Waiting for a Ship from Spring

The icy cold waters of winter are breaking up, spring is on the near horizon, the final episode of the final season of Downton Abbey has almost aired…and the presidential candidates are steaming ahead to Super Tuesday.

Change is in the air.

2016 presidential campaign

“When the Ship Comes In”
by Bob Dylan, 1963, from the album The Times They Are A-Changin’

Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathing.
Like the stillness in the wind
‘Fore the hurricane begins,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking.
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking.

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they’ll be smiling.
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand,
The shout that the ship comes in.

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they’re spoken.
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline.
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck,
The hour that the ship comes in.

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin.’
And the ship’s wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watching’.

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreaming’.
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Then they’ll raise their hands,
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands,
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered.
And like Pharaoh’s tribe,
They’ll be drowned in the tide,
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered.

See also “Turning to Dylan During the Winds of Change” and some thoughts on the 2016 presidential election.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” –Ronald Reagan (40th President of the United States of America)

Ronald Reagan quotes on freedom

See also a reflection on the 2016 Presidential race and some thought provoking quotes from Thomas Jefferson

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love is the energizing elixir of the universe,
the cause and effect of all harmonies,
light’s brilliance and the heat in wine and fire,
it is the aroma of perfumes
and the breath of the Divinity;
it is the Life in all being.”
–Rumi (Persian poet, 1207-1273)

Quotes on love

“The thought manifests as the word,
The word manifests as the deed.
The deed develops into habit.
And the habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care.
And let it spring from love,
born out of concern for all beings.”
–Buddha

Valentines Day quotes

Love is a treasure, yet nothing to possess.
Love is a way, a way of being in the world.”
–Ingrid Goff-Maidoff (poet)
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged cupid painted blind.”
–Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Try some royal Valentine’s Day recipes and winter cocktails to warm your heart (and cheeks!)

A Blue’s Melody for the January Blues

Please note: This piece was also published in OnBeing.

Following the sparkling glimmer of a light-infused season, the month of January can sometimes feel as if a heavy, wet blanket of snow is descending upon us. It’s a time when the body can feel overindulged and earthbound, a time when we dispiritedly plod through the weight of winter days.

January Blues

Sliding from the high notes of the holidays to the low notes of mid-January, nature’s force ushers us unwittingly from the warm cheer of family and friends to a still and penetrating solitude. Even our music changes tune, as the festive good tidings of December songs give way to introspective, tranquilizing melodies that help carry us away from the sluggish, gray days of January. Read more

Adele: More Than Words

Please note: this piece was also published in On Being.

Adele news articlesWhen it comes to Adele, it’s difficult to find something new to say. She has broken nearly every music record imaginable, received close to 100 music awards and has proven with her latest album, 25, that she is not just a one-hit wonder – that her talent runs exceedingly deep, touching something poignant in the hearts and souls of a fan base that increasingly defies categorization.

Yet, for all the interviews and articles on her music, approach, style and personality, capturing the essence of Adele and her music is surprisingly difficult. To string together a list of adjectives, to make comparisons and analogies, to use memes, gifs, videos or quotes somehow seems inadequate.

Her music is soulful, heartfelt, rare and real – and is undoubtedly “once in a generation” material – but it is also so much more, forcing us to reckon with an unattainable, mysterious quality that only adds to its allure. Read more

The Lion

“He’ll be coming and going…[o]ne day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (British novelist, 1898-1963)
C.S. Lewis Quotes
The South Bank Lion, cast in 1837; Westminster Bridge, London

Opening The Mind for a Greater Understanding

“What each generation is can be best discovered in its relation to the permanent concerns of mankind. This in turn can best be discovered in each generation’s tastes, amusements, and especially angers.” –Allan Bloom (1930-1992)

The Closing of the American MindWhen the present times are in a state of chaos and upheaval, as they currently are with the student protests on college campuses, and seem to be lacking in reason and understanding it never fails to consult the past in search for clues that may shed some light on how we got here in the first place.

Allan Bloom’s book, subtitled “How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students”, offers some clues that are indeed very enlightening.

The Closing of the American Mind is that rarest of documents, a genuinely profound book, born of a long and patient meditation on questions that may be said to determine who we are, both as individuals and as a society”, wrote Roger Kimball in a 1987 article about Bloom’s book for the New York Times. Read more

Warning: Some Of This Material May Lead to Feelings of Discomfort

“Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.”

microaggressions atlanticSo begins an article in the September issue of The Atlantic Magazine, written by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt entitled, “The Coddling of the American Mind”, in which they provide an in-depth look into the “trigger warnings”* and “microaggressions”* movement that is becoming institutionalized across U.S. college campuses, subsequently “affecting what can be said in the classroom, even as a basis for discussion.”

From the works of classic literature and paintings by renowned artists (such as the painting of Ulysses tied to the mast of his ship in which there were topless mermaids that Mr. Haidt used in one of his classes for a lesson on the weakness of the will, only to receive a formal complaint) to seemingly innocuous statements, such as “America is the land of opportunity,” Messrs. Lukianoff and Haidt describe an uncomfortable and disturbing environment where professors, threatened with formal punishments or the loss of their jobs, are left teaching in classrooms where their every word is policed by students who are dictating what academic resources are acceptable. Read more