thoughts while traveling along the blue highway ...

Black Shadow

The Vincent brought life to the hill's and valley's curves
and traced the gray line of due course.
The V-twin's breath blew troubles into the past
and obliterated aching memories.

A rhythmic song which rises and falls
to meet natural challenges from below.
No summit too high or sweep too sharp
to quell the life within.

Onward - onward into the beckoning future
on a steed that carries you through your dreams.

Enjoy the warmth of the fire, it will go out.
Enjoy the wine, it will run out.
Enjoy the conversation, it will end.
But for now, God smiles.

Enjoy the light, for you know not when you may see again.
Enjoy love, for you may not be loved as deeply tomorrow.
Feel the music, for you may never sing again.
Tomorrow we may die, but tonight we shall dance.

I sit at the keyboard trying to write to you...but find words inadequate.  It's like looking up at a towering majestic Coastal Redwood and picking out the right descriptive phrase.  Sometimes you just have to walk up to one and gently press your hand on the bark and let the good feelings flow back and forth on their own.

When I see you, I feel exhilirated as when a Gray whale abruptly surfaced about 15 feet away when I was standing on the ocean rockbreak at Port Orford...Smiled speechless by beauty. Your presence brings contentment, a sense of purpose, light, and new levels of sensory awareness.

And so today I have nothing to say to you...I'll just press my hand against the screen and let the good feelings flow back and forth.

The weather in my heart has changed. After many years of storms and chills the skies have cleared and the sun has come out.  The warmth and joy I feel almost overwhelms me.  I had forgotten how beautiful the world can be..although I fear these days  may pass too quickly.

Today the view is spectacular.  Each moment has grown more siginificant.. love songs are fresh and relevant.. mornings are a gifts full of hope and promise..the days are challanging and fulfilling..and each night is a time of reflection, thankfullness, and celebration. My late night pillow is welcomed as a chance to be with you and for our dream to continue...

Last night I had a memorable time with the kids at Peaceful Harbor, a home for unwed mothers and their children.

I was invited to go to a large party.  Four adults and three kids piled into the Home's old Oldsmobile car and motored over to a large old farm at Blackman's Corners (population about 40) in Upstate New York.  We arrived about 7:30pm and parked on the lawn with many other cars and mini-vans.  We rolled out of the car,  onto a large porch, and into the comfortable main house which had light blue rooms with country stenciling near the ceiling.  The overstuffed couches, chairs, and most available spaces were taken up by about 50 people from home-schooling families in the area.  Munchies and cider were in the
kitchen and happy smiling faces were everywhere at eye level and running or crawling about at knee level...lots of friends.

After about 10 minutes I took Sarah and Hanna (both 4 years old) and Rashad (2) outside where more kids in the dark were playing on a very large trampoline and on swings.

The kids took turns jumping, falling, swinging on a rope over the trampoline, and just generally having a good time.  Then we saw the headlights of a blue tractor which arrived pulling a large wagon with square bales of hay.  About 10 adults and 20 kids excitedly clambored onto the haywagon and claimed places.  After everyone was safely aboard, the farmer with a child in his lap drove us into the dark of the night.  At first only the sliver of a moon and one star lite up the sky and the rather dim headlights of the tractor lighted the way ahead.

Through dark green fields we rode and then near the woods the farmer turned on a powerful hand held searchlight and began to look for deer.  We saw several does and a large buck which bounded along beside us then turned into the dense woods after much pointing and shouting by our traveling party.

We went deeper into the large farm and drove under brilliant yellow maple trees lite up by the tractor's headlights with a pitch black sky for a backdrop.  The powerful handlight revealed wide fields, tall evergreens, expanses of woods, and a marshy area where a large bird flew out and into the night.   The night was very cool and breezy so I took off my jacket and wrapped it around the front on Hanna who was sitting on my knee and Sarah who was standing close beside me. Bobette was sitting at my feet with Rashad next to her.   I was sitting on the center row of haybales with my back against another adult with an adult on my right.  Even though it was very cool, we were also sharing blankets and were all snug, warm, and comfy.

