The power of gentleness

Flowers holding up posts

I took this photo at a remote Inn near Abiquiu because I loved the rich golden hues of the peeled cottonwood posts in the saturated New Mexican sunshine.

But then the flowers drew my attention. Appearing fragile, they stretch out, holding the posts apart.

I am reminded that life, in its very gentleness, can be intensely powerful.

What happens every day is what’s surprising.
The treasure’s never where I look to find it, but where I simply look–the sky, the wind, a sunrise,
a silver arc, the moment’s chance.

~Ursula le Guin~

Book Review: The Fox by Frederick Forsyth

The Fox by Frederick ForsythEnvision, if you will, an aging, retired Spook and a young, fragile teenage genius. A perfect partnership! Together they lay siege to the bullies of the world, the North Koreans, Iranians, Middle Eastern terrorists.

One has the wisdom and the master-chess-player ability to anticipate the opponent. The other has the ability to penetrate multiple, proven-impossible firewalls to wreak havoc on ill-intentioned enemies.

The author, Frederick Forsyth, has been at this a long time. He started out as a journalist, has written 17 books such as DAY OF THE JACKAL, has won three Edgar awards and was the recipient of the lifetime achievement award, the Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers of America.

His prose, unlike that of Dan Brown or Tom Clancy is spare, terse, and tongue-in-cheek humorous. His statements are fact-checked by experts.

For example, when speaking of the Russian GPS system, the Glonass-K2, Forsyth has this to say: “Glonass will define a Russian naval ship’s position to ten to twenty yards anywhere in the world. It relies on twenty-four satellites spinning in inner space. Any hacker seeking to disrupt the system would have to suborn five separate satellites simultaneously, which is clearly impossible.”

Clearly impossible, that is, for anyone but our two heroes. Join them as they high-center tankers, blow up mountains and enemy missiles, and generally do what we all wish WE could do to right the world order.

An intelligent pleasure to read!

Alive and Well in the Desert

Alive in the desert

I have a fascination with lichen, perhaps because it is so tenacious and tough. It thrives where there are few nutrients, and in the desert, where there is little moisture as well.

For example, notice this desert lichen, a little crackly about the edges, but still hanging in there.

It is hard to predict where life will take root, and how it will thrive under the most unexpected circumstances.

It’s like that for us, too. There is a vast difference between what we want versus what we need in order to build a life for ourselves. It is often not what we choose, but what we are given that allows us to grow into what we were meant to be.

~For every problem there is a solution
which is simple, clean,
and wrong.

~Henry Louis Mencken~

 

Growing older, cactus style

Picture of saguaro cactus

Isn’t this a great saguaro cactus? I found it in one of the mountainous parks in the middle of Phoenix. One of the marvelous things about that burg is that there are SEVEN mountain peaks you can climb, right within city limits. I’ve been up most of them, and they can be a tough scramble.

Back to the saguaro. Did you know they don’t even start putting out limbs until they are 50 years old? By that tally, I’d estimate this cactus is pushing a hundred–or more. Not moving, just standing there tough, watching the world go by. You’ve got to appreciate patience like that.

~Don’t give up!
Good things take time,
and you’re getting there.

~Anonymous~

In the Moon of Strawberries

Picture of double rainbow over Sedona, AZ

What is interesting about double rainbows, like this one I caught over Sedona, Arizona, is that the second rainbow is reversed. It starts with red and progresses to violet on the other side. The second is also softer in hue, and very rare. They just don’t occur frequently.

The second rainbow reminds me of quiet people, those shy individuals who don’t choose to speak up often. When they do reveal their inner selves–wow, so amazing. Worth the wait!

~When you are beside me my heart sings.
A branch it is, dancing before the Wind Spirit
in the moon of strawberries.~

~Objiway love song~

 

Book review: Elliot Ackerman, WAITING FOR EDEN

Book cover: WAITING FOR EDEN

It is a short book, 173 smallish pages. And it is “serious” literary fiction. Why on earth would I pick up such a book, promising to be a hard read? Don’t know. But I did. And luckily I started it early in the evening, because I couldn’t put it down.

WAITING FOR EDEN, a finalist for the National Book Award, tells the story of Eden, a badly burned veteran who is not expected to live. It is also the story of his best friend, now a ghost, who waits to escort Eden to the Other Side, and the woman that they both loved.

How do you communicate when you can’t talk and can’t see? Eden finds a way, and it profoundly changes the lives of those around him, including his wife and the medic in the ICU ward. I found the tale to be raw and emotional, not sad but rather an uplifting tribute to the human spirit and the will to survive, whatever the cost.

From the nurse who cared for him on the night shift: “In his body she felt many things at once. Frozen soil. The bark of a tree. Baked sand. A handful of gravel. Glass, both shattered and whole. His textures were a mosaic of many, trapped in the inches of skin…In the space between them there was only her whispering:’If you want to go, go. But if you want to stay, sleep.'”

I felt replete when I finished reading this novel. I hope you will be, too.