Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Gardening Chores in Red Bluff

USDA Zone 9, Red Bluff, California

Divide and replant clumps of perennials that have finished flowering.
Take cuttings from some plants.
Watering as needed, especially potted plants.
Read garden books from the library.
Mowing lawns and weeding.
Planting seeds in containers in the greenhouse.
Fertilize some actively growing plants.
Mulch trees, shrubs and garden.
Weed garden.  Weed garden.  Weed garden. 
Take a nap in the shade.
Thin out plants growing in the vegetable garden.
Mow lawns and field.
Write a poem.   Keep a garden journal.
Watering as needed.   Soak trees. 
Celebrate May Day - Beltane. 
Use straw mulch to conserve water and shade roots.
Don't get sun burnt.  
Dig in composted manure. 
Shape shrubs.
Prune vines. 
Clean up garden workbench area. 
Read some Springtime poetry out loud. 
Thin excess fruit on trees.
Sit and observe.
Thin our excess vegetables. 
Make sure lath/shade house is ready.  

May: Quotes, Poems, Saying, Lore 

May Day or Beltane 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Family Reunion in Ashland

Members of the Blaize and Garofalo family all met in Ashland, Oregon, this past weekend.  We were able to spend Saturday and Sunday visiting with over 30 people.  The beautiful weather made for an enjoyable family reunion.

Karen, my brother Philip, and I drove from Ashland to the the Sacramento airport today.  

Pictures and comments to follow this coming weekend.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 25

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 25

"There was something undefined and complete, coming into existence before Heaven and Earth.
How still it was and formless, standing alone, and undergoing no change, reaching everywhere and in no danger of being exhausted!
It may be regarded as the Mother of all things.
I do not know its name, and I give it the designation of the Tao. 
Making an effort to give it a name, I call it The Great.
Great, it passes on in constant flow.  
Passing on, it becomes remote.
Having become remote, it returns.
Therefore the Tao is great, Heaven is great, Earth is great, and the sage king is also great.
In the universe there are four that are great, and the sage king is one of them.
Man takes his law from the Earth.
Earth takes its law from Heaven.
Heaven takes its law from the Tao.
The law of the Tao is its being what it is."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 25 

"There is a Being wondrous and complete. Before heaven and earth, it was.
How calm it is! How spiritual! 
Alone it standeth, and it changeth not; around it moveth, and it suffereth not; yet therefore can it be the world's mother.  
Its name I know not, but its nature I call Reason.  
Constrained to give a name, I call it the great.
The great I call the departing, and the departing I call the beyond.
The beyond I call home.  
The saying goes: "Reason is great, heaven is great, earth is great, and royalty also is great.
There are four things in the world that are great, and royalty is one of them.  
Man's standard is the earth.
The earth's standard is heaven.
Heaven's standard is Reason.
Reason's standard is intrinsic." 
-  Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 25    

"Before Heaven and Earth existed there was in Nature a primordial substance.
It was serene, it was fathomless.
It was self-existent, it was homogeneous.
It was omnipresent, nor suffered any limitation.
It is to be regarded as the universal mother.
I do not know its name, but I call it Tao.
If forced to qualify it, I call it the boundless.
Being boundless, I call it the inconceivable.
Being inscrutable, I call it the inaccessible.
Being inaccessible, I call it the omnipresent.
Tao is supreme, Heaven is supreme, Earth is supreme, the King is supreme.
There are in the universe four kinds of supremacy, and their rulership is one.
Man is ruled by the Earth, the Earth is ruled by Heaven, Heaven is ruled by Tao, and Tao is ruled by itself."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn-Old, 1904, Chapter 25  

