Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Fleeting moments of pink light before dawn on a grey New Year's Day in the far northwest corner of Washington State:

"Most of us primarily find the sacred within the circle of those we love and find holy ground in our own backyard. Remember the Buddhist monks who go on a three-month retreat during the rainy season? It must be dramatic for them when the retreat ends. For a long time, they have been confined to a temple, with strict instructions to destroy no new life. They carefully watch where they put their feet lest they trample a sprout of grass pushing through the cold earth. Then comes the day the retreat ends and they leave. They are given new robes. At the gate they take their final step out of the temple and their first step into a sunny meadow. It is the same step.

In our own back yards, the leaves may be gone and the tree limbs bare. But tiny new buds are beginning to swell. A time will come soon to step between two seasons. Just as with the monks, it is one step. From holy ground to holy ground.

(Copyright 2006, Tolbert McCarroll, A WINTER WALK, page 150)

Oboe resting on New Year's Day:

Self-portrait on New Year's Day (semi-contour drawing):

Late yesterday I received news that someone dear to me for the last 42 years is recovering from a stroke in the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, California. His sister said that he is unable to speak because of a tracheostomy but can write. I left a message for him with his nurse at the VA Hospital. Anyone who knows me well or has been reading my blog knows him. We were born during the same 24 hours in 1949 and have been in and out of each other's lives since we were 17 years old. Please send lovingkindness his way. Thanks so much.

"In recent years Kwanzaa, a week-long cultural festival for African-Americans, has been gaining in popularity. This holiday came out of the frustrations, and the violence, of the black power movements in the 1960s, which was one, often controversial, facet of America's continuing struggle for racial equality and justice. At first, Kwanzaa was a black alternative to Christmas. But it has evolved to become a cultural, rather a religious or anti-religious event. This has allowed Christians, who are an important part of the African-American community, to adopt it. It is now estimated that about thirty million people worldwide celebrate this festival. One of Kwanzaa's main attractions for African-American parents is to move beyond the commercial, gift-oriented atmosphere of Christmas and talk about values. The festival goes on for seven nights, and the main event is the evening meal where African clothing is often worn and dances, songs, and symbols are used in an elaborate ritual. Each night one of seven principles is the theme. These are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith."

(Copyright 2006, Tolbert McCarroll, A WINTER WALK, pages 151-152)

January 1 is the 7th night of Kwanzaa. The principle for tonight is Imani, which means "faith."

Love and Light to all in the New Year!


The Solitary Walker said...

Peace and happiness to you in this New Year! I look forward to more of your inspirational and creative blog as the days go by...

robin andrea said...

Best of luck to your old friend. Sending lovingkindness is way. Happy New Year to you from a new friend!

Loren said...

Namaste, am, as my Yoga teacher says.

Best wishes to both you and your friend.