“Wicked cool” is what I thought I’d be when I was 17 and was about to attend a Greek Orthodox wedding for one of my cousins in Queens, NY. I refused to wear a tie to go along with my suit. Instead, I put on “love beads.” You know, the ones that hippies were wearing in 1960s. I was a hippie wannabe. I wanted to protest the institutional requirement to look one way when I wanted to express myself another way. That is, to be in love with everyone and to share that love with all for whom I was going to come into contact with. Continue reading
Flying from the ground on up has been a persistent dream of mine and I wonder if I was some sort of bird in a previous life.
Don’t laugh. I believe in reincarnation and there is something about the company of birds I really like. Whenever I saw a bird I feel it is a good omen. It may just be a vulture flying high above an expressway as I turn onto the highway and try to ease unnecessary thoughts from my mind. I become relaxed and “into” driving, with no worry that I’m going to be late or unprepared for the eventual destination because I have left the house early and look forward to the clam.
I feed birds in my back patio. Several cats each day perch on a large window seat in my dining room, gazing for hours at the friendly flying friends. I can identify the common sparrows and what my son called British starlings. We also get a pack of pigeons that I’m not too fond of and their smaller cousins, the mourning doves. All coo upon arrival at the one-story roof adjacent to the yard. They have showed up before the regular feeding time and they all want to get the food as soon as possible.
The starlings are an unusual bunch. They gather around an old dog bowl which I pour dry cat food for the feral cats that show up. One female just had kittens less than week ago. I saw them hidden away the first night but all were gone the next day except for one black and white one that died and remained at the suckling site.
The tiny cat lets me pet her. I even opened the screen door once and allowed her in the kitchen where she went nose to nose with the gigantic male cat – a Maine coon– who exchanged sniffs with her before I ushered her out the door. My son has two cats — Jack and Daniel. You can guess what he was thinking of when choosing their names. The feral cats eat just a portion of the dry food because the starlings eagerly peck at the food, chasing each other once one has gotten a little morsel in its beak for consumption elsewhere. I’m happy that none of the pet food goes to waste.
My favorite visitors are the blue jays and the cardinals. They concentrate on the black oily seeds I place at four locations. The jays are quite noisy and seem to stay aloof from the others. The cardinals on the other hand are sociable and don’t mind hanging out with the less colorful sparrows.
I’m particularly keen on cardinals because it was the very first word my son uttered. H must have heard his mom and dad get excited whenever the birds came and he wanted to share that joy with us verbally.
I’ve had vivid dreams of flying. I start off with a running jump as if I’m a superman from one of the old television series. I “jump” forward into the wind and glide several feet above the ground moving slowly at first and then picking up speed as I progress through the city or the countryside.
Perching on rooftops, I’d gracefully leap into the air and make my way above the tree tops and the people and traffic below. It is exhilarating and fun. I can see why birds can have a lot of fun in the air. I also think they enjoy playing with us humans, particularly those birds that seem to fly directly into your moving car like kamikaze pilots and pull up just at the last moment before flying to who knows where.
They represent freedom to me . . . Letting your imagination fly above and beyond can also be freeing.
One of my playgrounds when I was growing up was the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Fairmount section of the City of Brotherly Love. Continue reading
I cannot recall the one and only time I saw myself perform on television with my singing group even though it was one of the highlights of my life.
I sang bass for a Doo Wop group in the late 1960s as we appeared on the Super Lou Dance Show. We sang two songs which were recorded by a film crew. Continue reading
Alexander giggled like a schoolboy as 40 of us met in a service Sunday and quietly tried to meditate for some 30 minutes.
Wait a minute. He is a school boy. Alexander was all of 14 years old yesterday while attending the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia along with his mother. I was sitting next to the youth and about halfway through the gathering, a sound erupted from the other side of the room. It sound like someone adjusting a metal chair on the wooden floor, but to a young mind like that of Alexander, it also sounded like someone farting. Continue reading
Want to change the way you see?
Close your eyes. Take three full breaths.
Visualize a loving moment.
Stretch out the feeling.
Extend that feeling to the entire world when you open your eyes.
Do it until you do it!
– a student of Losang Samten. Tibetan Buddhist Monk
My Uncle Mike was a grizzly white haired Greek who spoke little to no English when my father invited him to stay in our house in North Philadelphia. I don’t know if he really was a blood relative, but he was one of the meanest mother-humpers I had ever come into contact with as a child. Continue reading