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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole created a new blog post, Tree Of Life

    Tree Of Life

    Posted in Blogs on Wednesday, 12 June 2019

      A poem for the season of Ascension and Pentecost...     Like whispering silk, the elm Like Bridal Veil the birch The Groom is gone...the Groom is come! His Body is the Church   The Marriage Bond aspires to realms beyond closed doors A new vocabulary transcends Past covenantal laws   Like Eden's fruit, the Vine Transplanted now in Heaven's Acre Wind whistles through the golden pine Like tongues of fire, the sanguine acer      

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, Tree Song

    I am absolutely one hundred per cent sure of that! Seriously! Just having a dog thoroughly reveals that. They reach the bottom line far faster than humans, But the sense of it is everywhere in the animal kingdom.

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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, Tree Song

    Sometimes I imagine the natural world looks at us and thinks: if only they understood.

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, Tree Song

    This is so engaging and so wise and so visionary and so insightful and so celebratory just because... I've been long convinced that nature left to itself does not experience the world quite as we do because, despite the often predatory consequences of The Fall, there is no redundant or treacherous malice in it. Its motives have an economy humans don't and that is all part of a survival mechanism.

    Those birds do live in the moment and are already in Paradise.They are singing in their arboreal cathedral to the glory of God on this day of Pentecost.

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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans created a new blog post, Tree Song

    Tree Song

    Posted in Blogs on Saturday, 08 June 2019

    I don’t know why the caged bird sings. But I think I may have finally figured out why the others do. I take walks every day down a wooded path behind my home. Sometimes so many birds are singing it sounds like a choir. Other times there are only one or two at each turn of the path. Occasionally the songs sound like a dialogue, sometimes a Bach canon. But most often the sounds are clearly ecstatic, a brimming forth of some secret joy. I believe I have discovered the source of that joy. Each bird is singing about how beautiful its tree is. How delicately shaped each leaf as it twists in the breeze. How the broad canvas of the whole creates ever evolving shadows on the ground. How the Fibonacci architecture of the branches leads right up to the sky. Birds never sing about what time they have to get to the bird feeder, or whether they need a bath, or the bird next door, or even that tree they saw two weeks ago. They only sing of the beauty in front of them. Each bird sings in its own language. Birds are very smart; each knows all the languages of all the birds. But when they sing of trees they sing in their own tongue, the one they hold in their heart. And when they fly to the next tree, birds sing about how beautiful that tree is. And I agree with them. I have never seen a tree that was not beautiful, from smallest sapling to startling senior. And unique – no tree the same as any other– even the aspen trees (which reproduce by what is called root sprouting and are in a sense one tree) are genetically identical but never quite the same in appearance. I wonder sometimes if  the beauty of trees has something to do with their uniqueness—and if we were more aware of it in humankind, we might see more beauty in each other. Do the trees listen to the birds? I think so. Do they appreciate the praise? I’m not so sure. The lives of trees seem unconcerned with birds, or squirrels, or humans. They have their own purposes in their long lives. What beauty do trees sing about? I doubt we will ever know.

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole updated their profile
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    Ken Hartke

    I'm glad you enjoyed it and I enjoy taking people along on these journeys. When I reached over twenty pages I realized that my narrative was getting a bit out of hand. This is just a taste.

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    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott commented on the blog post, Intimacy.

    Thanks Rosy. It's one of those things where everything is worthy but no one thing is important. I learnt the hard way that nothing can be taken for granted. X

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, Intimacy.

    I love the way you take nothing for granted, Moni. No skidding across the surface of life for you! There's an almost superfluous joy in the simplest things which, in the end, makes them quite profound.

    As my begonias flush into brilliant flower, I shall think of you often!

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    Rosy Cole

    It feels as though that wind is still driving you through this fascinating whirlwind tour of New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. For readers like me, it's another world, one of colliding civilisations, awe-inspiring landscapes and peoples pitting themselves against the terrain to make an authentic life rather than just a living. A true test of faith and courage and self-revelation.

    Wonderfully illustrated. A magnificent taster.

    Thank you!

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, Brexit And The Birch Tree

    Throughout history, no matter what the style of government, those in power have always feared public opinion and reaction, 'the will of the people'. In a democracy, the people cede authority to their leaders. They are us, no matter how most of us protest that they do not represent what we want and who we are. Things have drifted so far away from reality now that we hardly know what we want as nations. All we know is, we don't want This.

    As I see it, change will only come from the ground up, in the daily lives of ordinary people. Humility in its essential sense is what makes us strong and self-respecting about what we can offer as individuals and recognises the rights and contributions of others. Self-serving agendas leave us vulnerable to occupation by subversive forces, rather than repelling them.

