Swimming Through The Age…

True affluence is not needing anything. – Gary Snyder

Monday Night -Tuesday Morning: Clouds Scuttling, fading moon. Rain, hail, clear skies, and then repeat. I feel the tendrils that the web sends out, coursing today with messages from friends, new and old. We are having a discussion over on Face Book about the possible futures of “The Invisible College Magazine”. Last night, I had a revelry. I don’t care if someone never buys it. I do it. It is what I do. I think my life is made up of those little ‘ah-ha!” moments. Not that I am anti-money, but there is something in the doing that can’t be tied to what tosses cash back at you. I have been tempted to have the magazine bound in hard cover, so that they will survive longer. It would be nice to think of them on someone’s coffee table 50 years after I have shed the mortal coil. I have dreams of what books, paintings, pictures, songs do to the stream of time. Little statements of life, of how life was at a particular moment, the “Now” expressed and the faint echoing into futures and past.
So, I am talking on line to friends. Robert A. M. writes from Northern California about his trip south to Texas with his wife selling their art… Funny how it is. I meet people on-line and it is as if you have known them forever. A goodly number of my friends I met on-line. When we finally gazed on each other, it was as if we had known each other in another lifetime. Some of these conversations go on for years, until you finally meet face to face. It reminds me of letters crossing the oceans back in the past, but now it is just so much more present
Today Doug writes from London, Tomas from Rhode Island, and Ley from Scotland. I receive a message from a roadside cyber cafe in Australia. I take it in stride, we all do. It wasn’t that long ago that I was courting Mary over the phone from L.A. to London. Now days, I have met many couples who met on line, fell in love without ever touching, ever meeting first. Some of these relationships are strikingly beautiful; they fell in love with the spirit of the other, and they melded before they ever met. Some kinda wonderful that. Novels should be written, and poems should be composed in honor of.
We take it all for granted, and here we are, in the midst of such a wonderful moment, so full of promise, and we are all Swimming Through The Age…
Much Love,
Slainte mhor agus a h-uile beannachd duibh

On The Menu:

Stellamara – Firtina

Gary Snyder Quotes

Dale Pendell: Sauntering with Lao Tzu

Poetry: Lorca, Sweet Lorca

Stellamara – Szerelem

Photography: Man Ray

Stellamara – Firtina

Gary Snyder Quotes:
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”
“When freedom fails, politicians use that failure to justify abandoning freedom, but when the state fails, politicians use the failure to justify expanding the state.”
“There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”
“Why should the peculiarities of human consciousness be the narrow standard by which other creatures are judged?”
“Forests in the tropics are cut to make pasture to raise beef for the American market. Our distance from the source of our food enables us to be superficially more comfortable, and distinctly more ignorant.”
“We . . . must try to live without causing unnecessary harm, not just to fellow humans but to all beings. We must try not to be stingy, or to exploit others. There will be enough pain in the world as it is.”
“I want to create wilderness out of empire.”


I would like to wish Dale a happy day today…. 80)

Rowan and Dale
Dale Pendell:

Sauntering with Lao Tzu

The Tao described in words is not the real Tao.

Words cannot describe it.

–Tao Teh Ching [1]
The book came as a gift, a drop of poison that slipped into my thoughts lightly clad, unassuming in metaphysics and thus able to evade the frontier defenses poised to attack any cosmic principle clothed in more theistic garb.
It was just a silly Peter Pauper Press book, and the translation, as I recognize now, not particularly scholarly. But it was compact, and direct.
Man is subject to the laws of the earth,

the earth is subject to the laws of the universe,

the universe is subject to the laws of Tao, and

Tao is subject to the laws of its own nature.

The words evoked an image of flowing, light and vacuous, more like a subtle inclination emanating from “that which is” than as a thing itself.
Looked for, it cannot be seen.

Thus it was all the more disturbing when I found that the accompanying philosophy was not only practical, including a theory of government and of history, but also radical.
the perfect state is small…

they have weapons but no reason to show them…

men forego writing, reckoning with knotted cord.

Do away with formal learning and you will not be annoyed by its multitude of details. [19]
and, in my own wording,
The scholar learns every day,

the follower of the Way unlearns every day.

