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cslewispoe
02 September 2011 @ 10:43 pm
So earlier this week I spoke with my brother, Mike, in St. Louis. His family, along with my parents, had returned to our hometown in Buffalo, New York. It was a week-long trip in order to visit friends and family. The drive takes about 14 hours, depending upon how willing you are to gamble on being issued a speeding ticket in Ohio.

Upon their return, my niece Isabel started kindergarten. Unfortunately, she didn’t have much time to recover from the long trip, and was not being cooperative in going to bed on time. This led to a very cranky Isabel when she had to get up early for school.

It was a warm, bright morning when my brother drove Isabel to her second day of school. Unfortunately, her disposition was not as sunny. She began complaining about how tired she felt. Mike proceeded to tell her that she should remember how she feels right now, so that when he tells her to go to bed at night, she should listen – and then she wouldn’t feel as bad as she does at this moment. Isabel looked up at him in the mirror, and then became silent, apparently mulling it over.

A little while later, Mike hears whispering in the back seat. Isabel was repeating something, over and over. So, he asks her what she is saying. She says, “I’m saying thank you to all the trees because they provide us shade from the bright sun.” So, as each tree went by, she continued to whisper “Thank you, tree.”

Oddly enough, this trait is held by several of us in the family, mainly my father and I… I think my mom as well. We tend to speak with nature, both plant and animal, even when in the car. For example, every morning my route takes me by some cows, which requires the mandatory shout-out “Hello Girls!” So when my brother told me this story, I have to admit I was a little bit proud. Isabel is a girl after my own heart.

While Mike and Cynthia are handling their little forces of nature, we have dealt with a few of our own here on the east coast. Earlier this week was the earthquake, now the past few days have been Hurricane Irene. Admittedly, I did not know what to expect with Irene. This was my first hurricane experienced while living by Chesapeake Bay. Coincidentally, Hurricane Isabel was quite damaging to this area. There was a possibility that Irene would be almost as destructive.

It started yesterday morning with the birds. Hundreds of black birds came out of nowhere, and began flying past our house. First they landed in a patch of land across the way. Then they moved further down. It seemed as though they couldn’t make up their mind where to go. Then they were gone and the rain began. Both wind and rain picked up in speed throughout the day. Our power began to flicker, on… off… on… off. Then finally at midnight, it went off for good.

Everything was pitch black outside. Without power, there was no A/C, so it became necessary to open the windows in order to let in some air. I found it a bit unnerving to hear what was going on outside, yet not be able to see it. Living in a secluded area, we have so many large, old trees around us. You could hear the creaking and cracking as their old bones tried to withstand the younger, stronger winds. At one point, there was a very loud snapping and a thud, and we knew a tree or large limb had reached its limit and fell to the ground.

I did have a hard time going to sleep, being fearful that the large oak tree in front would drop a limb on our house. This past winter, one did hit our house, just missing the windows and only damaging the gutter. It wasn’t a far reach to think it could happen again, but with more severe consequences. In order to get some sleep, I went to the guest room at the other end of the house where the windows were closed and there was less chance of a tree falling on me.

So now it is 7:41 a.m. Sunday morning and I have just woken up. There still continues to be some gusts of wind, but the bulk of the storm has passed. Immediately I look outside and assess the damage from Hurricane Irene. I am amazed by the amount of debris and small tree limbs all around. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any major damage in our immediate vicinity. The old oak tree out front has weathered another storm, and left us intact. Full of relief I then whisper, “Thank you, tree”.

Addendum: This was written the morning of August 28th, 2011. Unfortunately, as a result of Hurricane Irene, we have been without power and internet until just yesterday.
 
 
Emotional Status: thankfulthankful
Music du Juor: http://www.last.fm/music/The+Shins/_/Sleeping+Lessons
 
 
cslewispoe
11 June 2010 @ 02:49 am
Yes, been working hard as usual. At times like these, I feel the need to re-acquaint myself with the things I really enjoy. Such as enjoying art. Whether appreciating the work of others, or picking up the brush again. Actually, in the near future, there will be a fairly large hobby room in my house. I'm really excited to pull out the canvas and start sharing my vision of the world through paint. Well, in an effort to motivate myself and stir-up my creative energy, I continue to look at what is being done out there by the real artists of the world... and it's amazing. One of the most positive things about the internet is how it bridges that gap - bringing you closer to see things that you may have never had a chance to see. For instance, an artist from across the world.

