the sunset images are the first of his photographs from his latest sojourn down south.   

I know that I’ve been posting a lot of winter and snow pictures, but I thought that for a change of pace tonight I would mix a few beautiful sunsets from warmer area of the lower 49 along with some images of  the moon.   

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

It’s a Thoreau kind of night, by that I mean a bit reflective, a bit peaceful. I return to Thoreau frequently as I have always found great beauty in his words. Thoreau’s ideas about nature, simplicity, friendship, reading, writing, and truth fill me with a sense of quietude far deeper than most other philosophers. One quote in particular, which I found years ago, has always stayed with me: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”   

I was much younger when I found that particular quote, and only in recent years have I begun to appreciate its true meaning. When I think back on all of the pained, vapid verse and prose that I wrote, ink-stained fingers from agonized pauses, searches for just the right phrase to declare my angst, my heartbreak, my despair. Thank god that I don’t know where most of that work is because I think that I would probably burn it if I ever came across it.   

Don’t misunderstand. I’m hardly declaring myself a genius with the written word. Rather I’m saying that now that I have lived much more of life—have stood up for things, have been knocked down by other things, have loved, lost, raged, crashed, gotten back up, fallen, gotten back up, retreated, gone back in—now that I have tasted some measure of life, I believe that I finally understand what Thoreau meant.   

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Years ago, before Google could return a search on subject quotes in a millisecond, people actually had to read a great deal to amass a collection of quotes. And before I ever had a computer, I had a quote journal. It’s still around here somewhere. I used to (still do, actually) cut things out of newspapers and magazines, copy passages I had read, write down the words to songs. Anytime I came across words that I found inspiring, or touching, or life-changing in their intent, I stole them openly and added them to my collection.   

Moonrise Over Long Key, FL by Janson Jones

Now, I still like to find my quotes from places other than quote sites. For example, several blogs that I read use a lot of quotes. Goodreads is also a wonderful source of quotes, and then of course, there are all of the books.   

I have written many times that I collect certain things—books, boots, purses, pens—admittedly to the point of clutter at times, but there is no doubt that what I collect more than anything else in the world, what I earnestly seek, unearth, amass, record, and return to again and again are words, in particular words from other people—writers, philosophers, poets, journalists, artists—those who have experienced life in a different way than my own experiences, or those whose insight I value, or those with whom I find great empathy.  

Words are phenomenal things. They have the power to soothe, to enrage, to instill, to oppress. Words used by a charismatic personality can take a group of people who are indifferent to a cause and ignite within them a desire to act. Give words and a forum to an aggressive individual who desires power without justice, and you can create a dictator. The right words spoken to a young person who is seeking reinforcement can instill the confidence to go on; just as hateful words spoken out of anger can be more injurious than a weapon. 

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” ~ Henry David Thoreau  

Sunset 2 Over Lake Dora, FL, by Janson Jones

I suppose my reflective mood may come from the school project that I typed recently for Brett, one in which he had to research one decade for each of four centuries in American history. The most interesting part of the project was that Brett had to identify an iconic quote, work of literature, piece of music, person and event for each decade. So much delving into history always makes me thoughtful about where we have been as a nation, as a people, as a community, as humanity.   

Brett chose the 1690s, the time of the Salem Witch trials; the 1780s, the post-Revolution and first Congress; the 1860s, the Civil War, and the 1960’s, a time of massive social change in America. There was so much information as each of those decades were times of social reform, cultural divisiveness, upheaval and unrest in society, and governmental change

I don’t know how one could help but be moved when reading the words of individuals such as Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and of course, Thoreau, not to mention reading the words to songs of generations past.   

So I will close with this passage from one of Thoreau’s journals (1840):   

No day will have been wholly misspent, if one sincere, thoughtful page has been written. Let the daily tide leave some deposit on these pages, as it leaves sand and shells on the shore. So much increase of terra firma, this may be a calendar of the ebbs and flows of the soul; and on these sheets as a beach, the waves may cast up pearls and seaweed.    

More later. Peace.   

