Saturday, November 15, 2008

Harmony in the Key of Bee

A gorgeous day in Northern California, I was out trimming and raking and hauling pine needles, enjoying the sun and the fall foliage. I like to stand under certain trees in the yard because the bees like them, and I love the sound of their buzzing. They used to scare me, but not anymore. Usually they are many in their numbers between the branches, and so form a sort of eerie chorus. But this morning there was just one... and then another. The first was honey-bee sized with a medium pitch buzz and when joined by a larger variety who's bumble-buzz was lower and deeper, it created an amazing musical harmony. Then one buzzed off and I was left thinking...

I've oft wondered about where our music goes when it leaves us. So many living room and campground jams-- sending our notes into the night. (Even when our songs are morose, the notes we send seem somehow joyful.) I like to think it has an elevating effect on our cosmic collective consciousness--or something greater than we. I know it feeds the souls of the players, the singers and the listeners. It crosses all of the (ab)"normal" human barriers of gender, race, age, economics and social status. Music is the bond, and the average jam is equally likely to have a lawyer, a truck driver, a doctor, a teacher or a hairdresser. We can jam for countless hours with someone we "run into" and never know anything more about them than that they are hot on guitar and know a lot of tunes. We come together, sometimes at complete random. We play, and then we buzz off somewhere, and it leaves me thinking...

So many times every day we come together for a common reason, or some symbiotic relationship like a checker and a customer in a grocery store. We might chat a little, but rarely do we know the stories of the people we run into in our daily routine. Still, we quickly connect with a smile or a glance, using humor and anecdotes even though we may not cross paths again. Living life is the bond, and most of us have more in common than we do not and at least some compassion for our untold stories. I like to think it, too, has an elevating effect on the greater scheme of things. Another kind of music-- harmony in the key of be.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is the astounding view out my front door. In surroundings such as these, it is easy to find beauty in nature's abundance. I am grateful to live and work in such an amazing place. Here, it is hard to imagine indifference to our natural environment and to our responsibility to be good shepherds so that future generations of life of all kinds will flourish.

Even still, my recent attendance at the West Coast Green conference heightened my awareness of these world-wide issues and our election of Barack Obama as our future President gives me renewed hope that we will solve those dilemmas that hinder our progress to sustainability.

One huge ecosystem-- a fractal of millions of tiny ecosystems all interrelated. In all of this, we have our own place and we can tip the balance. The way to change things collectively is to change individually and to spread it like a meme.
I am trying, but sometimes I forget and I'm lazy and spoiled and I'm going to have to get over it. After all, nothing could be more beautiful than life in perfect balance and harmony with nature.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What is Art to Live By?

It is whatever makes us feel more joyful and connected to our world and its inhabitants just by seeing it; living with it; thinking about it.

It may be a mural, a finish or a work of fine art.

It may be a child's drawing on the refrigerator or a simple, single leaf.

It may be words scrawled onto a post-it or inscribed in stone.

A dance, a song, a graceful line, a grin

It is the art of nature, man, child or woman that tickles you or shakes you to your core.

And everything in between.