The Watering Hole, Friday February 22, 2013; Life’s Symphonic Essesences, aka “Namasté”

Hanalei Bay dawn-3

Dawn Breaks Over Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaiian Islands.


There are days during these troubled and irrational times when the overwhelming urge is to ignore the moment, to instead ponder other potential options that human existence might — maybe? please? — pursue or (at least) offer: something beyond those politically-inspired nonsensicals embraced within all of current discourse as if by mucoidal slag. Today is one of those days; the world’s global and human-inspired destructive political and dogmatic silliness and downright stupidity demand an alternative view. No politics, no dogmas, no destructions, no desolations are permitted. Not today. Instead, I wondered: why not a reflection of certain ‘lessons’ I have (accidentally to be sure) been fortunate enough to encounter over the last nearly four decades, ‘lessons’ which finally want to gel, to become ideas, maybe even concepts of that which life offers, what it “means”?

OK. So off we go. Back to the source (for me, at least), to Polynesia, to the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and especially Kauai — via old photos, via an old poem, and via a recollection or two gathered in a Buddhist Garden . . . overall, an excursion, really, onto The Sea of life’s potential, its “meaning” — the undercurrent of the entire planet’s divine spirit, its Namasté . . . at least as seen through my own admittedly dimmed and foggy vision.

It begins with the obvious:

The Sea

Kauai Kalalau Valley

Kauai’s Na Pali Coast and the Pacific beyond, viewed from the slopes of Mt. Waialeale overlooking Kalalau Valley.

In distant view, the azure sea is calm,
Her mottled, cooling blue speaks peaceably

Of gentleness;

aerial seascape collage

L. to R. in order: Waipi’o Valley, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu; Kalaupapa, Molokai

And here and there soft sunlight’s tinted hues
Suggest life’s calm abode – which, with cold arms

She doth caress;

Hawaiian Sunrises

Sunrise over Wailua Bay, Kauai.                   — Breaking Wave, Hanalei Bay, Kauai.

Yet on her shores, in frenzied battery,
Great waves disintegrate with energies

Near limitless;

shattered crystals collage

L. to R. in order: Hanakapiai, Kauai; Windward Maui; Wainiha Bay, Kauai

And broken swells, like shattered crystals, fly,
Then fall and quickly wash the sands, with masked


seacoast collage

L. to R. in order: Hanakapiai, Kauai; Ke’e Beach, Kauai; Windward Maui


Byodo-In, Oahu’s Buddhist Shrine in the Valley of the Temples —

A few decades ago, I visited a special place in the Hawaiian Islands, on Windward Oahu. As the crow flies, it wasn’t far from the geographically-confined sprawl of late 20th century Honolulu, but in every other way it definitely stood a world apart.  It’s called the Valley of the Temples, and its beautiful centerpiece is a Buddhist shrine called Byodo-In, a replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan.


Arrival is ordinary; there’s the parking lot, of course, generally a small crowd coming and going, and a paved pathway into the grounds.  The scenery is impressive and eye-catching; with the fluted cliffs of the Nuuanu Pali as a backdrop, the frequent rain clouds, rainbows, and salubrious tradewinds combine to effect a very nearly idyllic rendition of an ideal tropical scene.  But once on the grounds (which are spacious and open, but still private and lush) a feeling of ‘something’ seems to gradually overcome the senses.  There are clear meandering streams, ponds of lily pads where huge gold and multi-colored Koi swim . . .

Koi collage and beyond which sprawl ‘minimalist’ gardens where tropical flowers are amazingly pervasive.

tropical flowers collageHere and there a graceful footbridge arches over a stream; there are rock gardens, and occasionally in a small corner an unobtrusive bench upon which one can sit for a spell, often in the midst of intensely fragrant flowering shrubs and/or next to a gurgling stream.  After a short while, one slowly becomes aware that things are different. Somehow. There is no ‘un-natural’ noise. One senses that he is, indeed, “Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife” as even the occasional stray voice seems muffled, barely audible.  Everything one sees or senses is perfectly placed, perfectly manicured, but nothing looks either disturbed or out of place, or even pruned or planned; it all seems and ‘feels’ completely natural in every way.  After awhile, even the temple itself – the centerpiece of the gardens – seems as if it has grown from the ground naturally, not as if it’s been constructed by humans.

