Home

Five or Ten Quotes from Dr. Seuss

1 Comment

(aka…Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone, Theophrastus Seuss)

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” 

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

“Only you can control your future.”

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

More in the Five Quotes Series.
Urban Simplicity.

Christmas…

1 Comment

I’ve posted this Christmas prayer/mediation by Paramahansa Yogananda for the past few Christmases. I find it so beautiful that I thought I would post it again. But the difficult part, the nearly impossible part (at least for me), is living up to it…but it’s good, I think, to have something to aspire to. Merry Christmas. Peace. 
 
A Christmas Vow

I will prepare for the coming of the Omnipresent baby Christ by cleaning the cradle of my consciousness, now rusty with selfishness, indifference, and sense attachments; and by polishing it with deep, daily, divine meditation, introspection and discrimination. I will re model the cradle with the dazzling soul qualities of brotherly love, humbleness, faith, desire for God-realization, will power, self-control, renunciation, and unselfishness, that I may fittingly celebrate the birth of the Divine Child.”
–Paramahansa Yogananda

Urban Simplicity.

A Poem by Thich Nhat Hanh…

Leave a comment

Please Call Me by My True Names

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow–even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and my pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open,
the door of compassion.
Five quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh

Advent…

Leave a comment

Urban Simplicity.

Five quotes on Thankfulness…

Leave a comment

So today is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. This is my favorite holiday because it is simply about getting together with family and having a really good meal. But, I believe and hence its name, it is a time for reflection; a time to be thankful. Personally, I know that it is so easy to forget and take for granted all that I have in my life; all that I should be grateful for on a daily basis. While monetarily I have very little I still have more than many, and my life is filled with wealth in so many other ways. My cup, quite literally, runneth over. And for this, I truly am thankful. Anyhow, here’s a few quotes that inspire me.

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
~Meister Eckhart

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”
~Harry A. Ironside

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.”
~Marcus Aurelius

“Rest and be thankful.”
~William Wadsworth

More Five Quotes.
Urban Simplicity. 

Five or Nine Quotes from Aldous Huxley

Leave a comment

Aldous Leonard Huxley
26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963
“We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters.”

“It’s a little embarrassing that after 45 years of research & study, the best advice I can give people is to be a little kinder to each other.”
“A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.” 

“We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.”
“Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.” 

“We live together, we act on, and react to one another; but always, and in all circumstances, we are by ourselves. ”
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.”
“I know the outer world as well as you do, and I judge it. You know nothing of my inner world, and yet you presume to judge that world. ” 

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
More Five Quotes.

Thoughts on prayer (and what it means to me)

Leave a comment

This is the second in a series I started a little over a month ago on positive scripture (click here to read the first). But first I have to state a very short disclaimer. I’ve said this before but feel I have to say it again. My personal theology is…um, well. Scratch that. Actually I am not quit sure what my theology is these days. But what I wanted to mention is that I take the bible almost entirely as metaphor, and that while I do consider myself a follower of the teachings of Jesus (which I usually fail miserably on a daily basis), I consider Him and His teachings a way, not the only way. That said, please do not send me hate mail or try to “save me.”

Anyhow, the scripture I wanted to highlight is Thessalonians 5:17 where Paul states that they/we should “pray continually.” This is the NIV version; the King James version states to “pray without ceasing.” Well that’s some pretty serious stuff. Or is it?

Over the years, like most I would assume, not only have I changed but so has my spirituality. How I see this now is to really live in a place of gratitude and to be in awe of life in general.

This passage–to pray without ceasing–is often taken and quoted out of context, just as I did. But the couple phrases just before and after this one are just as important, I think. 5:16 tells us that we should rejoice always; 5:18 says to give thanks in all circumstances, and 5:20 advises not to quench the spirit.

My interpretation of this is to really look on the bright side of life and enjoy every minute, and to take nothing for granted because everyday and every moment is a gift. Personally, I do try to do this, and many days I do. But some days are easier than others.

Sometimes it’s just simple things. Such as riding my bike at night and stopping to take photos on a cold night…feeling the wind on my face and being in touch with all that is around me. That to me is a way of praying; being in touch with the universe. Or talking to someone and looking in their eyes as they tell me a story and realizing that we, as everyone is, are all connected in some way. That to me is a form of praying as well. Sometimes at work while I’m juggling 10 or 12 pots on the stove and serving three parties at once and everything is running smoothly–and I am aware that it is running smoothly–I’ll acknowledge this ability that has been given to me, and be thankful for it; that to me is a form of prayer. Heck, even as I type these words–writing and thinking about prayer–can be a form of prayer. Sometimes–I really believe–just saying thank you is enough.

