Last fall, “The Flock of Free Range Children” began corroborating with Ms. Beth Miller on a project of putting some of William Blake’s poems to music, along with a Reader’s Theater and Art Show. The pictures on this page were taken by Margaret Sullivan at the culmination (so far) of this performance at Auburn Public Theater, The show was well received and we look forward to doing it again with her in the future. Now it is time for the Flock to turn their focus on their Spring Concert to be held from Sunday, March 20, from 2-4 pm at the Theater Mack in Auburn.
On March 15th, 2015 the Flock of Free Range Children performed a benefit concert for the Community Preservation Committee, Inc. to help raise money for the restoration of the Willard Chapel. We raised over $500 for the cause. We will be posting photos like these in the future.
Watching television news for me is sometimes a very scary proposition. All the stories about ISIS, serial killers and super storms cause me great apprehension. Then I go into my attic and see that there is a much better chance of all the stuff I have stored above my living space crushing me than any of the aforementioned leading to my demise. The saddest part is that I really do have the ability to change that situation and don’t, yet spend so much time worrying about the aforementioned things with which I can exercise little or no control.
I burnt sage throughout my house to remove any negativity and then the thought occurred to me, “Would I have to leave too?”
There is a Christmas song that goes “All is calm, all is bright.” I sincerely wish that was the case this season. Depending on where you were it may not have been that way. Many places did not experience what I like most about the Christmas. Often everyone seems more tolerant, forgiving and charitable, which usually lasts until the credit card bills come in January.
I always enjoy it when I find words of wisdom without looking. They may well for me be the greatest gift of all. It starts me to dreaming of what the world could be if we all lived by those doctrines. I recently found printed “The Corporal Works of Mercy” on my mother-in-law’s house keys which I borrowed to insure re-entry after a night of mild carousing (all that I can do at this age) with a friend. As I was putting the keys back I noticed the words written on the key chain holder. Not being raised Catholic, to me it was a new discovery. The Works are as follows… Visit the Sick, Clothe the Naked, Welcome the Stranger, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, Feed the Hungry, and Bury the Dead. It made me wonder how I compared.
I asked myself do I visit the sick? If someone who is in my immediate family gets ill I do visit them and ask if there is anything I can do. Currently that is easy to do as I have little immediate family in the area. I can only hope that I would take the time if I saw someone injured to help them in any way I could or use my resources to help out my family who does not live locally.
As for clothing the naked goes, I do donate improperly fitting clothes to the free clothing store. I know few naked people, although I did visit a nudist colony for an interview once. Even the people I saw weren’t totally naked as it was a cold day and they were wearing shirts or light jackets and sneakers. The only other naked people I know don’t seem to stay that way for long. Other naked people must get arrested before they get anywhere near my door, for none have ever come. I suppose I would welcome them and offer them something to wear, if they so desired. I have welcome other strangers into my home before. Sometimes it worked out, other times not so well.
I’m the kind of guy that if I have an extra drink and you’re thirsty, it’s yours. I do have a bit of a germ phobia regarding allowing people to drink out of my bottle but will allow it, if you are truly thirsty. Please don’t be offended, though, if I wipe it off real good or if you have bleeding mouth sores, give you the remainder claiming I’m no longer thirsty.
The magazine I do, “Olive Trees,” has been the vehicle which has allowed me to visit the imprisoned. Since somewhere around 2001, pages 16, 17 and 18 have been devoted to the works of an ever growing body of poets, the incarcerated of New York State and now Indiana. I have visited the Auburn Correctional Facility to watch performances by The Phoenix Players and visited a poet just before his release to wish him well due to this connection.
In an attempt to feed the hungry I do give pan handlers spare change and have performed at benefits for food pantries. I am still a bit selfish with my chocolate and may hide it, so no one asks if they can have some, but I’m getting better at sharing than I ever was.
As for burying the dead go, I won’t leave any one lying there, though I wish it wasn’t such a legal hassle.
After reviewing I realize I’m not perfect but I guess I’m trying. Just think what would happen if we all tried to do the best we could. The buck stops with each of us! ~ Ron
As I looked out my window and saw the first snow of the season falling, my first thoughts were about how beautiful everything looked. Then I began wondering about what it all entails. Now I don’t mind shoveling, in fact I kind of like the exercise. It’s the other things I find annoying, like icy locks and coated windshields, when I want to go somewhere in a hurry. But I guess that’s what living in New York is all about.
A new Olive Trees, issue 52 – Solitary Revolutions is being published his week and if you are on the mailing list should be in your mailbox shortly. If you are not please send your address to:
144 Genesee St., Suite 102-123
Auburn, NY 13021
It’s been a long time coming. The following is the editorial for this issue. I hope you enjoy it
The cartoon on page 2 reminded me about how I felt regarding the NYS Safe Act. When it was first passed I considered it a knee jerk reaction to a horrible tragedy for political purposes only. This doesn’t mean I think assault weapons are needed to hunt or regard an unlimited magazine of ammunition necessary for hunters to kill his or her prey. I do not hunt nor do I eat meat except when served in the homes of others, but I do recognize the rights of others to kill animals for food. In fact, I feel individuals who eat meat should at least experience the whole process in order to obtain reverence for its source.