"There was something formless yet complete,
That existed before heaven and earth;
Without sound, without substance,
Dependent on nothing, unchanging,
All pervading, unfailing.
One may think of it as the mother of all things under heaven.
Its true name we do not know;
Were I forced to say to what class of things it belongs
I should call it Great (ta)
Now ta also means passing on,
And passing on means going Far Away,
And going far away means returning.
Thus just as Tao has “this greatness” and as earth has it and as heaven has it,
So may the ruler also have it.
Thus “within the realm there are four portions of greatness”,
And one belongs to the king.
The ways of men are conditioned by those of earth.
The ways of earth, by those of heaven.
The ways of heaven by those of Tao, and the ways of Tao by the Self-so."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 25  

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching



Saturday, April 27, 2013

In the Light of a Day

"Colors change: in the morning light, red shines out bright and clear and the blues merge into their surroundings, melting into the greens; but by the evening the reds loose their piquancy, embracing a quieter tone and shifting toward the blues in the rainbow. Yellow flowers remain bright, and white ones become luminous, shining like ghostly figures against a darkening green background."
-  Rosemary Verey, The Scented Garden, 1981  

Seeing and Vision: Quotes, Sayings, Facts


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Step by Step - Over and Over

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
-   Henry David Thoreau

"To find new things, take the path you took yesterday." 
-   John Burroughs

"Allow walking to occupy a place of stature equal with all the other important activities in your life.  As difficult as that might seem, here's how to do it.  Make it a practice.  That's right.  Turn your walking into a vehicle for personal growth as well as for fitness.  This will add a higher level of integrity and intention to your approach because you will find that it is a way to deepen and upgrade your relationship to your body.  Instead of merely giving your legs and a good workout, you'll be practicing to relax more, to breathe better, to expand your vision, to open up your range of motion, to increase your energy, to feel and sense your body.  The list is exciting - and endless.  With all of this to look forward to, your walking program will take its place alongside everything in your life you value most, and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to schedule time for something you really love to do."
-  Katherine Dreyer, Chi Walking  

Here is my walking path. It is a .35 mile, asphalt paved, cul-de-sac, Kilkenny Lane, in Red Bluff, California.  Kilkenny Lane moves in an east-west direction from the front of my home to Highway 99 West.  I practice Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong in the circular area in front of my house shown the foreground of this picture.  I rarely encounter a car on Kilkenny Lane.     


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's Life's Illusions I Recall

Both Sides Now 
By Joni Mitchell

"Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

Oh but now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wu Style Qigong Workshop in Napa

Gerald Sharp will be leading a Liangong and Wu Style Qigong workshop in Napa, California, the weekend of May 3rd - May 5th, 2013.  Here is more information on the upcoming workshop. Sifu Sharp also offers many excellent instructional DVDs. 

Taijiquan and Qigong in Northern California

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fragrance of Roses

"Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the gardener's repertory and yet it is the most neglected and least understood.  The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood.  It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it it detected.  Each fragrance, whether sweet or spicy, light or heavy, comes upon you in its own way and evokes its own emotional response."
-  Stephen Lacey,  Scent in Your Garden, 1991

"My garden, with its silence and pulses of fragrance that come and go on the airy undulations, affects me like sweet music.  Care stops at the gates, and gazes at me wistfully through the bars."
-  Alexander Smith  

The Five Senses

Gardening: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore

Karen and I gardened all day yesterday.  We both enjoyed the beautiful iris and rose plants in full bloom.  


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 26

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 26

"The natural way is the way of the sage,
serving as his dwelling, 
providing his centre deep within, 
whether in his home or journeying.
Even when he travels far, 
he is not separate
from his own true nature.
Maintaining awareness of natural beauty, 
he still does not forget his purpose.  
Although he may dwell in a grand estate,
simplicity remains his guide, 
for he is full aware, that losing it,
his roots as well would disappear.
So he is not restless,
lest he loses the natural way.  
Similarly, the people's leader 
is not flippant in his role, nor restless, 
for these could cause the loss 
of the roots of leadership."
-  Translated by Stan Rosenthal, 1984, Chapter 26  
"The solid is the platform of the light, and the heavy is the root of the light.
Quiet strength rules over activity, the not-so-active could be the big boss of the hasty.
So the wise man travels all day and never leaves his baggage;
He who travels all day hardly likes to be separated from his provision-chart:
However great and glorious the view, he sits quiet and dispassionate.
So the lord with ten thousand chariots can seldom allow himself to be light-spirited and lighter than those he rules.
The ruler of a great country should never make light of his body - anywhere.
In light frivolity, the controller's centre is lost; in hasty action, such self-mastery.
If the ruler is light-hearted, the minister will be destroyed.
If he is light, the foundation is lost;
If he is active, the lord is lost."
-  Translated by Tormond Kinnes, Chapter 26

