Tuesday, February 23, 2010


What has happened —

for days and days all we have heard about

is the great snowstorm heading our way

best stock up, best finish up last minute things

best wait and ponder and worry about

this approaching snow

whatever happened to awakening to snow falling

in the far north woods

where you live

photo © bob arnold

I watched the weather last night and looked at the map — heavy snow in parts of Texas. . .

all for Kim

Santa Fe has received the foot of snow we are about to receive. Or two feet. You never know here. An extra inch in Texas is a foot. Here a foot is foot. We will be with snow shovels in hand up to Friday.

As I finished up the snow news in the southwest, another friend buzzed in a letter and said what snow was now in outer Detroit, coming heavy. That was most likely the snow we are now feeling slowly but surely. Nothing like snow that visits and visits us all! Take it that way, give it to someone else.

We won't be like the kitten in the living room watching all the world of snow just come down, come down. And then he'll only live 12-15 years at the outset. Our dogs made it about the same length of time. Our geese only lived 10 years, ducks a little under that, chickens barely live. The ladybug now on my arm, maybe one season. This thought is about to end.

I sometimes like to go out in the new snow falling and bring in heavy armloads of oak and beech stovewood in my slippers. I look down at my feet and say to myself you're in your slippers.

I'm about to post a little poster of the new book I'm reading on the Harvard squad of psychedelic rompers Leary, Ram Dass, Weil and one not so well known, but the true prophet of that age, Huston Smith. I've grown weary of my younger self who was partly fueled and brought this far on the Beats, acid freaks and black revolutionaries. Old self never forgets how he got here. Respect bows in all 4 directions. Then cuts out the chaff.

There's new stuff all the time to help us along.

In the music dept. at your job take a listen, when the guards allow you to, to the new Chris Smither's CD. It's thin and in cardboard, just out. From the first note in, you're in good hands. From a guy who never had to try to make black singer blues. It's hard enough being white. It's hard enough being.

Last night lounging on the sofa bed spread open on the lv room floor we watched Julie & Julia, the silly latest from Nora Ephron, and since it made us feel like two girls, we enjoyed it through & through. Cutie-Pie loved the bed. He'd never seen it before! We have to remember to pull it out more often.

In another hour I'll be out of slippers and in boots.

Sweetheart asked, "You sure you want to reveal all this about slippers?"

I smiled and said, "You bet."

top photo © bob arnold

(Harper One 2010)

starring the well known Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), Andrew Weil, and a much lesser known and quieter Huston Smith. . .

. . . who the author Don Lattin describes exactly this way halfway through his survey of a mind expanded time.

"The conference at the University of California offices in San Francisco went on as scheduled. But even before Huston [Smith] delivered his paper, [Paul] Lee could see that the distinguished philosophy professor was getting tired of the circus surrounding the early years of the psychedelic scene. What had been going on back east was bad enough. But this West Coast scene was out of control. These were bacchanalian rites, and they were going down on an unprecedented scale. It was downright Dionysian.

Huston no longer wanted to be associated with the social movement that was coalescing around Leary and Alpert and Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead. Smith looked at all the sexuality immortality inspired by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and the psychedelic religion and was reminded of what Friedrich Nietzsche said about Christ's disciples — how they "should look more redeemed". To Huston's mind, steeped in the history of religious movements. Leary and Alpert's actions smacked of antinomianism, the Christian heresy that asserts that true believers are exempt from moral and civil laws because they're already saved.

"Huston was a moralist", Paul Lee would later explain. "He thought this antinomian trend was something to criticize. We said, "Oh, man. Come on, Huston. Lighten up. Just because you were born in China to Methodist missionaries." But he thought that because he was identified with all this, he had to critically comment on it. He did, and he was right. A lot of lives were damaged. Huston sounded the sour note at the conference, but in retrospect, I think that was important. But at the time, everybody just sniffed at him."

It's telling.

Huston Smith was a tolerant teacher and guide toward varied cultural beliefs and religions. He was instrumental in introducing the Dalai Lama to the West.