Here is one in particular I came across. The artist is Chris Berens of Amsterdam. This piece evokes fantasy and a bit of wonder. The stairs throughout are a bit "Escherness", but that is about all that is similar between the two. I like the subtle coloring, as well as the sad but thoughtful expression on the young girl. She looks uncomfortable or even a bit fearful.



The next one I found was by an artist, George Grie. The gothic, fantasy feel is warm and comforting to me. The monotone coloring, with emphasis on contrast adds to the drama, which is necessary because there isn't a lot of movement or action depicted. I wish I was there... the feel reminds me of an old library full of all the most beautiful, rare books in the world. I can picture myself drinking coffee and relaxing on the couch with a good book. Maybe this doesn't make sense to most people, considering it is not a library and there isn't a book in sight. What kind of library would have a ship in the middle of it? Still, I can't deny the feel I get from it, even if I'm the only one who experiences the image that way.



I only hope my own artwork reflects what I truly feel and see... not what I think others want to feel and see. The line gets blurred sometime between staying true to yourself, and doing what you think others may like. That is in all things, not just art. Here is to staying strong...
 
 
Emotional Status: artisticartistic
Music du Juor: "The Sacrifice" - by Symphony X
 
 
cslewispoe
17 May 2010 @ 03:05 am
I can't sleep and my mind is stuttering. I feel like I have something to say, something to do... but I lay there just listless, yet on the cusp of motion. That's what I mean by stuttering. I'm envious of those who always know what to say or do. Don't get me wrong. Sometimes I can be quite decisive. Yet, I think it is just in my nature to be contemplative. Not that they are mutually exclusive. Just that sometimes my decisiveness may be a bit delayed by my contemplative tendency.

Well, since sleep has pretty much abandoned me, I figured I would write in my blog since I have been so negligent in my duties. Not that I haven't wanted to. In fact, I have thought about it quite frequently. See, I started a new job in February. Ever since then, time has gotten away from me. I have a long commute so I pretty much only have about three to four hours to myself during the weekdays. By the time I clean up, eat dinner, shower, get clothes and lunch together for the next day, I'm left with very little free time. I am not complaining by any means. I enjoy my job. It is quite challenging so the days go by quick. I have some great co-workers - some are little more nuts than others, but overall a great group. I am proud of the work I do. I'm currently contracted with the government, working with the Military HIV Research Program. The drama didn't take long to start though. It suffers from the stereotypical government bureaucracy, which is a whole new environment for me and my closest coworker. We started a week apart and have been going partially mad by the insanity ever since. It has gotten to the point where you either adjust and accept, or leave. I'm adjusting - so I have no plans on going elsewhere at this time. I hope he decides to do the same as well, but only time will tell.

My goal was to blog weekly. Honestly, I don't know if I can hold up to that schedule but I'll do my best.

Anyway, I'd like to share a video this week titled "Two Inches to the Right". The words to the video are a poem written by Matt Lloyd, who was attacked in a park by youths with nothing better to do. He was lucky to have lived. He wrote the poem the morning after his attack. Hope you enjoy:


The poem is simple, yet poignant. The message is clear and a bit chilling. As for the video artwork, I particularly like the use of black and white on brown. It has more impact than if it was in full color.

The shame of it is, youth violence is increasing in many communities. There is a bleak future for many of these adolescents. Is it boredom, lack of supervision, or is it anger toward everyone around them that leads them to forget human compassion and hurt another for kicks - with no remorse except for getting caught? I don't get it. I mean, I feel guilty if I kill a fly... let alone harm another human being. Don't get me wrong. I've had my share of wanting to slap someone silly for numerous reasons. I just could never follow through. Not because of fear or cowardice. I don't because it's wrong - and I wouldn't feel good about myself if I had. What is it that has changed, where that wall that stops someone from doing someone else harm, has completely disintegrated? How can we change that? I don't know.

It's not just physically either. What about the disgraceful top execs that knowingly rob everyone blind? Where is their morality? Has greed and power completely taken away all their scruples? It's disgusting, really. They can make all the excuses they want, but the short of it is, they apparently value dishonesty, greed, power over dignity and honesty. They definitely offer a window into the bad side of human nature. I'm looking for some blinds... because I don't want to see this show anymore.
 
