20 December 2007

Run and Become

A few weeks ago, I bought a copy of Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes and also Extreme Running. Laziness had really begun to lose its charm and I was looking for something to kick start my running career again. A bit of inspiration if you will. Extreme Running is a coffee table compendium of some of the most intense races in the world.

But it doesn’t include the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race held annually in the borough of Queens, New York. Perhaps this is because the 900 metre or so loop that the competitors run around - for at least 15 hours a day - for around 50 consecutive days, lacks glamour. The field for this race is of course composed of a select few and many have completed the event multiple times.

Rathin, who I share lodgings with, has completed, ‘The 3100,’ three times. Surely anyone who has run over 10,000 miles in the last 4 years should be considered a Running God? Why didn’t I just turn to him for inspiration in the running world, instead of buying a few books? Who knows? Anyway, I’m sure glad that we can do races together or train at the same time on rare occasions.

There are a couple of cool things in Dean’s book, like when he meets an American Indian on his first ultra trail race at an aid-station. The Indian tells him, “Suffering is the price that the body pays to rid itself of weakness.” I like it. It's so hard to get good shamans these days!

Here is an interview that Dean did. It is quite long, but very interesting. Check out the part where he talks about his attitude to training or running in general. His advice is: “Don’t consider it a chore. Enjoy it. Love it.” I’m paraphrasing a bit of course, but that is the lesson I am taking, the experience I am making, of my running lately. It took me a while to appreciate it in this way. Like 10 years.



Here is a poem I wrote on my 2 mile loop Wednesday night:

Every run is a chance
To trample the face of
Ignorance-king.

16 December 2007

Tour de Mountain

Rathin and I ran the Tour de Mountain this Sunday morning.

It was hilly.


We were both pretty happy to finish.




It was just the start and finish which were on the road, mostly it was Canberra Nature Park.

I took lots of photos on last weekend's training run to Mt Stromlo, but I had a busy week so I am just publishing them now.

I took my little camera and took lots of shots to begin with. I dropped my camera in the mud which was lucky, because mud is soft. Once it got really hot, I had to keep moving or the flies would swarm. The mist only lasted until the sun came up and it was really humid.

I ran with a Camelbak for the first time. It was good and handy but it needed a fair bit of adjusting to make it comfortable.

In approximate chronological order. It's a bit of a jungle out there.



















I am thinking of making a t-shirt out of the below.



03 December 2007

Riding

I am so glad that the Labor government was sworn in officially today after Australia's recent Federal election. For me it is the difference between darkness and light. It is so great to have some vision and imagination in policy again. Now when someone says 'the Prime Minister,' I don't have to squirm anymore.

Recent filmic viewing:

Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End. Is this the worst movie of the year? Yes, in my experience. Don't watch this film. It takes an age for nothing to happen and then it doesn't make any sense. Special effects means that it is now more expensive than ever to make a bad movie these days.

The Lost Boys
. Scary! Good fun. I loved this film when I was a kid and it was pretty cool to watch it again. This is kind of a horror version of The Goonies. Corey Feldman plays the same role as his dude in The 'Burbs. Another fine piece of 1980's nonsense.

Bridge to Terabithia. A tale of childhood, the power of imagination and hope. Very nice; the ending surprised me a bit, especially the bank robbery. That's called a red herring.

Into The Wild
. I haven't watched this yet, so what can I say? The book was enthralling. I remember as a callow youth once, wandering in a nature park, imagining the ultimate test: being alone with nature. Facing the self without artifice. Confronting the essence of the wilderness to discover truth. I was yet to realise that philosophy is good for selling breakfast cereal. According to one review I read, the directorial vision of Sean Penn has blossomed and this film is his message to American youth today. That message being: "Get off the couch!" I therefore have high hopes.

A friend told me once that the real challenge is to tame the self and this is like riding a tiger. This is not easy, it will be difficult and makes for a pretty rough ride. The alternative is to remain at the mercy of the tiger, under its control, which is really no fun at all.

02 December 2007

Deep Space

Sorry if you thought I was going to write about Star Trek.

