Tag Archives: Family

Fish Tails


Walking on the beach just as the Pacific tide turns back in on itself I lower my big stick to a meandering drag. Emotions settle from an off-key choral to a steady hum as my eyes lift off from the sandy shore. My visual path upward gets caught in a glint on a rocky dune. “Has someone lost a jeweled necklace or perhaps here lies a bottle broken?”

A birseye view lands on the gaze of what appears a living fish. Stooping down to scoop it up I jiggled its mouth to look for any sign of life or muscular reaction. None. I smell it, no scent of death. Stiff? No, and the eyes are perfectly clear of shadow or distance, it actually appears to be looking back at me. It’s scales were even damp and yet it lay a full hundred feet from the outgoing sea.

I lay it on a rock and just as I did with my brother and my aunt I bid the wee soul a safe journey and a fortunate sojourn. “May your heart remain open, your fears meet with calm and your travels land you in a pleasant abiding.”

To Play or Not to Play

Three year old Natalie loves to paint. She explores colors and forms as readily as surfaces, bringing her body into play as she paints. She inspires me to reclaim my studio-now-storage space so I might join her in the fun.

On the Fourth of July Natalie joined Alistair and I at a kids Alms offering for Laung Por Sumedho and Ajahn Panyasaro at our Buddhist center. Before leaving the house we searched around for wee gifts to offer the monks. Alistair picked flowers from our garden, I picked out some incense from Thailand and Natalie choose fairies (unused candles in the shape of little girl angles I had set on the childrens dinner plates last Christmas). We tucked the wee presents into envelopes she deemed pretty enough to carry the fairies in and headed off down the street.

The Alms were offered, gifts were received and Blessings rained. Its been months since I’ve had such a light hearted feeling when at the center, where too my studio is housed. Nothing like youthful aplomb to lightened the heart of a ‘responsible adult’ and bring body into play once again.

Learning to Walk

The video at the bottom of this post reflects (according to moi) the best of worldly family. To be born challenged as the son documented here is, into a family with a father such as he has certainly demonstrates one of good kamma, one of good worldly fortune.

Taking a second look I’m motivated by its message in an unexpected way. What will the son do should his father pass away before him? Perhaps another would step in to take his fathers place though its not very likely, and the son will certainly never be able to do on his own what he can do with his dad.

The question arose for me after Ajahn Pasanno was ‘thought’ to have the first of possibly a series of strokes (now believed to of been a one time event). What would I do should he pass away before me? Would I be able to apply his teachings and guidance without ever having contact with him again? Unlike the gentleman in the video I can learn to walk on my own and must take advantage of teachers presence to the fullest while their still alive so that when they (or myself) pass along I can remain moving forward in Dhamma.

Click HERE to view video

Baby It’s Cold Outside

This year, for the first time since 1962, we had snow fall on Christmas day; a teaser for what was yet to come. A few days later the news forecasted up to 36 inches to blanket the Cascades. Knowing how much I enjoy tromping in the snow, my daughter Amy phoned to invite Alistair and I on a snowshoeing trek. Within twelve hours she and her partner Michelle bundled us into their car, shoved lattes and McMuffins into our hands and drove us to our frozen destination. The excitement was palpable. It took real effort on my part to try and maintain some equipoise.

Once we found the trailhead and strapped on our snowshoes we headed into the forested landscape. The climb was steep. I expected we’d catch our breaths and chatter once we rounded the peak’s corner, yet instead of conversation, everything muted; color softened and sound dampened. Even the songs of the birds seemed clipped of unnecessary gaggle. Enveloped in natures calm I felt cooled to the bone.