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Archive for January, 2012

Folks throw out comments like the above to remind others to slow down and enjoy life.  True, but it also holds that we rush through life without just paying attention to the variety of humanity around us.  Today I had a thought before doing my morning mile walk to Starbucks, thinking, “Maybe today I will run into Larry, a Palm Springs cart pusher.”  I had written a blog entry about him last year, and you can move down my blog into last year until you find “Angels in Disguise.”  So I printed that out and figured if I ran into him someday, would give him a copy.  Why my “inner voice” told me that, I am not sure.

I was only at the corner when I saw my first interesting person, a big guy at least 60 or older, on roller blades!  Isn’t that cool?  Then as I get down by St. Teresa’s I spot Larry and his loaded up cart.  As I approached he gave me a shout out, “Blessings to your spirit.”  We shook hands, I gave him the copy of my blog entry and told him that he was in it.  I went on my way, but trust that little writing made his day.

In a few minutes I am past the high school and walking by the skate-board park, with its multiple imitation swimming pools.  Since the kids are in school, I wasn’t surprised to see only a guy in his 40’s up there with a skateboard.  Wow, another adventurer.  Giving a thought to using a board and flinging myself off the edge into that concrete canyon, I had a momentary thrill.  Then I pictured myself flying off the board onto my head and breaking my 71 year old arm.  To paraphrase an old song, “The Thrill is Gone.”

While sitting at Starbucks and doing the morning crossword, I spot a younger guy with a backpack at another table on the patio.  Looked to me like he was sleeping maybe.  Backpacks in the middle of Palm Springs usually indicate: homeless or at least down and out.  Thought maybe I would offer him a coffee and donut when I left.  As I approached I noted that he was using his $200 I-phone/gadget.  To quote another country song, “Walk on By.”

It must have been my day for interesting folks.  At the corner on Sunrise I see a black guy on a tri-wheeled bike, wearing a helmet.  He obviously had hit his head at some point because he was shaking his fists at drivers and yelling profanities.  No need to repeat them here.  As he started right across the street against the light, I thought, “Brad you are going to be a witness to a blood and guts accident right NOW.”  No, cars slowed down and he went flying on by, shouting at the demons he was fighting.

Across the street at the bus stop I run into Alejandro and Guadalupe, a Mexican couple that I have known for years, because they come to the Well daily for the free lunch.  (I volunteer there once a week and have done so for four years.)  They are the friendliest folks on earth.   We chat for a bit and I head on toward home.  Down the street on his bike comes Art, another regular at the Well.  Art is a Filipino and can collector so he always has a big plastic bag with his “haul.”  He yells at me, “Brad, aren’t you kind of old to be walking out here?”  With a laugh he goes on by.

I mulled over my contacts of the morning, realizing that if I sat in my gated condo complex or just drove by these folks in my car, I would be missing some of the variety of roses that the good Lord has planted here in the desert.  The title of this little blog entry then took on a new meaning for me.

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Trees and Folks

Last weekend while I was in Arizona, there was a fierce windstorm here in the desert.  Today while I was doing my two-mile walk to Starbucks and back, I was looking at all the downed trees and started thinking about why some didn’t survive while others were standing tall. Does that phenomenon mirror our human experience?

Old trees that topple seem like a natural occurrence.  Their useful life of providing shade and surviving hot summers and windy winters has taken a toll on their strength.  Desert trees can become brittle and dry because of the climate.  Often they have also struggled against disease, insects and woodpeckers.  Also their roots often spread sideways to catch  irrigation water meant for the grass, but they don’t go deep down into the earth because there is really no moisture until too far below.  So the winds come, their branches break off and fly away or in a worst case their roots don’t hold and the whole tree collapses.  Its useful life is over unless it is ground into mulch.

Old folks are kind of like those trees since none of us last forever.  Hopefully in our lives we’ve provided the right shade or advice to the next generation sprouting up in the park.  Unlike trees, which are stuck where they are planted, folks can move around to a more opportune area in which to grow and thrive.  Some never get deeper into the true meaning of life than the shallow or non-existent spiritual and intellectual nutrition of “Jersey Shore.”  So when the storms of life buffer their world, they collapse.  But even trees leave something behind.  It may be seeds that started new trees but it may be just that their fallen leaves provided mulch that covered the forest floor.

Alas, humans are not trees.  We need a balance to feed us and keep us thriving.  I have placed little check boxes on my computer calendar days that remind me of three things that need nutrition ever day.  B-M-S: body, mind and soul.  Hopefully giving those areas of our being some continual feeding, we will be like the trees that stand strong in life.

Psalm 1: 3  …..(the righteous)

He shall be like a tree ,Planted by streams of waters,

That produces its fruit in its season:

And his leaf shall not wither,  And whatever he does shall prosper.

(Septuagint)

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