Friday, July 30, 2010

What We Bring to the World

Some people go through life
trying to find out what the
world hold for them only to
find out it's what they bring
to the world that really counts.

~Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

Of Note: Big business is finally getting the message that the world is changing and changing fast. The status quo will no longer do. Two examples of cutting edge corporate hookups leaped from the pages of the Wall Street Journal this week. The first was Enterprise Holdings, which owns Enterprise rental cars, contracting with Nissan Motors to buy 500 electric cars due out in December. The rental company wants to be the first in the nation to carry the $33,000 Nissan Leaf, and customers are already asking for them. Difficulties may arise in finding locations to charge the vehicles at first but Enterprise plans to install charging stations at their locations. This is different from those who buy the cars from a dealership where home charging stations will be sold.

The second was Wal-Mart and Seventh Generation Inc, which sells environmentally friendly household products. The Seventh Generation co-founder, Jeffrey Hollender, originally said that "hell would freeze over" before he marketed his company's products through the largest retailer on the planet. Apparently, he feels differently now and next month the company's products will start gracing Wal-Mart's shelves. The change came when Hollender reached out to Wal-Mart after hearing the CEO was reading his book. Soon, he was working on the behemoth's first sustainability report, and the rest is history. According to Hollender: "At his point, we now believe that we can have a bigger impact by partnering with Wal-Mart then by shunning it." More and more companies will come to understand that cooperation with unlikely partners will benefit not only their bottom line but the world as well.

Today's Weather Report: It was partly cloudy today with a few sprinkles in the late afternoon. And I mean a few. Spitting in the wind would have created more moisture. After the last storm earlier in the week, my computer went down again and was returned to the shop. I just got it back this evening and am overjoyed. Amazing how we have come to depend on these devices. The painting around the place continued this week in between showers. It seems that the grass is taking a little break much to my relief. Today at the hardware store, the salesman asked if I was buying more paint. I replied, "No, plumbing parts today and a magnet to pick up the two nails I dropped and can't find." The store did not have the plumbing part I needed, but it did have the large magnet which quickly located the offending nails. Better on the magnet than in tires--car, truck or tractor.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That Which Is Always There

The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast.
The more we persist in misunderstanding the
phenomenon of life, the more we analyze them
into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own,
the more we involve ourselves in sadness.

But it does not matter much because no despair of ours
can alter the reality of things,
or stain the joy of the cosmic dance
which is always there.

~Thomas Merton

Of Note: Space is the next frontier. We have heard that over and over. Wouldn't it be sad to see nations try to carve it up and then fight over the crumbs like they have here on Earth? President Obama has a different vision. In June he proposed a new space policy that envisions international cooperation to a greater extent than before. It includes verifiable arms control programs as well as shared space projects. An official familiar with the new policy said: "The principles reflect President Barack Obama's desire to have Washington and various foreign governments increasingly share funding and expertise on major projects, while negotiating conflicts if possible and exchanging more data about orbiting debris and other hazards in space." That would be a good start. Anyone who has seen the debris maps of the junk left in orbit by various nations and companies knows that some kind of cooperative agreement is essential. This new policy differs sharply from that of the Bush administration just four years ago which rejected diplomatic agreements that could limit the United States' flexibility in space.

Today's Weather Report: Although rain was predicted to fall late this afternoon, it is coming down as we speak. More rain. We have certainly had our share of it this summer, and no one is unhappy about it. The lake has even said thank you and risen a bit. The flower garden has certainly been grateful and responded with copious greenery and flowers. My painting project set for today will have to wait. So be it. Might be a good day to read a book. Haven't done that for awhile.

Monday, July 26, 2010

People Who Make Us Happy


~Marcel Proust

Of Note: There are those who make us happy and those who don't. Recent Gallup polls have put Congress at an 11% approval rating. 11% is the lowest score since Gallup started the "confidence in institutions" rating in 1973. It is no wonder our Congressmen and women are worried about going back to Washington next year. Those in Congress should take note that the divisiveness that currently defines their activity is grating on its constituents. It is time for a real leader to emerge who understands that rancorous political divisiveness has no place in an enlightened civil society. During the election, Americans thought President Obama might be that leader, but apparently they do not think so now. The institution of the Presidency has seen its ratings dropped from 51% to 36% in the last year. At the top of Gallup's list is the military at 76% followed by small business at 66%. The police come in at 59%, religious institutions at 48% followed closely by the medical system at 40%. That is a 65% spread between the military and Congress. Oh my.

Today's Weather Report: Morning have been cool again in the high 40's Fahrenheit. The feel of fall is in the air. Summers go by so quickly when we only have three months of it. This summer will be defined by all the painting that has taken place. Every time I turn around another painting project presents itself. White primer. Lots of white primer. It's the paint of the summer. The primer paint company has probably had to add a second shift for the Schirott's allotment.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Wonders and Realities of the Universe

The more clearly we can focus our attention on
the wonders and realities of the universe about us,
the less taste we shall have for destruction.

~Rachel Carson

Of Note: At this time in its evolution, Humanity has a penchant for destruction. Getting to know destruction well is part of the evolutionary process but will give way eventually to a more balanced approach where construction will take precedence. We are seeing the beginning of that time now. Globalization is an outward indicator of this inward process.

