Laurel & Tom II
Call it what you will. At an early age I was prone to suggestions. I followed, I knew I was one of the sheep, open to suggestions, I followed, I listened. As the years went by, I realized with some help, that everyone was saying the same thing, using different words, but the meaning always came out the same. A different color, a different flavor. A painted picture, a written song. I realized that we all have realized, in our own way, the truth of the matter. We have all solved the mysteries of life. The trick is to understand your friends way of life, to understand what he says is the truth. I am open to suggestion. I may smile, nod my head and not understand a thing you say.
Humans create ideas. They send these ideas to others. We see or hear these ideas and we feel emotions.
We read what people go through to sustain their dignity. We share their emotions as they stream across our sight.
Pavlov and conditioning
When Laurel and I first moved to Marion there were Blue Laws in place. That meant that
everything shut down here at noon Saturday and did not open up until 5 am Monday
morning. So you had to plan to get all your fuel and groceries before Saturday noon. Being
poor money wise was not a problem for us, but the Kentucky Blue Laws were a real pain.
At that time I was wealthy enough to smoke Prince Albert from the can. Laurel smoked
Pall Mall's (the long ones). I rolled my own smokes. For some reason, probably money, we
ran out of smokes. Sometime after midnight on Sunday-Monday morning we woke up with
at start. Laurel and I had a craving for a smoke. There were no smokes or butts anywhere,
my tin of Prince Albert was empty. The closest store was 45 miles away and we were not
sure it would be open. We had to have a smoke. Somewhere around here was some
tobacco? Where? Laurel and I finally dressed and went out to the Mustang and collected
butts from the ash tray and floor of that Mustang. We collected enough tobacco to roll two
So there we are sitting on our living room floor smoking a rolled cigarette at two in the
morning. Two grown up intelligent human forms, craving dried leaves, wanting to burn the
leaves and inhale the smoke. The pagan gods with their hands on their hips, stand still,
"aways" above us, in their denim overalls and square white beards. They smile and wonder
at us all, and the world before them.
Pavlov and conditioning
By nature I am the beast that always says the last word. When told to shut-up, I always say "ok".
With Laurel I try not to say anymore, knowing that death is close at hand. As time has gone by, I have learned to temper my steel/emotions. I am not prone to too much violence, but I sure can provoke it. So temper is a word I truly understand. Being as the place we are, my being requires some temper in the structural steel in this state of mind.
We/I lay the mind in the cool blue water, the nose above the surface, waiting, watching as the sun sets over the blue green lake. When peace arrives, the mind/steel is flexible, able to cope and understand the person before us.
Now we hear the beautiful songs, that depart from the red lips of the other being.
Shiny top men, camouflage suits that disappear, running in formation, variable visions in my sight, stepping/jogging in formation, out beyond my site in the morning fog. They blend in well with the bright green horn worms on my tomato plants, they are very hard to see.
The female deer and her two fawn graze in the morning dew. Mom looks up and checks the traffic as I drive by.
Harsh chemicals have hurt my arms. I now fear the glorious sun. When I was young , I bathed my hands and arms in bathes of paint cleaners and solvents. I thought that I was immune to harsh realities, so now I pay the price. I wear a skin block at all times while out in the sun. I now fear the glorious sun.
I do not solve anything by writing about my mistakes. They just take up space because I love to talk and write.
I am home building a door for my crawl space. I hear a horn honk, I look up from my task in the garage. It is Laurel she wants to go to the store. I wipe the sweat from my forehead and move to the van that she is driving. We say hello and wish for some rain, it looks like rain, only overcast without rain. We shop for some dinner and leave the store. On our way home we see the vehicle in front of us move out into the center lane. There is someone walking along the edge of the road. The edge of the road has gravel for about a foot, before it drops off into a rocky dusty ditch about two foot deep. I see this elderly lady walking along the edge, I assume home. An ill feeling creeps into my bones, an irritant of emotion that I do not like comes to mind.
We spend millions of dollars paving roads for autos and then we have the nerve to yell at someone walking down the road in our lane. Taxes from autos pay for roads, do people that walk on roads pay taxes. Will someone ambushes a young lady walking home on a grassy cobblestone path. What are the reasons for not having sidewalks. When you buy a pair a sneakers you pay a sneaker tax. This has always upset me, but all I seem to do is complain. How in the world do you let people know that sidewalk and cobblestone path are worth the effort. Maybe OSHA has a plan for highway safety for people that walk along the highway. Or is the solution the answer that the doctors give, if you get hurt walking along the highway, do not walk along the highway.
