It’s windy in California.  The dangerous winds of autumn.  The leaves of the trees are starting to turn color while the grass dries.  The rains of winter haven’t touched the hills in seven months.  The air is dry.  Years of drought have killed millions of trees and a bonfire stands ready for that single spark.

Californians have always risked living in the land set on the great Pacific Ring of Fire.  Earthquakes and volcanoes rip through this land – shaping it, molding it, pushing the earth up from the ocean depths where grass, tree, and bear come to live in the sun.  A land of extremes.

Santa Ana winds.  Dry, hot, and blowing inland to the sea.  Backwards.  The air doesn’t bring in the refreshing sea air or the cleansing rain.  It brings dust.  It dries the grass, rattles the roof and swings the power lines.  It always comes in the fall.

Power.  Our modern world is driven by power.  Electricity driving the engine of the world.  Lights, TVs, stoves, refrigerators, cell phones, and computers.  We’ve lost the ability to see the night sky or grow our own food.  Each technological advance turns up the need for power lines across the forest and over the golden grass.

It only takes a spark.  A carelessly thrown cigarette, a lawn mower hits a rock, a campfire imprudently managed, the wind pushes an old tree into an electric line or the rusty clamp on a high tension line breaks in the Santa Ana gale …

Now we again watch as fire fills the air with smoke.  200,000 of our neighbors are ordered to flee the flames.  78 square miles are on fire and to prevent more sparks the electricity has been turned off to 2.7 million people.  Now they sit in the dark, fearing that they may need to join the exodus.

And in their control centers, offices, and seats of power, those charged with preventing this tragedy again prove they are unable to protect those they are suppose to serve.

Again nature proves its power over us.

And again we fail to learn the lesson we’re being taught.

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Friday Wisdom – towels

Why do we wash bath towels?

Aren’t we clean when we use them?

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The power of poetry is often expressed in the silence between the words – felt in the things unsaid.  What to not say is the question.  Prose drones on until the words fade into meaningless noise.  Preachers and politicians speak, rant and rail until the meaning  is lost and all that remains is the noisy shell of desires being blown out to sea.  Endless words, repeated, and reinforced build a fortress where compassion breaks on the ramparts and mercy is locked in the deepest dungeons.

People surround themselves with noise to prevent their minds from turning on.  Busyness replaces care and concern.  Loud music drowns out the cry of the homeless.  The rumble of traffic pushes past the lonely in need of a friendly word and a simple touch of concern.


Listen to the silence.  Dare to let your mind be pulled to the song of a bird, of water over the rocks, or the wind in the trees.

It is in the quiet places of our heart where we find strength and compassion.  It is in the song of the sky where we hear the voice of our creator.

Stop reading, turn off the TV, and sit in the silence of the trees for a time.

The best poem would have no words, but would say it all.

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Friday Wisdom – Plotting

Yesterday I saw my boss get some graph paper.

I think he’s plotting something …

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