22. Sep, 2013

EARLY MORNING CHAPEL IN THE WOODS

Neatly nestled into the woods, stand two man-made pillars, seemingly there to support a pew-like bench but impeded in their purpose by a giant tree no one saw fit to remove. Throughout the remaining domain of the outdoor chapel, however, there are many benches ready to receive the occasional worshiper, meditator or silent musician. This [...]

24. Aug, 2012

Grandma’s Sod House on the Prairie

My grandmother Evalena lived on the Kansas prairie as did her 11 surviving siblings which in effect assured that my mother Rowena Ruth would be born on that same prairie. These folks were a hardy people, independent and able to survive the harshest of winters. No doubt there were a couple of horses in their [...]

28. Jun, 2012

Distilling the Essence

Down-sizing from one giant-sized and one mid-sized bag to the very same giant-sized and one small-sized bag in just under two years has been a superhuman achievement . Dare we mention the overstuffed, extra large laptop carrying case!? It’s more complicated than boiling down a bushel of apples into a jar of apple butter for [...]

19. May, 2012

Rising Above the Bamboo Sea

You don’t really know someone until you climb a mountain with them. Three English teaching colleagues recently let me into their family lives on a Sunday outing to bei bei, a district north of the city. Where there is a mountain, there is a way. Our way began by little red car led by GPS. [...]

02. May, 2012

Curve Cowboy

 It was somewhat familiar being greeted by an over-eager golden mud-color clad monk clanging a gong and wanting payment for a prayer. It seems that wherever you go there will be a nun or a monk hard at work, requesting payment to pray. The nun here looked to be about 85 but she still knew [...]

09. Apr, 2012

Going Remote, Finding the Center

  Very last minute; very Chinese! At the very last minute I discovered that I would have five days off for Tomb-Sweeping. This was an unexpected bonus of time. It was the moment to visit Guangxi, fly to Liuzhou and enter the world of the Miao ethnic minority. Luckily Yao Dong was there to organize, [...]

12. Mar, 2012

Managing March

March is the month which sometimes breaks me. Back in November I knew that winter was coming and I prepared both mind and body for the inevitable. There were celebrations we all associate with mid-winter and our minds were taken off of our physical discomfort. There were life-size mechanical Santas beckoning you into the appliance [...]

17. Feb, 2012

Standing Room Only

Looking for small but finding only large. Seeking fewer people, only discovering more. What is it about China?! I had asked Tom one of my students if I might visit his home town which sounded to me like the typical home town of many of my students. The fall semester would have ended. The campus [...]

13. Feb, 2012

Bomb Balmy Bountiful Bali

  Mosquitoes not withstanding, West Bali National Park kicks butt.  You can look out on the Bali Sea  from a minimal human encroachment, almost invisible to the naked eye as you approach by boat.   You feel so insignificant.   You surprise a dozing doe settling in for the night in a thicket by the path, [...]

02. Jan, 2012

Hexagonal Hanukkah in Han Territory

  Fully unaware of the actual start date of the Festival of Lights, we began celebrating some time in December. Although I am not a child, I often feel like a child in my present circumstances and therefore I received at least eight gifts, one commemorating one more day that the oil burned when it [...]