There is no valid reason for not having paths or sidewalks, other that Reaganomics.
"There will be no more Morningstar paths and sidewalks."
Sidewalks and Paths
Speaking and thinking, writing and talking. Words
are being placed online. People seeing and believing, understanding and
thinking. We are part of the whole, foul language and all. As we speak
and write things become clear. Words have meaning, ideas are good, love
is ideal, pain is understood. We are the barons of our thoughts.
Back to work, staple and collate. Pick up the mail and read, pick up the mail and read. You have a call on line one and two. You have a meeting at two, I must do this first and then we'll see, another meeting at three. Seven days of work must be done in three, I have to go out and see.
One at a time, you have a call on line three, do not forget the meeting at two. One at a time, staple and collate, back to work.
Love, do we have to be compatible to love someone, to live together, maybe a yes. I think to live together and share lifestyles you can love one another and be happy. That is simple.
There is the other existence where you can love someone and truly care about them and not be compatible because of other circumstance. Love can flourish in the mind, love can maintain a sensible caring nature.
The concept of love, the caring, the flow of emotion with others by letter or speech will do as carriers of warmth. Yes it would be great if a person shared lifestyles and ideas. Love would be enhanced. In my case I have shared a great love with another being. All the emotions have been stored into memory and now are being pouring forth.
Letting loved ones know that they are loved can enhance ones character. Shared love is like looking at a beautiful flower. The beauty of those feeling set up deep in our bodies and flow forth with a comfortable warm emotion. Being told that you are loved is a good thing, good for the day planner. It is nice to carry the notion that someone loves you.
As Harry Callahan says" That makes my day."
When you raise your hand in grammar school, when the teacher calls your name. “I’m here!” We
would raise our hand with our own personalities.
When I dropped out and Joanne and Sylvia called my name, I raised my hand, I was present.
From that point on the world has revolved with me, with my knowledge. From that point on the
world has become a better place. The world around me has been blessed with my soul. I have kept
the place near me feeling good about itself. Everyone on this planet has a place to call home, an
inner feeling of good health. We bitch and complain of things that are not right, only because we
want them better.
Everyone has a voice, yesterday even Laurel wanted to know what I did. “Did you wash the
dishes?” (She wanted the world a little better.) She was a little upset when I said it was my day
off. I’ll wash the dishes today. I make the dishes sparkle.
I have a terrible time working our garden. The top soil was removed and sold prior to my arrival. I never realized this until I heard the local stories about the area that we live in.
Well it took about ten years of work to get the worms back into the area. We have three compost piles. Two are feeding two trees in our yard. The third is over the garden spot. The ground under the pile is hard pan. Every year we dump organic matter into these piles, but they remain the same. If I live to see one hundred or if I buy some organic matter by the ton, I may see some soil.
It is a shame that my garden is so hard on plants. I could go out and buy some fertilizer like my neighbors, but if I did the ground would be poisoned again.
The only farms around here that seem organic are the Amish farms by the river. I know they work them with horses, but I have no clue about how they refresh their soil. Most land in this area is fertile, unless you are like me and have hard pan and clay for top soil.
I share, like the rest of us, a certain amount of pain. Age burdens our bodies with minor
aliments. A certain reminder that we are not gods, though at times we think we are.
Sometimes I wonder if someone should park my butt on a block of drifting ice.
The bottoms of my feet feel like sponges. They work fine, but I have to define every step
or I’ll twist something.
It is raining; water was standing in the fields this morning during my drive to work. The
grass in the fields are green, the shrubs are still brown and some of the buds on the trees
are starting to open.
I received a wonderful letter from Jodi the other day, it lifted my spirits, brightened my
day. Jodi made my heart sing. Thank you Jodi. As Ramon says, “Hugs” to you.
This world revolves around the pleasant souls. The working class does the job of creating
larder for the table. The folks that paint a picture with their minds, create the still life of
pleasant memories. And of course we all know that Gollum is still counting his precious
Apples and oranges, some puppets eat yarn, others eat buttons. If you put us all in one
room we would all disagree on something. The commune we live in is OK, that is the one
in our minds. Yes I would love to be back at Morningstar, but oh! Could I bring my
favorite teapot, a painting or two? We could all bring back a favorite thing and clutter the
ground with moving vans.
Our minds are wonderful things, tiny bursts of light wake our slumber dreams. We awake
with a wow and create our moment in time.
I hate to tell this story. It seems a little far-fetched, a little lost in imaginations.
We have a city lake, well we have two city lakes, but I’ll just talk about the new one. People
have said that evil seeps around and near the lake. I have been out there and I never felt bad
or creepy. Laurel and I were a little nervous some time back when we lost site of a
copperhead that was swimming in our direction. We were sitting on the bank fishing when
we noticed the snake swimming our way. It dipped out of site. We waited for it to reappear,
but it never did. The longer you sit knowing that a snake is near by, the scarier it gets. You
can only sit for so long, you can smell the snake, but you cannot see him. You look to the
side, and then behind you. You turn your head or just move your eyes. Your looking, you
know he is below your feet? How long can you wait? To late, we are leaving; we can fish
some other time. We left.
Let’s move our finger thought the water; let’s leave a trail as in sand.
Finger-paint the colors as in a rainbow.
At home we have a kitchen table and chairs that are more productive than a computer.
We have had this kitchen set for thirty years, the computer for just six years now. The
kitchen set is functional and OK, not to pretty but working. The computer is on it’s last
legs. How do I make this computer last as long as this kitchen set? Where are the values
to create useful and long lasting art? Why is technology leaping forwards and backwards
at the same pace?
A morning frost. It was cold enough for a morning frost. I was keenly aware this cold
morning. My senses were at a high level. I could see clearly. Traveling down the road, I see
a tree standing on a hill out in the middle of a green field. It is a great oak; it stands as we
say majestically. I call it the hanging tree. To me this tree in the ninetieth century would
have been the place where justice would have done its final deed. It may not have been our
proper justice, but justice non-the less. This tree makes me clearly aware of where I stand in
this neighborhood, a constant reminder that our law keeps the rebel in check. I see the tree
on sunny days. I see the tree with a blanket of snow brightly white against our blue sky.
I am keenly aware that law keeps the peace in our community.
There ought to be a law against people like me who wake up and look at the day with such
great optimism. This morning was so goddamn nice, it had rained over night and it had
cleaned the air. The sun was shinning on the new green grass, giving me a deep emotional
lift. I felt good about my self and the world surrounding me. It is easy to get self-centered,
when an overwhelming pleasure surrounds your body.
Our dogs down here at the dam were feeling pretty good this morning. The bigger one was
jumping over the shrubs like a gazelle. Really something nice to see. It kinda makes you
smile watching that dog do his thing. A couple of days ago, I did see a tom turkey doing his
mating dance, dancing around a hen. He was dressed in his finest. That was a first for me.
I looked on the map and found the Buddhist Monastery that Kyle and I visited. It is called
Tassajara Buddhist Meditation Center. http://www.intrex.net/chzg/default.htm
I apparently learned a lot from these folks in one day and did not know it. Thanks Folks.
I am not into any organized form of religious practice. I have picked up pieces of
information from whatever body comes in contact with me. Be it a being, sight, book, TV,
news or a wonderful day.
Like sailing ships with sails billowing on blue-green waters. Words move in this brain.
I always marvel at that human skill. I wonder at the people that know two languages that think in three.
The crawdad mound is gone, one moment there before my eyes, the next day gone.
We look for clues; we paste them in memory or put them on paper.
We date them using a 2000-year-old calendar. We organize our clues and prepare them for the public viewing.
We hope that the world that sees and understands what we see.
Something deep inside my being bothers me. How can being on this earth be bothersome for anyone?
Something grabs me as being not right. I do not know how to explain this feeling.
I am just going to just say it out loud and maybe I will understand what I am thinking.
When I work, I work to do a chore for mankind. I accomplish a task for a purpose of creating a better world.
I can not justify working for the good of only one person.
There is always a reason to work to benefit the whole of society. Cleaning a restroom so no one catches a disease.
Painting a picture to provoke a thought. Writing to ensure peace or entertain the planet.
Working for the whole of society was the only way I could justify being.
The jobs I encountered along the way had meaning only if they benefited mankind.
What irks me is when someone says to me, "We better clean this up the President is coming by tomorrow."