Today's Weather Report: Cloudy and humid. We are waiting for rain, although the sun just peeked out. It must be in the 70's Fahrenheit because it feels neither hot or cold. The four grandkids plus parents left yesterday after nearly a week's stay. The house is now back in order with bedding and towels washed, the space vacuumed and the bathroom KP'd. The dogs miss their little companions. Abby, the four-year old, got very good at ordering the dogs around. That was good because they outweighed her by more than double.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Changing Perception


~ Joan Houston
A Passion for the Possible

Of Note: This is a shot of the archway over the local Seeley Cemetery where a friend and I cleaned his family's 11 headstones in June. As we toiled away, the project afforded an opportunity to really think about death and the fact "you can't take it with you." Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft who will be giving away his billions, has now joined Warren Buffet and Bill/Melinda Gates in just that recognition. Someday, there will be no uber rich people because resources will be distributed more equitably but in the meantime it is commendable that many of them are giving their money away to humanitarian causes before they die.

Today's Weather Report: Frankly, today I have no idea what the weather was doing because my son-in-law, who is a licensed plumber, and I were fixing the broken plumbing in one of our building. Two years ago the pipes froze, and we've had no water there since. We call that building the Pole Barn, and it houses hunters or others who want to get away. Thanks to Rob, the place now has running water again. The four grandkids he brought from Illinois were entertained by Grandpa and the two dogs while their mom fished. Grandpa just went to bed VERY tired. We are not sure how parents with kids do it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Attached to the Rest of the World


~John Muir

Of Note: The world is changing fast. Really fast. With the rise of globalization and the concomitant sense of responsibility it brings, the affluent in developed nations can no longer ignore the low-income populations of third-world countries. International corporations have taken note and are beginning to market their products to the low-income buyer. For example, Danone is now selling yogurt packets in third world countries for pennies--in one case buying milk locally from Senegalese farmers. What started as an experiment may now be expanded to developed countries as well. We understand that Danone is a for-profit corporation not a charity and making money for shareholders is the bottom line. But to date, they have stuck with the project and consider it a learning experience. Said the man responsible: "Learning to make a nutritious product that can be sold for eight cents without a loss helps us when we put in place a volume strategy, even in mature markets." This is not an isolated case and in the future more and more companies will be selling their products to low-income consumers, who represent a huge untapped market.

Today's Weather Report: Last Wednesday, a small tornado hit Hayward. I was at the clinic at the time for my annual physical and the twister hit on the hospital campus property. The visit was cut short because the lights went out. So, I ventured forth not knowing about the tornado only to see the resulting destruction as I drove into town. Wow. Upon arriving home, I found my DSL modem had been fried, as well as the wireless router and Ethernet port of my computer. Last night, a week later, all was finally put back together. I had no idea that an electric surge could travel down the Ethernet cable so it must be disconnected when a storm approaches. That was an expensive lesson to learn.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wings to Fly


~Padre Pio

Of Note: Without a doubt, somewhere in this scene from my garden lurks a mosquito. As a matter of fact, one was buzzing around my leg a moment ago but was quickly dispatched. Mosquitoes are considered the state bird of Wisconsin and have always been a summer plague because of all the lakes and swampland. Many of us know people who have been infected with West Nile virus following a mosquito bite. There is a legend that the biting beasts used to drive men crazy in the woods. Thus, we are empathetic with our brothers and sisters worldwide who battle the malaria mosquito, which carries the Plasmodium parasite. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this nefarious parasite has been responsible for half of all human deaths since the Stone Age! Think of it, half the deaths of humans. The article went on to say that it has "shaped our trade and settlement patterns and demographics." To date, scientists and governments have been unable to eradicate the parasite because of its ability to change as we assault it with drugs. Bed nets are helpful but often go unused. A vaccine could possibly provide an answer. We humans believe that technology is the answer to all problems, but to date, a microscopic parasite and its host mosquito has not only kept us down but continues to shape who we are. That's quite humbling.

It is when we are confronted with poignant
reminders of mortality that we become
most aware of the strangeness and wonder
of our brief life here on Earth.
~Kathleen Basford

Today's Weather Report: Partly cloudy and in the 70's would describe the day so far. I will be mowing, again. With all the rain, this has been an every other day event--along with the fact that more space has been opened to mow. The effect is spectacular, but the additional work is not. The dogs have taken to wallowing in the garden ponds when they are hot after which they proceed to the house soaking wet. If the front door is open, they walk right in, making puddles along their route. If the front door is closed, they must lie on the porch until drying off. Most often the front door stands wide open. Thankfully, we have painted cement floors downstairs that can easily be cleaned.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Too often we underestimate
the power of a touch, a smile,
a kind word, a listening ear,
an honest compliment,
or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential
to turn a life around.

~Leo Buscaglia

Of Note: The activities mentioned above are often considered optional. Optional in the sense that we do it when we feel like it, when all the stars line up, when our hormones are balanced, when the other person is nice, of the right color, has the hair style we prefer and the nationality with which we can relate. Optional. Love really is not optional like that. Jesus the Christ asked us to "Love thy neighbor" and didn't mention if we got along with them or not. This is the prime lesson before humanity. Sooner or later, we will get it. Love. Only love will propel us forward on the evolutionary path.

