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Please Note: This journal contains a wide variety of stuff -- complete stories, bits and pieces, commentary, and who-knows-what else. As is always the case these days, the material is protected by copyright. On the other hand, I publish it here to be shared. Feel free to pass it on. Just give me credit. Fair enough?

June 25, 2011

Queen Anne Hill - Seattle, Washington - U.S.A.
June 23 - The first week of summer in 2011 - sun, showers, cool, breezy.

Several readers of this journal read the last posting and asked what presents should be given to brides and grooms on the occasion of a 2nd or 3rd marriage. Good question. I’m working on it. My first thought is cash.


Imagine a cow.
A black and white Holstein cow - standard model.
Between her legs, an udder.
Around the cow’s neck is a bell.
The cow is standing in snow.
She has look on her face that combines amazement and bewilderment.
She stares out at the world in a state of befuddled astonishment.

This is a very small cow, actually.
One that is confined in a clear liquid inside a round glass globe.
The globe is mounted on a wooden base.
When I pick up the globe and shake it, there is a snowstorm.
And the cow just stands there, looking stupified.

This may be one of the most peculiar things I ever bought for myself.
I found it in a knick-knack store in Park City, Utah.
I picked up the globe and shook it.
The cow just stood there in the falling snow.
The look on her face seemed so familiar.
A face I had seen before.

When I get out of bed on most mornings I go downstairs, light the fire under the kettle, hit the coffee grinder’s “on” button, pass through my office to check e-mail, and go to the bathroom, where I turn on the radio to NPR to get the morning news summary while I perform my morning ablutions.
In the process I’m getting a quick summary view of what’s happened while I was asleep and out of touch for seven hours.

In the bathroom I splash some water on my face and comb my hair and brush my teeth. In minutes, there is the BBC summary of the news.

Floods, volcanoes, famine, wars, terrorist attacks, drug cartel murders, wars, revolutions, disease outbreaks, bus wrecks, corruption, rapes, financial crisis, the latest escapades of sexually deviant public servants, wild fires, drought, corruption, insect infestations, earthquakes, radioactive contamination, and the possibility of solar flares that will take down the electrical grid worldwide.

My own face in the mirror is the same as the face on the cow.
A face expressing amazement and bewilderment - befuddled astonishment.
It’s the expression that says,
“What the hell is going on? Who is in charge?
“ Something is shaking the globe again.”

There used to be a small, serene statue of the Buddha on my dresser.
It’s been replaced by the cow in the globe in the snowstorm.
And I’m the one who shakes it to make the snow fall.
That much I can comprehend.
As for me and the world I live in and hear about each morning . . .

(I think of the person somewhere in the far country of China who made this wacky thing and wonder if he wonders the same thing I wonder?
Who shakes the globe and why?)

My mother, the good Christian, had an answer to my childhood question:
“If God made the world and everything that happens is in his power, and he loves us, why is all this terrible stuff happening?”
“Someday you’ll understand.”

Not yet.
The best I can do is look stupefied every morning.
And get on with my day, as best I can.