I would rather hear, "Let's clean up the area to make it clean."
This has always bothered me since leaving Morningstar.
It may have something to do with mothers wanting us to wear clean underwear?
When I was growing up there was no bridge (or less of a bridge) to cross over to the ideas of the young. There was a “Generation Gap”, a place where the older generation could not understand the younger generation. I think the older generation was stuck in their ideals, would not budge. Maybe, a little stubborn, like a spoiled child. I can still see that stubbornness when I walk by with my long hair, they assume the notions that make good gossip. Some are old and senile, stuck and stubborn, some are of open mind.
Hopefully my mind is open, willing to listen to the young, leaving the door open for a child's mind.
I understand that they have a mind of their own. I am willing to understand.
I lay a foundation of understanding, of equal understanding.
Sometimes children want something from us that we can not give. We can give them time, a moment together, a sharing of space and time, no words, no understanding, just being together,
then understanding pops up like a cork.
For thirty years I have tried to live with everyone, seeing the being before me.
Understanding what is before me, they are a human, being.
I see. What a simple statement.
These are somethings I learned in the sixties.
The Dry Earth and Red Rocks
The red rocks, round, large and porous. Crevices moving about from place to place. The temperature is high and dry. This place is not far from the oasis of Las Vegas. The red rocks stood as mountains in the distance, not moving, solid and formidable. Young eager bodies, supple and strong moved about them at ease. The dangers were there, still and dropping far.
The white soil of Southern California is here in Nevada. Pickaxe and shovel are the tools of the garden. Sifting the rocks in a shaking motion are the ways of this garden.
I remember the heat, the dry rocky white earth, with cactus sitting atop the earth.
People and animals adjust to the climate. The colors of the earth are here. You have to look closer/deeper, they are subtle. This is the earth of my youth, without seasons, with only a calendar to remind you of earth’s changes.
I realize that without water we are doomed to bake in the sun.
The first time I saw the seasons change; I was thrilled and very happy.
It is morning in Las Vegas; it is cool and peaceful before the sun rises over the horizon. I imagine that all the creatures are about the earth moving. Nibbling and hunting, they are about ready to head back to their cool recline of shade.
The difference between sun and shade is extreme and very noticeable. Laurel is about in this early morning air, sitting, drinking her tea and awaiting the day.
David and Karen live in the desert, out in the brown oasis. Where creatures scamper and fly in the moonlight because the daylight sun is too hot. The day’s sun will try to bake our bodies. A burning place where our sweat will turn to salt on our skin. And our unseen vapors will try to moisten the atmosphere. I see people loving the red/orange and blue sands that roll hot over dry landscapes. Dust lingers momentarily as it moves across the dry lakes of sand. Am I supposed to know why some people love sand, wind and heat?
I love tropical climates, rain every other day and not to hot or too high a humidity. Where green leaves drip water and moisture into fountains and pools.
Am I to know why some folks like an opera and some folks like the rolling stones in our streams? Why do we move our bodies over the earth? I know that we are pliable and that we adjust our bodies and temperaments in our climates.
There are places on this planet where there are no seasons, only the burning season of sun and sandy prospectors.
Laurel & Tomas in Las Vegas
I have retired from the Government. The Government and I have taken something from each other. Our confrontations were sometimes heated but I assume that ones body absorbs what the other is feeling and adjusts to suit. Hopefully it has all been for the better because that is what I wanted out of this space surrounding me. The torch has been very hard to carry and I have lost in some places. Some people have seen me and now know that is what they do not want. Did they understand too much or is it that I did not communicate properly. Anyway I can see that I have lost that battle. Inside this skin there is a body, mind and soul that truly wants the world to see the beauty before them.
If words could only explain the meanings of this existence maybe someone could live in peace.
All the children in the six grade know of why we seek peace.
What happens to their minds, as they get older?
There is fog, there is a mist.
Laurel asked,"Did you hear that weather report?" as she was getting ready for work.
I said, " I do not listen to them anymore."
I thought to my self, I used to listen to the weather every day. I would listen just to find out what to wear to work. Since I had to walk across the dam about 3/4 of a mile across that dam and up 80 or more steps up. Maybe seven stories tall, I am not sure? I would have to carry a backpack, a raincoat, a jacket just about all year, matches and a newspaper in the winter to unfreeze the locks. Ice cleats when the water froze on the dam. It would sometimes be about six inches thick. I would walk across that dam when it was zero out and the wind blew out of the north. It seems almost frightening now. Every step a conscious step, I was well aware of my existence for each step could be my last.