No, this morning Rathin and I drove 60km from home to Namadgi National Park. The Deep Space Mountain Marathon was held near the defunct Honeysuckle Creek Deep Space Tracking Station. (Remember when NASA was still a celebrity?) We chose to tackle the 18km run instead of the marathon itself or even the 25km which both started at 0530 as opposed to our 0730 start.

It was a selection event for the Aussie team for the 2008 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship. Sorry guys, I didn't make the cut, but I'm just telling you it was seriously hilly.

I loved it. You can learn a lot about rhythm and persistence on hills. You can learn a lot about yourself too. You can't learn much about rebuilding car engines on the other hand.

Being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, it was tempting to stop and just enjoy the joie de vivre, but I had forgotten my French-English dictionary! Sacrebleu, I had to keep running.

Here is me a short time after crossing the finish line. I really like wearing towels on my head. A lot. See how happy I am. I can't remember when this first began.



My t-shirt had an aphorism by Sri Chinmoy printed on the back:

"When we are propelled
By the power
Of inner faith
We can do the impossible."

I know that it really inspired everyone because they all ran straight past me.

Here is Rathin crossing the line.


See you next time.

06 November 2007

Two-Thousandeye or My Hero

I am reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Like most academic writers, Campbell can be hard work; but comparative mythology has always interested me. Here are a few excerpts from the opening chapter of the book:

‘Whether we listen with aloof amusement to the dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed witch doctor of the Congo, or read with cultivated rapture thin translations from the sonnets of the mystic Lao-tse; now and again crack the hard nutshell of an argument of Aquinas, or catch suddenly the shining meaning of a bizarre Eskimo fairy tale: it will always be the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find, together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experienced than will ever be known or told.’

‘What is the secret of the timeless vision? From what profundity of the mind does it derive? Why is mythology everywhere the same, beneath its varieties of costumes? And what does it teach?’

In Occultism and Mysticism, Sri Chinmoy states, ‘…a real mystic is he who wants to see the divine mystery in everything, in nature and in human beings. He wants to go to the essence, to the Source, faster than any human being dares to imagine. This is a real mystic.’

Campbell’s questions and conclusions lead me to conclude that he is a mystic who has donned the cloak of academia. Intriguingly, Campbell assisted Swami Nikhilananda with the widely read translation of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna from Bengali into English.

For Jospeh Campbell, the hero’s journey in all its forms is the essence of humanity’s story - the quest to attain immortality – to reclaim our spiritual heritage. The analogy of the thousand faces demonstrates we are all gazing upon the One from different angles. We all have a unique perspective on the journey. Each of us contains the hero.

I have only read ten pages so far, but the force of the writing so struck me that I felt like expounding the themes here. It is well known that George Lucas used this book as a guide when writing the original Star Wars trilogy. These movies are the vade mecum of my generation; thus, we have no need of the pantheon upon Olympus, and Homer mostly gathers dust. The archetypes are renewed still, and I find it impossible not to enjoy lines such as, ‘The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.’

He further writes, ‘Archaelogists are probing the ruins of Iraq, Honan, Crete and Yucatan. Ethnologists are questioning the Ostiaks of the river Ob, the Boobies of Fernando Po.’

When I read this, I can hear the music of Whitman from Salut au Monde:

‘I see the site of the old empire of Assyria, and that of Persia, and that of India;
I see the falling of the Ganges over the high rim of Saukara.

I see the place of the idea of the Deity incarnated by avatars in human forms;
I see the spots of the successions of priests on the earth—oracles, sacrificers, brahmins, sabians, lamas, monks, muftis, exhorters;
I see where druids walked the groves of Mona—I see the mistletoe and vervain;
I see the temples of the deaths of the bodies of Gods—I see the old signifiers.

I see Christ once more eating the bread of his last supper, in the midst of youths and old persons;
I see where the strong divine young man, the Hercules, toil’d faithfully and long, and then died;
I see the place of the innocent rich life and hapless fate of the beautiful nocturnal son, the full-limb’d Bacchus;
I see Kneph, blooming, drest in blue, with the crown of feathers on his head;
I see Hermes, unsuspected, dying, well-beloved, saying to the people, Do not weep for me,
This is not my true country, I have lived banish’d from my true country—I now go back there,
I return to the celestial sphere, where every one goes in his turn.

