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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Old Man in the Woods

The day after Epiphany, I was walking in the woods at Audubon State Park and had my own epiphany. As I walked through the seemingly lifeless woods of January I realized that life and death are really the same energy, just a different cycle of that energy. Through facing death we truly embrace life. Through embracing life in its totality we no longer fear death. We become free to live and die in this state of grace. Life and death swings through the same door in the universe, like a door in a diner bringing nourishment to its patrons and waste back to the kitchen, the origin of nourishment. The cycle continues through eternity. Unfortunately we spend most of our youth destroying life in one form or another. This way we believe that we have power over life. We can control life. We then spend middle age on running away from death in order to avoid it. The truth is that youth and this earthly life are fleeting, while death is an unavoidable part of life we all must face. Face death now and you will truly be alive. Embrace this bi-polar reality embedded in the divine. Live each day as it was your last and when you die, die as if it was the beginning of your life. This was my epiphany in the woods of Audubon. As I continued walking I could feel my Cherokee ancestors smiling at this "Catholic Christian" returning to his sacred roots. I watched a falcon, wings extended, swoop down on its prey as the cycle continues. This directed my attention to the photo I have included in this tome. I call him the Old Man in the Woods. Imagine his surprise at mine! Remember to think, drink and be merry...always!
Sir Hook of Warrick


  1. Sir Hook,

    Your most excellent photo reminded me very much of a famous painting, “The Scream,” by Edvard Munch (Yes, sadly, I did have to look up the artist).

    I read that most people see this painting as the icon of human anxiety. The person in the painting, like your tree, appears to be screaming; however, what if we’ve got it wrong?

    The tree appears to be screaming in pain. But what if, instead of screaming, he is hearing a scream? What if that tree is hearing OUR screams and yelling, “Shut up! Wake up! And start living this moment!”?

    As you wrote, “Live each day as it was your last and when you die, die as if it was the beginning of your life.”

    Today’s Haiku

    The Tree’s weathered face
    Screaming or hearing our screams?
    He invites us there

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

  2. January 12, 2008

    A clear day in the upper 40s. I decided to follow your lead and hike the local Volkssport club's 10k hike that runs through the woods at Audubon. Though I did not see you man in the woods, I did feel all nature laughing at me huff and puff up and down hills for over six miles.

    I also felt my father there. It was the first time that I've hiked there since his passing (it was something we did often when I was a kid). He might have been laughing, too. But, I also believe he was saying, "Good boy. Don't quit!"

    It didn't.

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar