The end of vacation part two...

I head back to church tomorrow after a truly wonderful 14 day respite: it was exciting and restful, filled with adventure as well as lots of down time. I got to hear some GREAT music in Montreal, practice speaking French with creative and compassionate people, share lots of time in the sun with my beloved and do some of the reading I've been laying aside, too. I even began to reclaim a more ordered prayer life (although there is more attention needed here!)

What's more, I watched some classic films that I've always wanted to see, read lots of poetry, walked my ass off and spent some time cooking French food for Dianne. And, we started to explore the sweet, wild world of French wines.

Two really fun things that are symbolic of this time of renewal:

+ I grew my beard out again and it is TOTALLY white! Yikes... no hint of my once dark brown tones. And I will probably keep it this way a la Yusuf Islam. I really dig this guy more and more: he opted out of the rat race and cultivated a spiritual life. It is different than mine but it is totally authentic. And now, after growing and maturing, learning to shut up more than say anything out load - and take care of his family and many others - once again he is making music. Sweet music - even playing some of the old tunes, too - all for the cause of peace and compassion. He is truly one of my spiritual mentors.

+ And I finally learned to play "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." I've wanted to get this song since 1974 - before my children were born - and now I have it. I still have to do some practice but... one of the blessings of getting older is setting goals and knowing how to achieve them. I remember hearing Leo Kottke do this back in St. Louis all those years ago... and I ached to play it, too. But, like most things, you gotta sit down and work at it hard to make it happen and I wasn't willing to do that for 35 years but... when the student is ready, the teacher will appear: and now I have it. And a white beard, too!

So, back to church life for a few weeks again (and then a little more vacation time, too!) Makes me think of this poem by my boy Rumi:

There is a smile and a gentleness
inside. When I learned the name

and address of that, I went to where
you sell perfume. I begged you not

to trouble me so with longing. Come
out and play! Flirt more naturally.

Teach me how to kiss. On the ground
a spread blanket, flame that's caught

and burning well, cumin seeds browning,
I am inside all of this with my soul.


Black Pete said…
Glad you posted a pic, RJ. Otherwise, if we happened to be down your way, I'd probably say, "Who are you and what have you done with James?!"

And the scenery in your spouse's picture looks very vieux Montreal...
RJ said…
Oui, mon ami, oui. We'll see if the white beard stays, but for now it is oui. Be well.

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