Sunday, March 27, 2016


On the day I took this photo, I was using my new smartphone. Taking it on a test run before a big trip coming up. 
As you see, the sun was bright (unlike today, which began with rain and then stopped raining and began to sullenly "gray" at us instead).  

But the screen was so reflective and dark that I couldn't even see the image in it. I just hoped I was framing this sole oak leaf caught in a net of pale grass. 

That's what much of life is like—like those blind photos I was taking, I mean—you can't see ahead of time what the outcome will be. You just line up your shot, click the shutter and hope for the best. 

Look at that moss growing greenly! It does my curmudgeon heart good to consider it today, even at a remove, through such a poor simulacrum of life as a digital image. 

As usual, the spring rode in on the wings of red-winged blackbirds, and is unfolding in the woodlands, where bloodroot and skunk cabbage now grow. I know because I see others' photos and posts in my Facebook stream, tracing their botanical wanderings. 

I, however, have been indoors all week. Struggling with technology, glued to screens following primaries and caucuses, Netflixing, reading The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (a novel that's especially interesting now, in light of the stark competition for the soul of America playing out in our national campaigns and among Americans overall). 

This is how I'm feeling: Unsettled, fragmented, restless, dull. Discontented, bored, exasperated, excited, intermittently hopeful; ready to surprise myself. 

Magic's happening somewhere. Maybe like those bloodroots, buried deep beneath the soil, only shyly and slowly emerging into this inhospitable grayness. 

Why do I suddenly have the image of a mushroom in my head? 

I feel more a sort of humble fungi than that invisible leaf caught in grasses. 


  1. I think maybe magic is happening all the time...we get stuck in a strange type of here and now that we (humans) seemingly contrive to instill a sense of "stability", which, to my mind tends instead to instill a yearning sense of spiritual the reverse of living Now: maybe that's why we regret so much and are often longing. There's something insidious in it, this artificial Now genterated by a virtual world.
    Down to the end of that Star Trek the next generation show, there was an episode where Wesley is visited again by this sort of mystic traveller. There is some terrible conflict going on around them at one scene, which phaser fire. The traveller shows Wesley how to Stop Time, and it is like everything freezes. Despite the fact that Wesley's friends are in danger or anything else, he understands and is able to feel joy and step out of time and space. That had to be the best episode of that show ever. So that's what I offer to you Carmine: that you cultivate the ability to Stop Time and step out of the contrived not-really-now that surrounds us. I have a feeling you will be able to figure that out. Society tries hard to keep us from Spirit, and I believe that our greatest task is to move back to the center of Spirit.
    And lastly, try meditating on what the image of the mushroom means to you. That is a very powerful image to have, especially if you identify with it. I know I do.
    Best Always,

    1. Thank you, Reifyn, I remember that STNG episode, that show got metaphysical, didn't it? My joyful center feels battered all around the edges, but maybe even that is an illusion. And mushrooms...darkness, subconscious, mystery, sudden growth after surface inactivity, surprise, community, rebirth. A rich and earthy symbol.


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