Blissful Apathy


Bleeding hearts march along playfully although too easily overlooked.

  • A week in which I will pay no attention to newspapers, talking TV heads, nor worried contemporaries.  A retreat into meditation, self-imposed, visible only to myself.  Seven days of staring at skies simply as skies, flowers only as nature, food only as a gift gratefully received.
  • Fashion demands that I attend the fall of sparrows eight thousand miles away, gasp at troubles of endless places I shall never visit, care about tangents and projections of various experts.  Fashion may be correct, but I have rarely allowed myself to be constricted by it.
  • Perhaps one form of reality is correctly described by such fashion.  Religion, politics, future visons may all be right, may all be desperate, may all be horrible.  I wonder if such be true, if it may not then be wise to retreat into a lonely monastery somewhere away from the world, and contemplate happily all that has been and especially all that I have known, as the empire crumbles around me.


A young ailanthus frantically bursts forth to join leafing madness everywhere.
  • Surprisingly, for rapid-growing, beautiful, and useful trees, dogwoods have an average lifespan of around eighty years, which makes them about the same as modern American males.   At this time of year they are massively lovely (the trees, not the males.)  It always seems that their petals float in the sky, and in my mind they are always white or pink clouds hovering above.
  • For too long, I took them for granted, as springs went by.  I had other more important tasks to attend.  Then, when I began to notice the world as more than something I must shape, I was more astonished by unusual sights than by the steady companionship of the familiar.  Even now, our old pink dogwood out back _ almost generational, there since my wife grew up here when young _ and unfortunately slowly dying year by year _ is just a part of the everyday landscape.
  • As am I.


Our old pink dogwood not what it once was, still vital and beautiful, some lesson there for me.
  • “Apres moi, le deluge,” said Louis XV on the eve of the French Revolution, which indeed carried off his son and most of the royalty and aristocrats.
  • I’m afraid we boomers are beginning to feel the same way.


Every inch of ground space crowded with impossible struggles for sun and water.
  • One enduring cultural fantasy has been that of the ancient familial homestead.  Sunny pictures of well-off farmers on ancestral grounds, gathering beneath an ancient oak tree on a hot reddening evening to pass wine with the wonderfully cooked dinner filled with home-grown produce.  Generations gathered around laughing, no doubt joined by a few convivial neighbors from the farms next door.
  • In that scenario, we usually see ourselves as somehow masters of the land.  Without too much hard work, shaping the very hills, taming the vineyards, plucking the fruit, gathering milk (rather mysteriously, for we are really city dwellers) and somehow creating wonderful artisanal cheese.
  • Dreams are fine things.  But historic reality is that many fled existences that were never like this to become urbanized or suburbanized or even to begin farming in a modern style.  And although they shaped much of their lives in better, newer ways, there were always constraints.  Few manage to go through life never encountering a barrier.
  • Amazing things can happen in a lifetime.  But the fact is most of us do not actually change our entire culture with a single vote, nor our lives with a single action, nor the world with a well-spoken point of view.  We are constantly told we can make a difference, but the difference we make is usually extremely limited.
  • Our true ambition should be not to seek literal Tuscan fantasies, but to embody in our actual existences the calm, peace and joy we believe existed there.


Surprising hillside horse hollow at Caumsett looks more like spring in Kentucky.
  • Heat in mid-spring New York is grudgingly granted.  Not so cold as Maine nor Canada, but often the world looks a lot warmer than it actually feels outside.  Winds sweeping over the chill waters of the harbor continue to bite, mists can cause involuntary shivers.  Occasional hot days only make the cold ones more annoying.
  • We take our Cinderella planet for granted.  A few days _ a week _ of too much heat, sun, rain, cold, dry, wind, anything _ can cause us to wonder what went wrong.  Are gods or nature angry with us?  Humans are so perfectly adapted to “normal” conditions that incredibly trivial variations seem important.  On occasion, I try to take a deep breath, stand still, and appreciate whatever heat
    , whatever precipitation, whatever light there may be in the sheer ineffable joy of existence.


Clouds condensing in a cool oceanic breeze defy promises of warm sun.
“Sarah, Sarah,” whispers Simon, without trying too hard.
“Almost here, almost,” drifts back from whiteness coalescing in the clear azure sky.  “Ahh, that feels good.  Good morning, everyone.”
Nearby clouds nod politely, with an occasional grunted “g’morning.”  Quite a crowd of puffs today, Sarah notices.  Spots of shadow dotting the waters below.  “Anything exciting while I was away?”
“Nah,” says Simon, “All the excitement due tomorrow when Harry blows in.  Hard cold rain, whipping wind, nothing fit for the likes of us.  Low class, like all his stormy friends.”
“Thunder too?”
“Nah, Thor claims he won’t come by until later _ not warm enough yet, he says.  Likes to stay south as long as possible.  Did you have a nice nap?”
“Yes, lovely, thank you.  Immaterialization is such a relaxing joy, you’d expect more of us to do it more often.”
“I like seeing things and being seen,” answers Simon.
“You like seeing Daphne,” giggles Sarah.  “Little Miss Diaphanous,  you can see right through her half the time, just a constant tease.”
“I love seeing you, Sarah.”

Sarah swells a little and lets her brightness shine.  Happy times, she thinks, under a brilliant sun.


    Mid-spring natural cathedrals can inspire more awe than any human construction
    “Om” they say, just rest and be
    Unburdened in eternity
    Perfume, sunshine, sounds of bells
    Hunger, fear, manmade hells
    Ignore distractions, empty mind
    In emptiness peace you will find
    I sniff and think and hear and see

    Happy, afraid, content, and free.  

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