Spirituality for an Insane World

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin; and it is truly
wonderful how love-telling the small voices of these birds are,
and how far they reach through the woods into one another’s
hearts and into ours. The tones are so perfectly human and so
full of anxious affection, few mountaineers can fail to be
touched by them. — John Muir, Our National Parks (1917) Chapter 7.

I have been exploring an expansion of my personal blogosphere lately. Finding some interesting stuff. One that caught my attention, first because of his conversations in other blogs, then by poking around in his blogs, is a guy with the handle “rawgod.” I have no idea what it means. A fine name. I’m sure he will be relieved to hear that I think so.

We ran into each other in dialog about politics and culture in someone else’s blog. The first of his blogs that I perused is called A New Spirituality. His other one I discovered only today, Ideas From Outside the Boxes.  I just now reblogged his The Song That Never Was (Body Bag Parade) post in that blog. I went a little nuts scribbling a long comment on his post there, and added a Steppenwolf song.

In A New Spirituality rawgod recently posted the piece, Is there a place for spirituality in a world gone mad?

I looked at it and bit my tongue, my arm, my wrist, my hand, my ankle, and declined the temptation to respond. I was afraid that if I tried to post a comment responding to his inquiry, I would write some 867 pages in a dozen drafts obsessively 24 hours a day for a week and then delete it and be sick of myself for wasting all that time, wondering if I would ever learn to tame my scribblements.

Still, I caved in to the temptation. My guess why? I like the guy. I enjoy our dialog. I wanted to see if I could be useful. It’s nice to be useful once in a while. Now and then I give it a shot.

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Singing Balsameans

No, I will not sing for you.  You don’t have enough money for that.  (But if you do, contact me.  I’ll do a charity event.)

I would thus from time to time take advice of the birds.
—Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 12 May 1857

This post may seem as if I’m smoking pot, but I’m not, even though it is now legal in New York State (since March 2021).  I only smoke OP’s.  “Other people’s,” because I can’t afford it.  I limit my social existence, so I’m always short on OP’s.

Below is a 30-minute audio track of birds around the yard and nearby woods early the morning of Sunday, June 26, 2022 .  Make sure the volume slide (right) in this player is pushed all the way to the right.  Also turn up the volume all the way on your device.

Don’t be thrown by the silent minute starting about a minute into the recording, and again later, around eight minutes in.  They were natural events.

It plays louder for me directly from my phone or PC, but weak from this web page.  Ugh.  Let it be just a soft background music while you read.  I’m going to get smarter about how I record and make another track soon.

These singing Balsameans know that I love them.  Especially the crows.  Crows recognize human faces and remember if they are a positive or negative presence.  See The Crow and the Cave Man, a two minute video clip from the PBS documentary A Murder of Crows (30 minute video, terrific, must see).

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Concordia’s Arbor Lane

Arbor Lane is the west boundary of Concordia.  This is the approach to the Y, where Balsamea Way goes right and Arbor Lane goes left:

June 10, 2009. Meet Foley, young beech in center.

Notice the little beech tree near bottom right center.  In June 2009 the trunk was about the size of a broom handle.  It is at the south entrance to Arbor Lane.  For easy reference, I’ve just now (really, right now!) named this tree Foley (from Fagus grandifolia, American beech).

June 10, 2009. Foley with Grandmother Pometa standing over Arbor Lane.

Another view, looking north into Arbor Lane.  The big beech at center is hereby now named Pometa, the Slovenian word for sweep or sweeping (tapping a bit of my maternal heritage).

I’ve never been big on naming individual trees because there are so many I’d like to name.  So I generalize.  I look up at any spruce and say, “Hey there, Cousin Sprucie.  How are ya?”  Playing on Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow.  He’s done lots of things, but I remember him as the legendary radio disk jockey on WABC (AM 770) competing with “Murray the K” on WINS (AM 1010) in NY City during one of my former lifetimes.

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A Meditation on the Company of Trees, Aided by Forest Nymphs

During a slow sylvan saunter, if I stand still more than move, in bodily senses and in palpable transcendent essences I find reminders that nature made me to thrive among immortal woodland spirits, in refuge from the illusory blessings of merely mortal society.  I cannot exceed the company of trees, nor regret deep solitude among them.

Each phase of nature, while not invisible, is yet not too distinct and obtrusive. It is there to be found when we look for it, but not demanding our attention. It is like a silent but sympathizing companion in whose company we retain most of the advantages of solitude … — Henry David Thoreau, Journal, November 8, 1858

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