    It can't hurt to reflect on the road-map attributed to Mother Teresa:

    People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centred. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

    This is the locus of real power, but it will make very few famous!

    Thanks, Moni, for commenting!

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    Stephen Evans
    Stephen Evans commented on the blog post, Kindly Create

    Thank you! It amazes me sometimes that inspiration can be found where I would never expect it. I guess we just try to be awake and aware. :)

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    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott commented on the blog post, Brexit And The Birch Tree

    Thanks Rosy for your enlightening piece and all the discussion that's followed. Politics is very different to what it was a few years ago, reflecting all this need to recognition and materialism. Ego beating chests are rife. Humility as you say, Rosy, is important in these times. The question is, when will a political leader model this for all to see and take note, to create the impact needed for change.

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    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott commented on the blog post, Kindly Create

    It's a wonderful thing to be able to find a way that helps us create, whether we live in or between two worlds - our creative and real - is irrelevant. It's what inspires and fuels us that matters, and it can be different today from tomorrow. Congratulations on your upcoming book. :)

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    Rosy Cole
    Rosy Cole commented on the blog post, Brexit And The Birch Tree

    The thing about Robespierre is that he is citing an ideal of democracy that can never be achieved but is, perhaps, at its most effective while we're striving towards it with a public-spirited code of conduct. Democracy is a roberus. It eats itself. Any ideology, if pursued aggressively, brings about its opposite. As you say, the rise in nationalism is to be feared, but I suspect it is being exploited by outsiders and does not represent the will of the general populace.

    Every country needs a healthy sense of its own identity and citizens who aren't ashamed to acknowledge the land of their birth - or the land which gives them true sanctuary - though that may not be their ancestral heritage . The key to all this is humility. Humility isn't weakness. It celebrates its own strengths and understands its shortcomings and where each fits into the scheme of things.

    Governments don't get to invent the basic rules. They are already incorporated in nature's blueprint for sustaining the planet at every level. We have a choice whether to ply with them, or ignore them.

    Thanks for your comments, Steve!

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    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott created a new blog post, Intimacy.

    Intimacy.

    Posted in Blogs on Wednesday, 22 May 2019

    The wipe of lipstick from the man you’ve just kissed, or who refuses the wipe to publicly parade his delight in the dalliance, The time graced between two siblings to sit on a sunny afternoon and chat without boundary or brass and be in the deity of the day, And the late-night message from a colleague you adore working with, giving you a last crumb of information that’s vital to your work … Acts of intimacy are more than those shared between two people indulging in sex, no matter how sensual, passionate or lustful. It isn’t only within the tantalising kiss and touch in pulsing pep and pizzazz, teetering on the tips of goose bumps upon goose bumps. While wonderful and glorious and erogenously insatiable, intimacy is more than that. Much more. Intimacy is in the sharing of toast in the tranquil of sunshine reflecting off aquamarine seas, and the chasing after your lunch partner’s napkin that’s blown onto the floor. It’s in that ultimate kiss where the son smacks purposeful lips on his mother’s forehead, a symbol of protection and guardianship, and in her flicking through his shine and tangle of mess and curls for no reason other than him being close by. Because she can. It’s in the exchange of clasped hands where skin on skin is silky soft as polished surfaces suctioning in secret, smoothed from any tiny ridges and valley patterns that may beetle from fingers and palms. Intimacy is the powerful exchange between friends over late night text after a long, long day, in the knowing that they have your back. Always. It’s in the familiarity and friendship, affinity and affection. Intimacy is at its most striking when a parent must carry a sick adult-son whose death is imminent, and the son giving in to his need for dependent care. Deep intimacy when stripped bare, exposes vulnerability, as a heart skinned to its core. It’s an unconditional exchange that comes on the tail of desire to give, to protect beyond every conceivable boundary. That can pose a risk and to some, it’s a huge peril they can’t overcome, or see as the waiting monster ready to latch onto their feet and drag them well down into the depths of despair. Opening up and being vulnerable to the intimacy unlocks a siphoning window to be sucked into hurt because of being exposed to feel and connect with others. As with most things, stepping back to see what’s what, smelling the roses if you like or watching the severed tops of an old olive tree hacked back with a chainsaw to a few thick limbs coming off the smooth, grey trunk, stark of olives and foliage, watching it bask in the autumn sun as if reaching to nourish its new growth. Taking that pause to reflect … it’s one of the graces we’re gifted with that we sometimes forget we have.   Appreciation. Introspection, being honest and grateful for days so full of everything, even if the everything is clogged in anguish or memories that bleed from shattered hearts as rain blanketing in thundering storms. Intimacy if it’s permitted, allows for a debauchery of vulnerability that can ripple into forever as the most glorious, fabulous and wonderful, As the most intricate spider’s web laced in early morning dew, And the first flush of begonias hanging as fleshy flowers like little chandeliers, in all shades of the artist’s palette. The key is to be open to it, allow the intimacy to stream in. Accept the risk, for the rewards are immeasurable.   Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.                     ~ Mark Twain.