If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
~Meister Eckhart

So personally I really believe that everything we do can be a form of prayer if we are conscious of it.
My life is my message.
And that is the most difficult part, I believe…is to be conscious of things. Being conscious of our connectedness to one another and what we do and think affects others in some way. Being conscious of the beauty that is all around us, whether you are in the city or country. And of course being conscious of the Divine Spirit, Universe, or Source (or whatever name you choose to use) that is not only our life source but also in what we live, move, and breath.
Prana (prāṇa) is the Sanskrit word for both breath and life-force.

Ahh…but this is the most difficult part isn’t…being actively conscious of it. Sometimes this is so difficult. Sometimes–many times–I forget. And sometimes when this happens I may have an open–if not agitated–mind but a closed heart. I’ll relay a very brief and abridge story about this.

For varying reasons, some events that have happened in my life over the past few days have been the perfect concoction–the perfect storm, if you will–to bring me down. Down so low that I could not feel or see the beauty around me, and the Divine Presence all but got up and went away..or so I thought and felt. It was not quite a feeling of despair but it certainly was not the feeling of gratitude that I so prefer. It was as if I were surrounded by a grey cloud and not sure whether I would scream or cry. 

So tonight I decided to go to the health club for a power swim (to release endorphins) and a steam, which I find relaxing. When I arrived at the club I saw that the pool was closed for repairs. “Perfect,” my negative self muttered aloud, “why doesn’t this surprise me.” But I thought I’d go in and sit in the steam room anyhow. There was no one in there, which was a relief as I didn’t feel like talking. After cranking up the steam I decided to meditate for a few minutes and repeat my personal mantra. This of course is a more formal type of prayer to me. 

And as I breathed in the hot cleansing steam I let it slowly permeate my body and then let it out into the universe. Doing this and slowly repeating my sacred word began to relax me. After doing this for about ten minutes I was lost in my head (so-to-speak) and no longer aware of my surroundings. But then I was brought back when a big hot drip of water dropped from the ceiling and landed squarely on my balding head (no joke). It startled me but also made me smile. Then, being aware of my surroundings but still with my eyes closed, I expanded my senses. I could hear the sound of the steam. Feel its heat and wetness on my skin. And hear the chatter of people talking beyond the door and in the locker room. I emerged from the tiny steam room cleansed in more than the traditional sense.

Shortly thereafter, on my ride home my pores were still open as I pedaled and coasted in the late autumn’s night. The chilly air felt jarring at first, but good. I felt lighter. And looking up at the night sky watching as the clouds passed I realized that my grey cloud had lifted, too. Entirely, no, but some. Was I “cured” of my melancholy all together…of course not. But I did feel better in many ways. I felt connected. Connected to nature, to people, but most importantly to our Source.
I guess whet I’m really trying to say in this ramble is that prayer does “work.” I really believe this. It can be transforming and at the same time can mean many things. All of life can be a prayer, the key is to be aware of this (and with this, I speak mostly to myself). And with this I leave you with a simple quote which I think sums it all up…
.
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
Søren Kierkegaard
.
More Positive Scripture

Five or Ten Quotes from Kurt Vonnegut

Leave a comment

Image found here.
November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
“Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.”
“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”
“If you can do no good, at least do no harm.”
“All this happened, more or less.”
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
More Five Quotes.
 

This is beautiful…

1 Comment

This happened the other day right here in the City of Good Neighbors. I find it interesting that there is so much bad news reported in mainstream media every single day yet good things like this barely make the cut. Anyhow, I hope you watch this, it really is beautiful; a man reacting to his intuition, to the still small voice within. And it saved a person’s life.

Urban Simplicity.

Five or Fourteen Quotes on the Golden Rule…

Leave a comment


I find this amazing…that the Golden Rule (or the Original Truth), which of course is a blueprint on how we as humans should treat one another, is said across the board in every religion, faith, and non-faith. While the actual words that are said may change, these all still say the same thing…be nice to one another! This is so easy but also so difficult. Such a simple task but we still don’t seem to grasp it, at least not entirely (I speak for myself here). Anyhow, this is by no means a a complete list–just a few that stood out to me–and they are in no particular order.

