Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pay It Forward

Do you think that you are alone? Do you think that you do not make a difference? Do you feel that your actions are lost in the labyrinth of time and you are only a grain of sand on an infinite beach? You are part of the whole, take you away and the whole is not complete. Without you the fabric of reality could collapse.

What you do makes a difference, and every act or omission is like a pebble dropped into a still pool—the ripples move out in an infinity of directions, touching shores that you could never imagine, and every little thing, regardless of how insignificant you may consider it to be, affects others, as other acts affect you, directly or indirectly.

Smile at someone on a busy street, and that person then knows he or she is acknowledged for his or her existence, then that person feels better and smiles at another. Ripple effect. Did you see the little you tube video of the Russian subway filled with frowning, unhappy people, and the man began to laugh? People at first thought he was crazy, then the person in the seat next was caught up in the laughing---then soon the whole car was filled with rollicking laughter, people smiling at one another, slapping each other on the back, awakened to the fact that they were really one-they were brothers and sisters and a group.

He then gets off at the next stop, gets onto another sad, apathetic car, and does it again, and again. Can you do that just once, can you spare a smile?
I have been trying to say this, and did try to say it in my little quote I have in my emails ("This moment in eternity is as important as any other moment, past or future. What will you do with it.") But I didn't say it as clearly as this little two minute video says it.

There is a new phrase in the English language abourning, "Pay It Forward." Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

“The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. In contract law, typically there are two parties but there is the concept of third party beneficiaries. Pay it forward merely applies this contract law concept so that third party beneficiary be a stranger to the creditor (or obligee). More specifically, the creditor (obligee) offers the debtor (obligor) the option of "paying" the debt forward by lending it to athird person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. Debt and payments can be monetary or by good deeds. In sociology, this concept is called "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange". A related transaction, which starts with a gift instead of a loan, is alternative giving.”

In other words, do whatever good you do without expectation of return, but collect the debt as paid in full by having the debtor do something good for another.

I think if we live our lives with a "pay it forward" state of mind, we as a group, and we are a group whether we realize it and act like it or not, and what we do to and for each other impoverishes or enriches in proportion. Watch this video, and live today with this in mind.

L D Sledge

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Fisherman Changes His Mind

A Fisherman Changes His Mind

By L D Sledge

September 17, 2010

In my youth the still deep waters

Of a bay, a lake a creek

Tugged me to explore, to wonder and thrill at what

monstrous creatures lurked below the sunken logs

and deep, dark holes

yearning to see the sudden dip of the end of my pole

feel the tug on my line as I fought to bring him up and

see him, feel his living flipping slippiness in my hands,

my trophy my joy at having won not my dinner but

something more visceral and ancient in my blood.

Now that I am longer in the tooth I pass those placid ponds,

Or that shining bay and think of those old ones

Those who have seen days like mine,

Who have passed the days of fight

Whom I now salute as I pass and smile

And wish them well in declining years

Who deserve to lay low and sleep safe in their warm deep

And dream of beautiful fish

As I dream of girls beyond my reach.

A Woodcutter Changes His Mind

by David Budbill

When I was young, I cut the bigger, older trees for firewood, the ones
with heart rot, dead and broken branches, the crippled and deformed

ones, because, I reasoned, they were going to fall soon anyway, and
therefore, I should give the younger trees more light and room to grow.

Now I'm older and I cut the younger, strong and sturdy, solid
and beautiful trees, and I let the older ones have a few more years

of light and water and leaf in the forest they have known so long.
Soon enough they will be prostrate on the ground.

"The Woodcutter Changes His Mind" by David Budbill, from While We've Still Got Feet: New Poems. © Copper Canyon Press, 2005. Reprinted without permission.

(I am a subscriber and admirer of The Writer's Almanac, by Garrison Keillor of The Prairie Home Companion. I receive the Almanac daily, which contains a poem and a bio of some artists or celebrated historical character. This morning, September 17, 2010, I felt a resonance with the poem about the woodcutter, for I once was a hunter and zealous fisherman, and I no longer hunt for I see no sense in killing any creature that contains life unless it is contra-survival such as flies or roaches or termites or rats, and have lost the burning desire to catch the biggest catfish or bass in the lake. So I wrote my poem about the fisherman changing his mind.

The image of the fish is by James Christenson, fantasy artist.