The good-natured farmer answered many questions as our traveling party rode noisily and merrily along.  As the night turned cooler, our thoughts turned to the cookies, cider, and hot chocolate waiting back at the farmhouse.  When we arrived back the welcome was warm and the kitchen busy.  Later, the Pinyata's were hung up for kids 2-5 and 6-14.  Again the excitement built as many dents were made and anticipation of the treats increased.  Finally it burst and fell to the floor. "Freeze" was shouted, and the many varieties of candies were distributed by handfuls into the children's small brown paper bags.  Parents, friends, and kids sat around chatting and enjoying fresh garden vegatables, dips, and cups of cider and soda.

After petting various dogs and cats and being pulled into thoroughly exploring the farmer's kid's playroom, we said our goodbyes, added two more people to the Peaceful Harbor gang (now 9 of us), and piled into the old American car for the ride home.  Bench seats and laps go together well.

As we rode happily along everyone had stories to tell and talked at once..another traveling party all close to each other.. Another ride I wished would go on forever.  I had to close my eyes and concentrate on all the happy sounds, then open them to add the movement of passing Halloween scenes in the night.  Absolutely the best of times.  Nights like you don't want to end...with memories of voices saying:

"Uppety !"...a little one reaches up their arms to be picked up for a better view or to be further
away from a large dog.

"One More !"...called out be a child who is in mid-flight on the trampoline and is finding it hard to
pass the fun to the next in line.

"My hands are cold - will you hold them ?" ...If you don't know how you feel when someone asks
you that, you're not alive.

"One More Piece !"...said with direct hand emphasis after a small child in your care has too quickly
reached their ration of two treats for the night.

"What's that sound ?"...an upturned face asks as the New York Central train blows its horn on
approaching a distant crossing with the sound carrying stangely in the cool dark air.

A night to remenber always...cool, dark, bright Fall colors, fun, families with lots of children,
cookies, deer, laughter, sharing, hugs, and good feelings all around.

And a part of you was there with me...Thanks.

I miss you.  I've been thinking of you all through the day..and now it's past midnight.  I remembered the time we danced together...but then I remembered we never did.  I remembered the night we laid on pillows on the floor in front of my fireplace and told funny stories...but it didn't happen.  I remember sitting quietly on top of a mountain we climbed together and holding you while you sat in front of me and looked out over the valleys below..but ...  You are so much a part of my thoughts that whenever I have the best times now and remember the best times past..I always remember them with you there.  You are on my hikes up mountain trails..I show you things and you enjoy them.   You are in the flames of the fire when I lie in front of them late at night...and when there is music, you are in my dance..you are the reason I can dance..you are the dance.

I don't know how to thank you for your presence..  I now see beauty where once there was just an object..I hear poetry where once there were only words..I sense rhythm in movements and songs in sounds...I deeply feel love where once there was nothing.  And now you are gone..and yet as close as every thought.  If ever you really need someone to help you and you have no one to turn to....I would embrace the oppurtunity as warmly as I would embrace you.

Has your artistic decor evolved over time or is it still stacked beer cans and auto-parts calendar cuties ?  What is the wallpaper of your mind ?

Consider the painting and pictures in your home or your workshop as representational of the style of your life.  Have you selected paintings that elicit and evoke noble feelings ?  Are they peaceful, bucolic, abstract, violent, fantastic, or classically conservative ?  Sit down in the living room of your mind and listen to the voices all around you.  Are they respectful, mellow, friendly, and calm...or are they the sounds of a monkey's den at feeding time..where impulse and self-indulgence reign supreme ?   Remember, everyday you invite people in to visit your mind's home..your best friends in life, your children and parents, your wife or girlfriend..they should feel very welcome and privileged to visit such a peaceful and beautiful world.

What is the purpose of fantasy in our life ?  When we place ourselves in an imagined theater with imagined actors and imagined conversations and imagined feelings..we are extending our world boundaries into possible futures.  We can imagine success, cleverness, mental and verbal acuity, riches, acclamations, popularity, style, power, artistic ability, and other personal or social attributes.  The purpose may be to provide a personal theme park - relaxing and enjoyable rides, pleasant company and weather, a place where dreams come true.  It is a world without clocks, without pests of any kind, and without awkwardness.  You may visit a world of harmony and enjoy a pervasive sense of well-being.