Christianity


So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12


Love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 39


Judaism


Love your neighbor as yourself.

Leviticus 19:18


What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.

The Talmud


Hinduism


This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.

Mahabharata 5:1517


Islam


None of you has faith until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.

Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.”


Native American


Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.

Pima proverb


Taoism


Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.

T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien.


The sage does not dwell on his own problems. He is aware of the needs of others.

Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 49


Zoroastrianism


Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.
Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29


Jainism


A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.

Sutrakritanga 1.11.33


Buddhism


Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

Udana-Varga 5:18


Confucianism


Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.

Analects 15:23


Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.

Mencius VII.A.4


More Five Quotes.
Urban Simplicity.


Two Pics and a Quick Note…

Leave a comment

First a couple notes on these photos. The above photo is a leaf that is just outside the rear door where I work and come-and-go each day. It is hanging by a single strand of a spider’s web and blows and twirls in the breeze (if you look close you can see the strand of web). Beautiful. Mesmerizing. I’ve been looking at it for the past three days as I enter and leave and have finally taken a photo of it. And below, of course, is Franklin (sweet little Franklin). He and his diesel (read, alpha) brother Maxwell–along with my son and a friend–will be watching the house this weekend while I’m in NYC for classes. Which brings me to the point…I’ll likely not post again until Monday or Tuesday as I’ll be away from my computer. As always, thanks for visiting and putting up with my idiosyncrasies. Until then, peace.

Urban Simplicity.

Positive Scripture…

Leave a comment

So first…a couple of things. One is that if you’ve been to this blog you know a few things about me. I like bread, yes; I prefer to ride a bike rather than drive a car, yes; but also that I–like so many others–am on a spiritual journey (but we all are whether we admit it or not). And you also know that I enjoy series of things on this blog…my oldest and most popular is Things that can be Carried on a Bike, but there is also the Five Quotes series, the View from My Handlebars series, and the brief Past and Present series. Today I am beginning a new series on positive scripture passages. I’ll likely post it sporadically or whenever the spirit moves me to do so. While I do believe that there is only One Source of us all, the religion of my birth and the one which I most closely identify with is Christianity, so for this reason I’ll be posting selections from the Bible; mostly the New Testament. The Bible, for some (myself included) carries so much baggage, and there are sections that can be twisted to mean truly bad stuff. But I personally do not feel that is why it was written…the word Gospel, of course, mean Good News in English, and thus I feel it was it’s original intention….to bring good news, not law or oppression. Anyhow, I am not a fundamentalist, nor am I a literalist…I tend to read the Bible mostly as metaphor (to read more about “where I’m at” click here). The reason I mention this is that my intention is not to offend anyone by what I post in this series or the commentary (if any) I accompany with it. If I do add any thoughts they are not intended to tell you how you should feel, nor are they intended in any way to “convert” you; they are simply thoughts on how a particular passage speaks to me. You, in turn, are welcome to comment, but please no negativity. And please do not send me hate mail or try to save me; in my view no saving is needed as we are all children of the One Divine Source. With this said, here’s the first Positive Scripture.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
~Philippians 4:8 

I chose this as the first in this series because I believe this to be so powerful, and is fully aligned with the New Thought Movement. The only thing that I’ll add is that I can personally attest that in my life when I think of good things apposed to negative things, then good things happen. But even if they don’t, life is much better. It has taken me many years to do this–and I’m not enlightened yet–but it’s true, light overcomes darkness. Thinking good thoughts really does–to me–have positive results, even when things are not going as planned.

Urban Simplicity.

Five or Ten Quotes from John Lennon…

Leave a comment

Born on this day 73 years ago.
“It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what colour my skin is or whether I’m a woman or a man.”
 
“As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.”
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.” 
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” 

“I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can… But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.” 

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.”  

“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”

“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.”
 

“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”
“The more real you get the more unreal the world gets. ”  


More Five Quotes.

On Cooking for One’s Self…

3 Comments

That’s Maxwell and Franklin above staring at me while I cook my dinner. By the look in their eyes you’d think that I never feed them…but they just finished eating their dinner. So what do they have to do with cooking for One’s Self? Well, not much on the one hand, but on the other, a lot. I can have a super stressful day or evening at work and they are always there to greet me with a snort and wag when I arrive home. It’s been a known fact for quite some time that caring for a dog makes a person happier, but in the same way cooking can be a form of therapy, too (cooking can even be a spiritual practice...if you let it). Food, of course, nourishes far more than just the physical body. But, as usual, I’m jumping ahead.

