Thoughts: Morning really has broken….

The sunrise yesterday morning over Chattanooga, Tennessee in the States....that's the gold of morning separating the blue sky above & the foggy, low clouds below, from an early hike on Lookout Mountain. Photo by Ian Byington.
The sunrise yesterday morning over Chattanooga, Tennessee in the States….that’s the gold of morning separating the blue sky above & the foggy, low clouds below, from an early hike on Lookout Mountain. Photo by Ian Byington.

The morning, most days, is so beautiful that it’s really a good thing that it fades into the clear day….otherwise we wouldn’t get anything done! The morning’s colours fade, easily & gently, into that special place in our hearts where the embers warm us, through the morning hours & the rest of the day.

Robert Frost says, “Nothing gold can stay,” but I think that’s true only on the morning’s horizon. The gold of remembered dreams, the golden fire of waking to the magic we can do in the world, and the blaze that accompanies our burning desire to share & to heal each day – these never go out.

Here’s a little morning song for you from the Incredible String Band (click here to hear, you hear?)

May the longtime sun shine upon  you
All love surround you
And the pure white light within you
Guide your way home.

 – Brother Ian

Thought: Let it bleed…

Ran into a friend who mentioned she admires Derrick Jensen, and that she has this on a stickie on her computer:

“Writing is really very easy. Tap a vein and bleed onto the page. Everything else is just editing.”
Derrick Jensen

Kinda reminds me of what Arlo Guthrie says:

“Song-writing’s just kinda like catching fish–you sit there and pull them out as they go by – though I think it helps to be upstream from Bob Dylan.”

Writings: A reminder: We just put it all together….

Elliot with Siri, and it's all good.
Elliot with Siri, and it’s all good.

One of my favourite people in the world is Elliot Pemberton, who grew up in Friday Harbor, Washington in the USA, where I used to watch him play football & as we put out the school newspaper together. I’ve always thought St. Peter must have been like Elliot – whenever he speaks, people want to listen, which makes him a natural leader.

He’s living in Austin these days, and he tells this little story as he made breakfast for Kari & the kids:

This morning I proudly woke up and made Siri some French toast with homemade cinnamon bread (Kari made the bread earlier), fresh eggs from our backyard chickens and topped the french toast with local honey instead of syrup.

Siri loved it and I told her I was so glad she liked the French toast that I made. She then gave an all-knowing exasperated smile while shaking her head, put up her hands, took a deep breath and said, “Dad, you didn’t make it. Mom made the bread, our chickens made the eggs and bees made the honey… you just put it together.”

Elliot posted this, a little later on Facebook:

Screen shot 2013-09-29 at 11.05.54 PM

Music: The story behind “The End of the Road (Mabel’s Song)”

Solo piano player Joe Bongiorno
Solo piano player Joe Bongiorno

When I first heard Joe Bongiorno‘s new release, The Flight of a Dream earlier this month, I knew that he had a winner on his hands. I’ve listened to it now maybe six million times…but that’s been a couple of weeks, so I had time. It’s great! (Click here to hear samples – you’ll get it!)

I discovered that he had put a song called The End of the Road (Mabel’s Song) on the album, and although I know Joe well, I didn’t know of anyone named Mabel in his life. His response touched me deeply:

Been asked ALOT about the story behind this song from the new album…. You might remember a post of mine about 9 months back.

This song was inspired by that experience. Here it is from Feb 3rd of this year:

The new album...
The new album…

The doorbell rang this morning. A sweet elderly lady standing there with a worried look. I greeted her and she asked for Mabel. Mabel was the lady who lived in our house previously (we had just moved in four months before), and I knew she had she had passed away.

I really didn’t want to bear this news to the kind lady. She then told me that she had driven two days from Texas to come to the house to see her. She had written Mabel a letter and it had been returned to sender.

I remember this letter coming before the holidays. She had no other way to attempt contact than to come in person. With a frog in my throat, I let her know that Mabel had passed away. She sighed, as if almost with relief that what she feared was true, and then her eyes welled up sadly.

She looked to her husband still sitting in the car and shook her head sadly. He understood the look & turned away as if to hide his emotion. I invited her in for a little visit but she said sweetly, “It’s time to go home”.

Perhaps this is a reminder to me to reach out more often to friends and family. It’s a reminder, too, that life can change at any moment, for any of us… for someone my age, I have lost very few people who were dear to me.

I am quite sure that I’ll get my fair dose of this in the days to come….

Here’s the song (click here to listen).

Thoughts: Stay in touch….

When was the last time you actually touched the person to whom you said, “Hey, stay in touch!”

I think it was Bob Hope who said, “People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.”

Here’s a little two minute essay, telling the story:

Choose one….

For some reason, I remember Wayne Gretzky saying, “You miss one hundred precent of the shots you never take.”

Don’t get caught up in the choices. It’s what you do, not what you choose, that matters.

Choose one, and shoot! (said the Great One.) Photo by Ian Byington, in Cook Street Village, in Victoria, BC.
Choose one, and shoot! (said the Great One.) Photo by Ian Byington, in Cook Street Village, in Victoria, BC.

Whales: Twenty years after “Free Willy,” what have we learned, and what have we missed…

It was twenty years ago, today....(actually, July 16th....)
It was twenty years ago, today….(actually, July 16th….)

Do you remember where you were, the first time you saw Free Willy? For me, it was in a movie theatre in Eugene, OR, USA, with a packed house that screamed & cheered & clapped when Willy gets away at the end (see the poster at right, for spoiler). It was a football game where the home team won, a fairy tale that wasn’t Grimm, it was a tale of justice, unpeeled. It was awesome.

One of the byproduct events of the movie was the eventual real-life release of the whale who played Willy, a captive killer whale named Keiko. Was this a good idea? DId it work out? Did humans learn anything from the experience about orcas, or about themselves?

I got to shake David Kirby’s hand last summer when he was passing through Friday Harbor (WA) on a promotional tour for his new book, Death at SeaWorld. I found him thoughtful, articulate, and an impassioned warrior against marine mammal captivity. Reading Death at SeaWorld made want to read the article linked below.

He shares his take on what we could have learned, what we missed, and perhaps what lies ahead in this penetrating essay. Let me know what you think.

Here’s the link to David Kirby’s remarks about Keiko on the 20th anniversary of Free Willy.

And…. here’s the trailer for the movie, back then.