Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Noble Eightfold Path

Cease to identify yourselves with material
things or with your desires;
gain a proper sense of value;
cease regarding possessions and earthly
existence as of material importance.

Follow the Noble Eightfold Path which
is the Path of right relations--
right relations to God and
right relations to your fellow men--
and thus be happy.


Of Note: The Noble Eightfold Path of which Buddha spoke consists of Right Values, Right Speech, Right Modes of Living, Right Thinking, Right Aspiration, Right Conduct, Right Effort, and Right Rapture or Happiness. Seems unattainable, doesn't it? Not so. Buddha would not have put it out there for all to see if it was unattainable. The Path is hard but full of joy once a Soul figures out the Way. The key word here is a Soul. The lower personality wants none of it so is dragged kicking and screaming to the foot of the cross by a persistent Soul--a process which often takes several lives. We've seen these struggling folks. They may even be us. It gives new meaning to the words "Thou shall not judge."

Today's Weather Report: We close the year on a very cold note. This morning the temp was 17 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Nothing can describe the cold of that temp without experiencing it first hand. Clear nights during the winter can just about guarantee such an outcome and last night was no exception. A myriad of stars twinkled in every heavenly direction.

Watch For Change Snippet: Just as individuals struggle at some point under their Soul's impress, so do races, nations and globes. The evolution of consciousness guarantees it. Ageless Wisdom explains that Humanity is currently undergoing pressure from its Soul to first recognize and then become the Eightfold Path. The struggles mount as the pressure increases. Look all around at the abundance of crises, and the en-lightening process becomes self-evident. An Associated Press article today "World Bids a Relieved Adieu to a Rocky Year" took the reader on a whirlwind tour of various global scenes in which people recounted the numerous trials of 2008. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo was quoted as saying: "I pray for greater peace and stability. I hope that we can all work together as a global community to weather these storms." Prayers are one thing; action is another. Becoming the Path requires the latter, and the Soul will continue to challenge Humanity with opportunities (called by some crises) until Right Human Relations defines global activities.

My Sister, Marie, captured this light-infused sky earlier in the year. Thanks to her watchful eye, we've been inspired throughout the year by various awesome photos such as this. Blessings to all in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008



~Helen Keller

Of Note: Helen Keller was deaf, blind and a very successful woman. Her trade was inspiration and, in her small way, she helped shape attitudes toward disabled people and women at a time when neither group was afforded many liberties. Keller understood that Life was a contributory affair. It was not a party at which we just showed up and waited to be entertained. I'm sure she'd have none of that. One wonders if the visionary isn't also describing the evolution of consciousness through many lives.

Today's Weather Report: Blustery snow, looks like it will last all day. Unfortunately, I've got an appointment in town and must venture forth but will go slowly to insure I make it to my final destination. With temps in the teens, at least it's not too cold. The spread above was part of the festive holidays with the bread made into stuffed French toast and the pumpkin fudge eaten with guilty satisfaction.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Of Work and Love


~Leo Tolstoy

Of Note: Ah, Leo Tolstoy was a wise man. At one layer, he was talking about the familiar day-to-day life we all experience in the home and work place. At another level, he was referring to the concerted movement of light energy by a focused Humanity which will some day change the world. Not often do we think of work and love as energy, but so it is.

Today's Weather Report: Two days ago, it was 37.5 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours, during which time the roads turned to mush, and everything was dripping. The next day it was back to 20 and all re-froze, but what a sight for those hours it was above freezing. The sun shines gloriously this afternoon like yesterday, and water is dripping from the roof in the intense heat created by the dark shingles. More snow is predicted today though when is a mystery since there is not a cloud in the sky.

Watch For Change Snippet: Some folks asked for science sets for Christmas this year who have something special in mind for 2009. These hobbyist are attempting genetic engineering at home and hope to find the next big cure--or methods to make glowing tattoos. For example, one young lady, a computer programmer by trade who learned what she needed to know on-line, is attempting to genetically alter yogurt bacteria to glow green in the presence of melamine, that infamous chemical so prevalent in some Chinese food products. Melamine is hard to detect by conventional methods; thus, someone could stand to make a fortune with a simple test. Another inventor, a 24-year-old biology major, thinks that "unfettered creativity could produce important discoveries." She is the one working on the tattoo project. Critics worry that a garage bioengineering project might unleash an environmental or medical disaster. A biotechnical watchdog organization warned that "synthetic organisms in the hands of amateurs could escape and cause outbreaks of incurable diseases or unpredictable environmental damage." Other fear that terrorists might try similar experiments with malevolent results in mind. Whatever fear some people may have about garage bioengineers, the genie is out of the bottle, and the unfettered experiments will most likely continue.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Science and Enlightenment

Science without enlightenment
renders hypotheses in despairs
through perceptions of physical
realities in the shadows of partial truths.

Enlightenment without science
renders myths in delights
through perceptions of physical
realities in the warped realms of truths.

Science and enlightenment in
unison renders truths of nature in a
bliss through wisdom that
localized realities and unifies holistically.

~Vincent Wee-Foo

Of Note: On this heady note, Merry Christmas to all of you where ever you are! It has been a year of delights sending this blog into the universe. For the next six or seven days, though, I'm taking off to concentrate on the holidays and to entertain my newlywed children from Florida. I promise to return next week after the festivities are over.

Today's Weather Report: Temps did not rise much above zero today, and the house was a bit chilled. More snow fell this morning though by early afternoon it had tapered off. No one can remember this much snow so early in years. But this IS northern Wisconsin, and we are "winterized" and ready for whatever befalls us. I ran out yesterday and took a few shots of the snowy landscape up the road a mile or so. The red of this barn caught my eye--it was the only real color in the whole area which otherwise consisted of grays, blues and whites.

Watch For Change Snippet: With gas prices declining and the auto makers in a tailspin, many fear that electric cars may not continue to get the press they need to move forward. After all, electric cars have come and gone before, though admittedly, they have never gotten this much fanfare. Rescue of the concept may come from the very industry stands to benefit from the rise of electric vehicles--utility companies. Several are mulling the possibility of ordering thousands of the cars "as an expression of support for the technology they fear could be derailed by the auto industry's financial traumas." Utilities stand to gain, of course, because they sell the energy needed to power the cars, and lately they have excess capacity. What's more, if they become early electric car-adopters, they'd have "a prime opportunity to make sure recharging happens in a way that strengthens the electric grid, rather than weakens it." The good PR would not hurt the often beleaguered utility companies either. Sounds like this could be a win-win all the way around.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Producing Thinkers

The trend of our modern civilization,
in spite of all its mistakes and errors,
is to produce Thinkers.