"The heavy is the root of the Light.
The quiet the master of motion.
Therefore the wise man in all the experience of the day will not depart from dignity.
Though he be surrounded with sights that are magnificent,
he will remain calm and unconcerned.
How does it come to pass that the Emperor,
master of ten thousand chariots,
has lost the mastery of the Empire?
Because being flippant himself, he has lost the respect of his subjects;
being passionate himself, he has lost the control of the Empire."
-  Translated by Dwight Goddard, 1919, Chapter 26 

"The heavy is of the light the root, and rest is motion's master.  
Therefore the holy man in his daily walk does not depart from gravity.
Although he may have magnificent sights, he calmly sits with liberated mind. 
But how is it when the master of the ten thousand chariots in his personal conduct is too light for the empire?
If he is too light he will lose his vassals.
If he is too passionate he will lose the throne."
-   Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 26  

"The Place of Peace ...
The heavy is foundation for the light;
So quietness is master of the deed.
The Wise Man, though he travel all the day,
Will not be separated from his goods.
So even if the scene is glorious to view,
He keeps his place, at peace, above it all.
For how can one who rules
Ten thousand chariots
Give up to lighter moods
As all the world may do?
If he is trivial,
His ministers are lost;
If he is strenuous,
There is no master then."
-  Translated by Raymond Blackney, 1955, Chapter 26  

Chapter and Thematic Index to the Tao Te Ching

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Dragon is Awakening

  "Love is the power to feel through the feet in Earth and through the spine into heaven to mingle into motion the inner wheels, to awaken the sleeping Serpent. 
- Dei Hughes, "Sacred Loyalties"

"As the glory of May-time unfurls in every leaf and flower, we begin to feel a new well-being in our bodies, a sense of vigor and energy that we have lacked over the cold months of winter.  In terms of Celtic understanding, we are experiencing the nwyfre (NWIVE'ry) of the earth in our own bodies.  Nwyfre is a Welsh word that means the subtle energy field of the earth; it is often used poetically for the sky or heavens.
    Every sentient being has its own energy field or nwyfre as well.  The symbolic representation of nwyfre is the dragon, which is a very important emblem in Britain (the red dragon being the guardian beast of Wales and appearing upon its flag).  The awakening of the dragons of the land traditionally happens about the time of Beltane.  The nwyfre of the land rise up at summer's approach, and the dormant dragons, emblems of the land's power, rise from their dark earth caverns upon powerful wings.
    To experience the awakening of the dragons of nwyfre in our bodies, we need to take ourselves out into the open air, to stand without concrete between our bare feet and earth, to experience the daily miracle of life within our bodies.  If we make this our practice, our nwyfre will not be lacking. 
    Stand on the green earth and close your eyes, soaking up the light of the sun and the warmth of the earth at the same time.  Be aware of the nwyfre of the earth.  Now become aware of your own.  As you breathe in, experience drawing up the subtle energy of the earth.  Give thanks for renewed energy and life."
-  Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year,  1999, p. 207


Friday, April 19, 2013

Walk Like a Mountain

"Today I walked on the lion-coloured hills
 with only cypresses for company, 
 until the sunset caught me, turned the brush
 to copper
 set the clouds 
 to one great roof of flame 
 above the earth,
 so that I walk through fire, beneath fire,
 and all in beauty. 
 Being alone
 I could not be alone, but felt
 (closer than flesh) the presence of those
 who once had burned in such transfigurations.
 My happiness ran through the centuries
 in one continual brightness.  Looking down,
 I saw the earth beneath me like a rose
 petaled with mountains,
 fragrant with deep peace."
 -  Elizabeth Coatsworth, On the Hills, 1924  