The Hologram Generator of the mind is now... Closed.

The Stargates exists for us to visit every day.  There are emotional stargates,  intellectual stargates ...all types of potential breakthroughs into new worlds of understanding and cognition.  The problem is you have to understand which world you are in and the rules that life forms follow in that world to be successful.  You have to have humility and be appreciative of the generations and struggles that preceded you...that enable you to live and breathe and love deeply.  These lives that were well lived built the foundation upon which you stand.  They are sacred.  The sacrifices they made are why you have an education, have a strong inertial guidance system, have the choices you enjoy.  And you respect them for all the have done for you and you feel small and insufficient and humble.. for you can never fully know the cost or pay them back.  But previous generations cannot use money or thanks...  all they hope for is that their lives and energies were not in vain..that they did their best and now...you will do your best ..and show the next generation the way to the Stargates. 
It's nice to visit an old friend and find yourself back on familiar ground..with a friendly face and an animated handshake.  Not exactly a handshake..more like pumping life back into a common understanding.  Perhaps like Inspector Cleuseau's rubber parrot, you just keep pumping air and life into it in the proper proportions.  Friendships are like that. You must keep pumping life into them for a friendship to remain full and inspiring.  You must give spiritual energy and minutes of time ...like pieces of coal to keep the furnace running hot enough to melt life's problems and keep the chill away from hearts that tend to frost up under adverse conditions.  Good friends radiate warmth when conditions are hardest and when you most need help. They provide a secure couch for you to recuperate and loosen your wraps.  Friends provide you with a non-threatening environment where you are safe to confess your sins and receive forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a major attribute of a good friend.  They forgive and forget..or just forget.  They remember that you are basically a loving caring person and have faults no greater than their own.  How can you ever hope to repay them..to acknowledge their importance...to convey your admiration and respect ?  A good friend is like the enduring coals of a winter's fire.. the dependable yule log that brightens the cheeks of winter's child.  Thanks for being my friend.
Your dreams are gifts..worlds that could exist given the right magical conditions...and magic should play an important part in everyday life.  There is magic in a beautiful woman's smile, magic in laughter, magic in a tender touch, magic in a shared essential moment. (more about EM's later !)  Magic requires a magician and an audience and is incomplete when performed alone.  You will improve your chances of participating in magical moments if you live in such a way to inspire others..if you have reasons to smile deeply from the inside..if you see the immense joy and humor in life..if you reach out to console someone who has felt pain..if you believe that each person's very presence is a gift and blessing.  When you meet the next kindred spirit, spread the star and moon printed shiny black magician's cloth over the table and ....you know the rest.

'Tis the time to celebrate -
Sunlight - Breezes - Laughter - Gifts - Thoughts - Children - Music - Fall Colors - Dreams - Breakfast - Green Tea - You've Got Mail - Art - Trees - Warm Towels - Hot Baths - Candles - Letters - Boots - Sweaters - Flowered cloth napkins - Late night phone calls - Red wine - Made beds - Quilts - Mom & Dad - Hugs - Kisses - Holding Hands - Close friends - Lovers - Play - Views - Swimming - Gardens - Abilities - Spontaniety - Religion - Nature - Picture books - Solitude - Flashlights - Cookies - Camp - Sticks - Frost - Spider webs - Frogs - Running - Leaves - Peacefullness - Memories - Toast - Homemade preserves - Berry pie - Warm kitchens - Tools - Mittens - Sleds - Sleepy pillows - Stories - Kleenex - Tylenol - Bookcases - Tractors - Work - Fresh batteries - Sweatshirts - High chairs - Dessert - Quests - Maps- Bubble baths - Walks - Sharing - Old movies - Refunds - Shop towels - Warm looks - Perfume - Earrings - Cereal - Sculpture - Monuments - Poems - Moonlight-  Stained glass - Soft bunnies - Tea pots - Visitors - Fresh flowers -  Love.

