Morning Devotions
Check out the Ed Abbey meditation, below.

These days, I am a monk. I approach the mornings as an acolyte studying with a master. The old Zen story about the student having supper with the teacher, then asking him, "When do I begin to get enlightenment?" And the teacher tells him, "First, wash your dishes." Ha ha.

I make the strangely solitary yet well-accompanied lone parent rounds: everybody up, breakfasts happening, uncover the bird, feed the bird, feed the cat, let dogs out for a squirt and a tussle, let dogs in, feed the dogs, see big kids off to school, make sure little kid is eating breakfast, retrieve newspapers, brush little kid's hair, make sure the backpack is packed, walk to bus stop, endure the inane blab of the boys at the bus stop ('In Halo you, like, kill all these MONSTERS!"), get home and make oatmeal, catch news, water plants, fill bird bath, watch doves and grackles drink, check email, check various internet news sites, drop in a blog, read paper, take out the trash, make coffee, unload dishwasher and reload dishwasher, pee like a Roman fountain, chase the dogs around with a squirtgun. By the time Oprah comes on, I am well on my way to a state of grace. By the time I take my fish oil capsules and wash them down with green tea, I am seeing angels.

King Ralph, the red maple, is a reproductive delinquent. So many maple seeds are falling that it sounds like rain. I keep looking out to see if a shower has come along, but it's those whirlybird seeds delightfully helicoptering through the air, looking like little green butterflies. And speaking of butterflies, I watched an amusing scene in the afternoon light. The back of our house faces west, so the sun rises on our front door and sets on our back door. I wonder what that means for the feng-shui of the whole deal. Anyway, the afternoon casts a blast of sun against the walls of the house, and this insane black butterfly was bombing around the lilac tree (it ought to be a bush, I know, but it's two stories tall--Chayo has fresh lilacs outside her upstairs bedroom window--a sky garden). And the sun threw the butterfly's shadow on the wall; apparently, the butterfly saw its shadow-self and took umbrage, because it began a long aerial battle with itself, rushing at the wall and trying to attack the shadow. Oh, if only Aristotle or St. Augustine were there to watch it--we'd get some juicy philosophy out of that scene for sure.

Imagine this: grandma's heart has ripped. The only thing holding it together is the scars from old traumas. Her old scars are keeping her alive. Man, that's rich. That's some kind of Dr. Phil moment. When life hands you lemons, make metaphors.

The upshot of all this is: I'm going to have a hundred baby maple trees again. I can't stand it. I feel like a Nazi when I go around pulling them out of the ground. I need to find some wasted superfund site, or some tattererd and battered abandoned construction site near O'Hare, some old festering semi-buried garbage dump, and plant those li'l suckers! I'm telling you, a Son of San Diego cannot throw away baby treelings without feeling like the world is ending. I'm going to wrap them in wet paper towels and sandwich bags and stuff them in toilet paper rolls and mail them to you.

Did I ever tell you I got emails from Jim Morrison? He's in Duluth. Remember when he sang, "What have they done to the earth? What have they done to our fair sister?"

Tu amigo, Luis

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