This admonition from Hermes is perfect given the tumultuous events of October past: my hero, the greatest hero I know - Sri Chinmoy - having embarked for heaven.

Many are the tales of Sri Chinmoy's life that are still to be told.

Know I well that the realm of myth has its basis in fact.

04 November 2007

Sydney

I spent the weekend in Sydney as The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team had a race on Sunday morning.

You can see the gallery for the Sri Chinmoy 16km, 8km and 2mile.

I stayed with Nigel and Joe. We watched Dumb and Dumber. I always laugh hard at that film.




Sufjan Stevens is coming to Australia and playing at The Sydney Festival.

I have tickets.

30 October 2007

Remembering

Sri Chinmoy wrote a song in 1974 for his students to sing only after he had left the earth:

When I am gone away,
Remember me, O children sweet,

No, not because I failed,
No, not because I cried,
No, not because I tried,

No, not because I saw my Lord in you,
No, not because I served my Lord in you,
No, not because I fulfilled my Lord in you,

No, not because I was your Pilot true,
No, not because I was your ‘Infinite’ blue,

O but because my life was all gratitude, gratitude, gratitude
To you, to you, my children sweet, to you.

*

Once, I stood before Guru like a black thunder cloud. (In the emotional sense, dear reader.) This may have been invisible to anyone with their eyes open but with My Master’s inner sight it would have been painfully obvious. He just started singing over and over a simple song, “My own gratitude heart is all that matters.” It took me a moment to realise that this was his response to me. I don’t recall any immediate miraculous change in my consciousness as a result, but the seeds of my future were sown.

It really is not so easy to be grateful when good things happen or we are feeling happy. We are too busy just being happy or swimming in bliss. Will God complain? Of course not! He just wants us to be happy. He knows the way for us to be happy and we are either crying or really dying to learn it.

On the other hand, when the worst possible things happen, maybe we will be too busy blaming ourselves or God to even think of being grateful. Perhaps we will just be drowning in the ocean of suffering. It seems like a paradox to remember to be grateful for such circumstances, but it will affect a change in us if we can be sincerely grateful. We can then recognise that we do have the opportunity to grow into God’s will. Gratitude is a powerful means of transforming ignorance. A change in perspective is the start to changing ourself.

Once during a meditation, I found this poem inside –

If posion is my due,
Then I will drink
From the cup of death.

It felt like the spirit of Shiva had entered me. He swallowed just the poison from the ocean of the world and all it did was turn his throat blue.

I remember someone saying to me once, “I don’t really like you. I’ve just been pretending to for three years.” I know it was not his angel-heart talking, but I know he was being honest, even sincere by telling me this. With a gratitude smile, it is still hard to believe how sweet these words tasted as I swallowed them.

Gratitude does transform poison to nectar.

Gratitude is the pure breath of heaven that can transmute ignorance.

Even when we are feeling happy, it is not because we are perfect, but because we are approaching perfection in a tangible way. Therefore, if we can remember to be grateful for these particular experiences, gratitude will pave the way for us to become more perfect, which will make us happier. This is God’s will for us.

Everything takes time.

You can listen to Sri Chinmoy singing "Gratitude" at Sri Chinmoy Radio. (Thanks to Shane Magee for providing out the link.)

*

Happy Birthday to me, today I am thirty three. It will be a big day. I am having lunch with 13 people and dinner with 10. My loving parents also sent me so much chocolate. I am off for a run before work now to prepare inwardly for these experiences!

29 October 2007

Immutable

What you are
To my soul
Is all.

Nothing has changed.

I walk the stark earth –
The thin cloak of heaven:
It is decorated sparse
With low grass;
Gone all trees, leaves,
Flowers, fruits.

Where is beauty, creation,
Expression?

Within, within, within.

I am the passenger
Of golden light.

Nothing has changed.

What you are
To my soul
Is all.


*

I wrote this the day after Sri Chinmoy passed away. It was the middle of the night here when we heard. I tried to meditate for a while and then went back to sleep. This poem is based on the dream I had, which was more of a vision.

