Archive for the Nature Category


Posted in Nature on May 12, 2014 by seniorsamurai



May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May you rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert opt red rocks, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blasé on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go Is lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you– beyond the next turning of the canyon walls. — Edward Abbey


Thoughts on Stuff: What About Me?

Posted in Nature on January 11, 2014 by seniorsamurai

English: Doubler Stones in Winter

Sometimes I read or hear something and it sticks in my mind but just barely out of view.  Later it always seems to surface as a question. For instance, the following  surfaced recently, “What about me?”

The sentence I was reading that precipitated the question was, “Stones have their own spirit, obey the requests of the stone.”

Having lived many years in New England I  took stones,  rocks, boulders and the White Mountains for granted. They were always in sight. I certainly never got around to thinking about their spirit . However assuming  stones follow the Buddhist notion that all sentient beings have energy, I can certainly wonder what stones might reveal if I just ask.

I wonder if they would tell us what this planet was like before us humans appeared and tried to bend nature to our needs? Would stones laugh at our short term life views and attempts to use the planet for our own comfort without realizing the folly of our ways?

But what I’m  really puzzled about is how I would actually honor their request and ask the stones what their first request is?

Post Office: A Second Look

Posted in Aging, Friendship, Nature, Spirituality, Zen on August 24, 2013 by seniorsamurai

Shunryu Suzuki, in his book, Not Always So says, “Although we have no actual communications from the world of emptiness, we have some hints or suggestions about what is going on in that world — and that is, you might say, enlightenment. When you see plum blossoms, or hear the sound of a small stone hitting bamboo, that is a letter from the world of emptiness.”

 I’m thinking that if we consciously look for and notice  every moment that way, we have all the communications we need that are vitally important.

Further it doesn’t require stamps,  talking, e-mail, texting or Twitter!

What a cheaper, quieter place this world would be

Cover of "Not Always So: Practicing the T...

Weeding: Mindfulness in the garden

Posted in Friendship, Nature, Zen on August 17, 2013 by seniorsamurai

While I was sitting on my butt the other day weeding the garden and walkway, I recalled a story about a Zen abbot of a monastery who would reserve the most tedious tasks for himself, and specifically weeding the garden. Weeding to him had to be performed rather meticulously in order to be performed perfectly and could not be left to novices. Of course, to me while I can understand weeding as a Zen kind of activity I still struggle with the urge to yank weeds (leaving roots for another round) or to just get the easy or obvious ones. I think the point of the story is to apply mindfulness to every moment of everyday life. If we go for easy superficial results or yank some surface defects while leaving the roots, we have not worked mindfully. We have accomplished nothing. But we will always have another chance.

Small Is Good

Posted in Aging, Nature, Questions, Uncategorized on July 20, 2013 by seniorsamurai

Recently I had my annual physical examination, but this time a significant life event occurred.  All of us have experienced the initial steps before the actual examination: get up on the scale and get weighed, pull the metal bar down to check our height, and move on to the examination room table for a blood pressure,  and eyes and ears look around. All this before the high priest known as ‘Doctor’ arrives.

Normally I ask about the blood pressure, note my weight, but this time I faced a new stunning reality when the nurse mentioned my height.  I was 1 ½ inches shorter than when I was a young adult.

The reality is that in all those years of annual physicals I never asked about or noted  my height. Now let me state for the record my full vertical height was only 5’6” at its peak so an inch and a half is significant.

I’ve  given a  great deal of thought to this travesty and instead of buying one of those machines that turns

me upside down to stretch my spine  I have reconciled this loss of statue with the notion that it happens to everyone. We get shorter as we age. I’m also confident that I probably will not diminish to elf stature and so I’ve  adopted the insightful philosophical mantra, “Suck it up cupcake.”




2nd Floor Roomie

Posted in Friendship, Nature, Questions, Spirituality, Zen on June 13, 2013 by seniorsamurai
Spider from Koovery

Spider from Koovery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Somewhere in the spring of this year I acquired a roommate. I don’t remember advertising for one or thinking I needed another source of income, but one showed up anyway. I first noticed my new ‘roomy’ when she set about spinning a web outside in the corner of my 2nd story office window. Then, just like in a Sangha, she sat there motionless doing whatever spiders do. And, like  meditation, she did it without moving and seemingly without a care in the world. After all, life for her was good. She had a home with a view overlooking the pond outside and inside she could keep a vigilant eye on me. In her protected corner, breezes brought a steady abundance of  flying delicacies, there was safety from wind and rain, and most of all I was a human friend who was not about to take a broom to her house.

As the days passed our relationship grew. Every morning I looked to see if she was still there. She in turn showed me how she could spin webs into beautiful artwork and how to wrap up a dragon fly in seconds. But the most beautiful part of our time together was to simply sit still and ponder our respective kingdoms. She didn’t seem to be too worried about who won the Presidential election,  the previous weekends football scores, or even if the grass needed mowing.  She followed Abraham Maslow’s heirarchy of needs triangle established a simple life of: food, shelter, clothing and safety.

 In the end, it dawned on me that she is definitely a Zen spider and/or had to be my Grandmother from another life.

Sacred Places

Posted in Aging, Friendship, Nature, Questions, Zen with tags on June 8, 2013 by seniorsamurai

There’s a line in a poem by Wendell Berry that says, “There are no sacred places; there are only sacred places and desacred places.”

It got me thinking of what might show up on my lists:

Sacred places for me begin with:

  • Mountains & forests
  • Rivers & streams
  • Dojo’s & Monasteries
  • The beach
  • Anywhere my children and grandchildren are
  • Places of solitude
  • Music

Desacred places for me begin with:

  • Toxic waste dumps
  • KKK and militia meetings
  • Political debate stages
  • Strip mine areas
  • Military weapons arsenals
  • Drones
  • These days, the US Senate and House of Representatives
  • Weapons and bombs

What are your sacred and desacred places?