A Good Fire

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“Thoreau’s Cooking Stove”  |  Anthony Satori

“I sometimes left a good fire when I went to take a walk in a winter afternoon; and when I returned, three or four hours afterward, it would be still alive and glowing.  My house was not empty though I was gone.  It was as if I had left a cheerful housekeeper behind.  It was I and Fire that lived there.”

“The next winter I used a small cooking-stove for economy…  but it did not keep fire so well as the open fireplace.  Cooking was then, for the most part, no longer a poetic, but merely a chemic process.  It will soon be forgotten, in these days of stoves, that we used to roast potatoes in the ashes.  The stove not only took up room and scented the house, but it concealed the fire, and I felt as if I had lost a companion.  You can always see a face in the fire.  The laborer, looking into it at evening, purifies his thoughts…  But I could no longer sit and look into the fire.”

— Henry David Thoreau

I Do Not Know Its Name

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“Golden”  |  Anthony Satori

“There was something undifferentiated and yet complete, which existed before Heaven and Earth.  Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing and does not change.  It may be considered the mother of the universe.  I do not know its name;  I call it Tao.”

— Lao Tzu

This week was the start of the Lunar New Year.  Kung xi fa cai, everyone! (A wish for happiness and prosperity.)  Cheers!

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Dark Side of the Moon

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“Moon Dust”  |  Anthony Satori

Just a few short weeks after NASA landed the Insight rover on the surface of Mars, the Chinese space program successfully landed a probe on the previously unexplored “dark side” of the moon.  What wonderful accomplishments!  I cannot wait to find out what we see, what we discover, and what we can all learn from these missions.  Science, art, nature, spirituality — these are such crucial areas of exploration, because they each, in their own way, make us realize how we all, as humans, have so much more in common than we have differences between us.

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The Other Side of the Veil

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“Sphinx”  |  Anthony Satori

There have been countless attempts throughout history to decipher, represent, and/or access the spiritual world.  Such efforts usually take the form of religion, philosophy, ritual, or artwork, and they are almost always fueled by our innate human drive to discover and/or create a door between the known world and that which exists beyond.  As can be expected, every door that has been created by man up until now has been, by necessity, inherently flawed.  The simple fact is that it is almost impossible to escape the corrupting influence of human imperfection, especially over time.  But the destination is true.  That which lies on the other side of the veil is real.  It is pure, it is powerful, and it is eminently worth pursuing.  So keep trying.  Keep seeking.  Every genuine attempt to expand our understanding of — and our connection with — the compassionate creative Spirit which pervades the universe is a gift to the future of the collective human soul.

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Other Spirits

“Woman Walking on Stone Pathway (Bellagio, Italy)”  |  Anthony Satori

Not long ago, I visited a small lake-side town in northern Italy called Bellagio.  On an early morning stroll, I took a photograph of the rising sun washing over a stone pathway that weaved upward from the main promenade.  As I took the picture, I was struck by how this small road had surely remained essentially unchanged for years, decades, even centuries, and I was inspired by the wonder and romance of this notion.

Not long after returning to the States, I came across a relatively obscure collection of photographs taken by one of the most influential pioneers of photography from the early 20th Century, Alfred Stieglitz.  I already knew a fair amount about Stieglitz’ life and work as an early champion of photography as a legitimate medium of creative expression; however, these particular pictures had somehow escaped my experience up until now, perhaps because they were taken before he ever opened his first gallery, even before he moved to New York.

As I was enjoying the discovery of these remarkable early photographs, I ran across a particular image that caught my eye.  It was a picture that Stieglitz took of a small cobblestone pathway in a tiny lake-side town in northern Italy.  The photograph was titled, “A Road in Bellagio, 1894.”  I was amazed.  Here, over a hundred years before my having explored this small village and having taken a photograph expressing my awe at its beauty and timelessness, Stieglitz himself had walked along this very same cobblestone promenade and felt the very same creative impulse to capture an image of a small road weaving upward from its edge.  It is wonderful how art has the ability to connect us with other spirits, even over the centuries.

Here, then, are both of the images.  The image on the left is the photograph taken by me.  The image on the right is Alfred Stieglitz’ photograph, taken in 1894.

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Polo: The Sport of Kings

“Polo: The Sport of Kings”  |  Anthony Satori

Polo is an impressive spectacle of horsemanship and athleticism that dates back thousands of years.  There are actual cave paintings in China depicting polo matches being played over two millennia ago, and the game has remained remarkably consistent throughout the centuries.  Moving from Asia to Europe and eventually to the New World, polo has often been called the “Sport of Kings,” primarily because of the high cost of maintaining and training large teams of horses, but also for its pomp, ceremony and civility of play.  While still an elaborate production, polo has become far more accessible in the modern era, and now, for little more than the price of a ticket to a baseball or basketball game, anyone who wishes to attend can engage in the fun.  And, after all these centuries, it is still a great experience to enjoy a beautiful day in good company, watching the spectacle play out — the athletes, the “ponies,” the dirt flying — amidst the sunshine, the fresh air, and the smell of freshly-cut grass. 

The only additional element that I might  consider adding would be to have the players do more yelling.  I know, it may sound strange at first, but currently the play is markedly quiet, and I suspect some well-timed battle cries would add an exciting dimension to the event.  Imagine a pack of polo players charging down the field on their horses, mallets in the air, hollering at the top of their lungs!  Can’t you almost hear them?  Aaaaaaugh!  Indeed, I think the occasional hearty group yell would bring an enhanced air of simulated battle to the milieu, and even provide spectators with an opportunity to verbally participate by chiming in.   Of course, if it hasn’t become part of the sport by now, it’s unlikely that they will start doing this any time soon, (certainly not at my suggestion.)  But I figured I’d put the idea on the table.  In the meantime, let’s get out there and stomp some divots, and get ready for the next chukker!

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