I carried a backpack everyday. In the summer when the humidity was 80 and the temperature was about 95 I was like a pump. By the time I got to the top of the steps my heart would be pounding and the sweat would be flowing. Buy the time I reach the lock walls my shirt would be soaking wet. The other fellows in Illinois that just parked their cars and walked just 100' did not understand. It started out with four of us walking from Kentucky to Illinois in 1980. We are now all retired. I was the last to walk across that dam. I retired this last New Year.
But now I do not worry about the weather or carry a backpack. I just sit and relax, work out in the garden or in this home. I live in peace.
There is news of the unrest in other parts of this vast planet. That is very depressing. It chokes our pores with black and brown filth. We are glad when it rains.
There was no news at Tolstoy or Morningstar and that was nice. There are places on this planet where life is isolated. Where you just worry about what is happening to just you. A place where all the demons of city life are nonexistent, Kentucky is one such place.
I did pop on the Internet and got Laurel her weather report. The weather, mist and fog this morning, high about 86 degrees today with a chance of rain tonight.
email in July 2002
".....and you know its so much easier for someone to
isolate themselves form social inetractions and lead a
monkish life and stay always centered. But to develope
a spiritual philosophy that one feels works for them
while leading an active life is a wonderful
aceivement and should be shared. Ego? Leggo my ego.
How can I say I AM if I don't have my ego. I know just
be and don't say. "
Love you Ramon Take care my brother.
Tomas: I agree with what you say Phil.
and I do agree that Ramon has taught us well by being the person that worshiped
Because of Tolstoy, Morningstar and a trip to the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center I have learned that I could be in the light and work at the same time. It was the communal sharing and love generated by Tolstoy and Morningstar that led Kyle Banks and I to the Zen monastery near Carmel.
From that point on I was able to work and see
the way to the light as Buddha did while living a functional normal lifestyle.
I wanted to go back to Morningstar when I met Laurel in Chicago, but I needed money to go back and work was not a bad word. Work was part of being. I realized that being with Laurel was like being with or at Morningstar.
I realized that wherever I was, I was there, if Laurel could not be there at Morningstar then I could be there with her.
Read about my trip with Kyle to Tassajara:
So I give my thanks to everyone at Tolstoy, Morningstar and the Zen Master who gave Kyle and I a tour of Tassajara.
I told Laurel yesterday morning while we were
seated outside in the early morning air that seeing what we were seeing
this morning was the same as Kathy and I seated in her tree platform suspended
in the woods. The beauty, quietness and the essence of being in that tree
house in the woods was here in our morning at home.
The emotions were the same. We were seeing the planet with its beauty at peace in the morning air.
Laurel is a driving force that wants human beings to do things right.
She expects that from others.
She proofreads, she inspects and she scours the earth.
We both grew up in the fifties and we both suffered at the hands of prejudice.
I was self-coconscious about my teeth and looks.
Laurel suffered from a difference in looks; her look was not what was considered normal.
She stood up and fought, I cowered behind shyness.
We were both hard working athletes and we enjoyed that part of our lives.
We grew up thousands of miles apart and only the revolutions of the fifties and sixties brought us together.
So we look at the earth differently than our parents of the fifties.
We blended the perfections of the fifties with the sense of humanity of the sixties.
I learned about perfection from several good sources, but deep in my heart was the loving feeling given to me by my grandmother.
She was the gentle creature and I loved her deeply.
When I met Laurel I realized that people could live differently and be right.
How could I with my opened mind condemn her freedom and her thoughts?
I had to see the world through her eyes.
So we have blended our selves into of marriage of love, ideas and humanity toward others and ourselves.
We are the light; this is in our minds and in
We are the source of that light.
Our community (the universe) is also the darkness and the light.
What we are seeking we are.
Each of us has a different view of the light and the darkness.
As does the universe, the heavens.
We view the light, we see the light, and we absorb the light mentally and physically.
The tree drops the seed and so does being drop the seed, thus continuing the view of light and darkness.
Some folks have bright children.
Peace is in the light and the darkness.
Go to Laurel & Tom III