Walk Like a Mountain: The Handbook of Buddhist Walking Practice  By Innen Ray Parchelo.  Sumeru Press, 2012.  206 pages.  ISBN: 9781896559175.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Leash of Our Senses

"We live on the leash of our senses.  There is no way in which to understand the world without first detecting it through the radar-net of our senses."
-  Diane Ackerman

The Five Senses

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Enjoy a Walk

Yesterday morning, I walked for 4.2 miles.  Walking slows life down, decreases tension, mellows the mind, and opens the soul.  Yes, it takes time; but, yes, it gives time.  

It was a beautiful spring morning.  All the fields are covered with wild grasses and they are bright green.  The almond orchards have leafed out.  All the nearby mountains, east-north-west of us, still have snow above 7,000 feet.  Lovely!  

I don't speed walk or power walk.  I don't walk very slowly like they do in Zen Meditation.  I just walk.  I walk at my own comfortable pace.  I playfully walk in different ways as the mood suits me.  

I don't walk to get anywhere.  I walk back and forth on a quiet paved county lane, on a cul de sac for 12 houses which are each on 5 acre parcels of land.  I see few people, and rarely any other walkers.  Dogs, cats, cows, and horses glace at me every so often.   

I felt very energetic and lively yesterday.  I also practiced Chen Taijiquan, Sun Taijiquan, and martial arts cane drills and forms. 

"I dressed and went for a walk - determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer."
-   Raymond Carver, This Morning

"When the time is ripe for certain things, these things appear in different places in the manner of violets coming to light in the early spring."
-  Farkas Bolyai  

"We live in a fast-paced society.  Walking slows us down."
-   Robert Sweetgall  

"Come, I come! ye have called me long,
I come o'er the mountain with light and song:
Ye may trace my step o'er the wakening earth,
By the winds which tell of the violet's birth,
By the primrose-stars in the shadowy grass,
By the green leaves, opening as I pass."
-  Felicia D. Hemans, Voice of Spring

"I haven't got any special religion this morning.  My God is the God of Walkers.  If you walk hard enough, you probably don't need any other god."
-   Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia  

Is there a "God of Walkers" or a patron saint of walkers?  The Roman God "Mercury?"  St. Christopher?  Is there a Chinese god or saint for walkers? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Taking Care of the Details

"To study the self is to forget the self.  To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things."
-  Zen Master Dogen

"The more we understand individual things, the more we understand God."
-  Benedict De Spinoza

"God is in the details."
-  Mies Van Der Rohe

"After understanding thousands of the details, a common variety God is really superfluous."
-  Mike Garofalo

"Caress the detail, the divine detail."
-  Vladimir Nabokov

"Details are all there are."
-  Maezumi Roshi

"We think in generalities, but we live in details."
-  W.H. Auden

"If you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves."
-  R. Reese

"We work with the stuff of the soul by means of the things of life."
-  Thomas Moore

"Pay attention to minute particulars. Take care of the little ones. Generalization and abstraction are the plea of the hypocrite, scoundrel, and knave."
-  William Blake

"The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them, these sticks, stones, feathers, shells - there is no Deity."
-  R. H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics , p. 144.

"When we look for things there is nothing but mind, and when we look for mind there is nothing but things."
-  Alan Watts, The Way of Zen, p 131

"Do things noncoercively (wuwei),
Be non-interfering in going about your business (wushi),
And savor the flavor of the unadulterated in what you eat.
Treat the small as great and the few as many.
Requite enmity with character (de).
Take account of the difficult while it is still easy,
And deal with the large while it is still tiny.  
The most difficult things in the world originate with the easy,
And the largest issues originate with the tiny.
Thus, it is because the sages never try to do great things
That they are indeed able to be great.
One who makes promises lightly is sure to have little credibility;
One who finds everything easy is certain to have lots of difficulties.
Thus, it is because even the sages pay careful attention to such things
That they are always free of difficulties.
-  Chapter 63, Tao Te Ching
   Translation by Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall
   Daodejing "Making This Life Significant": A Philosophical Translation, (2003), p. 175. 