Education, books, travel,
in its many and varied forms,
enunciation of science and of philosophy,
and the driving inner urge which we call religious,
but which is in fact the drive toward
truth and its mental verification--
all these objectives have but one objective,
and this is to produce Thinkers.

~A Tibetan Master

Of Note: It would appear from this statement that the production of Thinkers is the common ground shared by all disciplines. It would follow then that no one disciple is greater or lesser than another--that through them all Thinkers are created. Heady philosophers, religious zealots and brainy scientists might keep this thought in mind when extolling the virtues of their current chosen path while diminishing the contribution of others.

Today's Weather Report: Sunny all day but VERY cold. It was 20 below again early this morning and did not get above 0 degrees all day. Many across the United States are getting a blast of Mr. Winter, now that his arrival is official, and a white Christmas is assured. Ho-ho-ho.

Watch For Change Snippet: Have you wondered what banks are going to do with all those illiquid assets they have on their books? Well, wait no longer because, at least in one case, the decision has been made. Credit Suisse plans to use these sketchy assets to pay bonuses to many top executives in the firm's investment bank. The bank insists that the executives may stand to gain in several years when the credit markets straighten out. But that has not stopped loud grousing from the unhappy executives who will receive these non-cash "rewards." Many of them contend it was not their fault that the markets tanked so they should not be punished. Maybe that's a fact, maybe not. It would be interesting to track how these men and women make out with their 2008 bonuses in 10 years. Many retirees are not getting that chance to wait and watch. Some on Wall Street are applauding the pragmatic move by the innovative bank and are watching to see if others follow suit or would it be Suisse?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Parting the Curtain

My continuing passion
is to part a curtain,
that invisible well of
indifference that falls
between us and that blinds
us to each others presence,
each others wonder,
each others human plight.

~Eudora Welty


Of Note: The invisible curtain might also be parted to the other kingdoms in nature--the animal, plant and mineral. Each has a longing at some level for connection with the human. It is predicted that in the future great things will be achieved when humanity creates the necessary link. The work has already begun and the keen environmental sense so prominent today--though not perfected and thus unbalanced to some degree--is one of its manifestations.

Today's Weather Report: The prediction of 10 inches of snow was overblown. Only 5 inches fell during the night, and the sun is shining brightly at the moment. Even with the dribs and drabs of snow we've had over the past month, snowplowing is getting to be difficult because the snow has no place to go. Mountains of snow are already accumulating in retail parking lots. At 10 below this morning it was cold and is only 5 below zero now at 1:00 pm.

Watch For Change Snippet: What do the UN, drug cartels and Mexico have in common? Each has a great interest in the habitat of the Monarch butterfly--high in the mountains, 60 miles west of Mexico City. Monarchs return to this site every year after an amazing migration that takes the butterflies thousands of miles north in waves of survival, then returns to the same tree of its grandparents. How this unparalleled feat is accomplished as yet to be determined. For decades, drug cartels have taken advantage of the area's poverty by backing lucrative logging operations in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Little was done to stop the illegal destruction. Year after year large swathes of the land were denuded of trees, often with Monarch's hanging onto the branches. The tide began to turn last year, however, when the reserve was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The prestigious designation prompted the Mexican government to begin combating the illegal logging operations, and 12 sawmills have been closed thus far. Homero Aridjis was raised watching the wholesale logging of the Monarch's trees often during mating season when tens of thousands of the insects clung to the branches. We can thank this visionary, who is Mexico's ambassador to UNESCO, for his courage in preserving the Monarch's habitat in the face of retaliation by the fearsome drug cartels. It is this kind of fearlessness that will eventually change the world. Marie captured this stunning shot of a Monarch winging its way through northern Texas on its way south in late summer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Changing Quickly

Don't you notice that there are particular moments
when you are naturally inspired to introspection?

Work with them gently, for these are the moments
when you can go through a powerful experience,
and your whole worldview can change quickly.

~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: Change usually takes quite awhile. We expect it to. It is a rare experience to "change overnight." And that's generally good--otherwise we'd never know what to expect in our environment from one day to the next. Rinpoche speaks with reverence of another kind of change so extraordinary as to be immediately transformative. He suggests that we watch for these transcendent moments and use them for they provide a window into the universe that once opened cannot be easily shut.

Today's Weather Report: Up to 10 inches of snow is predicted for the the next 24 hours. The dark clouds are gathering, and we are preparing to hunker down. While four cats are content to curl up in various spots around the house, one of the cats believes the house is his playpen and is bouncing from wall to wall, upstairs and down. Catnip could not explain this behavior because it is now buried below several inches of snow. It's probably the young cat's response to early cabin fever. I've got news for him--we've got many more months of this ahead.

Watch For Change Snippet: Africa has been a mess for years. No one would argue that. How to help has been the perennial issue. For years, the Bush administration and other western nations have pushed human development, including healthcare, education and good governance. China has taken another route in emphasizing infrastructure construction such as buildings, roads and hospitals but it hasn't stopped there. The pragmatic Chinese have also introduced Africans to high-yield rice as a way to help end chronic malnutrition. To get the idea off the ground, the astute developers planted the staple around the private house of the progressive Liberian President. If the trial proves successful, farmers will be encouraged to grow the staple around their own homes. A Chinese official was quoted as saying: "[If] rice can grow around the houses of all farmers, the food problem would be solved in Liberia." The west groused that Chinese loans were only a carrot to gain access to vast African resources and would eventually be an unwieldy burden. The nations themselves feel otherwise and welcome help from many sources, especially help with more immediate results. Many ideas have come and gone in Africa and cynicism runs high. But high-yield rice, now that might an idea worth pursuing in the places it can grow, and I am rooting that this one takes hold.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wise Selfish People

Foolish selfish people are always
thinking of themselves,
and the result is negative.

Wise selfish people think of others,
help others as much as they can,
and the result is that they too
receive benefit.

~The Dalai Lama

Of Note: Wise selfish people know about karma. That's one of the reasons they are called wise. They also know that as karma is cleared, not only do they receive benefit, but all creation is gifted as well. Some have an idea that karma is predetermined or fatalistic. That is not the case. Sogyal Rinpoche pointed out that "karma means our ability to create and to change." What he's saying is that karma is not something done to us. Wise selfish people know that we are in control of our little sphere and thus responsible for the consequences, providing just one more good reason to reach out with a loving heart.

Today's Weather Report: While Chicago and the surrounding area all the way into Wisconsin were pummeled with snow and ice today, we enjoyed sunshine and temps in the low 20's. Our shopping trip to Ashland yesterday ended with the sunset above captured out the car window. The whole scene was spellbinding for miles and miles and much better than the stormy one we would have had southeast of here had we gone on that trip Wednesday.

Watch For Change Snippet: A few months back, I developed a taste for rice. My husband, the cook in the family, is of German descent; unsurprisingly then, potatoes are his stock in trade. Thus, my desire to eat rice fell on deaf ears for a little while until I started eating it for breakfast. I found no better way to greet the day than a bowl of rice, raisens and cut-up apple drenched in soy milk. Then a small rice cooker was purchased so that the smell of scorched rice would not continue to plague the process. One day I made a rice roll containing fresh vegetables wrapped in seaweed. My husband eyed the Japanese-inspired concoction and proceeded to eat almost all on the plate. He made me promise to serve the delicious rolls once a week. As a matter of fact, that's what we are having tonight. In doing so, we will be joining a majority of people in the world today eating rice in one form or another. Could be that my Germanic guy will come around after all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Upward and Onward


~Elizabeth Harrison

Of Note: Doing this one thing alone would change the course of history. But oh how difficult it is, especially for those raised on criticism or whose personality finds this behavior as the path of least resistance. The antidote for criticism is compassion and love. The critical thought will be transformed by the higher vibration of loving energy. Even if for only an instant, it's a start. Daily application of this medicine will leave the patient much better off. A cure will have been affected when critical thoughts are not first in the mind but are a distant memory. Onward and upward the new energy will flow to the benefit of all mankind.

Today's Weather Report: The sun shines brightly outside, and the tree limbs glisten from reflected snow. At 20 below this morning it is still very cold. But with the sun shining, who cares. Chicago is gearing up for the worst storm it's had in years. Glad we are not there as witnesses.

Watch For Change Snippet is taking the day off to go Christmas Shopping!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Moving In the Opposite Direction

Any intelligent fool can make things
bigger, more complex and more violent.

It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--
to move in the opposite direction.

~Albert Einstein

Of Note: Living a life of simplicity marks a highly evolved individual moving in an advanced spiritual direction. We've all met a few of these folks, who are embraced by calm no matter what the surroundings or circumstances. What these people provide is a model of what is to come once our lives are dominated by the soul and dedicated to service. It seems that Mr. Einstein was not only smart man but wise as well.

Today's Weather Report: An ice storm predicted to befall Chicago tomorrow prevented us from making the trip down today. We will be now snug in our house rather than on the road under adverse conditions. The temps here stilling hover at zero or below, and the roads are icy because salt is ineffective at anything below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. My husband, who just made a short trek to town for groceries, said one road to town was closed due to downed trees, and many cars were in ditches. Good reason to hunker down with a warm bowl of soup, followed by a good book. Marie took this mellow shot out in East Texas not too long ago. I put it here to remind myself what a lack of snow looks like--this time of year it's hard to remember the color green or the vibrant fall colors of orange and red.

Watch For Change Snippet: Corporations sometimes get a bad rap for their activities. Several years ago, I told my environmentalist daughter that corporations would come around when the money led them there. What I did not realize at the time was the impact of the Kyoto Agreement on corporate giants like General Electric, who could not follow the lead of America and ignore the matter because of their global presence. As we all are aware, even the USA can no longer ignore the green revolution, and columnist Thomas Friedman believes that "green is the next red, white and blue." But we should not forget that large corporations were generally ahead of the federal government when it came to environmental action. In the last year, this blog has featured many newspaper or magazine corporate stories and ads highlighting their green agendas and research. One such full-page ad, for example, touted the fact that Monsanto was conducting research to get more agricultural yield from rainwater. This innovator expected its advanced hybrid and biotech seeds to reduce water consumption by 1/3, important in places with unpredictable rainfall and no irrigation. The ad went on to say that fully 60% of the world's food comes from non-irrigated land, and this percentage will increase with the help of these Monsanto seeds. Considering that miracle seed is one component of a global hunger solution as noted by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs a few blogs back, we might be coming to a life-affirming juncture where great human need and the corporate bottom-line are meeting at the crossroads.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Happiest Moment of Your Life

Death is not an end, but a beginning;
not a horror, but a joy.
It is not a closing down,
but an opening up.

The happiest moment of your life
will be the moment it ends.

That's because it doesn't end but only
goes on in ways so magnificent,
so full of peace and wisdom and joy,
as to make it difficult to describe
and impossible for you to understand.

~Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God

Of Note: A friend emailed yesterday and said his teenage son had died in his sleep. No words can begin to console a parent who has lost a child, especially so unexpectedly. 600 people turned out for the visitation, and 300 of his classmates somberly stood in silence for a candle vigil. It is hard to imagine at a time like this that death could be the happiest moment of a life, particularly when the life has been cut short at such a young age. But our inscrutable soul is in charge and has its reasons. An noted author put it this way: "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly."

Today's Weather Report: Nothing can describe for those who've never experienced it, the cold of 25 below zero. That's what it was this morning upon awakening, and it's only minus 12 degrees now. Even in the house, layers of clothing are required to stay warm--which is only relative term at these temps. Don't know if you remember the pictures of the tall sunflowers which graced the garden this summer, but this is what remains. The birds were delighted earlier in the season to eat the seeds but now are long gone. The snow is the only thing that keeps the plants company now.