I suppose I wandered there for at least a couple of hours before leaving, soon to re-enter Honolulu-bound traffic on the Likelike Highway.  I puzzled the entire trip back to ‘civilization’ but was unable to quite figure out – to put into words – just exactly what it was that I had just experienced at Byodo-In, and it wasn’t until several weeks later that it finally struck me: I had spent two hours of my life in Oahu’s Valley of the Temples, and become thereby as if an intricate part of a giant artwork.  In the metaphoric sense, the experience probably most resembled a visit to an art museum, perhaps even to a symphony concert in a renowned hall somewhere, but with one huge difference: at Byodo-In, I, the visitor, was intended, prearranged, to become part and parcel OF the artwork – a brushstroke in the Mona Lisa? a note in a Mozart symphony? – but surely not, any longer,  just an observer.  I wasn’t listening to a Beethoven sonata, I was, rather, now parcel to the score of a Beethoven sonata, and the melody implicit had subtly emerged to define my entire surround!

It’s begun to seem, to me at least, that art has many levels and it really doesn’t matter just how – or precisely where – one fits himself in; the important thing is to do so, to open the mind and allow the transition, the transcendence.  The only superlative to gazing at an artwork may well be to exist as part of it, to be surrounded by and intrinsic within whatever it is that sets the work apart from the ordinary, that which makes viewing it an experience and not just a minor event.  And therein lies the virtue of art — no matter whether the form be painting, sculpture, music, words, even an ocean sunrise. Whether natural or of human creation, all of art requires only the substance of intrinsic quality, that sum of esoteric value as expressed in one form, or another.

Perhaps that’s the point where one’s sense of existence blends with and becomes an intricate part of that far greater sum which some choose to call the Universe, the Creation – or any of a number of all-embracing ideas which emerge to define the transcendent breadth of one’s own life. And that “simple” idea is what I like to think I’ve finally come to comprehend; IT is (intensely, on occasion) implicit in the compilation of words and graphic renderings of isolated partitions of each and every place on this planet that I’ve visited over the years, and in that context IT is, in reality, nothing I might have ever brought to THEM, but what THEY have CONSISTENTLY! given to ME.

My hope is singular – that each and all might learn to seize one of THOSE moments, every now and then — a moment which allows the escape from current reality to become even the briefest of brush strokes in the art of whichever natural paradise might be at hand.  Exist there for a moment or for a lifetime – become a word in a poem or become a poem; become a note in a piano concerto or become the keyboard, the score; close your mind to the intrusions of man, and shield your eyes from man’s desecrations of the land, the sea and the sky.  Relax, become part of that which you truly are, and disavow that which you are not or should never become.

And, later, when you return to the reality of the modern world, recall from whence you’ve come; engage yourself in the fight to save that small part which remains undisturbed, to repair all which is repairable of that which has been desecrated or destroyed. And then – rejoin the beauty from which you and all of life and form have once derived.

Waimea Canyon pan

Waimea Canyon, aka “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”; Kauai

I’ve never since viewed art in the same way as I once did, nor have I ever since been able to immerse myself into an undisturbed natural expanse and not become, once again, an intricate part of each the reality AND its attendant metaphor(s). The distinctions between brush strokes, or pigments, or shapes, forms, even words in a poem or notes in a melody fade to the point where I am no longer a separate entity, but am instead part of that Song.

William Wordsworth summed it all up in his poem Ode on Intimations of Immortality:

 No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
 I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,
 The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep . . .

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm:–
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!


Sunrise over Hanalei Bay and local fisherman; Kauai.

Note what is missing in the scene just above: each and every evidence of human’s Politics, of his Greed, Power, of his perceived “Dominion” (in any sense, Biblical included), also Conquest, Authority, Money (whatever THAT is supposed to be), Dogmatic Usurpation, Pollution of Essence . . . none of that. But yet, there stands a human. How can that be?

It’s because HE stands there on that sunrise-emblazoned shore as if a note in that symphony, a word in that poem, a single brush stroke in that painting . . . and deep within, he knows he is but a PART of that universe in which he stands, HIS universe, OUR universe. He knows full well he does not own it, that he has no dominion; all he knows is that HE is parcel to it . . . and that HE is every bit as integral to its music . . . as is every aspect of his entire surround.

To him, and to all like him, I borrow from the Byodo-In, from the lingua franca implicit within The Valley of the Temples, one word:


This is today’s open thread. Carry forth . . . and Namasté!

115 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Friday February 22, 2013; Life’s Symphonic Essesences, aka “Namasté”

  1. Edward Gorey – (February 22, 1925 – April 15, 2000)

    The Gashlycrumb Tinies Alphabet – classic.

    A is for Amy who fell down the stairs.
    B is for Basil assaulted by bears.

    N is for Neville who died of ennui.
    O is for Olive run through with an awl.

    You may recognize his sense of the macabre in the opening/introduction segment of ‘Mystery’ on PBS.

  2. Essesences? or essences?

    Barney Frank on Rachel last night: “Will Karl Rove beat the Tea Party? Or as I’ve said, will the meanies beat the crazies? We’re rooting for the meanies.”

    I’m rooting against both. I want their conflict to end with nothing left but two assholes snapping at each other.

  3. You are such a wonderful writer frugal. I get the same feelings you describe from my daily labors. Petty strife seems far away and there is only sun, water, earth, and the life they call forth. I become part of that.

    • (other than it is a defensive call meaning it felt threatened) That was cute.
      “Mel” the cat paid absolutely NO attention to the sound.

  4. Goober Gohmert rides again!

    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says constituents are telling him that high-capacity magazines should not be banned because people need “at least 50 rounds” to shoot down government drones.

    During Thursday interview on Freedom 107 radio, host Jeff Akin asked the Texas Republican how he felt about using unnamed aerial drones for domestic law enforcement.

    “It’s pretty offensive to most of us,” Gohmert opined. “Most of us think if you’re going to use a drone and fly over our homes to analyze what’s going on in our backyard — not a lot of talk’s been given — but if you can fly over in the backyard, you can use all kinds of technology to see what’s happening inside the home as well. And I know there’s been a judge, and this former judge sure thinks you ought to have a warrant to do that kind of thing.”

    “But I had somebody last week in Washington from either Georgia or Alabama that was saying, ‘Look, this goes back to we have got to have at least 50 rounds in our magazines because on average that’s about how many it takes to bring down a drone.’ I hope he was kidding, I don’t know for sure.”

    • It would take about 200 rounds just to get rid of the House Democrats Commanists. Don’t tell Louis that, though. For obvious reasons.

      I have a better suggestion: Repeal the second amendment, and confiscate ALL guns. Melt them down and turn them into something useful. Plowshares, bridges, rebar, whatever.

    • Along that line of logic, every friggin household should be equipped with rocket propelled grenade launchers, or perhaps an anti-aircraft gun or three.

    • Gomer is making a strong push for Batscat Bachmann’s title. The drone stuff is stupid and funny but the Sharia crap makes me mad. This freak has no qualms about imposing his own religion on people but is simply terrified of the nonexistent threat of Sharia. Can you imagine the wailing and bleating if someone like Al Franken suggested that “libruls” must arm themselves to protect abortion rights and force the acceptance of gay marriage? Heck! I think I can protect my Social Security and Medicare benefits with the five rounds my shotgun will hold but I guess I need an assault weapon to maintain parity with the forces trying to cut said benefits. And, if I want to protect myself from the nuts at the church down the road I’m going to need some artillery and maybe a tank.

  5. Allow me to point out colossal amounts of stupid in Lois Gormless’s brain farts and those of his drone expert from the Georgiabama Institute ‘Fer Bein ‘Agin Gubmint ‘N Revenooers’:

    1: The gubmint doesn’t care enough about you dumb hicks to bother using a drone to find you.
    2. You have no fucking idea what it takes to shoot down a drone–5 hours of Battlefield 3 gfame-play doesn’t count as real world experience.
    3 Predators and Reapers normally operate at 25,000 feet, now that they have 1 billion pixel cameras. The longest sniper kill is 1.5 miles which equals 7,920 feet— about 17,00 feet short of the drone operational altitude—and of course a Bushmaster 5.56mm AR-15 is not a .338 caliber L115A3 so no chance of hitting anything over 2,000 feet away..
    4, And lets just pretend you DID shoot down a drone….just what do you think would happen next?

    The dumbest thing though is “I hope he was kidding, I don;t know for sure”….

    You hope he was kidding? Then why use his shit-for brains ‘argument’ like its reasonable?
    And why couldn’t you figure out of he was kidding or not? Here’s how, Gomer: “hey, your’e kidding, right?”. See?

    I swear L. Gomer Pile is the absolute dumbest motherfucker in D.C. and in a sane world he wouldn’t be trusted to blow his nose on his own, let alone legislate. .

    • The longest sniper kill is 1.5 miles which equals 7,920 feet— about 17,00 feet short of the drone operational altitude . . .

      In Gohmert’s world, that’s why it would take so many bullets to shoot down just one drone. They’re too high up to see, y’see, plus if the average bullet travels, say, a reasonably accurate mile, then it would take at least five of them to get to 25000 ft. ……..

      Trying to “think” like a wingnut. It ain’t easy.

      • It is impolitic for me to say so, but I am surrounded by idiots ( my students) all day at work.
        However, they all don’t get rewarded with six figures plus bennies for their general ignorance and lack of intellectual prowess, and they sure as hell don’t try to impose the same on anyone else. .

  6. Another report today of more horse meat found in food in the UK, and Tuesday night I was watching a vintage All In The Family where Gloria fixes dinner with horse meat and they don’t tell Archie what he was eating. The same episode has Archie turn his bigotry against the Catholic Church, also a current topic these days. I’d forgotten how funny that show was when it was originally aired.

  7. Ted Cruz (R-TX): The New Joe McCarthy?

    Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there. (. . .)

