Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I love the idea of a culture where people have the freedom to choose. But being able to go shop at Home Depot instead of Lowes has nothing to do with freedom nor does any other such exercise of choice one might make. What I'm not so fond of in regards to such a culture is how the idea of freedom has been completely reduced to such a manipulated and controlled activity.

Monday, May 30, 2011


The masks carried with them
a very high cost

Stepping out from behind these masks
carried a high price also

The reward...priceless

Sunday, May 29, 2011


While sitting today in the Zen Garden near the water feature, something came into better focus for me in regards to what I enjoy most about this garden. I often find myself in disbelief of the beauty that has emerge here over the past 14 years since I began developing this space. The over all feel of a walk through it all, taking it all in as a whole visual experience is quite stunning. And yes, my artistic touch of combining plants and color and texture is a part of that. But while sitting out here today and noticing that these little mushrooms had once again chosen to grace the place, taking their place amongst the moss growing on this rock near the pond, it became crystal clear that what I enjoy the most out here is the beauty that occurs naturally. A quick look through the garden photo albums makes that obvious.

I do have some wider perspective photos of the garden. But most of what catches my eye, that I always feel drawn to capture, are the close ups of individual parts of the beautiful plants growing here. Whether it's a flower or a leaf or moss growing on a rock or a mysterious looking grouping of mushrooms or the veining that runs through a leaf or flower or maybe even the ever changing shadows created as the sun moves across the space, it is these things that draw me in closer. And it is these things that I have had nothing to do with creating. These are the gracious ever present signs of the abiding presence of a wasteful (at least from a human perspective) natured Creator who has given us more than can ever be completely discovered no matter how long and hard we might try. And while sitting there thinking on these things it was impossible to not also be a bit sad. I get the sense that most humans sleep themselves through all of this life completely missing most of it.

My prayer is that you/we don't miss it. One must slow down and place themselves in a mindfully present space to notice.

Monday, May 23, 2011


There are many things we need to recover that we have lost, and many things we need to recover from. John O'Donohue, in his book The Four Elements, contrasts the devastating outcome of religion taking fire and using it as a means to terrorize and control people, in the form of burning people at the stake and then in the form of the fear of eternal burning/punishment....with the nature of fire and how it is used in scripture to guide and warm and ultimately to transfigure and make new.

Then he describes the damage caused by the frightened functionaries of religion (the opposite of leaders with vision) and their attempts to protect God which has led to  the creation of answers...dead arrangements that never allow people to be captured by the greatest question of the universe. It leaves people with nothing but inferior images, false notions, and banal answers, something God refuses to be defined by, and institutions made by human hands that can never contain the presence and the wildness and danger of the Trinity.

And then John ends the chapter FIRE with this.....

"The true perspective on God is to be gleaned from the poet-carpenter Jesus. The idea of divinity with which he worked was powerful, passionate and liberating. If we could but retrieve the idea of God that Jesus had we would revolutionize dead religion. His thirty years of solitary work in the territory of spirit gave him a sense of God that had a clarity and intimacy powerful enough to cut through the atrophied legalism of contemporary religion."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

WATER...The Tears Of The Earth

That title just happens to be the title of the chapter I began my day with from John O'Donohue's book THE FOUR ELEMENTS Reflections On Nature. It was a very poignant space to be caught up in for the morning stroll through the garden. With subtitles like TO FREE THE SILTED SOURCE...THE LANGUAGE OF TEARS...THE WELL, FREE FLOW BETWEEN THE KNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN...WATER AND TIME...THE OCEAN AS IMMENSE DIVINITY...THE RIVER, FLUENT PRESENCE THROUGH LANDSCAPE...RAINS FROM THE HEAVENS...and WATER AS MIRROR, it was a very prayerful time, one full of gratitude for the extravagant artist and gift giver and the beauty of all we have been given.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011



The flow of your voice loosens
The sand that clings to my skin

In a last rasp of whisper
The red salt stops its torment

Soft and warm you encircle me
Into the cave of my ear
Your lips infuse a mantra
Over and over to coax the well awake
~~~John O'Donohue

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Michael and Laura's backyard has been a mess since last summer due to damage caused by a storm that damaged several trees.( And for those who don't know, Michael is my brother and Laura my sister in law and they live right across the street from us.) Since all the financial changes they went through last year when Michael's salon had to close down due to the landlord selling the property and Michael having to go to only working one day a week due to severe eczema on his hands they have not been able to do any work to it. Once they headed to Cleveland Clinic at the beginning of April in order for Laura to go through their month long pain management program for migraine sufferers, the idea to surprise Laura with a complete backyard landscape make over came to mind. I wanted so badly for her to come home to the surprise of a beautiful quiet peaceful space to relax in. But I couldn't finance it on my own either. Three weeks ago while cutting Laura's mom's hair I mentioned to her what I would do for Laura if I had the money. Her mom got a big smile on her face and said "How about we collaborate on it? I will write you a check and you can do it." :-)

With the money she gave me along with my contribution of several hundred dollars worth of trees from my garden that I had available for sale I set out to make that quiet space for Laura. Last fall their daughter Faith had told them that she wished they could redo the backyard like Uncle Kent's backyard. So with that in mind, once I returned home from seeing Laura's mom, I sat in the back yard and began to dream it up. A couple days later I went to work on it.

Well, I got it finished yesterday with some much appreciated help with the gravel on Friday from a friend and my nephew Tim and then yesterday from my niece Faith with some final clean up. Michael and Laura arrived home last night and have been blown away by it all. I don't think I have ever been involved in a project that was more fun and rewarding.

The first photo is a rough sketch of what I set out to accomplish. If you pay attention you will be able to tell I changed a few things as I went along. I had considered putting a small patio in the very back also. I ditched that idea. The next 3 are photos of what the back yard looked like when they left. The photos following that are of the finished project.