Saturday, September 28, 2013

This story of  Coyote and Big Buffalo Bull (Tenugagahi) came from Roger Welsch, Nebraska storyteller and adoptive member of the Winnebago tribe.  Although it's quite natural for one to dream of a better life, especially when one is depressed, Coyote learns that one should ask certain questions before attempting to be like someone else.  For instance, if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, maybe one should ask if he/she really likes grass before jumping the fence.

When I hear stories like this I always wonder what happens next.  Having learned that he really doesn't want to be a big buffalo bull, for instance, is Coyote now more comfortable is his own skin, so to speak.  I think I will accept who I am and make the very best of it.  That could keep me busy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Don Quixote Revisited

I suppose that, for some, the light has gone out, but I believe that within most of us there are the embers of hope for a world of beauty and purpose. Don Quixote fans the fire as he sets out to right the wrongs of the world. His vision is that he sees the world as it ought to be. His failing is that he is unable to see the world as it is. It seems to me that he wanders back and forth across the line between madness and vision. Or can it be that he has such a strong internal vision that he sees through the illusion of those of us who have resigned ourselves to lives of hopeless reality? Is he a madman, a hero, or a holy fool? I truly don't know. Does it matter? What does matter is that Don Quixote is set free in our imagination to help us discover a new quality of the human spirit.

I'm not sure I can go so far as to claim Don Quixote as a patron saint but for those of us who struggle to rise above our very real limitations to act for a world of beauty and purpose, his is a powerful voice.

Now let's get specific. For going on six years now there has been a multi-million dollar lobbying effort to create a 5.3 billion dollar project to link Canada's oil sands with refineries on the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists oppose the Keystone XL project because of the obvious harm it will do to our land and its people. Some have said that to oppose the pipeline is like 'tilting at windmills,' to use a Quixotic reference. Maybe, maybe not. This is one the people of vision might just win.

If you want to weigh in on the controversy, please check out
I picked up the plate in a gift shop in Moron, Spain.  My sister gave me the tie.  She said it reminded her of me.  I don't know if she was referring to Don Q, Sancho, or Rocinante.  I do know she loves me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Was there a snake in the hole?

A Snake in the hole? Who cares?

Sometimes a story is just a story—except when it is not. This story was just a story at the time. Over the years, upon reflection, it has taken on more meaning. To me, today, the story about there maybe being a snake in the hole in the tree is more than a story about there maybe being a snake in the hole in the tree.

When I tell it, I sense the cool damp of the Alabama woods in the late fall. I see the fallen leaves, the moss on the bare trees, the oak, the hickory, the sweet gum. I see the squirrel running around the tree, dropping to the ground when Dad shot him. I catch the subdued smell of Dad's ever present cigar and the smell of the wood chips as the tree is cut into firewood. That day in the woods with my Dad is a very good memory.

I see it now also as a caution against being obsessed with the what ifs of life. I am reasonably sure that if there had been a snake in the hole, my Dad would have dealt with it. I suppose one could make a case for investigating a situation before getting involved but I am very much aware that there are all sorts of possible threats out there that can paralyze me if I choose to make that my main focus.

This is just a story—unless you choose to make something more out of it.