Meditation: Seeing & Not-Seeing

Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to the eyes of the soul. — Ovid

The few wonders of the world only exist while there are those with the sight to see them. — Charles de Lint

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. — Helen Keller

Blindness
In the fullness of the years, like it or not,
A luminous mist surrounds me, unvarying,
That breaks things down into a single thing,
Colorless, formless. Almost into a thought.
The elemental, vast night and the day
Teeming with people have become that fog
Of constant, tentative light that does not flag,
And lies in wait at dawn. I longed to see
Just once a human face. Unknown to me
The closed encyclopedia, the sweet play
In volumes I can do not more than hold,
The tiny soaring birds, the moons of gold.
Others have the world, for better or worse,
I have this half-dark. and the toil of verse.
― Jorge Luis Borges

A single candle can light a thousand more without diminishing itself. — Hillel the Elder

Our very eyes are sometimes, like our judgments, blind. ―William Shakespeare

No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him … By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true. ― Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind. — William Wordsworth

Doing as others told me, I was blind.
Coming when others called me, I was lost.
Then I left everyone, myself as well.
Then I found everyone, myself as well.
― Jalaluddin Rumi

To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. — John Milton

What you lose in blindness is the space around you, the place where you are, and without that you might not exist. You could be nowhere at all. — Barbara Kingsolver

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. — Andre Gide

A blind man was riding an unheated train
— Arseny Tarkovsky, translated from the Russian by Philip Metres & Dimitri Psurtsev

A blind man was riding an unheated train,
From Bryansk he was traveling home with his fate.
~
Fate whispered to him so the whole car could hear:
And why should you care about blindness and war?
~
It’s good, she was saying, you’re sightless and poor.
If you were not blind, you’d never survive.
~
The Germans won’t kill you, you’re nothing to them.
Allow me to lift that bag on your shoulder—
~
The one with the holes, the empty torn one.
Let me just raise your eyelids wide open.
~
The blind man was traveling home with his fate,
Now thankful for blindness. Happy about it.

Barbershop Quartet Downtown Crossing @ Jackson Community Church

BARBERSHOP QUARTET
Downtown Crossing @ Jackson Community Church
Saturday, March 18, 7:30pm
Mountain Top Music brings award-winning Barbershop Quartet to Jackson

From the embers of The Vocal Revolution Chorus, a community of male singers from around the Boston areas, a youthful quartet dedicated to bringing fun and energy to barbershop music was born – called “Downtown Crossing”.  Mountain Top Music is pleased to bring this award-winning vocal quartet to the Mt Washington Valley on Saturday evening, March 18th, 7:30pm at the Jackson Community Church.

Downtown Crossing, also known as DTX, is comprised of the talents of Dan Costello, Ben Orenstein, Joey Constantine, and Seth Orenstein.  They join together in song singing traditional barbershop harmony but sometimes mesh it with the likes of spiritual numbers, stage musical favorites, and Motown chart toppers.  They have won or placed in the Northeastern District Quartet and Chorus Championships for many years and will again be competing in the International event in Las Vegas this summer.

Seth Orenstein was first introduced to barbershop music when he was ten years old by his “barbershopping” grandfather.  He has become a front-row member of the chorus, member of the music team and is the tenor, which means he sings the high notes.

Joey Constantine is the Lead singer.  After one year of playing the clarinet in middle school, Joey quickly realized that the only instrument he needed was his voice.  You’ll understand why when you hear this man sing!  Joey can be found in his spare time functioning as the Assistant Conductor of the Vocal Revolution.

Baritone Dan Costello has been singing barbershop for 16 years thanks to his Grandfather John.  Dan is a certified Director of the Barbershop Harmony Society and currently directs the Vocal Revolution Chorus (formerly “Sounds of Concord”).

And if you like the low notes, then Ben Orenstein is your man.  He stands next to Joey and fills out the bottom of DTX’s sound.  Like his brother Seth, he was introduced to the sound of barbershop by his grandfather and sings mostly roots and fifths!

Seats are first-come, first serve, at the Jackson Community Church, 127 Main St, Jackson, NH.  Cost is $17/person prepay at  or $20/person at the door; children and students are free.  Come join Mountain Top Music in welcoming these talented individuals as they bring the sounds of close harmonies and barbershop tunes back to our area.

Meditation: drink from the well — wonder & curiosity

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love. ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Wonder by Deakin Dixon
I who flounder in the things of the spirit,
Deep in the things of the flesh, and deep in song.
Burn this self till I can no longer bear it,
Life frenzying my ears like a deep gong –
I, who have not learned to walk as yet
High above men, with dark peace in my eyes,
To walk wisely, knowing only to let
My wise hands covet the trees, desire the skies:
I, abandoned to things bright or ugly,
To all things living, asking bowed or bold,
Marvel at you, wrapped securely, snugly,
In beauty and bearing. You seem strangely old –
Until I suddenly know that you have gone
Through places I have feared to tread upon.