Lao Tzu had a way of turning things upside down. Over the years I collected many translations of the Tao Teh Ching, but some verses remain in my memory in some altered or hybrid form.
Red Pine translates verse 38:
when the Way is lost virtue appears

when virtue is lost kindness appears

when kindness is lost justice appears

when justice is lost ritual appears

ritual marks the waning of belief

and onset of confusion
But in my memory the verse went more like
When the Way is lost there is custom,

when custom is lost, there is morality,

when morality is lost, there is ritual,

when ritual is lost, there are mere laws.
The gist is the same. Everywhere Lao Tzu challenges the entrenched ideas of “progress.” The Old Ways of the Neolithic were still alive in Lao Tzu’s century, though under assault from the centralizing forces of bronze and iron.
Lao Tzu taught leading from behind, that even better than leaders who were loved were leaders who were hardly noticed. He warned that fine sounding words were not often true, and that when most people heard of the Tao, they just laughed.
Thus the truly wise want the unwanted and do not prize what is rare. Study what is unstudied and preserve what is lost. Assist in the course of nature but never interfere in it. [64]
Lao Tzu offered the possibility of a different way of moving in the world–that the world was basically OK, as long as we didn’t mess with it too much, that living in harmony with the “Way” was more important than worldly striving. Lao Tzu taught accomplishing without doing, the way of letting things take their course.
Sometimes I wonder if this book which insinuated itself so deeply into the axioms of my thought was really a positive influence. How often had I let the way of inaction be an excuse for avoidance? Maybe I should have stayed with Camus and followed the Absurd. Do we really want to rely on knotted strings rather than writing? And how traceless should a life be?
Good walking leaves no tracks..

Over a thousand years after Lao Tzu, the Chan master Tung Shan taught the “Bird Path,” the trackless way. Another thousand years later one of his descendants, the Soto master Shigetsu Ein wrote:
In extending the hands, there is no separate road; it does not transgress the bird’s path. Traveling the bird’s path by yourself, yet you extend your hands. In the bird’s path there is no separate road; knowing the hidden roads yourself, you still don’t transgress it. Dwelling in the bird’s path, you don’t sprout horns on your head but always extend your hands. (Cleary, 1992)
Picking and choosing.

Shouting secrets.

Painting tracks on the wall.
Leaving messages.
Cleary, Thomas, and J. C. Cleary, The Blue Cliff Record, Shambhala,

MacHovec, Frank J., tr., The Book of Tao, Peter Pauper Press, 1962.
Powell, William F., The Record of Tung-shan, University of Hawaii,1986.
Red Pine, tr., Lao-Tzu’s Taoteching, Mercury House, 1996
You can read this essay and more at Dale’s Site: Dale Pendell.com

Poetry: Lorca, Sweet Lorca


A hundred riders in mourning,

where might they be going,

along the low horizon

of the orange grove?

They could not arrive

at Sevilla or Cordoba.

Nor at Granada, she who sighs

for the sea.
These drowsy horses

may carry them

to the labyrinth of crosses

where the singing trembles.

With seven nailed sighs,

where might they be going

the hundred Andalusian riders

of the orange-grove?

Under the orange-tree

she washes baby-clothes.

Her eyes of green

and voice of violet.

Ay, love,

under the orange-tree in bloom!
The water in the ditch

flowed, filled with light,

a sparrow chirped

in the little olive-tree.
Ay, love,

under the orange-tree in bloom!

Later, when Lola

has exhausted the soap,

young bullfighters will come.

Ay, love,

under the orange-tree in bloom!



enters, and leaves,

the tavern.
Black horses

and sinister people

travel the deep roads

of the guitar.

And there’s a smell of salt

and of female blood

in the fevered tuberoses

of the shore.

enters and leaves,

and leaves and enters

the death

of the tavern.


A long ghost of silver moving

the night-wind’s sighing

opened my old hurt with its grey hand

and moved on: I was left yearning.
Wound of love that will grant my life

endless blood and pure welling light.

Cleft in which Philomel, struck dumb,

will find her grove, her grief and tender nest.
Ay, what sweet murmurs in my head!

I’ll lie down by the single flower

where your beauty floats without a soul.
And the wandering waters will turn yellow,

as my blood runs through the moist

and fragrant undergrowth of the shore.

Stellamara – Szerelem


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