I chose the title from Sri Chinmoy's poem The Absolute.

Guru showed me the nature of the relationship between the inner and the outer world. The earth is a doorway to heaven. The sun in the sky is the light of heaven, shining through the keyhole...

28 October 2007

Sunny Days

I just have time for a brief post as I have hundreds of photos to edit and publish from the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival. This year marked the 25th running of this event. Prachar read us a stirring story about this a few nights ago. I expect it will appear on the Sri Chinmoy Inspiration group soon. And remember:

Beauty and majesty
Are not mere words,
But signposts
On the road to Infinity,
Which is iteslf Eternity.


Sufjan Stevens has written an orchestral suite about - of all things...wait for it - the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. By a quirk of fate or destiny, I travelled this stretch of road with friends just weeks ago. I kind of get it, because this piece of asphalt provides such a majestic view of Manhattan. (PS That's Sufjan on the piano.)



If you like, you can also listen to Sufjan's cover of Bob Dylan's Ring Them Bells. It is from the new Dylan biopic I'm Not There.

Hi ho, it's off to Photoshop I go...

13 October 2007

The Journey Eternal



Sri Chinmoy, Beloved Spiritual Master, my Guru, left the earth on October 11, 2007.

For me, the supreme teaching of his life was:

Ignorance is nothing, God is everything.

On balance, I feel this was a lesson not hard won - it required only that I accept Sri Chinmoy for who he was.

The real challenge that Guru offered me was the same challenge that he himself faced:

Now prove it!

The extraordinary love, compassion, joy and humour that he embraced this challenge with was unstinting. A lifetime of unparalleled opportunity shines before me now, revealed by his example...

Thank you Guru.

08 October 2007

What's cooking?


We don't really make chapati on our kitchen floor; but if you spill oil, the easiest way to clean it up is to throw flour all over it, because then it sweeps right up. Rathin actually makes brilliant curry. If you are asleep and wake up to the smell of his pot's simmering, you will think you are in heaven.

Amalendu, bless him, made a pasta sauce a few weeks ago which far surpassed even his unusual standard. It contained a can of Bi-Lo Sliced Mushrooms in Butter Sauce, Peanut Butter, Tomato Paste, and Sweet and Sour Sauce. Few possess the genius to attempt such a combination of condiments. Fewer still would burn it so gently.

Here is me being humble. The last time I cooked I simply placed 30 potatoes straight in the oven and turned it on. When they are ready, you can put sour cream, butter, cheese, salt, pepper and your favourite sauce right on top. It is a lo-fi production with a hi-fi taste.

Tonight, after work, I went running in the bush for an hour. It was dark, but it was fun. I saw some kangaroos, but they were scared of me. It was tricky on trails that were new, but familiar trails were fine. In fact, running up hill was easier mentally, because I wasn't looking at how steep it was. You only have to think of taking the next step and in fact the next step is actually smaller because the ground has taken half the step for you already. Crazy talk I know, but that was tonight's experience. Sometimes, going up hill, I feel like I am experiencing the very inertia of earth as it reaches for heaven. When I got home, I found some cold potatoes in the oven that we forgot about. They tasted great.

To finish the day, I published a gallery of photographs taken at this year's Sri Chinmoy Googong Challenge. This is one of the adventure races that the Sri Chinmoy Mararthon Team puts on in Canberra. Adventure racing is a growing sport in Australia. The event at Googong Dam involves running, kayaking and mountain biking. It was perfect weather for it yesterday. Jack, who is six, took a photo of me at the start of the race.

06 October 2007

A trip to Adelaide

Recently, I was in Adelaide, taking photos of the Sri Chinmoy 24hr Running Festival.


I also took the chance to visit with my family and meet my brother's daughter and see his new house. It was fun helping my brother shift a tonne of wood. Good healthy work. I thought of Robert Frost and remembered Two Tramps in Mud Time. I have to thank my high school English teacher for that memory.

While in Adelaide, I bought a fair supply of Haigh's, ate a copious quantity of marinated chevre and obtained another suit - the bold blue banker's stripe I have always wanted.