 Annie Lennox’s  beautiful “Fingernail Moon,” of course:   

    

   

                                                                                                           

From St. Nadie in Winter by Terrance Keenan    

One day, my dear,
you stop and look around you,
find yourself stuffing needs into a sack of thoughts,
realize you have talked your life to pieces,
scratched your self to bits,
that neither hope nor doubt
can protect you,
that you are not mistaken,
that you haven’t lost your grip –
it is dissolving.
Now you can speak about everything silently.

A Time for Reconciliation

Two Men, Two Speeches

John McCain’s Passion

I just happened to catch John McCain’s last campaign speech on Election Day, and I have to tell you, it was pretty impassioned. His delivery was great. He had his audience. There was no mention of socialism. His message was about the issues. It was as if McCain had stepped through my Twilight Zone re-do door and had slipped back to that time before Palin and all of the silliness and nonsense and was still on point. And he was good. And I turned to Corey and commented that if he had remained that John McCain, things would probably have been much different.

Less than ten hours later, I was watching a very gracious but defeated John McCain deliver his concession speech before his supporters at The Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Cindy by his side. He silenced boos in the crowd, and he won them over with statements such as this: “Let there be no reason now … Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.” And then he took the onus on himself: “We fought — we fought as hard as we could. And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.”

The crowd responded loudly with a resounding “NO.” And I agree, somewhat. There is plenty of blame to go around, but he is the captain of his ship, and as he did in the beginning of his speech, he could have said “no,” and he could have said “stop” to his campaign at any time, but I think that it all just got away from him.

But in the end, he met his defeat with his head held high. No word on the governor, though.

 

 

Barack Obama’s Grace

If this was the President-elect’s acceptance speech, I am beyond edge-of-my seat in anticipation of his inaugural address.  This man has been graced with an ability to turn phrases in a way that so captivates and enthralls that has not been seen since the days of the truly great speakers in this world, the Churchills, the Roosevelts, the Lincolns, the Jeffersons, and back to the days of the inception of oratory: Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Socrates.

Do I exaggerate? No, I really don’t believe that I do. His voice is steeped in the classical oratorical skills of the masters. It is rich in rhythms that politicians have tried to achieve but have not quite attained. JFK was one of the few. But Obama also has that quiet dignity and a way that touches the heart of even the poorest, least-educated person in the crowd, and lets him or her know that he has not forgotten of his existence, nor will he in the days and months to come.

This kind of skill can be learned, but more often than not, for it to be perfected, it must come from a place deep within and be fostered by something that most people do not ever quite come close to achieving: true grace. That Barack Obama is the person he is today is most assuredly a testament to the people who nurtured him, who instilled the values in him, who taught him about love, respect, honor, equality, humility, bravery, the necessity of a good education, and most of all, the importance of daring to dream.

Because this man has shown us, average Americans, that it is all right to dream, and to fight for our dreams, and to do it with respect, and honor, and humility. He dared us to come along. He challenged us to be the best people that we could be, and when we wanted to take the fight down to a level that was unworthy, he reminded us that that was not what we were fighting for. He kept us focused. He kept us honorable. And in so doing, he allowed us to win with dignity, right beside him. And for that, we should all be eternally grateful to this man who started out with nothing more than intelligence and a dream and the family to help him find his way.

What an extreme honor it has been to help you in your campaign for the presidency of the United States of America, President-elect Barack Obama.

 

Grant Park Embraces Their Favorite Son

I must say that I would have sucked up my long-ingrained fear of crowds to have been in Chicago in Grant Park, or among the thousands more who spread into the loop for a crowd of approximately 240,000 people, by the fire department’s estimation, to hear President-elect Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech.

But I have to tell you, the one thing that just slayed me, and I never would have expected this, was the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a man who is not known for his silence, just standing there with tears streaming down his face, no words needed. That was it for me.

 

 

In Closing . . .

And so, to borrow a phrase from John McCain, my friends, that’s it from me today. I’m spending the rest of this cold windy day in bed with the dogs. Won’t Malia and Sasha have fun in the White House with their new puppy? It’s has been an incredible, wonderful experience. I only wish that I had been able to begin it sooner.

I hope to have the other blog site, politicofemme, operative soon. I’ll explain more on that later, but I have high hopes for it. But for now, it’s a cup of tea and some chocolates (I’m out of twizzlers).

More later. Peace.