Puddle sprayed

Getting sufficient sleep has been an issue with me for about ten years now, leaving me with a nominal two to four hours of broken sleep most evenings. Occasionally, I’ll be able to stretch that to as high as six, although almost never for two nights in a row. That’s okay, I’m pretty much used to it.

Recently, my winter darkness sleep habits have shifted with the 4:30 pm sunset, leaving me to nod off as early as 7:00 pm and getting up for good several hours later. Last night started no differently, but perhaps due to a largely vegetarian diet and abstaining from caffeine and alcohol for several weeks – strategies I had tried to counter Parkinson’s sleep problems with no luck in the past – I was able to sleep solidly until one am. After a short meditation, I made tea and went downstairs to work on my latest writing project. About three hours of positive results later, I was riding pretty high in reflection of how far I’d come in my journey of self-awareness.

By mid-morning, I walked out of the grocery store still in a great mood, cart filled with organic, fresh vegetables, feeling buoyant and full of life. Stepping lively into the parking lot, I heard a soft “whoosh,” and it felt like I’d been puddle sprayed by a passing car. There was no car. I looked up to see the receding business end of a seagull, soaring victoriously away from the scene of his crime.

Now, I will admit, a thought passed immediately through my mind: I should be feeling angry now, shouldn’t I? Old habits of reverting to how I’m “supposed to think and feel” still come to me all the time, but it took only a fraction of a second for it to pass. Instead, I laughed honestly at the seagull’s devastating accuracy (I was a Navy bomber pilot at one time, after all), at my hubris in believing that I actually understood anything about life, at the juxtaposition of how nature’s quiet beauty sometimes presents itself, but mostly I laughed at me, just because it felt good.

Simple silliness is oft underrated for use as a tool, in combination with humility, gratitude, and compassion, to break through the self-erected barriers to our shared, human experience. I’m strangely reminded of the old TV series, “Kung Fu,” when an imaginary Master might say to his student:

“Grasshopper, when you can laugh at the seagull shitting on your shoulder, it will be time for you to leave.”


Meaning is not a validation of your beliefs or values, nor does it reside on a clear plain of quid pro quo, detectable by eye or ear. Approach obliquely, searching for the perfect angle, the merging of timelessness with eternal as it whispers closer from undiscovered shores. Search the second beyond a lifetime for the alchemy of revelation, for it is there, patiently awaiting the barren luminosity of a crisp, moonless night.

Ego’s dark eye

To walk in the fullness of morning, absent the forgiveness of knowing, lightens the earthly burden. Watch from a distance for ego’s dark eye, peeking from behind the carefully hewed stone, lurking beside mischievous demons of triviality.

“I see you,” Eyes meet and distraction fades, wind-scattered and powerless.

 The chilled air beckons as nature returns in blurred ecstasy, whimsical in the predestination of quiet wonder.