    He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.” The reason, said Cruz, was that, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”

    Cruz was born in Canada, so Senator is as high up the political ladder as he can get, here. My Q is simple: Why can’t we deport the idiot, send him back to Canada?

    Also, another question: What the hell is so awful about the freedom which allows one to be a ‘Communist’ in the first place? Is it in the Constitution, or somewhere, that being a ‘Communist’ is illegal? Or maybe it’s only ‘illegal’ to be a “Commanist”?

  8. And in just plain funny shit.
    Newly elected Senator Cruz (Reactionary- Tx) addressing a crowd in Ohio
    ‘You want to know what happened last election cycle? We didn’t win the argument for the American people,’ Cruz said while pacing easily on stage in a hotel ballroom. ‘The Democrats’ story is the Republicans are the party of the rich, the Democrats are the party of everybody else. And if that’s the narrative people believe, we’ll never win another national election.’”

    So, basically, he’s saying….We gots to lie our asses off and trick these effing rubes into thinking we’re not shills for the 1%!!!

    • I’ll say it again.

      Democrats struggle to explain their true intentions to help most everybody. The GOoPers struggle to hide their true intentions to hurt most everybody.

  9. I think it would be a good thing if the person or persons who sold this guy the weapons were facing charges. Imagine a paper trail from the end of the production line to the point they weapons entered the black market. The NRA freaks would say; “but, but, but…FREEDOM!!!”.

    I’m really getting tired of this 2nd Amendment crap. The 2nd Amendment itself gives the lawful government of the United States the power and duty to regulate weapons for the sake of public safety. Over 200 years of legal precedent, up to and including the views of one Antonin Scalia, reaffirms that power and duty. Some classes of weapon have always been illegal for private citizens to possess and some citizens are forbidden firearms of any kind. These things are to be debated by our lawfully elected representatives and written into law. The fact that firearms and society both evolve makes this an ongoing process.

    The problem, over and above the immediate problem of criminals and psychopaths acquiring weapons that in comparison to the firearms of the era during which the 2nd Amendment was adopted should be classified as “weapons of mass destruction”, is that a miniscule subclass has effectively blocked any and all debate. This has to stop.

    This subclass has managed to convince themselves that the will of the people is effectively subordinate to the Constitution that expressly empowers those people to effect change. The Constitution demands change. This point in history demands change.

  10. One more reason to take care of the animal kingdom—extinction fuels climate change:

    “Predators are bigger animals at the top of the food chain and their diets are comprised of all the smaller animals and plants in the ecosystem, either directly or indirectly. As a result, the number of predators in an ecosystem regulates the numbers of all the plants and animals lower in the food chain. It’s these smaller animals and plants that play a big role in sequestering or emitting carbon.”

    Julia Whitty elaborates:

    “[T]he researchers experimented on three-tier food chains in experimental ponds, streams, and bromeliads in Canada and Costa Rica by removing or adding predators. Specifically by adding or removing three-spined stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and the invertebrate predators stoneflies (Hesperoperla pacifica) and damselflies (Mecistogaster modesta). When all the predators were removed the ecosystems emitted a whopping 93 percent more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.”

  11. WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders quietly unveiled their Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill on Friday, a proposal that differs from what the Senate passed last week in a handful of ways, namely in its omission of LGBT protections and its modified language targeting Native American victims of domestic abuse.

    The GOP proposal was posted on the House Rules Committee website with little fanfare, along with an announcement that the committee will begin moving the bill forward in a Tuesday hearing. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) will sponsor the bill and the House is expected to bring it to a full vote later next week, a House Republican leadership aide confirmed.


  12. JEEZUS….

    An evangelical pastor, famous for his support of Uganda’s so-called “Kill the Gays” bill, claims to have found further proof that President Obama is secretly gay.

    Scott Lively made the claim in an entry on the website for his Defend The Family organization.

    The short post, which consists of the headline “Obama Vacations with Reggie Love, Not Michelle” and subhead “More ‘gay’ grist for the rumor mill,” links to a short article in The Weekly Standard, which reports on President Obama’s return from his “solo vacation.”

    • The government spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup – one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. The cleanup is expected to last decades.

      I bet the in future, nuclear cleanup costs increase faster than the interest on the national debt. But keep on privatizing those profits!

  13. So this is cool. I like Rob Delaney. I enjoy his particular style of comedy. He once tweeted, “Had to roofie the entire family just so I could masturbate in peace.” In this clip, shown on Jimmy Kimmel, old people read his tweets (which they censor, but you can probably hear them unedited on the youtube site itself). I hope you enjoy it.

  14. A San Jose woman who brought international notoriety to the city with a severed-finger-in-chili hoax was back in court for another alleged charade, this time to obscure the fact that her felon son had a gun.

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