Many of you know by now that I cook for a living. And cooking at work is way different than cooking for myself at home. Work cooking is often stressful for so many reasons; cooking at home is not. When I cook at work it is in large amounts while I am also managing a staff, food costs, etc, etc. But at home it is peaceful. With my son off at college it is just me and the pugs. I’ll often drink wine and listen to NPR. This to me is pure luxury.

I am fully convinced everyone should cook for themselves (and really for themselves). If not everyday, then at least now and again. This is especially true for those in the food-service industry. I can’t tell you how many times I hear a colleague state that after cooking all day or all evening the night prior the last thing they want to do is cook at home. I can’t help but think of what this person is missing out on when they don’t cook just for themselves now and again. A person that serves others on a daily basis (whether it’s food service or any other form of service, such as health care or ministry) really needs to take care of themselves, too. And cooking for myself is a way of tending to myself…physically, of course, but also–at times–emotionally and spiritually as well.

It’s interesting in that while I’m at work and there is so much going on all at the same time cooking is sometimes automatic…I don’t even think about it. I just do it. Sometimes I don’t even smell the air thick with aroma because I am so accustomed to it after all these years. But at home it’s different. I’m aware of everything. I of course cook with all five senses at work (one has to), but at home it’s as if it’s amplified. At work the food I cook is dictated by what the customer (club member) orders. But at home the food that I cook are things that I enjoy. And nine times out of ten this is either a pasta dish or a rice dish. I really love Mediterranean and Near Eastern foods, so this is usually what I make myself. And while I am not a vegetarian I rarely cook meat at home unless my son is here.

The sense of smell and taste are said to be the two strongest memory senses…the aroma or taste of something can quite literally transport you to a different time and place. Tonight, for example, I made a brown rice dish with chickpeas and spinach, and seasoned it with sofrito and Lebanese seven-spice blend. The sweet smell of Lebanese spices always brings me back to my youth, of going to my grandmothers house. It was the first smell that tickled your nose when you walked through the front door.

And when I rolled out whole wheat flatbread I used my grandmothers rolling pin, which I inherited and is said to have been brought from the “old country” at the beginning of the previous century. I made the bread while the rice cooked and topped it with an herb pesto, which was made from herbs that grew just outside my front door this past summer.

Before the rice was finished I washed and sliced a locally grown apple. After taking a sip of wine and then biting the apple it was alarmingly tart, but in a good way. When I finally sat down to my meal in front of the radio the national news was on. And as usual there was a lot of bad stuff to report. So before I dug in I sat in silence for a minute and looked at all I had in front of me…the beautiful plate of rice, bread with pesto, wine, fruit, and a small plate of spicy fermented cabbage made from cabbage that grew in my garden as well. And I felt almost overwhelmed with gratefulness…that I had so much–too much at times–while some have so little. So I sat for a minute. Then I thanked God (or Spirit, or Universe, or whatever term you identify with) for not only all that I have, but also all that I am given in the desire and ability to cook such a good meal. Then I ate while my dogs looked on, knowing that tomorrow’s meal would be just as good…leftovers!

For a brown rice and beans recipe, click here.
To learn how to make sofrito, click here.
For my version of Lebanese Seven Spice blend, click here.
For a really basic whole wheat bread dough for flatbread, use this recipe.
For a recipe on how to make any herb into pesto, click here.
To learn about fermented foods in general, including spicy cabbage, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

The Overview Effect…

Leave a comment

You’ve likely seen this by now as it has been floating around cyber-space for a while. I really think it is worth the time to watch. I found it incredibly moving; inspiring. In one sense it made me feel small (in a good way) and in another it made me remember how incredible connected we all are to each other and everything around us.

Urban Simplicity.

Morning and Evening…the view from my handlebars and front porch

Leave a comment

It’s incredible to think that these two photos were taken a mere 11 hours apart and on the same day. It was/is a beautiful autumn day. The above photo was taken on my very short commute to work at about 8am and the below photo was taken from my front porch about 7pm. I just thought I’d share…

Urban Simplicity.