Watch For Change Snippet: In the coming days, we must be wary of "greenwashing." That does not mean painting an object green. Rather, it's a new term for making something appear environmentally friendly when in fact, it is not. This word came to my attention when reading a car review on the Escalade Hybrid. The author said the concept of making a huge SUV a hybrid was laughable and only produced for the purposes of "greenwashing." It might be one of the reasons the Big Three automakers are in trouble. The Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman speaks similarly about the environmental party we've been having rather than a real revolution. He believes a revolution comes with pain of some kind which precipitates real change. Anything else is just window dressing. As Americans mature into true global citizens and embrace the values of cooperation and personal responsibility, the party will end. In its place will be a more stable world capable of supporting its collective inhabitants, and greenwashing will be considered an outdated tactic well left behind.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Test of Tenacity

Here is a test to see if your
work here on Earth is finished.

If your still here, it's not.

~Richard Bach

Of Note: This weekend's snowstorm that ravaged many parts of the country, followed now by a cold snap, is a test of national stamina. Most everyone has been touched by this monstrous storm in one way or another. This was me gearing up to replace a snowplow truck battery in the middle of the blizzard. See the smile? It was a fake for the camera. What I was really thinking was how long it would be until we were back in the warm house, and why we did not do this before the storm. Funny thing happened, though, when out in the blinding snow--it was kind of exhilarating. And because I was dressed as warmly as a polar bear, I even went and snapped some photos of the scene to show my family in Texas what Wisconsin snow was all about. You know how they say it's good to make lemonade out of lemons? This was kind of like that, except we made snow cones out of ice.

Today's Weather Report: My intrepid husband is now snowplowing again. It is still 10 below zero but thankfully the sun is out providing us with an illusion of warmth. Tonight it is predicted to be 20 below like last week--and this is even before winter officially begins!

Watch For Change Snippet: "It was like gnawing on a rock." With those words, former President Jimmy Carter described what it was like during his administration to get Americans to turn down the thermostat, carpool to work and try solar powered panels. Carter firmly believes that harping on the energy situation for four straight years cost him the election. His advice to President-elect Barack Obama? "I think he can prevail if he does it early and with great dedication and enthusiasm--and with tenacity." The former President also strongly suggested maintaining a sense of sustained crisis. Seems that shouldn't be difficult--but surprisingly, in a recent New Yorker cartoon lampooning the on-going crisis mentality, energy is not even specifically mentioned as one of the twelve currently dogging us. To Carter's credit, the difficulties of his presidency did not deter him from investigating new sources of sustainable energy. He and Rosalyn are currently growing 10 acres of paulownia trees, apparently the fastest growing in the world. This practical visionary sees their groves as a great new source of non-food biofuel. Now that's tenacity!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bringing About Right Human Relations

This is no mystical or visionary dream with which I am presenting you. It involves hard business sense on the physical plane, a practical commonsense, a cessation of the constant presentation of a beautiful future in a mythical heaven of idleness and usefulness.

The bringing in of the Kingdom of God, the preparation for the coming of the Christ and the salvaging of mankind demand courage, organization, business acumen, psychology and persistence; it needs trained workers and much money; it calls for carefully considered programs, possessing long range vision, plus sensible modern procedures.

It is to this that all with true vision and love of humanity are called today; it means the spreading of an intelligently cultivate goodwill and the fostering of those conditions, attitudes and points of view which will inevitably bring about right human relations.

~~A Tibetan Master

Of Note: CEO God has not made an appearance in this blog for several months. As He also wears the hat of Supreme Fireman of the World, He's been understandably busy elsewhere. But if He did make a statement today, it might be the one above first printed over 50 years ago. I gather from these pointed words that the next evolutionary step will occur when right human relations are achieved. No small matter but obviously attainable if approached with courage, common sense and practical action motivated by good will for all.

Today's Weather Report: We awoke this morning to 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow. In some spots it had drifted to a foot. Blizzard conditions have prevailed most of the day. The picture above was taken only hours ago during a short break in the precipitation. All my garden sculptures and the like remain outside during the winter. Many are now entirely covered with snow only to be seen again next spring when, to my delight, rediscoveries will be made of forgotten treasures.

Watch For Change Snippets: Have you been struck by the irony that as 40 million more people went hungry in the rest of the world, the obesity epidemic took front stage in America in 2008? 66% of Americans are now overweight or obese, doubling the national obesity rate between 1976 and 1999. Apparently, California was the only state not getting chunkier. There must be great dissatisfaction in being obese because $50 billion is spent on diet programs annually in the USA. Cholesterol lowering drugs are now being prescribed for 8 year-olds--much to the delight of pharmaceutical companies. A slim President-elect Obama, who eats rice, broccoli and tuna daily similar to billions of folks worldwide, could be an model for change if he desired. We will have to wait and see if he seizes this opportunity in the face of the growing obesity epidemic engulfing the western world.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bless This Wounded World

Our only credible action as
believers is to bless this world.
We are to bless it as extravagantly
as wastefully, as passionately as
God has blessed us.

The most healing power on earth
appears when imperfect people
dismissing all signs to the contrary,
know they have enormous power
to bless this wounded world.

~Patrick Malone, SJ

Of Note: I am not embarrassed to say that every human is divine. Not just a knock-off, but actually and authentically divine. Because of this, the powers we have to use for good or not-so good are enormous. Once we use the divine powers we possess to affect goodwill on Earth, everything will change. Could be in an instant. It's up to us.

Today's Weather Report: In town yesterday, a sales lady told me that the sun had come out for an instant. I commented that I'd missed the big event. Today there will be no big event as heavy clouds hang dully in the sky. At least it's in the 20's rather than sub-zero like yesterday. What keeps my engine going in the winter is the picture of the sun blazing above the clouds--a bright, glowing, hot sun. The thought brings smiles even does Marie's country lane photo above. She played with the colors a bit to bring out an unnatural, verdant aura. Makes the scene appear a bit surreal. My Mom sent the quote above; so, today's blog is a family affair!