Today's Weather Report: A perfect day weather-wise in the mid-70's. Clouds strolled in and out during the day. These hollyhocks are the first of the summer and will definitely not be mowed down like last year by deer, who left only bare stems after a night of munching. A whole year of growth snuffed out in a single night. It was sad. The lilies are at the height of blooming now--and the color has actually gotten a little boring. Can't believe I'm saying that, but it's the truth. The geraniums from last year are doing pretty well in a container though they were dry after a brief but violent thunderstorm yesterday. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. All the plants in that sector were totally dry. Must be the 80 foot pine trees under which they grow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fearlessness in the Face of Danger


~Rabindranath Tagore

Of Note: It would appear that Tagore was defining one aspect of Wisdom. This is the wisdom that says "bring it on" so that the evolution of consciousness may proceed more quickly. The definition of courage would be much the same. Such attributes define a World Server, many of whom walk the Earth at this time preparing for the eventual return of the One for Whom the Whole World Waits. We do not know in what form He will reappear or if He will reappear in form at all. What we do know is that the way is being prepared as we speak and Wisdom, Understanding as well as Courage are guiding preparatory principles.

Today's Weather Report: More gorgeous sunny weather in the 80's Fahrenheit. Little fluffy white clouds dot the sky, and a slight breeze is blowing. Mowing has been an every other day occurrence here, and one set of blades has been discarded already. The mower seems to attract rocks like a magnet. That is not hard since we sit on a geological rock pile set here from the glacier period. Sand and rocks. Those we have in abundance.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Growing Old Too Quickly


~Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Of Note: Delight and surprise may be two of the oldest anti-aging antidotes known to man. Cynicism, which permeates the world, produces the opposite. So what shall it be? Delight and surprise, yes, even astonishment or cynicism, skepticism and doubt?

Today's Weather Report: Rain was predicted for the day, but the closest we got was humidity in the upper 90%'s. So we were dripping while standing still. Without air conditioning, the situation is almost unbearable. No one moved very far today, not even the dogs. With long hair, they were particularly miserable. Out East, temps are triple digit until Friday. Thus, we have little about which to complain. Maybe some delight and surprise would help.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Truth in Three Stages

All truth passes through three stages:
First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently opposed;
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

~Arthur Schopenhauer
(1788 - 1860)

Of Note: This illustration by a noted esotericist shows the structure of the "atom" from the energy point of view. Because of the "As above, so below" rule, the drawing could also show the etheric substructure of any being, whether human, planetary or cosmic. It makes no difference if scientists laugh at the simplicity of an esoteric observation since it is not unusual for them to wallow in the first and second stages of truth-finding for quite some time. What is important is that we know someday scientists will move on to accept Reality as self-evident. I would bet that day is coming.

Today's Weather Report: As it turned out, we had 6 inches of rain in June. That's a lot of rain for a drought stricken area. Every few days we have more. Could be we are moving past the rainless pattern and returning to our previous pattern of precipitation every few days. The lake has responded by moving a few feet up the beach. We would really like NOT to have a beach but it will take much more rain to get to where the shoreline was originally--if it ever does. The dogs like the beach as a place to pick up a good load of sand in their fur before heading to the house. Argh. July is the month that most of the flowers are blooming in the garden. What a riot of color, particularly the various lilies. Even the hollyhocks are beginning to show their stuff. Last year, they were mowed down by the deer. One night is all it took to go from gorgeous blooms to leafless stalks. The wolves have taken care of that problem this year. Nature has a way of balancing the act.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Darkness Deserves Gratitude

Darkness deserves gratitude.

It is the alleluia point at which we
learn to understand that all growth
does not take place in the sunlight.

~Joan Chittister
Uncommon Gratitude

Of Note: In esoteric studies, paradoxes reign supreme. One such paradox: Darkness is the real Light. From darkness physical light was born, and to it refulgent light will one day return in cycles evermore. That is one reason darkness holds such a sacred spot in the evolutionary development of humanity. Through those dark moments in our lives, crises hold the key to opportunities of advancement on the path. Those who seek out these opportunities are not masochists but realists, who sacrifice and serve by moving ahead more quickly for the collective good. Many such individuals are stepping up to serve and do so with little or no fanfare. When we hit the tipping point in numbers, the world could change overnight, literally.

Today's Weather Report: What a strange day weather-wise on this July 4th. Radar showed a wide band of orange, yellow and green thunderstorms heading our way mid-morning. Then the storms hit with fury, and waves of rain have been interspersed with periods of sunshine the rest of the day. It's been a perfect day to read a book. Speaking of books, although I do not normally read fiction, a friend loaned me The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, and I have found the "who done it" to be a page turner while walking on the treadmill.The picture above was taken by my visiting stepdaughter in the same friend's barn yesterday. The sun was blazing hot outside and shot through the walls upon entering the cavernous building. I did not even notice the mesmerizing view though she got several shots from different angles.