Five or Eleven Quotes from Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), plus a song and its lyric

Leave a comment

(born Steven Demetre Georgiou; 21 July 1948)
“Communal well-being is central to human life.”
“Ever since I became a Muslim, I’ve had to deal with attempts to damage my reputation and countless insinuations seeking to cast doubt on my character and trying to connect me to causes which I do not subscribe to.”
“If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there’s a million ways to be, you know that there are.
“Everything I do is for the pleasure of Allah.” 
“It is part of my faith as a Muslim to try to help those who are suffering from poverty or economic or political injustice.”
“Peace Train is a song I wrote, the message of which continues to breeze thunderously through the hearts of millions of human beings.”
“Moderation is part of faith, so those who accuse Muslim schools of fostering fanaticism should learn a bit more about Islam.”
“People have times in their lives when they are forced to examine themselves.”
“The very first lesson that I learnt from the Qur’an was the message of unity and peace.”
“To be what you want to be, you must give up being what you are.”
“Music is part of God’s universe.”    
Peace Train 

Now I’ve been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be, some day it’s going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Now I’ve been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
Cause it’s getting nearer, it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living, it’s not so far from you
And it’s getting nearer, soon it will all be true

Now I’ve been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again.

Harvest Moon…

Leave a comment

This is the view of the harvest moon from the end of my street in the middle of a medium-sized city on the eastern side of America. I find it really interesting and truly amazing that no matter what part of the globe you are reading these words sometime within a 24 hour span you too will see this very same image in real life. While autumn does not officially start for a few days the harvest moon unofficially ushers it in. A change of seasons; summer is behind us and autumn ahead of us. Time to move forward.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to harvest.

The Supper of the Lamb…Robert Farrar Capon

Leave a comment

 
Robert Farrar Capon
October 26, 1925 – September 5, 2013

“Let me begin without ceremony. In addition to one iron pot, two sharp knives, and four heads of lettuce, you will need the following.”

The above sentences are the opening lines of Robert Farrar Capon’s book, The Supper of the Lamb. I had come upon a copy of this book in the dollar section of a bookstore during the 1980’s and when I opened it and read those first few no-nonsense lines I was hooked. It is simple sentences like this that have influenced not only my writing but also my cooking. Since then I have purchased a couple copies of this book as gifts. Mr. Farrar was an Episcopalian priest who wrote more than two dozen books, mostly on theology, but this was one of his earliest (his second book) and it was a sort of culinary reflection. While I have to admit that I have not read any of his theological books (but I shall) I am very thankful that he wrote this one; below is a brief excerpt from the book. To view his NY Times obituary, click here.

“We live in an age in which saving is subterfuge for spending. No doubt you sincerely believe that there is margarine in your refrigerator because it is more economical than butter. But you are wrong. Look in your bread drawer. How many boxes of cute snack crackers are there? How many packages of commercial cookies reeking of imitation vanilla badly masked with oil of coconut? How many presweetened breakfast cereals? Tell me now that you bought the margarine because you couldn’t afford butter. You see – you can’t. You bought the bread drawer of goodies because you were conned into them; and you omitted the butter because you were conned out of it. The world has slipped you culinary diagrams instead of food. It counts on your palate being not only wooden, but buried under ten coats of synthetic varnish as well. Therefore, the next time you go to check out of the supermarket, simply put back one box of crackers, circle round the dairy case again, swap your margarine for a pound of butter and walk up to the checker with your head held high, like the last of the big spenders. This is no time for cost-counters: It is time to be very rich or very poor – or both at once.”

Urban Simplicity.

Autumn…

2 Comments

“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.”
~Leo Tolstoy

Autumn has always been my favorite season. And yes, I realize that we are a couple weeks away from it’s official arrival, but these past couple days surly felt like it. It’s an introspective time for me; it always has been. I don’t know why, it just is. A sort of meditative melancholia, but in a good way (if that makes any sense). In the same way that spring brings renewal, I believe autumn does too, but in a different way. Things change…some things end and some begin. New schedules (my second year at seminary begins soon), new–or diminished–light in the sky, and a sort of preparation for things (both physically and spiritually) of what’s to come with the starkness of winter which will surely follow theses next few months. I had a sort of odd week at work, and a busy last couple of days, so I took a brisk and cleansing walk last night (which ended with stopping for a couple beers). It felt good to have the cool breeze on my face; it drizzled a little and that felt good as well. I could smell wood smoke in the air, and I too started a small but brief fire in my wood stove to take the chill off the house when I got home. The change of season feels good to me…needed. Anyhow, I thought I’d share these tow photos I took while walking; click either for a larger view.

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”
~Truman Capote

Urban Simplicity.

Older Entries