Watch For Change Snippet: Glaxo was on the verge of abandoning its malaria vaccine in 1999 because of market issues when it made the unusual move to apply for a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Fast forward nine years, and thanks to this partnership, a malaria vaccine may be on the horizon. It was announced last week that an experimental vaccine has shown promise when administered to 340 infants in Tanzania, who showed a 35% reduction in the incidence of malaria as compared to the control group. An accompanying editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine cautioned, however, that Tanzania has a lower rate of malaria because of the consistent use of bed nets and medication, and the vaccine needs to be tested in an area with a higher rate. But promise is promise and thanks to the Gates foundation, the wounded world could have one less devastating disease with which to contend sometime in the future.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rekindling the Inner Light

Sometimes our light goes out,
but is blown again into instant
flame by an encounter with
another human being.

Each of us owes the deepest
thanks to those who have
rekindled this inner light.

~Albert Schweitzer

Of Note: Each of us has a person or two in our lives who has literally saved us by shining their light at just the right moment. We might consider at this moment sending a non-verbal thanks on the waves of thought to these benefactors. Thought being substance is another form of light. Thus, light is circulated and, in the process, changes for the good whatever is in its path. Gratitude circulated daily could change the world.

Today's Weather Report: Light snow is falling at the moment, little flakes because of the cold. Minus 20 degrees greeted us upon awakening this morning. Extremely cold days are not unusual when the moon is full. Last night looked like day because of the moon's brightness. Marie continues to send luscious sunset shots from her backyard. I am grateful every day for having such a talented and loving sibling.

Watch For Change Snippet: What has been described as the first computer has been identified. The mysterious tangle of finely-crafted gears was discovered in the hull of a sunken Mediterranean ship in 1900. It was considered a curiosity until now. With the help of 3-D x-ray,scientists believe the 2,000 year-old mystery object was "a calendar dedicated to the Olympic games together with calendars to determine the timing of the eclipses and the phases of the sun and moon." A member of the research team who made the discovery exclaimed: "It's a jaw-dropping astonishing device. I still don't know how they did it." The they is still a mystery, although the mechanical calendar bore months in the Corinthian language.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Slowly Built Endures Forever



~A. A. Bailey

Of Note: This is a picture of my "pet" frog, Agnes, who resided in one of the larger garden ponds this past summer. She had no idea a human was watching her activities on a regular basis although I don't know that for a fact. All day she'd bask in the sunshine while still immersed in the water. Pretty slick trick for this cold-blooded beastie during the hot summer months. I figure that Agnes' ancestors did the same millions of years ago although they were most likely much larger. Seems that over time, physical evolution provides bodies of finer and finer material in smaller sizes, though exceptions exist as they always do, of course. Ageless Wisdom postulates an evolution of consciousness as well. I wonder how far Agnes and her kin have traveled in that regard.

Today's Weather Report: Hum, my eyes are treated to blue sky out the northeastern window and gray clouds out the southern window. Which is it going to be today? Won't make a big difference as I sit here editing my husband's book. 32 pages are done with only 300 to go. Onward and upward always.....this mantra keeps me going. As do his visits to see if I'm still smiling.

Watch For Change Snippets: Consciousness pervades all. Humanity may not be able to comprehend consciousness of a rock or bacteria, but that does not preclude its existence. How else to explain the slime mold amoebas, who learned to slow down their motion in anticipation of the timed cold, dry pattern created by scientists in their environment? The main scientist running the experiment suggested that this might provide "a chance to reconsider what intelligence is."

Could be that some scientists have uncovered evidence of consciousness at other levels of being and may not recognize the fact. Take for instance the discovery of a virus that infects at least three different kinds of larger virus while at the same time shuttling genetic material between them all. Pretty fancy. The discoverer explained that "this is a completely different way of transmitting genes" and "could be driving evolution of new species in a as-yet-unknown way." Then, there's the mysterious medical case of the disappearance of bees. Seems these unfortunate insects may have developed dementia following a viral attack and are unable to find their way home, thus sealing their doom. Scientist have even subjected the diseased bees to head CT scans much like their demented human counterparts. Studies, funded by millions from the federal government, which is quite concerned about the epidemic, are ongoing.

This last one, however, may put the question of consciousness in lesser-beings to bed. Listen to this: while enduring dry spells of days or years, microscopic, all-female, aquatic creatures called bdelloid rotifer apparently die only to come alive again once the rain returns. Dead here means dead. During the dry spells, the creatures' cell membranes rupture scattering their DNA. Like Lazarus, however, these gals rise again--a fact that until now has baffled scientists. Lo and behold, the wee rotifers reconstitute themselves from bits and pieces of whatever DNA is lying around in the mud. The genetic material might be their own or random scraps from other organisms including bacteria, fungi and plants or even what they ate last for dinner. Doesn't seem to matter much. The investigators of this phenomenon suggested that "It may be their form of sex. But their partner is essentially dead. So you'd have to call it necrophilia. Actually, since they are all female, lesbian necrophilia." I'd call it smart.

Check out the latest Discover magazine for more examples of new "uncoveries" in 2008.
These are only four of one hundred.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giving Place To The New

Growth is one long period of
building in order to destroy,
of constructing in order
to disorganize later,
of developing certain rhythmic
processes in order to disrupt them,
and to force the old rhythm
to give place to the new.

~A. A. Bailey

Of Note: This sums up perfectly the evolutionary process. Onward and upward always. From the outside the process can look chaotic when in reality everything is going according to schedule. Its the same for individuals or nations. A look at America right now will provide a look at this creative process in action. Every nation has a destiny where timing is everything--and we as a nation are at a crossroad. Will we take the path to the right or left? It's up to us.

Today's Weather Report: Temps were in the low single digits Fahrenheit this morning. I mention Fahrenheit because a friend from New Zealand emailed with her temps in Celsius. I thought she was talking about low temps in the 30's and 40's, but she meant hot. Looking out the window here at the snow piling up, it's hard to imagine a part of the world where it's summer.

Watch For Change Snippet: Apparently in 2001, the United Nations held a conference on racism in Durban. Our Secretary of State at the time Colin Powell walked out when it became an anti-Semitic rant and rave session. As it turns out, another conference on racism will be held in Geneva come April called Durban II. This international affair will be organized by the UN Human Rights Council that is led by countries with dubious records on human rights, including Iran, Cuba and Libya. Israel will most likely be at the top of the agenda like last time as will the rest of the western world for allegedly prosecuting Muslims. No mention is made in the draft resolution about Muslims killing Muslims in large numbers around the globe, or the lack of religious freedom in many Muslim countries. Israel has declared it will not attend as has Canada. Seems to me that the USA should consider attending and staying for the whole event. Certainly after the election of a visionary black President, our example and light could provide an opportunity for an open discussion. A seed might be planted that someday may produce a fine harvest at some point. We won't know if we don't go and stand--even in the face of criticism.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Great Light of God

Behind every shadow of life
is the great Light of God.

~Paramahansa Yogananda

Of Note: Light is of God, and light is God as well. Why is that? He can only emanate what He is. Makes sense, doesn't it? That includes all light everywhere and on every plane--physical, emotional and mental. Paradoxically, darkness is of God, and darkness is God as well. There is no escaping the fact that shadow and light are both God. Could it be that our God is evolving and this apparent contradiction is an outward sign of His evolution?

Today's Weather Report: It has been a day of weather contrasts. Dark skies loomed and heavy snow fell for most of the morning. Then the lighted sun shone brightly for a short time, though at the time, it looked to be for the duration of the day. I got pumped to take some tremendous photos. Not so. The dark clouds reappeared, and snow is falling once again.

Watch For Change Snippet: The love of truth has evaded 4 out of the last 6 governors of Illinois. The arrest this morning of the sitting governor beats all, and, as of this moment, he still sits in jail awaiting a hearing. It was simple, he wanted money. That summarizes his own words caught on tape by the FBI. The prosecutor said that when the last governor went down just a few years back, he thought corrupt Illinois politicians would get the message. Apparently not. There appears to be one notable exception, however. Our President-elect, who hails from Illinois, is displaying unsurpassed ethical conduct in a manner not seen before in a high-level politician. His future constituents have taken notice of his professional conduct. We can only hope that a new age of honesty is emerging starting at the top and that corruption is found and disposed of quickly like the malignancy it is.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mankind's War of Liberation



~John F. Kennedy

Of Note: No doubt, President Kennedy was speaking of physical hunger here. It was a hot topic then and remains one even today. But there is another war raging even with those whose bodies are sated. Place the word spiritual in front of the word hunger, and a picture is then presented of the battle currently being fought by Humanity as a whole. When the lessons learned through the recognition of the rights and needs of all, a true spirit of cooperation, and a sense of personal responsibility result in service to the common good, the aching spiritual hunger experienced by mankind will subside. Humanity may then claim its divine legacy, the peace that passes understanding, and move on to its next evolutionary challenge. Onward and upward always.

Today's Weather Report: Clouds and more clouds. I thought this was supposed to be December, the month of sunshine and cold. Well, we have the cold--so, we have at least one of the two. Lately, my sister, Marie, must supply pictures from Texas because cloudy days do not create good photographic opportunities for an amateur like me. Thanks, Marie!

Watch For Change Snippet: Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, who runs Columbia's Earth Institute, has been a man of clear vision and steady voice for quite some time on the issues of global poverty and disease. In May, he penned an insightful article in TIME magazine: "Act Now Eat Later: The world saw it coming but did little. Now the global food shortage has become a crisis. Here's how to end it." Dr Sachs lists three steps, including specific objectives, to fix the world food crisis: give farmers in poor countries access to high-yield seed and fertilizers; stop the biofuel nonsense; and help farmers protect crops from drought and other disasters. This vocal server believes that "practical solutions to the world's food woes do exist, but we'll have to start thinking ahead and acting globally." At the same time, the Secretary General of the United Nations stepped up to the plate by naming a top-level task force to develop a comprehensive plan. This work should continue even in the wake of falling commodity prices according to experts like Dr. Sachs, who fear that the needs of the developing nations will be forgotten during the tumultuous, on-going financial crisis. He would probably agree with JFK that if we get this right, we will most likely free ourselves from much misery while liberating mankind for bigger and better things.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Expect Nothing

Expect nothing.
Live frugally on surprise.

~Alice Walker

Of Note: The current financial situation has hurt the pockets of many folks. These tales can be heartbreaking as unfortunates are turned out of their homes and left with huge medical bills after their plants suddenly close and leave them with no jobs and no health insurance. The bigger story, however, is the psychological impact the downturn is having on the general population--even though we may not have been touched personally. Even though we have had many downturns and recessions since World War II. Even though we have a new political administration which said it will fix everything. This is translating in different ways for different people, and the market is taking notice. Comfortable over-stuffed sofas are coming back, replacing the cardboard-like minimalist versions so popular not too long ago. Card companies are replacing pictures of Christmas trees surrounded by a multitude of colorful packages with more austere shots such as a couple holding hands sauntering down a snowy country lane. Meaningful words and deep colors are in; short catchy phrases and pinks are out. Thrift Shops are full of customers from all walks of life. The international, traveling Millionaire Fair wants for attendees to view its luxury items as the rich pull back from ostentatious exhibits. It might not be a coincidence that the baking company which creates Wonder Bread and Twinkies is just now exiting bankruptcy. Could it be that humanity as a whole is waking up to simplicity as a way of life? If that proved to be true, oh what surprises might be in store for the "astonished onlookers," to quote an old man watching from afar.

Today's Weather Report: Very cloudy morning with temps below zero early on. Our outside wood burner has yet to be fully connected again after being moved in September. So, we've been burning wood in our large fireplace to keep parts of the house warm. Space heaters are taking care of other areas of the house. The wood burner installation dude is set to return next Tuesday. That's good because our patience for his return had run out. We certainly hope he keeps the appointment as the house gets a wee tad colder every day. Marie, who is a lot warmer than we are, took this minimalist shot last week in east Texas where the leaves have now fallen, providing an appropriate background for today's austerity theme.

Watch For Change Snippet: Muslims in India have a hard time of it generally. They have few opportunities in the caste system and are viewed below the "untouchable" Dalit caste. Pogroms have often decimated this population, though at 150 million the group has proved resilient. But a current trend in modern education among the Muslim youth is encouraging. In an article about the recent Mumbai affair, The Wall Street Journal noted: "The desire to learn English is ubiquitous as is the fascination for computers. Even in the disgruntled valleys of Kashmir, a press survey found that the iconic founder of India's most respected software company was a greater hero among Muslim students than the founder of Al Qaeda."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How Beautiful the Leaves

How beautiful the leaves grow old.
How full of light and color are their last days.

