Solemnly Remembering Paradise

Ashes of Paradise (foto taken at noon Thursday) ~d nelson

Remembering that time when
my journey landed me upon
a special high forested mountainside,
inhabited, mostly, with friendly older folks,
who called the place Paradise.
Perhaps you can remember
being in such a pleasant place, yourself.

Ashes of Paradise 2 (taken at noon on Thursday)

Hadn’t thought about Paradise
for such a long time (several hour drive there)
until the other day when darkness
suddenly descended at noon
and its ashes rained down on my valley.
A local witness said it was like the gates of hell opened up.

Ashes of Paradise 5 ~usda

Breathing in (with a carbon filtered mask), I taste smoke, again.
Breathing out, clean carbon dioxide.
Sadly reflecting on those lost, newly homeless,
continued windy, bone-dry conditions,
realizing another catastrophic California inferno.
Details are easily found on current news & here.  (my local air quality below)

Ashes of Paradise 6 ~epa

As a veteran, also remembering
those who gave, as Lincoln said
“the last full measure of devotion.”
May all live free, in a paradise;
with gratitude to those
who’ve helped protect us
& mother earth.

No Comments this time,
just solemn, respectful silence.

 If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist. If you run after the person you suspect has burned your house, your house will burn down while you are chasing him or her. That is not wise. You must go back and put out the fire. So when you are angry, if you continue to interact with or argue with the other person, if you try to punish her, you are acting exactly like someone who runs after the arsonist while everything goes up in flames. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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This, the Best Season of Your Life!

best season country lane ~d nelson

Spring’s natural freshness bloomed
curiosity from life’s brand-newness.

Everything seemingly warmed up in summer;
emboldened, proud, glories, defeats.

best season ridge-line ride

Letting autumn linger as long as it will
– pleasant days & nights
to calmly breathe
in graceful advance
of winter solstice.

Despite short bursts of regret & worry,
this present moment is wonderful .

(click for beautiful live seasonal sounds)

best season neighborhood

“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t crowded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.” ~ Wu-Men

Have a Lot of Faith in Myself

mind, like pond, moves towards clarity & stillness ~d nelson

Looks like they are practicing Zen
sitting, walking, eating
& working meditations.
But are they really practicing?
Are we sure? And what about us?
Perhaps 50 percent,
or maybe just
10 percent of the time
or less, if being honest
with ourselves.

But part-time Buddha’s
are capable of strong aspirations
for diligently practicing virtues
with all their hearts
in order to transform
suffering & find peace
& well-being for self & others.

Mindfulness is to recognize
& know we have a body at this moment.
Mind may be shy to acknowledge this.
But then, with body, speech & mind
in perfect oneness it’s possible
to stand & truly behold
the expansive sky, the deep-rooted tree
and hear their whole stories.

When we plant a tree
& have faith it will thrive,
there’s hope for its future.
A mother’s belief that her child
will grow up is also necessary.
Without faith the tree & the child will prematurely die.
The same is true of our practice.
We may have failed a thousand times
but with faith in wholeheartedly practiced noble teachings
our full potential for awakening remains achievable.

This is the Best I’ve Ever Eaten

plant-based mushroom rolls ~d nelson

Now, the best thing ever eaten
exposes electric experiences
of Heavenly tastes, textures,
scents. Sometimes
memories arise.

real sweets memories

Preferring plant-based food
to care for myself & mother earth.
All the nutriments this son
of the earth needs for survival.

earth’s jumbo burrito

But being truly hungry
humbled his-self’s appreciation
of whatever foods are offered,
as they’re all gifts of the universe.
Hands extended, & receiving.

 

Hearing of those who raised funds locally,
then purchased food to prepare,
bag and serve to any who present
themselves as in need of eating,
as I did & do, when required,
still brings me to my knees in gratitude.

teamwork

  1. This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.
  2. May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food.
  3. May we recognize and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed and learn to eat with moderation.
  4. May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.
  5. We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings. ~Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s 5 contemplations

Note: I’ll be on mindfulness meditation retreat in Oct. Look forward to reconnecting with WP friends by the end of the month. Wishing you happiness & well being, david.

We Are the Mural

 

together we are the mural ~d nelson

Speaking for myself, for the longest time
youthful buttons pressed,
some even before childhood,
seemingly pushed me, chronically;
to keep on truckin’ passed
supposedly known, or otherwise misperceived,
colorful, ordinary backgrounds.

Many difficulties later, after training to stop,
then, many more times stopping;
to be less busy,
I obtained glimpses of
spaciousness-yielding freedom.
Lots of stopping, conscious breathing.
Inner mud-to-lotus garden, blossoming glimpses.