 
Emotional Status: discontentdiscontent
Music du Juor: On Top - by The Killers
 
 
cslewispoe
There are so many opportunities available to us... yet, how often we forget. Hard work and dedication are keys to living a successful life. Opportunities are wasted if we don't make full use of them by adding our own sweat and tears. Yes, we all have our day-to-day trials and tribulations... some much more than others. Occasionally we need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture to reaffirm what our core values are, confirm our beliefs. It is time to remind myself to look outside the 'World of Crista" and bring back into view "Humanity".

Here is a brief story of a child named Kassim Ouma, who at the age of 6, was forced to become a child soldier in Uganda. I can go on about my outrage how our children are ripped of their childhood, in order to fight the man's war, for man's power and greed. Yes, I am horrified and it makes me extremely heart-stricken. What this reminds me though, is that there are so many opportunities here, to improve others' lives.... yet, how often do we choose to look the other way? Don't. Take that step, even if it seems small or may go unnoticed... and remember that the wave of goodwill travels far. "Never The Same" by By L. Lamor Williams, World Ark contributor:

http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.5569567/

By the way, Heifer International has a solid approach with real results in trying to fight World Hunger. If your company, or even your friends and family are looking for a new philanthropic endeavor, be sure to check them out. I think you'll be impressed.

http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.201452/

Remember, reap what you sow. May kindness come your way...
 
 
Emotional Status: contemplativecontemplative
Music du Juor: "Biko" by Peter Gabriel
 
 
cslewispoe
14 February 2010 @ 02:51 am
Okay, I came across the following video and thought to myself, "Gee, this looks enchanting". It's an excellent little video. The graphics are incredible, it holds your attention, and it has a catchy musical score. Yet, "enchanting" is not the word I would use to describe this clip. Looks can be deceiving... which is what makes this video even better!


My inaccurate preconceived notions of this video, brings to mind something I've been thinking about lately. I've concluded that I'm spending my life consistently proving myself wrong. What I thought I knew, I didn't. For example, judgments and ideas of things, other people, and even more-so what I thought I knew of myself. What may have been true yesterday, is no longer true today. This is teaching me to not see things in strictly black and white, set in stone. There is an underlying viscousness to life. In the dictionary, viscosity would be described as "the property of resistance to flow". In other words, it's the measure of a fluid's resistance in response to stress. Kind of fitting if you ask me. It's only natural to resist things when under stress. But maybe, instead of resisting change, if we were only to embrace it... things would flow much better. I'll try to accept the gray area of life... and understand that by seeing only black and white, it is the same as looking at life through a microscopic lens. Hard to see the big picture that way.
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Emotional Status: pensivepensive
Music du Juor: "Neku Nemurenai" - by Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh
 
 
cslewispoe
One of the highlights of watching the Super Bowl today was viewing the trailer for the upcoming film, Alice in Wonderland. Now, I've seen the trailer before... it's quite tasty. Especially the 3D version that I previewed when seeing Avatar at the theater. What I'm finding though is that each time I see it, my anticipation grows exponentially. Yes, I'm a Johnny Depp fan. Yes, I'm a Tim Burton fan as well. Yet, what grabs me the most is the story itself. It was a childhood favorite of mine. The old, weathered book remains on my bookshelf, and shall remain there until I return to the earth. The trippie world that Lewis Carroll created was what I wanted my reality to be. Now to see it brought to life in the way I envisioned as child... it blows my mind. I'm sure there may be some liberties that Tim Burton has taken with the story, but I'm prepared for that... as long as he brings the fantastic world to life for me. When I'm done watching the film, I want to feel like the lines between reality and fantasy have been blurred. That's the experience I'm looking for. I want to feel like Alice... like I've eaten one too many mushrooms, but without the brain damage.


 
 
Emotional Status: giddygiddy
Music du Juor: "Alten Mara" - Mythos
 
 
cslewispoe
05 February 2010 @ 11:14 pm
There's no denying the mood of this piece.  I came across this on facebook... one of the perks of the masses out there in the FB world.  The artist has rendered something that matches the persistent emotion I feel at this stage in my life.  Yet, it's not a sense of hopelessness per se.  Turmoil, yes.  Yet... I get the feeling it's about there being more.... more than our own personal strife.  We're forgetting something that prevents us from being whole.  We're finding ourselves to be alone, lost, confused... and we can't seem to find our way.  Surely, we're not looking in the right places? 




This is my first journal entry, and in all honesty, I'm not really sure how I'll progress.  It's a work in progress... I'm not even sure what my intent is.  I suppose as in life, it is the journey itself that leads the way.   
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Current Locale: MD
Emotional Status: melancholymelancholy
Music du Juor: Frozen - by Celldweller