~John Burrough

Of Note: At you can help several great causes by clicking on CLICK HERE TO GIVE--IT'S FREE at each of the tabs. What's amazing is the act of clicking is the donation. It's simple, and did I emphasize enough yet, it's FREE. What's more, from each tab, e-cards that donate even more can be sent to friends. One I sent around the other day donated seeds to African farmers when a friend just opened the card; another from the literacy section donated a book. That effort ended with over 30,000 books sent to children in need. There's something for everyone with sites for hunger, child health, the rainforest, breast health, animals and literacy. Quotes like the one above from the rainforest section will inspire. Go ahead--try it out. Make it a habit every day. You will be glad you did.

Today's Weather Report: I opened the blinds this morning to see at least 4 inches of new snow on the ground. It was beautiful and looked like a warm, white blanket across the landscape. The perennials underneath do consider snow a blanket. Without it, many would likely die when the 30 below temps hit in January. One year with no snow and temps like that, we lost 50% of our plants, even the hardy ones that are never supposed to die. As my husband says, never say never, especially in the far north woods of Wisconsin. Fall finally came to north Texas this past month, trailing us by a good 6 to 8 weeks, and Marie snapped these two stunning photos of autumn leaves gracefully dying in her neighborhood.
Watch For Change Snippet: It will be with little fanfare that on Monday, December 8, the Great Lakes Compact will go into effect. However, there should be at least a marching band and drum roll. This unprecedented international agreement between two Canadian provinces and the eight states that border the Great Lakes, which comprises one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water, will "usher in a new era of conservation and cooperation." Specifically, the compact prohibits long-distance and large-scale diversions of water from the Great Lakes while encouraging conservation. Speedy passage of the measure in less than three years was prompted by threats to the supply including mass diversions for water bottling plants, manufacturing and irrigation as well as rumbles from the Western USA and China about piping or shipping the water out. The Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources proclaimed: "This is a great day for Wisconsin, the Great Lakes Region and the world community. The Great Lakes is an international treasure. The compact assures they'll be the foundation for a healthy economy and a healthy environment for generations to come."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paradox: The Path To Freedom

Although we have been made to believe
that if we let go we will end up with nothing,
life reveals just the opposite:
That letting go is the real
path to freedom.

~Sogyal Rinpoche

Of Note: Paradox is a part of life as are the lessons thus revealed. The heart will follow the inquiring mind to new vistas previously unexplored.

Today's Weather Report: It must be winter--or at least it feels like it even if the date has yet to be officially reached. That fact was confirmed today when we awoke to zero degrees outside (thankfully not inside) with temps still hovering there. The sun is out just to prove it can be at these temps.

Watch For Change Snippet: Even with plummeting gas prices, the push for alternative energy vehicles has not lost steam. The first solar powered car to traverse the world arrived yesterday in Poznan, Poland where UN delegates from 190 countries are working toward a new treaty on control of climate change which will replace the Kyoto Agreement set to expire in 2012. The world tour was the brainchild of a Swiss school teacher and began 17 months ago in Switzerland. The noiseless car, which reached speeds of 55 mph and covered 185 miles on one battery, traveled 32,000 miles through 38 countries while giving rides to over 1,000 influential people along the way. The intrepid traveler was quoted as saying: "Here at the conference we are talking about reducing emissions by 10 or 20 percent. I want to show that we can reduce emissions by 100 percent - and that's what we need for the future." Along the same line, India has introduced an innovative solar rickshaw that is touted as solving India's horrific traffic woes, chronic pollution and dependence on fossil fuels. 8 million cycle-rickshaws currently navigate the streets of India but are being replaced by cars at an alarming rate. A solar model will fill a need between the rickety rickshaw and a modern version that more people may find acceptable. Along this same line, the State of Hawaii signed up with Better Place, Inc. to create 70,000 to 100,000 recharging points by 2011 aided by Hawaiian Electric Company. Better Place is the outfit founded in 2007 to promote electric cars and is pursuing similar arrangements in Australia, Israel, Denmark and the San Francisco area. This initiative fits Hawaii's comprehensive energy plan to cut its oil dependence 30% by 2030. Oil, all of which is imported at great cost, currently comprises 90% of fuel to the island. Seems the cat is out of the bag as far as alternative energy vehicles--we have only to watch as the innovations are rolled out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Future Missions to Mars

Mars was a habitable world
at some point in its history.
We don't know exactly when,
and we don't know precisely where.

Future missions will have
to figure that out.

~Jim Bell, Cornell University

Of Note: No, this is not a shot of Mars. Marie captured this photo of the moon in an apparent triangle with Jupiter and Venus earlier this week. She said that this alignment would not recur until 2050. You can't miss this showy threesome in the night sky. A red Mars made a similar trek across our skies a few years back, and I remember thinking that all the people had gone a little nutty at the time with fighting and other less than exemplary behavior. Could it be that the planets and constellations have an effect on us as explained by the science of astrology? Given the persistence of the interest in horoscopes, it would appear that there is a there there--somewhere. We can only stay tuned because currently consideration of astrology only brings raised eyebrows from those who regard themselves as serious scientists. Could be, however, that the current astrologers have only scratched the surface of this ancient knowledge base and that scientists may be in for a surprise once they turn to investigate.

Today's Weather Report: It was snowing to beat the band this morning when I awoke. Little flakes with quite a wind according to my husband who runs every morning in whatever weather presents itself....including below zero. I always thought it was only fanatics who would run at 30 below, but he's actually done that a time or two. (I'm sure he'd correct me and say "The word is eccentric, not fanatic.") All dressed up in boots and pants and a jacket can't make running at those temps very fun, but the endorphin high must be worth the extra effort.

Watch For Change Snippet: Mr. Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security, has had a flash of insight as he prepares to leave office. He said that he'd been a little busy since taking office in 2005 with some huge endeavors such as integrating 22 agencies and 200,000 employees into a cohesive unit. Crackdown on illegal immigration and airport security were other overriding issues. However, Mr. Chertoff explained that he has just gotten the chance to actually think about "big picture challenges." He now believes that "a lasting victory in the safeguarding of the country can be achieved only by marrying traditional security with winning a contest of ideas, and a battle for the allegiance of men and women around the world" through education, scholarships and other outreach efforts. This is called "soft power" and will be a key approach of the new administration. Maybe the soon-to-be former Secretary is looking for a job.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

To Those With Eyes To See

For humanity, the notion of its fondest
desires reaching their climax in heaven
must be supplanted by a sense of wonder
of all that surrounds us in this world
and which reveals the nature of Divinity
to those who have eyes to see.