Best of all, I had an awesome run over hill and dale. It was my favourite run of the year. I read in a running magazine that having a perfect run is no accident - it is the result of all the tough runs.



What makes a perfect run for me? It like a lot of nature in the form of abundant hills to run up and down. I am never far from the bush in Canberra; but the thing I noticed about Adelaide is how verdant it is in comparison. Being the start of Spring, every piece of spare ground near Black Hill and the Linear Park was covered in green grass. My run was through those parts. The fact that I was out there for a while and going at a fair speed also helped. I'll have more to say on running in the future.

29 September 2007

Song


I am the proud earth.
I obey the hand of man,
Only for love.
Whatever I take,
I give in return.
I harvest the dreams of God.



25 September 2007

trinity sure to me you bring

WHEN LILACS LAST IN THE DOOR-YARD BLOOM'D

When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd - and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.



That's only the first verse of this famous poem by Walt Whitman. The scholars know it is an elegy for President Lincoln, but I know it is very beautiful. Read it all if you wish.

There is the dependable rhythm of earth. Rhythm makes fine poetry, not life and death - no, only emptiness and fullness, and both the same.

17 September 2007

Mr Natural

Last Friday, out the window at work, I saw a rainbow that was so perfect and solid - not in the least wispy at all - I promise you that I stepped right underneath it there and then.

On Saturday, I hiked to the peak of Mt Gingera with Amalendu: 1857m/6092 ft. The preceding link has extensive information about the area and good pictures too. The route it discusses is easier than the one we took. We started at about 500m/1700 ft and took two hours to get to Pryor's Hut, rather than driving most of the way. It was a beautiful sunny day but closer to the peak there was still a fair bit of snow lying around in the shadows. At one point I stepped in a patch and sank past my knee. This provided ample opportunity to throw snowballs at Amalendu. Unfortunately, this time he had gloves too, so the action was a little less one sided than our last hike.

I had fun with my new digital compact. Seeing as it fits in the palm of my hand, I can't complain. I really like the macro feature.







It was a satisfyingly exhausting experience, and there is nothing like the view from the top.


Tonight I saw a sleeping giant lying inside the row of hills near where I live. It was easy to see a very big man there, having a long rest. Maybe one day he will stand up and have a big stretch.

Grass

Walt Whitman called his life’s work Leaves of Grass.

In his masterwork, Song of Myself, he offers us the following visions of grass:

‘…it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven…’

‘…the handkerchief of the Lord…’

‘…the produced babe of the vegetation…’

‘....a uniform hieroglyphic…’

‘…the beautiful uncut hair of graves…’

In case there is any confusion, he reminds us in the final stanza:

‘I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.’



Sri Chinmoy reveals the following about grass in Humility, from Illumination-Fruits:

‘How can we become humble? If we know the secret of identification, we can become humble. Look at Mother Earth who is protecting us, nourishing us and giving us shelter in every way. How many bad things are being done to Mother Earth! Yet she is all-forgiving. Forgiveness is all-humility. Right in front of us we can see humility in a patch of grass. When we see grass with our human eyes, we feel that it is something unimportant. Anybody can step on it. But when we see it with our inner eye, we feel how great it is. Early in the morning when we see dew on the grass, we say, "How beautiful it is!" And just a few hours later we will be walking on it; yet it never complains or revolts. When we have the inner capacity to appreciate the grass, we say, "How humble and self-giving it is!" When we identify ourselves with grass, we see that it has a very big heart. Consciously or unconsciously, from grass we get a feeling of humility.’

Let us return to Walt now and ponder his Passage to India:

'Swiftly I shrivel at the thought of God,
At Nature and its wonders, Time and Space and Death,
But that I, turning, call to thee, O soul, thou actual Me,
And lo! thou gently masterest the orbs,
Thou matest Time, smilest content at Death,
And fillest, swellest full, the vastnesses of Space.

Greater than stars or suns,
Bounding, O soul, thou journeyest forth;
—What love, than thine and ours could wider amplify?
What aspirations, wishes, outvie thine and ours, O soul?
What dreams of the ideal? what plans of purity, perfection, strength?
What cheerful willingness, for others’ sake, to give up all?
For others’ sake to suffer all?

