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17 February 2007 @ 02:35 pm
A beautiful day in Minnesota and other things  
It's gorgeous here today, at least in our neck of the woods. It's sunny, slightly windy, and 26 degrees. The Bahamas!! Compared to the temperatures we've been having, it really almost does feel like tropical weather. The quality of light is wintry (muted) -- soft and lovely. At this moment, I am looking out at the backyard. It's always amazing to me how sparse the trees appear in winter and how lush and abundant the foliage from these same few trees is in summer. I love how the seasons modify landscapes so dramatically.

Greg bought a finch cake ( a sort of oblong block of mixed seeds and grains glued together with honey and other stuff that hardens and tastes good to birds) and suspended it from the top of the gazebo frame on a long, thin cord.  As I sit here gazing out on the winter landscape from behind the sliding glass doors in our kitchen, the finch cake sways in the wind on the end of its string, frozen and peculiar-looking, small as it is, dangling in the middle of space.  We can pretty much guess now why the cake was on sale. Finches (or most any other kinds of small bird, for that matter) are nowhere in evidence at this time of year. Squirrels and chipmunks have no way of reaching the cake,  and the deer who could reach it with ease, have not yet noticed it or figured it out, much to my surprise. Meantime, we'll just leave it where it is. The cold keeps it well-preserved, and the thaw should occur at just about the same time that birds make it back on the scene.

Two books worth mentioning -- I've been nibbling on both for the past few days. (Mmmmm! Paper tastes so-o-o-o-o-o-o good.)  The Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho has posted a link for a free download, a book entitled Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren.  It's 130 pages of short stories (none longer than a single page, I think), most of which inspire pleasurable reflection about ourselves, others, the roles we play, the adventures we have, and the nature of reality; all the stuff that's so much fun to think about.  Find it at  www.paulocoeho.com.br
by clicking on 'English,' then 'free downloads,' then 'English' again.

The second book I am enjoying immensely is A Thousand Names for Joy -- Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are by Byron Katie. I'd describe the contents of this book in the same way as Coelho's, but Katie's style and perspective are quite different from his. (Well, essentially, probably not, but the surface features of each book are different.) I have long appreciated Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching and have particularly admired Stephen Mitchell's translation of it which appeared originally in 1988. Joy is a collaborative work by Katie and Mitchell, her husband, of reflections on self, others, and the nature of reality that is structured according to the 81 chapters that comprise the Tao Te Ching. As Mitchell explains in the preface, Byron Katie underwent (in 1986) an abrupt and lasting (until today) transformational experience that profoundly altered her consciousness and view of reality.  She does not view herself as spiritual and professes no particular religious faith.  In her view, the concept of God is absolutely synonymous with the concept of reality, and reality is nothing more or less than what is.  Her discourse often reminds me of the ramblings of homeless people on the streets outside the Frontier restaurant on Central Avenue in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  That said, I believe that she has a profoundly different view of reality, that the difference is a positive one (compared to what I would call an ordinary view of reality, the view I seem to share with many others), and that she has much to teach us, even if she doesn't seem to care particularly if anyone is listening or not.  If you're very interested by what goes on inside your mind and what  it might (or might not) mean, leaf through the book. It might capture your attention.

Oh, oh...one more thing -- a wonderful, marvelous movie. Have you seen Akeelah and the Bee?  It's great!
paisleychick on February 18th, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)
sounds great! Thanks for keeping me in the loop!