Don't let your thoughts interrupt the reception of the joy all around you.
As you write the script for your life you may want to add elements of depth, elegance, a dance or two, a sad part (short, but necessary for balance), a witty reprise to an official, a hug episode where the audience goes..AAaaaahhhhh !...a surprise visit by someone who means a lot, a funny story involving your pet, and a poignant vignette that illustrates the fundamental beauty of a thoughtful act.  Your script can be sensitive, true, moving...a lush romantic story with a happy ending.  I can't wait to read your next chapter and see who is in it !  Each life is a story..of success and tradegy..of victory and circumstance..of patterns and characters...of adventure and reward.  Each person's struggle is a variation of your own.  You are not alone.. except if you want to be.
Really good people are tough to figure out.  They smile and work and greet and talk..and...it's all very pleasurable...up to a point.  Then you are unsure.  They present such a smooth surface that only reflects..  How can you tell if you are special to them ?  Give me someone who has a touch of bitterness, who has seen life's claws, who has a touch of evil, a cautiousness in their acceptance, a distance from your touch.  And you try and try again to reach them.  When you are successful and they answer back...Lord, you feel good.  You've made it through their perimeter defenses and have earned their trust..and few have made it that far.  Now you have to be...responsible..
You bring light, warmth, and inspiration into the world.. You add bright and joyful colours to people's palettes.  You are the most beautiful flower in the garden.  Thank you for giving others wonderful memories accompanied by music and song.  When you are present, burdens become easier to bear and difficult passages are more transient.  Your comments about.. feeling secure being with a successful man... were charming.  Your recognition of the never-ending struggle to make our lives happy together was endearing. When I spoke of the years of sacrifice for our family to live in a happy home in a good neighborhood for the kids, I sensed attention and respect.  A lesser companion would have interrupted with whining "What about Me ?" stories and .."But, don't you remember that time when you... ?"   It's wonderful to be able to share the stories of your life with a Patron rather than a Critic.  You are always looking for the beautiful patterns in the fabric of life, not the flaws.  You have a gift for appreciating the character people display..even when they fail.  Your position when speaking with someone is to let them have the sun over their shoulder.  There can be artistry in life, both in the creation and in the appreciation and you are a truly successful artist in both worlds.

You fully comprehend that to truly play a song from heart to heart..you must start from a calm, loving, caring place and end up at a calm, loving, caring place.  Your spirit embraces the heart of the author, the musician, the technician, the listener, and the resting place of cupid's arrow.  I envy and admire you.  God and your Mom and Dad must be very proud of you.

Your life-force should be as strong as a Daffadil resolutely pushing up past the dead cold leaves of winter to reach fresh Spring breezes and the warmth of the life sun.

It's hard to settle for the gentle rolling earth of the valleys...when you can climb distant peaks and look for wild flowers...even though their beauty is intense, simple, and short-lived.

True wealth is measured by a person's ability to recognize, appreciate, and create beauty.

Life should be lived in a relaxed state of wonder while at peace with yourself and with your environment and friends.  Realistic, limited expectations and a serene state of mind...untroubled and flowing as an afternoon breeze, as a clear mountain brook, as effortless as the silent passage of cumulus clouds on a fine spring day.  So should we enjoy the view and touch and smell and sounds of life.  We should play joyfully in the band of our family and friends.  It is time to be aware and to listen to the music of children's voices and laughter..to the songs of small frogs on the shore of an upstate lake..to the gentle slapping sound of the waves against the wooden hull of your canoe...to laying in the hammock on the lawn and hearing your Mom opening cupboard doors in the nearby kitchen while making dinner...to the deep peaceful  look in your dogs eyes..to his prance as you enter the driveway...to that in-between time of sleep and wakefullness...to very private late-night phone calls from a distant friend who has temporarily lost their way...to the good-bye gift of a tattered piece of worn loved blankie from a very small girl with a very big heart.  And later in life you find a special woman to love and trust and cherish and protect and adventure with and tell dreamy stories to late at night...and you're there...Home.

