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Thursday, March 15, 2012

BEYOND THE END TIME

       by anthony caro


Daffodils are in full flower, crocuses have been blooming for a week, grass in the meadows is turning green, apple trees budding, birds singing, 68 degrees in the middle of March. We have not had a winter yet. From half a lifetime of living intimately with the weather, the only absolute rule I've seen is that winter usually hits for a least a time. Heretofore. Not necessarily this year. This year is way beyond the predictable. The blizzards come in late March. I've heard prediction of a blizzard this year, but don't pay much attention to weather predictions, like I don't pay attention to NASCAR race predictions. What he's gonna do is.... No matter how finely tuned the drivers, losing traction, going sideways in the pack can take out half a dozen good drivers who might have had a chance to win. Somebody goes sideways in front of you, it makes no difference what a good driver you are, what the predictions were for this race, bang, rattle-rattle, screeeeee, bang, screeeeee, twirling round and round on the grass. Yellow flag.


Everyone around me is happy with the weather as it is. Some dread the flea population this coming summer. In a world of Baptists, it is one of many signs of the end of time, whatever that means. At once, the Baptists are republicans, who aren't supposed to believe the weather is strange--it's normal, if you believe. How can it be a sign of the "end time" if it's "normal?" LOL Whatever. Who cares? I don't know how to feel about the weather but uneasy. If anything were ever politically incorrect, it is incorrect to suggest there might be something odd about it being 70 half way into March. This is the time of winter we've had enough, enough already, of ice and cold. And we have at least another week of winter on the calendar. I don't dare predict, but can say without fear of contradiction that winter is not over yet. We may not get any more winter. As winters have become warmer, our summers have become warmer, by about the same number of degrees, by my personal observation. Scientists will say one thing; the fantasy factory will say another, none of which accord with my subjective observation. What I'm seeing is exactly what "scientists" predicted, a very fast upsurge in warming. But I'm not going to say anything. Isn't it a beautiful day.



Talking with Joe Allen Delp at the coffee shop this morning, we remembered a summer several years ago, at least 25 years ago, when we had so many beautiful days the ground was on the verge of cracking. Springs dried up all over the county that summer. We've not had one as dry since. The only way I can guess the future is from patterns in the past. The only pattern I see in the annual cycles of the last half of my life is that no two winters are the same and no two summers are the same. Every winter is unique among winters. All seasons are uniquely themselves every year. It's still weird. Maybe the spaceships will land and save us when we can't save ourselves. They might take us to an inner earth civilization in another dimension where the temperature on the surface won't matter. Do I remember something about "the fire next time." Sounds kinda Faulkner, kinda James Baldwin, kinda Bible. We have no choice but to find out. We may not have made the conditions together, but we're complicit because we chose not to spend the last half century cross-legged in a Himalayan cave. There are no more Himalayan caves, anyway. Tibetan culture has been run out of its home to refugee villages in India to contribute even more to the ocean of diversity that India is. Monks and lamas have been released from Lhasa like dandelion fluff blown free by a divine wind to land and root all over the world.


I'm guessing the wisdom of Tibet has been dispersed throughout the Eastern and Western worlds for seekers in the thousand years of peace. Tibetan wisdom has been hidden from the rest of the world until the last century or so. It has generated inwardly for a great many centuries. Evidently, it is time for nearly all languges to have books like the Tibetan Book of the Dead available, and for cities all over the world to have their resident Tibetan monks and lamas serving small communities of devotees. The Dalai Lama chose Atlanta. It's not just Tibetan wisdom being released in the world, but wisdom from every faith. It's all online. That doesn't cheapen it. It attests to the value of the internet, at least for now. It seems like the young of the world are distracted unto unconsciousness.  After whatever storm is in the blender about to break loose when the HI button is pushed, which doesn't look very far away, the people remaining will need sound, authentic, fresh spiritual vision. Whatever storm the conflict brings, we'll endure it for probably several years, one side hollering, jihad, the other side hollering, armageddon. The conflict of the Jerusalem religions. The people that never got it. All three of the religions value Peace the highest, and they're digging at the dirt in their pens like bulls, snorting to get at each other in the arena of war.


This next one is billed as the war of wars, the war so long, so bad, so deadly (remember the Pale Horse--death), the survivors will say with universal conviction, no more war. This is the beginning of the thousand years of peace. I take peace to mean no war. No wars means no divisions among the people. There will, of course, be boundaries and borders, languages and races. No divisions means, in my way of seeing, the way lutheran jazz musicians from Oslo play with catholic jazz musicians from Warsaw and Paris, protestants in New York, languages easy enough to get around. Musicians of all kinds tend to know no borders. It's the same with other art forms like theater, poetry, dance, visual art. It will be very different from now. Maybe it will be a time for catching on about some of the universal laws Jesus revealed to us way back then. We're still having a rough time with loving the asshole next door, the lowlife across the street, the bitch your brother's married to. Forgiving? Forget it. I'll do a hundred pushups. Martial arts teachers are all over the world now, in every city and now the small towns. I suspect martial arts will be important in the time of peace, a spiritual discipline. I would like to start learning a martial art in childhood for the spiritual unfoldment of it.



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