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.  –  Stephen Hawking

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.  ― Rachel Carson

Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory. ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. ― Socrates

Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult, I’ve decided, is only a slow sewing shut.  ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle. ― Thich Nhat Hahn

Meditations: immersing ourselves in wild creative energy of life & Spirit

As Kingfishers Catch Fire — Gerard Manley Hopkins
~~
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

~~
I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Christ — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. ― Black Elk

The Spirit breathes order into creation, but also energizes possibility amid the united, and often chaotic, processes of evolutionary becoming. Dabhar and ruach seem to arise from, and cocreate within, the same foundational energy that has intrigued mystics and scientists over several eons. Energy is a richly endowed concept in many of the great Eastern philosophies. The Chinese Chi, the Japanese Ki, and the Sanskrit Prana are understood to arise from a cosmic energy flow, a vital force hat courses throughout the entire universe … “Chi is a vital, dynamic, and original power that permeates the entire universe and leads to an ultimate unity,” writes theologian Grace ji-Sun Kim. It envelops the personal, social and cosmic realms. At one and the same time it is physical, psychological, and spiritual. —  Diarmuid O’Murchu from In the Beginning was the Spirit: Science, Religion, and Indigenous Spirituality

On life’s journey
plowing a small field
going and returning
— Basho

For ‘the Spirit breathes where He wills, and thou hearest His voice, but canst not tell whence He cometh or whither He goeth.’ He blesses the body that is baptized, and the water that baptizes. Despise not, therefore, the Divine laver, nor think lightly of it, as a common thing, on account of the use of water. For the power that operates is mighty, and wonderful are the things that are wrought thereby. — Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa

But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being. ― Hermann Hesse

Fire —  Eunice Tietjiens
~~
Love, let us light
A fire tonight,
A wood fire on the hearth
~~
With torn and living tongues the flames leap.
Hungrily
They catch and lift, to beat their sudden wings
Toward freedom and the sky.
The hot wood sings
And crackles in a pungent ecstasy
That seems half pain of death, and half a vast
Triumphant exultation of release
That its slow life-time of lethargic peace
Should come to this wild rapture at the last.
~~
We watch it idly, and our casual speech
Drops slowly into silence.
Something stirs and struggles in me,
Something out of reach
Of surface thoughts, a a slow and formless thing –
Not I, but dim memory
Born of the dead behind me. In my blood
The blind race turns, groping and faltering.
~~
Desires
Only half glimpsed, not understood,
Stir me and shake me. Fires

Farewell to Fritz Koeppel & Jo-Ann Gray

VISITATION & SERVICES for FRITZ KOEPPEL
Visitation: Tue, Mar 7 • 6-8pm @ Furber and White
Services: Wed, Mar 8 • 1pm @ Our Lady of the Mountains

From Ellie Koeppel: It is with great regret that I have to let you know that Fritz passed away peacefully in his home in Jackson on Friday evening, March 3rd. I was by his side, as were his son Alex and his  wife Teri; his son Erik and partner Lauren; and of course Annie his dog was laying by his feet. He went peacefully and gracefully as Fritz would have wanted. In the two years since his diagnosis with stage 4 Pancreatic cancer he played golf, skied with the style that only Fritz had, and none of us could ever accomplish. We traveled to Ireland and Switzerland to see both of our families twice and to our favorite place in Mexico four times, most recently to celebrate my birthday in January. Until the end, he was focused on the well being of his family, including the staff at The Wentworth, whom he also considered as his family, and on his future plans for The Wentworth Hotel. He loved the village of Jackson, the community spirit of Jackson and the many friends he had in the village and its surroundings.

Visiting hours will be on Tuesday, March 7th at the Furber and White Funeral Home in North Conway from 6:00 to 8:00. A mass will be said in his honor by Father Steven at Our Lady of the Mountains at 1:00PM on Wednesday. Following the service, all are invited to join us at The Shannon Door Pub in Jackson. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

Sincerely, Ellie Koeppel

REMEMBERING JO-ANN GRAY

Jo-Ann Gray’s daughter Linda shared with us that her mother died on Saturday morning, March 4, at Merriman House.

Obituary: Jo-Ann Lindsey Gray of North Conway, NH formerly of Glastonbury, CT., died peacefully on March 4, 2017 at the Merriman House in North Conway, NH., after a long decline from Alzheimer’s Disease. Calling hours will be on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at Holmes Funeral Home, 400 Main St. Manchester, CT from 10-11 am with a service at 11 am at the funeral home. Burial will follow in East Cemetery, Manchester. Donations in Jo-Ann’s memory can be made to the Girl Scouts of Connecticut – Campership Fund, 340 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106. To leave an online condolence please visit www.holmes-watkinsfuneralhomes.com

Meditations: ashes, sand & stones ~ lessons from the wilderness

Sense how
Even the smooth stones ache
With stories of their own
In the shuddering light of day.
― Scott Hastie

In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth. ― Rachel Carson

Individually, every grain of sand brushing against my hands represents a story, an experience, and a block for me to build upon for the next generation. ― Raquel Cepeda from Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina

I wanted to feel the blood running back into my veins, even at the cost of annihilation. I wanted to shake the stone and light out of my system … To be of night so frighteningly silent, so utterly incomprehensible and eloquent at the same time. Never more to speak or to listen or to think. ― Henry Miller from Tropic of Capricorn

All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. ― Cormac McCarthy from The Road

The sand doesn’t care if you’re made of flesh or stone. ― Joaquin Lowe from Bullet Catcher

These are burning times. And they call for Burning Women. Women embodied in their passion. Woman feeling in their bodies. Creative women. Courageous women. Women who have learned to run on a different power source to the world which is falling into flames around her. … she will not be dazed, confused and disorientated by the systemic changes happening around her. Centred within herself, receptive to the Earth beyond her, she knows how to cultivate from the ashes, she knows how to find the embers to fuel the new fire.

Burning Women arise.
Our time is now.
Our time has come.

― Lucy H. Pearce from Burning Woman

When surrounded by the ashes of all that I once cherished, despite my best efforts I can find no room to be thankful. But standing there amidst endless ash I must remember that although the ashes surround me, God surrounds the ashes. And once that realization settles upon me, I am what I thought I could never be … I am thankful for ashes. ― Craig Lounsbrough