* Each page of life reveals new thoughts, insights, and challenges.  Mind you, it gets easier to understand, yet more difficult to attain.
* A key realization is that you belong where you are.
* Life is the soul's first adventure in a madhouse.
* Music is a collection of organized good thoughts dancing in rhythm.

Do you know what you will find as enduring and precious later in your life ?  I knew a person that was dying. And at the end they were thankful for seeing the first snowfall of winter, making new friends, enjoying the fall colours, seeing the children's custumes at Holloween, picking out a Christmas tree,  and for realizing how much she needed and loved people.  Never once mentioning money, TV, or material wealth.

What are you "collecting" now that you will treasure years from now ?  Children's admiration is one of the purest measures of success.  Quickly and easily falling to sleep is an indicator..peaceful dreams are signs..calm, linear, even thinking is a benefit.  It is a gift not to feel you have to enhance the truth. A gift know the truth about your life is good enough.  Replaying reality with balance and insight gives an accurate assessment to others to work with...and tends not to bring forth an "I can top that." mentality.  Accurately recounting your past can preserve a vital part of yourself.  Reviving a memory is breathing life into an innocent victim of time. 

Through the mirror and into the mind..through the mind and into the soul...through the soul and into the lap of the creator...then travel beyond God and into nothingness.

Pure space without judgment
                  without blame
                  without fear
                  without guilt


It is rewarding to be in a world where you can make a real difference, receive recognition for your achievements, be publically praised by your boss, be on the inside with top management, recommend improvements and see them work, be financially rewarded, be asked for your opinion like it really matters, have people recognize you and introduce themselves "I've been hearing about you..", give talks to groups who applaud and have people come up after the briefing and wait for a chance to speak to you, get nicer and nicer offices with windows, and eventually be provided with your own staff to train, encourage, manage, and reward for their accomplishments...   Like moving from a smiling but ineffective baby, to an eager teenager, to a seasoned adult, ...to an appreciated and respected parent.

There are great satisfactions and rewards ...there are very tough decisions and choices...One of the hardest is to Know that with just a little more time and effort you can make more major improvements at work that will affect many people and bring you more "success" ...but you don't...because it means you will have less time and energy to spend with those you love at home.

Chose carefully.

Each day is a mini-lifetime.  It should have work, play, humour, laughter, reflection, hope, love, contemplation, sharing, and it will have pain.

Regard the anti-matter of your existance and the events that lead to it's creation.  Your awareness and understanding can render previous negative events powerless to control your current attitude and subsequent behavoir.

Seek a peaceful environment and non-critical companionship to nuture your inner-self and to allow God's flower to bloom.

As the primary purpose on a cellular level is to provide an enhanced existance and chances for survival of another cell, so the primary purpose of man's existance may be to care for and enhance the existance of another sentiant being.

I am glad to hear you reached your home safely.  Now you are home - or at one of your many homes.  Home is no longer a destination for you, it is a state of mind.  Home is where you are when you are open and amused and quiet and receptive and living with a sense of wonder.  It may be high on a lifeguard tower with a commanding view of small testors of elemental physics...or it may by the opening of your door to friends with stories to tell and feelings to share..it may be in the excitement of the dance and the driving beat of the music.  It may be heard in the talk of a child when they repeat one of your more inspired ideas as their own.  Home may be when your shoes are off, the candles are lit, the music is soft and low and you're on the phone late at night with an ageless friend that depends on you...and everything is all-right, sympatico, harmonious, with a stride and rhythm that is seamless and timeless..then and now and forever..these places..these states of  mind are Home.

Abstracted from "Letters From Home" by James Baltusnik, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443.
Copyright @2000 and 2006.  All rights reserved.  Comments welcomed by:  jim@thevincent.com  or Phone:  304-876-7079.

Thank you for all of these good cheering words that arrived right when I can use them. I read them all and was awash in recollections. Words are doors that open into your archives.  R.P.

Your writing is beautiful and soulful. It should be shared.  C.H.

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