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    Ken Hartke

    Travel Notes: The Great American Desert

    Posted in Blogs on Monday, 20 May 2019

      The Plains had always been peopled by nomadic groups going back to the Clovis hunters. The Indians still lived out there and seemed to be successful. Vázquez de Coronado and his Conquistadors were probably the first Europeans to fully experience the Great Plains. He and his expedition were on a fool’s errand looking for fabled cities of gold. He and his people marched from Mexico well into eastern Kansas before he gave up and went back. An early explorer, Edwin Thomas with Major Stephen Long’s 1820 expedition, labeled the Great Plains as the Great American Desert in his published account of their trek across this empty space. For years that description stayed in the public perception. Mountain Men and fur trappers would venture out onto the plains and into the mountains but not many others. Long’s expedition concluded that the plains were "unfit for cultivation and of course uninhabitable by a people depending upon agriculture."  Free Enterprise turned a blind eye toward Long’s and others’ admonitions and in 1821, William Becknell pioneered the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri across the plains and through the mountain passes into Santa Fe, in what was then just becoming independent Mexico. The Santa Fe Trail turned out to be the interstate highway of its day. It became a military road in 1846 when the US Army marched down the Santa Fe Trail to occupy New Mexico during the Mexican-American War. New Mexico (actually named after the Aztec empire, not the country) became part of the United States officially in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  While I could not happily live on the Great Plains, I have always been fascinated by the tree-less and seemingly empty expanse. In April 2019, I struck out on my own expedition to follow the Santa Fe Trail across the Great American Desert. This account is just a small part of the story. The full story of the trip is HERE and my description and experience at three historic hotels I stayed at along the way is HERE. (My travel hobby is “collecting” historic hotels.)  I left home travelling north and east from Bernalillo (founded c. 1620 and reestablished 1694 after the Pueblo Revolt) following the old Royal road from Mexico City to Santa Fe – El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro – and picked up the Santa Fe Trail about forty miles along the way.  Going east across the plains, my route was mostly on two-lane, black-top roads and I tried to avoid interstate highways as much as possible.  This was the high plains. If you ever wondered what was out there on the horizon as you crossed the plains on the Interstate highway or by train, I can tell you now that there is practically nothing out there. That being said, for a photographer or an artist, it has a stark beauty and a lonesome appeal. The few hills that one sees at first as the road leads away from the mountains soon change to an incredible flat canvas where the sky takes over as the most prominent feature. I could not live here but I am struck by the mighty presence of absolutely nothing. There are ranches out on the plains scattered every twenty miles or so and there is occasional traffic on the highway, but one has the notion of being entirely and utterly alone. On earlier trips across the plains by train I have talked with travelers from Los Angeles and New York and Chicago -- people who have no problem navigating and experiencing city life –- and they have a sense of awe and almost bewilderment at the endless expanse of emptiness stretching to the horizon. There are several interesting stops along the way. Two of my favorites are the US Cavalry forts that guarded the trail and imposed an illusion of order and control. Fort Union – New Mexico A few miles east of Las Vegas, in New Mexico, was at Fort Union – an important military post and supply depot on the Santa Fe Trail. At one time there were 4,000 people residing at the fort working in a military capacity or as outfitters and suppliers for the Santa Fe traders. The officers’ families were also in residence. Fort Union is a grim and ghostly ruin today. Built of mud-brick adobe, it has slowly given way to the elements. There were actually three forts here. The first was a temporary outpost. During the Civil War a second earthen fort was built in the starburst shape equipped with artillery that never saw defensive action. There was a significant Civil War battle fought about thirty miles west at Glorieta Pass where the Santa Fe Trail begins to descend toward the town of Santa Fe. What exists here now is the haunting relic of the third and largest fort, built after the Civil War. When I visited it was even more ghostly due to the fog and April snow showers. It was cold and miserable, and I imagine the soldiers stationed there were pretty miserable at times. The fort kept two crews working in the nearby mountains just cutting firewood for heat and cooking fires.   The Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts are still visible at Fort Union. Unlike the popular idea of single file wagon trains, the freight wagons usually went four or five abreast, so the ruts are spread out over a wider area. Fort Union exists today as a National Monument with two park rangers on duty. The weather was miserable, and they were not very busy when I visited, so I had the place to myself. The fort is huge and was complete with warehouses and repair shops. There were enlisted men’s barracks, officers’ quarters, a large hospital, and (of course) a jail. I could spend much more time at Fort Union. It is a photographer’s dream and seeing it like this in a spectral fog only made it more enticing.  I’m sure I’ll be back on a more pleasant day. I was really just starting out on my trip. I crossed into Colorado at Raton Pass near Trinidad and continued on along the base of the Rockies to the old coal-mining town of Walsenburg where I spent the night at the La Plaza Inn, sort of a cowboy/workingman’s hotel from 1907.  The next day I was truly on the plains. I eventually reached the Arkansas River and followed it and the trail eastward. Fort Larned I hurried on my way through the Arkansas River towns and stopped at Fort Larned, another old cavalry fort about halfway across Kansas. This was a military post established to protect the middle portion of the Santa Fe Trail. Instead of adobe, Fort Larned was built of local sandstone and survives very nicely today - probably one of the best original examples of a US Cavalry fort. One easily gets a feel for what military life was like in the mid-1800s at Fort Larned. Not much happened so it was a bit tedious with the usual daily tasks. Kansas in the summer is hot and humid and cold and windswept in the winter. The freight wagons came and went. There were no real “hostile” Indians by this time and the fort didn’t have a wall or even visible defenses. Unlike the much larger Fort Union, this was a trail-side outpost and waystation. The Officers’ quarters were reasonably pleasant, and many had their families living with them.    Life in the barracks was not as grand and the enlisted soldiers had plenty of tasks to keep them occupied. There was a hospital and repair shops and livestock that needed to be tended.   The fort was decommissioned in the late 1800s and became a cattle ranch for a while before coming under the authority of the National Parks as a historic site. Being made of sandstone, the fort’s buildings provided a ready tablet for early visitors to carve their names or messages in stone. Once the fort closed it was too tempting. People wanted to leave their names to show that they were there. I guess we are always seeking immortality. Some examples show some real dedication to the effort.     There’s even a cryptic reference to Kaiser Wilhelm in a couple examples. The fort closed before WW-I so it must have been a visitor (or a spy?). I took a lot of pictures and spent enough time at Fort Larned that I was running far behind schedule. The rest of my day's trip across Kansas is something of a blur. I stayed in Marion, Kansas, at the 1886 Elgin Hotel – an amazingly restored three-story stone structure that offered a great stay. I slept soundly in the Dwight Eisenhower Suite.   The next morning, I continued on my way to Columbia, Missouri, and eventually spent most of a week in St.Louis with friends and relatives.   The trip home was fairly uneventful. I was getting a bit tired of Kansas, so I made few stops and was glad to get back into New Mexico to see a few hills again. I spent my last night of the trip in Cimarron, New Mexico, at the St. James Hotel (1872) and stayed in Jesse James’ favorite room. With twenty-six murders or killings in or around the St. James, the place was the epicenter for the Wild West. Almost everyone from Buffalo Bill to Zane Gray spent time in the St. James and it seems some never left. One room is sealed off -- the spirit wants to be alone. *     *     *     

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    Monika Schott
    Monika Schott updated their profile
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Latest Blogs

  A poem for the season of Ascension and Pentecost...     Like whispering silk, the elm Like Bridal Veil the birch The Groom is gone...the Gro...
I don’t know why the caged bird sings. But I think I may have finally figured out why the others do. I take walks every day down a wooded path behi...
In the movie version of Harvey, the character of Elwood P. Dowd says, “Years ago my mother used to say to me... She’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you...

Latest Comments

Rosy Cole Tree Song
10 June 2019
I am absolutely one hundred per cent sure of that! Seriously! Just having a dog thoroughly reveals t...
Stephen Evans Tree Song
09 June 2019
Sometimes I imagine the natural world looks at us and thinks: if only they understood.
Rosy Cole Tree Song
09 June 2019
This is so engaging and so wise and so visionary and so insightful and so celebratory just because.....
Ken Hartke Travel Notes: The Great American Desert
26 May 2019
I'm glad you enjoyed it and I enjoy taking people along on these journeys. When I reached over twent...
Monika Schott Intimacy.
26 May 2019
Thanks Rosy. It's one of those things where everything is worthy but no one thing is important. I le...