Shape’s & color’s meanings reveal
when I recognize our relationship.
Moving slow, perhaps like an authentic self,
ancestors show themselves, at times, as creative art.
Whether they’re people, the plants, animals & earth,
all our relations, past, present & future, in-attendance.

With froglessness, a wishless stillness,
that which is going on inside
can be seen with mindfulness’ light shining.
Accumulated knots, once identified,
may be untangled & untied, oh joy!
This potential to remedy anxiety, anger, and more, is wonderful.
Start with aspiring to be free,
then actions expressed
which fuel happiness.

Have newly found expressions of yourself
been revealed on nearby murals?
Such a beautiful phenomenon
of our creative universe.

“Our most beautiful virtue
is the capacity to intentionally
be happy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Motoring to The Other Shore

ride 2 other shore~ d nelson

Dreaming of reaching the other shore
of Freedom & Enlightenment.
Once safely there, fulfilling the last letting go
of the supportive vessel which gets me there.

ride 2 other shore 3 ~d nelson

Being a dream, I fancied a vehicle,
a bit different from a hand-made raft (which itself is a metaphor for wisdom teachings & practice),
but rather like the one my uncle restored
in 1972 while listening to Beach Boys 45’s,
long ago when I was a kid.

ride 2 other shore 2

Confident that I’ll release this transport,
along with all desires & notions
once on the other shore,
I’m indulging now in a little model
fantasy of color, horsepower & chrome.

ride 2 other shore 5

Sweet, this dream of venturing on highways
inward to find that peaceful, distant peaceful shore.
Perhaps, with mind calm, this vehicle cleverly
decelerates slow enough to out-maneuver
fire’s smoke many of us are breathing,
and skillfully bring peace, understanding where there’s
injustice, hunger, anger & divisiveness, discrimination, misperceptions,
& sad circuses; going on in places high & low,
near, far & all around right where we’re cruisin’.

ride 2 other shore 7

“In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dharma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dharma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dharmas, to say nothing of non-Dharmas.” ~Buddha, Water-Snake Simile (simile of the raft), Alagaddūpama Sutta

 

Calmly Camped ‘tween Falls & Firestorm

Burney Falls flowing chill~d nelson

Heading north, out on a joyful camping holiday
picturing grandparents motoring west,
seeking refuge & religious freedom
from repression, they experienced back east.

campin’ 1950 ford custom woody ~all images by d nelson

Ahh, to encounter Volcanic Legacy Byway’s
free-flowing, free-falling waters
high in rugged, forested northern California
between tranquil Shasta & Lassen volcanoes.
Experiencing freedom ancestors sought.

Lassen falls heat relief

After wonderfully blissful, but hot forest days
being cooled by lakes, rivers & spray
the sky became increasingly smoky.
Breathing in awareness of unhealthy
air pollution particulates drying throat & eyes.
May those close to the smoke’s source be safe.

the smoked-red sun reflects on upper Sacramento river

Feeling relaxed, though concerned, headed home,
with hours of dark, smoke-blanketed driving conditions.
Heard that deadly Carr fire consumed 130,000 acres, including neighborhoods;
a devastating 143 mph fire tornado, west of our camping locations.
Arriving home to find bomber planes, helicopters,
& an army of firefighters battling blazes on the edge of our town.
Today’s local report: Hot, dry, windy conditions fuel Mendocino complex fire which has scorched 240 square miles (621 square kilometers), destroyed 41 residences and threatened 9,200 homes, only 30% contained.

smoke swirls eastern Cow mtn

Moments of transition are most powerful times for
practicing being aware of whats going on.
Moments where we may not always be paying attention.
Moments where we lose our peace & happiness.
The moments between sitting, standing & walking.
The moment between an in breath & out breath.
For me, walking meditation has been a most valuable practice
to cultivate awareness of in-between times.
I believe this helped me maintain freedom & equanimity
transitioning between nature’s paradise & catastrophe.

feel flow’s spray

Dear friend, we all can arrive at our destination with every step, every breath.
Enjoying the contact of our feet on earth.
Experiencing that we have time, we have enough space.
Being present for the beautiful sunset, the blossoms, or even disasters, along our path.
Living life deeply and wonderfully. Taking steps, being completely ourselves,
with no place to go, nothing to do, no longer in a hurry.
Honoring ancestors dream of touching true peace & freedom,
by arriving home, in the wonderful present moment.

“While you are walking, smile and be in the here and now, and you will transform that place into paradise.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh