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Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

Looking Out of the Window

A Sunday Morning in March

Back when I belonged to the world of business my employers sent me to a full-day seminar conducted by the time management guru, Alan Lakein. Cannot honestly say that I did not benefit from it. In those days I was a corporate man, and it so happened that my work (in ocean transportation industry) gave me pleasure. Among other topics, Mr. Lakein covered positive procrastination. That was then.

Nowadays I find myself spending a lot of time looking out of the window. Cars and people passing by are objects that do not always register, just blurs. My mind travels, often to the past. There are times when I think of the present and the future. I do not dwell upon unpleasant experiences. I cannot totally escape the harsh reality of what is happening in the world. I am affected by the use of force to dominate and control those who are weaker, by the suffering of people in different corners of the world and by the arrogant certitude of the adherents of different faiths. Simple,everyday things give me pleasure: Flowers,trees,walks and runs through the woods, drives through backroads, couples holding hands,children playing,the dip of the rod when a fish bites,smell of a soup simmering on the stove,sipping red wine,the sound of music.

A few days back a frail, old Chinese lady stopped in front of my yard. I had seen her before--she lives in the neighborhood and a younger woman accompanies her. She looked at my flowers and started walking in from the sidewalk. She probably wanted a closer look. Her companion grabbed her hand and steered her away. I went out, cut a few daffodils and freesias, and gave them to her. Her face lit up. She said something in Chinese. I didn't understand what she said but there was no need. When I told my friend JHL about it she said "It probably made her day and your day too". Yes, it did.

The late Emily Dickinson wrote about "A bobolink for a chorister". There is no bobolink around but cannot think of a better substitute than Janet Baker singing Bach arias.

A star looks down at me
And says: "Here I and you
Stand,each in our degree:
What do you mean to do--
Mean to do?"

I say: "For all I know
Wait,and let Time go by
Till my change come."--"Just so,"
The star says: "So mean I--
So mean I."
---Thomas Hardy "Waiting Both"
*****


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