Reckoning ahead, O soul, when thou, the time achiev’d,
(The seas all cross’d, weather’d the capes, the voyage done,)
Surrounded, copest, frontest God, yieldest, the aim attain’d,
As, fill’d with friendship, love complete, the Elder Brother found,
The Younger melts in fondness in his arms.'

The extravagant but humble Walt Whitman, rich son of nature, drunk with the fertile infinity of the heaven-blessed earth consciousness; ecstatic in his cosmic vision of unity.

I can say for sure this true son of earth has returned to the arms of heaven...wherever our feet may fall.

06 September 2007

28 August 2007

In the world of tears

In the world of tears
Your smile is hiding,
Why do you always play this game?

15 August 2007

My heart is calling

My heart is calling for a new melody,
A song unknown
That will awaken truth,
Today I am sailing for a faraway land.

09 August 2007

If I could speak

If I could speak the language of a flower,
Would I have need of words now?







08 August 2007

Square Eyes

I have developed a fondness for Doctor Who lately. I live with a hard-core fan of the series, but I think the fact that the Doctor dresses as a proper Englishman now is what has really converted me. It's all good fun, often in a three piece suit. There are a couple of episodes from Season 3 that I highly recommend: Human Nature, The Family of Blood, and Blink.

What else have I watched lately? The Godfather. This fine motion picture has aged very well, but it's hard not to laugh at Brando's Don Corleone these days - so studied and parodied is the character. Pacino's Michael Corleone has lost none of his aura though. This recent viewing counts as research as I was preparing for a job interview. It went well. Needless to say, I made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

I have also just got into A Bit of Fry and Laurie. This is a really funny show. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are such brilliant actors. Hugh Laurie is good value in Blackadder and Stephen Fry is delicious in Absolute Power.

My job has been keeping me really busy. In fact, I just flew in from the coast. My arms are so tired!

Last weekend I bought a Harris Tweed jacket. I found it at a flea market for $25. It must be at least 50 years old but it looks brand new. I took it to my tailor* to have the sleeves lengthened and he couldn't believe it. Hassan said to me, "Where did you get this? You can't buy this anymore. My dad is not going to believe it when he sees this. The closest thing would cost at least $1000." This is a good sign. The material is so intense that it will be adjusted on a sewing machine used for leather jackets. The modern version is extremely light, like a normal sports jacket, but this is old school. More Tom Baker than David Tennant, you could say.

So all is well, and I do hope to write lots more and make photos when I take some holidays next week.

*This was the first time I met Hassan, but I am inordinately fond of the phrase, "my tailor."

24 July 2007

Life Before The Internet

Once upon a time ago, there was no Internet. For entertainment, people dressed in sacks and ate coal. This was one of the most significant boons of the Industrial Revolution: both sacks and coal were plentiful. People too were becoming more abundant as the invention of Morse code led to better health care and free lentils for everyone.

"Ah," the good old days I hear you sigh. Back then another common form of entertainment was exercise. Folk would cut firewood, carry water, plough fields, harvest produce, ride horses, work metal, milk cows and churn butter. If you asked them why, they would answer, “Coal tastes better with carrots.”

For this reason, nearly everyone was fit and healthy - with the exception of submarine commanders, tuba players and chartered accountants. There were doctors too of course, and there was practically no condition that a bow saw and a leech could not get rid of permanently. Yes, the 1980’s were an unparalleled era of wholesome happiness and robust contentment in world history.

16 July 2007

Where eyes once were

Where eyes once were
Have been found moons
And skies to climb
Sweetest dreams, all mine.


I had heard the call and uncorked a bottle of midnight's love nectar at the behest of my beloved. There I sat at table, having sent all my peasant thoughts away for the day. These blind servants no longer bothered me.

Pain is the shadow that life casts from joy. It is the toll claimed by existence; but how can such a thing be considered expensive? When you pay it, you don't have it anymore - but you have become richer. This is the music that laughter makes.

In the eye of destruction breathes the heart of peace.