"Perhaps the efforts of the true poets, founders, religions, literatures, all ages, have been, and ever will be, our time
and times to come, essentially the same - to bring people back from their present strayings and sickly abstractions, to the costless, average, divine, original concrete."
-  Walt Whitman

Spirituality: Quotes, Poems, Sayings

Religion: Quotes, Poems, Sayings

The Five Senses: Quotes, Sayings, Information

Monday, April 15, 2013

Without Things

"The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them, - these sticks, stones, feathers, shells, - there is no Deity."
R. H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, p. 144.

Reginald Horace Blyth 1898-1964

Zen Poetry

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Cleaning Season Begins

Karen and I live in a home on a five acre parcel of land south of Red Bluff, California.  We both are employed at education jobs in our area.  We have a number of large yard and garden projects that have kept us busy over the many years since 1998.

We kind of flow with the seasons.  Our springtime weather is perfect for new yard, home and garden projects.

Today, for example, I want to move storage containers from the garage to outdoor storage sheds.         

We recently enjoyed visiting our children and their families and vacationing for one week in Portland, Oregon.

I've been reading biographies: Arthur Schopenhauer, Frederick Nietzsche, John Dewey, Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I've been reading a lot of the writings of John Dewey (1859-1952). 

My science interests are varied.  Just read Brian Greene's "The Fabric of the Cosmos."  Fascinating stuff about the physics of the infinitesimally and incredibly tiny, at and below the level of organisms, organs, drops, microscopic, cells, molecules, DNA instructions, atoms, qwarks, forces, and the space-time aberrations of Quantum Land and String Land.  Learning about the five senses of human beings and other animals is interesting to me. 

  "Galileo Galilei's used a compound microscope in 1625, and he called it the "occhiolino" or "little eye."  The first detailed account of the interior construction of living tissue based on the use of a microscope did not appear until 1644, in Giambattista Odierna's L'occhio della mosca, or The Fly's Eye.  Electron microscopy emerged in the 1940's."
Microscope in Wikipedia

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Mission Statements

“That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.”
Robert Louis Stevenson 1850-1894

"On 3 December 1894, Robert Louis Stevenson was talking to his wife and straining to open a bottle of wine when he suddenly exclaimed, "What's that!" asking his wife "Does my face look strange?" and then collapsed.  He died within a few hours.  He was forty-four years old." RLS
"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people ... re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your very soul, and your very flesh will become a great poem."
Walt Whitman 1819-1892

"The focus of my life begins at home with family, loved ones and friends. I want to use my resources to create a secure environment that fosters love, learning, laughter and mutual success.  I will protect and value integrity.  I will admit and quickly correct my mistakes.  I will be a self-starter.  I will be a caring person.  I will be a good listener with an open mind.  I will continue to grow and learn.  I will facilitate and celebrate the success of others."
Merlin Olsen 1940-2010


Lifestyle Advice from Wise Persons

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Power of Scent

"Of all the ingredients we employ in the creation of a garden, scent is probably the most potent and the least understood.  Its effects can be either direct and immediate, drowning our senses in a surge of sugary vapor, or they can be subtle and delayed, slowly wafting into our consciousness, stirring our emotions and coloring our thoughts."
-  Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991

"Scents bring memories, and many memories bring nostalgic pleasure.  We would be wise to plan for this when we plant a garden."
-  Thalassa Cruso, To Everything There is a Season, 1973  

"The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, sending the odor around from place to place, setting off complex repertories through the brain, polling one center after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connection. "
-  Lewis Thomas 

The Five Senses