Saturday, March 1, 2008


Some more things I found while sorting through my storage unit:

Two photographs of the view from my parents' living room during their retirement years when they lived in Gualala, California. My middle sister gave these framed photos to me many years ago. After my parents had both died, I put the photos in my storage unit. Now I'm ready to look at these morning and evening views again.

and this from a magazine clipping:


Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions and kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread

only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
(page 35, Ions Noetic Sciences Review, April-July 1999)

and this, marked by my mother in a book (MIND IN THE WATERS) she sent to me for Christmas in 1975:

"So many things fail to interest us, simply because they don’t find in us enough surfaces on which to live, and what we have to do then is to increase the number of planes in our mind, so that a much larger number of themes can find a place in it at the same time."

José Ortega y Gasset


R.L. Bourges said...

love all of this but the quote by Ortega y Gasset? I'm adding another plane in my mind - just for it.
thanks again.

Dale said...


Jean said...

Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things, ..."

Oui , c'est la leçon de la vie !
On ne connait la valeur de ce qu'on a perdu qu'après l'avoir perdu !

The Solitary Walker said...

This is a very wise and beautiful poem.

The Dream said...

Doesn't it feel so good to dig things out of storage and reconnect with the memories surrounding them? It really is about honoring the memories and the loved ones. Great location, too - you'll surely see them daily. This poem is so fantastic ... another one I am copying pronto.

Anonymous said...

I love the post, but I have to say that the first thing that struck me about it is that you have the same stove as my parents do (did). My parents bought it when they came to this country, and when I saw your stove I thought of my father alone in his house. And that tied to your other post, so it's all very connected. Thank you.

Zhoen said...

Kindness is the only strength to counter the sadness, yes.