Just keep breathing.

09 July 2007

All the news

It has been a while since my last post. It is for lack of poetry that I have had no reason to publish anything. Work has been quite busy too. My running schedule is going well. Living in a cold place means that first thing is best and I feel much warmer all day.

I tried baking Lemon Delicious last week, but my version of this self-saucing pudding lacked sauce. I definitely need an electric mixer. Not just for mixing cakes like this, but for whipping cream. Hercules need undertake no fabulous labours to prove his strength, if he can whip 5 litres of cream by hand. After whipping half a litre, I was covered in cream and nearly bereft of a shoulder.

I ponder the art of cooking in unfamiliar territory as this and realise that an education in such an art provides an understanding of the properties of ingredients. This allows improvisation. Otherwise, I will need a solid base of experience with baking before I can eye off the measures so wantonly.

I have recently been blamed for “fattening up” the house. A charge I vigorously deny. Although it’s true that my signature dish contains at least 2 large tubs of cream and half a kilo of cheese, I rarely make it. Gruyere doesn’t grow on trees. The rind is washed daily with salt for months before it is ready, so it is expensive. Apparently it is the secret of superb French Onion soup. I love onions so I will try that before the summer days arrive again.

When the skies open, the rain seeks out the lowest place of earth. So too the eye of heaven encompasses all. It’s kind of a poem, even though it sounds like the I Ching.

Keep meditating.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

Flower



Flower power



Aryavan of Sydney



Nigel



More flora



Amalendu and Prachar the Mongolian



Me



I guess you had to be there.

30 June 2007

Running

This eve it is plenilune. It is a surprise - for it seems that just days ago it hung half ripe in the evening sky – but there it is: that precious jewel that sweetly tempts the waters forever and more.

Today I ran the Googong Half Marathon put on by The ACT Cross Country Club. (The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team also has a race in Googong, I took the photos there last year.) I certainly didn't carry a camera today, nor even pay much attention to the lush surrounds. I remember thinking that it's great how the earth is God's raiment and not a stone is out of place. Also, jelly beans rock.

I finished in 2 hrs 25 minutes. When I consider my near total lack of training and the cross country nature of the event, I am pleased with my time. Noivedya finished in 1 hr 59 minutes. It was a good start to my preparation for the Self-Transcendence Marathon I am running in August.

Next weekend, we are putting on an Off-Road Duathlon on Black Mountain, which is just around the corner.

Some year soon I want to give The Brindabella Classic a go. It looks pretty awesome:

Maybe I will be ready this year.

25 June 2007

Thou appears to me

Thou appears to me in the robe of my poverty
And I recognise thee through the mist
Of my heart’s excruciating tears.
An uncertain hope resides
On the fickle breeze of life,
With a face of stone
I succumb to thy Golden Smile.

I am very clever:
I’m sorry, you can not understand me.
I am very striking:
I’m sorry, you will not recognise me.
I am very quick:
I’m sorry, you are the slave of time.

In my dark house,
A little lamp glows -
I love the evening
And my solitude -
Even in the night,
I can grow a rose.

24 June 2007

Let It Snow

Mt Corey in Brindabella National Park is less than 30 minutes drive from where I live. This is the view from the bottom. It's the big one in back. It was a pretty frosty morning.



We spent over 5 hours walking. At least half of that was straight up to the top. It was nearly all thick regrowth, rocky, frosty, snowy, slippery. We didn't walk on any tracks until we were totally exhausted in the last half hour. I was fascinated by the frost. With a tripod and a macro lens, it would make some better photos; but I wasn't carrying any of those things.



Finally, we hit the snow line. This is the first time I remember seeing snow in Australia!



I like the snow. It feels so innocent, being pure and white.



I built the world's puniest snowman.



This is the view from the peak, into NSW.



The day certainly put a bit of life back into my legs. I wish that it snowed where I live; instead, it is just bitterly cold, which is a bit cruel. I am hoping climate change sees my suburb experiencing blizzards in the short term, or else some major tectonic plate activity sends us up a few thousand feet.

If you live somewhere that it really snows, please don't laugh at me...