Triangles Bulletin, March 2008

Of Note: One has only to look at a sunset to understand God. Paradoxically, one has only to look at the destruction of an earthquake to understand God as well. Both can be viewed with a sense of wonder at all that surrounds us in this world. Building up and tearing down--two fundamental forces of the All in All--create the necessary balance that drives the evolution of consciousness forward. The eyes to see the true nature of Divinity begin to function only slowly but when they do, all is revealed to a sometimes astonished onlooker: "The mud and slime of this world then become 'celestially fair,' yielding their hidden potential." Check out and click on "Triangles" to read the March bulletin and in particular "The Art of Reverence" from whence this quote came. You may get so engrossed you may not leave this splendid Website for awhile.

Today's Weather Report: Mostly cloudy with the sun peeking through occasionally, but not enough for a person to get accustomed to. It's December now so sunny days should be more prolific, or at least that's what they say. The temps are in the high single digits. Burr! Marie, who took this fabulous shot last week, doesn't have to worry about such things in Texas, though it was chilly there the other day as well. The weather station had Dallas at 38 degrees.

Watch For Change Snippet: 100 corporate CEO's have made an extraordinary commitment. In a full page ad Monday in the Wall Street Journal, these men and women vowed to fight HIV/AIDS discrimination in their workplaces. Make that "our" workplaces because the corporations span the spectrum of global companies, including Dell, Johnson and Johnson, Gap, Unilever, Rio Tinto, Reuters, AstraZeneca and 93 more. These CEOS are members of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. We are all invited to join their efforts to stop the stigma associated with these dreaded diseases because it stops those afflicted from getting tested and treated. Check out for more information on this groundbreaking advance in corporate cooperation and service to the common good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Think Happiness, Be Happiness

Remember, happiness doesn't depend
on who you are or what you have;
it depends solely upon what you think.

~Dale Carnegie

Of Note: Thanks to the World Wide Web, we are able to track down any minute piece of information that we want, need or just covet. Hours can be spent in our chairs surfing this way and that, all the while enjoying whatever music, videos, ads, junk, blogs, or games cross our paths. Isn't it a great world we live in? But separating the wheat from the chaff can sometimes be difficult without a recommendation from friends. So, it is good news that those interested in Ageless Wisdom have a comprehensive source of information at that is beyond compare. One stop shopping at its best. For many years, the organization broadcast programs on Inner Sight Radio. In an exciting development, these shows are now available on YouTube at Put "Lucis Trust" in the search box and you will be ready to chose from a long list of available videos. CDs of the programs can be ordered from Lucis Trust as well. Check it out. They've kept the light on.

Today's Weather Report: A friend and I went to Spooner today for lunch then some light shopping down Main Street. I used to live a block off Main Street and was glad to be back for a visit. Tell you the truth, we were having so much fun, the weather was our last concern.

Watch For Change Snippet: What happens when an American-trained husband and wife physician team returns to their homeland of India and commence to recruit the lowest cast Dalit women as community health care workers in a poor rural town? Amazingly, the health of the community improves ten-fold and the self-esteem of the healthcare workers improves to such an extent one is elected mayor. National Geographic magazine tells the incredible story of an organization called Jamkhed that was founded in 1970 to deliver preventative care to the poor and slowly expanded to serve 300 villages and 500,000 people, including the not-so-poor. Along the way, many Dalit women, some of whom suffered from disfiguring leprosy when younger, were trained to make daily house calls, treat disease and deliver babies. However, before that was possible, the first part of the education program included transformation of the Dalit women themselves. When asked who is more intelligent--a woman or a rat? The women answered, "The rat." But that was then and this is now. These trained healthcare workers have since earned the respected of their communities and hold their heads high. One even holds the town's gavel. All because of two physicians with a vision.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unconditional Love

The only genuine love worthy
of the name is unconditional.

~John Powell

It occurred to me some time ago that I would not be a parent if I did not have children. Or similarly, that a teacher could not be a teacher without students. To lead in any sense of the word, leaders must have followers. This sounds like a simple statement of fact. But, in fact, it is a concept missed by many--including me for many years.

Speaking of parenting specifically: it is not enough to make the declaratory statement "I am parent" without the child going along with it at at some level. Thus, parenting is in a sense a pact with a child to accept leadership given until proven otherwise, just as one accepts any other leader. It is NOT a god-given fact that a child must follow his parents lead, if that lead is faulty.

The role of parenting is learning by instinct and weighing the child's reactions to parental behavior. Thus, a "sharing" of information is set up between parent and child--and BOTH learn in the life-long process. New parents have very little to give a child besides love and nurturing. Both parent and child grow up together, each learning valuable lessons in the process. Watch any interaction between parent and child and look at the molding of the parent by the child that is taking place.

Parent and child teach one another about the give and take of relationships, negotiation, emotional and physical safety as well as selfless giving. It is about learning to just plain get along when getting along is not at the top of the list. Certainly, the demands of a household such as cooking, cleaning and laundry create a practical learning environment for parent and child. For the parent, it is how to get it all done with a busy work schedule; for the child it is just to learn how.

A healthy respect for the child in its role as parental teacher is key to understanding the many universal lessons of parenting. Those of us who are parents can thank our children for their patience, love and acceptance of less than exemplary behavior on our part as we grew up under their tutelage. Children can thank their parents some day for the same.

Of Note: I recently came across this piece I wrote back in January, 2004 and thought of sharing it today. This little tike is one of my grandsons on Thanksgiving Day exploring the fallen leaves in great-grandma's backyard. Auntie Marie did the honors of snapping the shot.

Today's Weather Report: Morning brought a light dusting of snow. The flakes were big and fell slowly in a swirling pattern, as if they could not decide which way to turn next. That did not last long, however, and the sun popped out unexpectedly to shine its warm rays upon the white scene.