Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bohemian Companions

"It is better to be in chains with friends, than to be in a garden with strangers." 
-Persian Proverb

My artist friend Ken Christensen won a million dollars about six months ago. He lives close to Santa Barbara, in San Luis Obispo, so I drove north to stay with him in his new digs for a couple days. At the time he won the raffle, he had recently separated from his wife and immediately gave her half, and government taxes took another 30%. “I had trouble buying a house, because banks did not want to lend to me!” he said. “In previous years, the earnings reports on my income tax statements were very low.”

Ken and I are bohemian companions who share a love of unconventional life styles. While we were together I made a painting and looked at his newest artwork. While relaxing in his home, surrounded by art and books, I did not need to worry about encroaching his space with my artist chaos because he enjoys the same. We took long walks by the ocean, reveled in nature, shared ideas and philosophy, joked and laughed out loud, ate together, talked about women, talked about aging parents, stayed up late listening to music and reviewing art books, and became closer as friends and artistic cohorts.

I am leaving for Brazil in one week. My passport is ready and I have my ticket. I do not know when I will return, but I am sure my friend expects good stories the next time we meet.


"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." 
-Anais Nin

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An Ounce Of Blood

“An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship.” ~Spanish Proverb

The last several years I have been single and living alone, so now, temporarily sharing my parents home for a month makes me more aware of family and how bonded are human beings by blood lines. Sharing ancestry brings a familiarity so fundamental that it is different from other friendships. “You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” ~Desmond Tutu

I am strengthened by my parent’s wisdom, and while I am here, we enliven, support and extend possibilities for each other. Mainly, I am readily available and present to my mother and father for support, and because I am their son, it is comforting. I am teaching my mother to use a computer, and being a companion for my father on a daily brisk walk to keep up his conditioning. While we walk, we share good conversation and are invigorated.

Nations are like families, and I dare say that nations that are open societies that allow the free flow of ideas and encourage bonds of love and trust between their citizens prosper the most and are strongest. This is why it is disconcerting to see one of the biggest countries, China, choosing to maintain strict control of its peoples communication with the rest of the planet. Certainly, the masses of Chinese yearn to be free and broaden their intellectual horizons and awareness of other cultures. This is so easy these days because the Internet exists. Recently we have learned that Google is complaining of Chinese government censorship and meddling that is so offensive and unjust that it might have to close operations there; and this would be a blow to our fellow human beings that want to have easy access to all the information we in free world take for granted. (See article in Wall Street Journal)

Iran is another nation that can be likened to a family with a controlling, abusive father that keeps everyone cowered and afraid. Information is strictly controlled as the government tries to insulate its people from ideas coming from outside. Even new ideas coming from within the family are disallowed. Iran is the birthplace of the Baha’i Faith, and although it is the second fastest growing religion in the world with adherents in virtually all corners of the earth, still, Baha’ís in Iran are constantly under threat of arrest and even execution.(See a recent NY Times article about Baha'i Persecution in Iran.)

In the end, I believe, as Baha’u’llah has said, “The earth is one country, and mankind its citizens.” We are all one family and although there are disagreements and even quarrels, truth will win in the end and civilization will blossom as it is destined.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wrapped In Wonder

Now that I am traveling again, the world speaks to me in new ways, and I listen. My parents have provided me a room, but it is barely large enough for a bed. I cannot fit my suitcase or clothes, so my belongings are half in their house and half in my car. In THE DREAM, material things are of no concern, for it is consciousness of unfolding time and events that are most important. It seems the moments are wrapped in wonder.

It is a revelation to me how my parents have slowed so significantly. Both of them are acutely aware of and concerned for each other. “Age does not protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age.” Jeanne Moreau (Fr. born 1928). Their dog is a fixture, and after my mother prepares the food, my father gets down on his knees to hand feed the old creature. Each day they carry forth; last night my mother prepared dinner for ten people, and my father does 20 minutes of difficult calisthenics each morning when he awakes, and continues working from his home office.Since we are living together, we take three meals and a nap each day. I walk the dog with my father. It is funny to think I am going to raucous Rio De Janeiro and carnival in a few weeks; something opposite of the life I am now living.

I am able to see myself in my parents, and get a close-up picture of aging. One thing I realize is that in youth we take our strength and stamina for granted and push forth with many projects. But in old age, as the body weakens, people are often forced to pay less attention to what they want to do and more attention to the simple task of getting from point A to point B, and surviving another day.
Really, in the scheme of eternity, a human life of 90 years is less than a blink of an eye. My dear daughter Naomi died when she was nineteen, and my father might part when he is eighty-five . . . it is essentially the same length of time: less than the flash of light from a falling star.
Here is a video clip from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, honoring my father, Richard W. Boone: Video

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shores Of Life

“You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.” ~William D. Tammeus

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”
~Anne Frank

I am in Santa Barbara, California, after driving 940 miles (1513 km) from Santa Fe, New Mexico. My parents cleared out a small room and put in a bed for me. They live a humble existence of contentment in a very beautiful place. Their home is on a corner lot, and surrounded by a tall, neatly trimmed hedge, a lawn and a scattering of tall pine trees. An orange tree in the yard is covered with oranges, and some of my mother’s fifty rose bushes continue to have magnificent blooms, even in winter.
My priority now is simply to be available to my elderly parents who move slowly, and walk with small careful steps. Their old dog moves even more leisurely. They take naps each day and retire promptly each night at 9 PM. My mother has taken to speaking of death, and especially is concerned about the care of my father if she were to die soon. Yesterday, she had to go to the hospital emergency room because she did not urinate for twelve hours, although she was drinking plenty of fluids. My father has the beginnings of Parkinson’s disease, and his speech sometimes is halted, but he nonetheless drove my mother to the hospital and ordered me to stay home and take care of the dog.
Santa Barbara is situated on the Pacific coastline and has five beaches. I can ride my father’s bicycle to the ocean, then take long walks on the beach. As I think of my parents, I imagine I see them frolicking in the waves, getting knocked down in the surf, but getting back up for more action. Eventually, they will continue weakening and the waves will be too strong for them. Someday, a wave will knock them down and they will not get back up, but drown and then become part of the ocean itself. The same will happen with everyone, for we are born upon the shores of this life and live here only briefly before being taken back by the sea of eternity, what I call the matrix.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Indispensable Condition

I have chosen to make the matrix of existence my true home, and flux my companion.
For most people this is not possible or even desired. When I say “matrix”, I mean the primal framework of origination, the kernel of the seed, or the fabric of life that is constantly being woven. Forms spring from the matrix, and when death occurs, substance returns to the matrix. Flux means continual change, or flow.
To the majority of people, reality is measurable and concrete. The average man will say this consists of family, job, home, church, and material wealth. What is real is also dependable and stable, so please do not speak of flux, or life flowing into and out of the matrix. But I think that we must admit that in all things there is flux and change, so for me, what is most important is evolution and this is always becoming. The famous Greek philosopher Heraclitus (c. 500 bc), believed as much when he said, “permanence is an illusion, everything being in a process of constant change.”
This is my last week in Santa Fe. I am abandoning home and selling off material goods, and preparing to be in flux in the matrix of existence for the next three months as I travel to California, then to South America.
“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
Benjamin Cardozo US jurist (1870 - 1938)

“All is flux, nothing stays still.”
Heraclitus, (540 BC - 480 BC)

From My Fairy-Tale Life, by Steven Boone