I do not blame people for being angry about the possible loss of what they feel is a Constitutional Right. It seems the government’s role has changed from providing services to the regulation of our lives. Our present model of government, the two party system, has actually become two heads of the same global corporate beast. They are the ones who install people into power that will produce for them the greatest profits, rather than serve the needs of we, the people.
I am aware there are some groups who advocate revolution. There are others who feel they will need to be armed in case civil disobedience erupts in this country as it has in others when things became economically unbalanced. And you can never have enough fire power in the case of a zombie outbreak. I can’t help but feel these scenarios will not happen here. Anyone who poses a threat to the current status quo (even zombies) with possible violence will be eliminated by the single-minded robots currently being created by our present educational system. There are many who have sworn an oath to die for their nation and mean it. Funny thing is, they are not even promised virgins if they die in battle. Even if any of these adversaries prove stubborn, there are always drones at their disposal. Eventually heat sensors will locate the enemy and they will be toast. I am sure during a confrontation there may be some casualties to government forces, but sooner or later the movement will be quelled by whatever means necessary. Even the Occupation Movement, a non-violent approach to wealth equalization, was silenced by a massive propaganda machine.
When I was in school they promised us that we could work within the system to promote change. So far it hasn’t really happened. Oh things are somewhat better on the surface. Racism still exists, although not as blatant. One has to only look toward the ratio of people of color in our prison systems as a glaring example. There is still a glass ceiling regarding the advancement of women with a few token exceptions and females are still treated as commodities in some circles. Environmental laws have been passed, but ‘big energy’ still controls the agenda. In most elections we are given the choice between the lesser of two evils or no opponent at all with the majority of them beholding to the corporate pocketbook. The rich get rich, the poor get poorer and the middle class gets it stuck up there… Is there something we can do to throw a monkey wrench into the machine before it grinds us into oblivion? I believe there is. I have been a Green (legitimate third party) for a number of years. I ask all of you that are eligible to vote, to register and vote third party candidates, when ever they are available. And if you can’t vote please tell your family and friends who can to register and do so. Let’s at least send a message that it’s time for a real change. After all, we, the people are the majority, not professional politicians. ~ Ron
(editor’s note – Bob’s Knob is a hill that sits southeast of my home and overlooks a good portion of the Owasco Valley. I named it that after my ex-Brother-in-law’s untimely death many years ago as a place where I often go to meditate on the meaning of life.)
Up the top of Bob’s Knob I watched the hawk circle across the sky, blue as the bluest ocean, cloudless as cloudless could be. I turned to the four directions to see what I could see. To the east was a little forest, a tree line stood to the south, a woodland obscuring the valley to my west and a lake extending to the north capped by drumlins. I felt the frozen ground beneath my feet, covered with the leftover stalks of last year’s corn, the power of the seed within that earth waiting to be born. Oh I could hear the spring coming in the crowing of the crow and I gave thanks for just being alive and all I’ve come to know.
Originally I had resolved not to procrastinate, however, it is too late for that. Instead I have decided to live by the four agreements as put forth by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book of the same name. It really comes to a lot more than four so in the following song, I have listed what I would like to do for this year. It is inspired by the book, “the Four Agreements” and the divination cards of the same name and with liberties taken by me.
The Four Agreements ~ Ron van Nostrand January 2014 based on the book, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
I’m taking my life and enjoying it, by always doing my best, just because I want to,
Even though my best is changing all the time.
I’m honoring myself by loving and nurturing my body and expressing my divinity
By taking action on my ideas, without expecting rewards
All the while staying in the moment and letting go of the past while remembering
Not to over due….. Agreed….. Agreed
Yes, I’m saying goodbye to sadness and drama, by speaking open and honestly,
Communicating with clarity and being myself.
I’m learning to ask questions, which help me to discern the truth, assuming nothing,
Asking for what I want, while eliminating gossip and if I can master this practice, I know
My life will be transformed….Agreed….Agreed
I will enjoy heaven on earth and become the white magician who creates a beautiful dream
If I express my love by letting go of self judgment and speaking with integrity, impeccably
Without feeling that I must always be right.
In so doing I will manifest my truest intentions…Agreed…..Agreed
And in the knowing that everyone lives in their own dream, I will try to see them as they are,
And become immune to any opinions which contain emotional poison.
And in the realization that my truth is personal to me, I will learn to love and respect myself
Even as I relinquish self importance and in this way
I will transform my life….Agreed….Agreed
Agreed….Agreed Agreed….Agreed Agreed….Agreed Agreed
I have been thinking about having a web-site since I purchased my first Gateway computer many years ago. I wanted to call it olivetrees.com after the ‘zine’ I publish, but unfortunately that domain name was gone even then. When I first looked to see what it was, it was a live camera that was focused on the gates of Jerusalem where the owners of the domain expected the “Second Coming of Jesus” to occur. I hadn’t checked it recently, but upon examination discovered it to be a site for the purchasing of olive trees. I will have to wait for a little more climate change before I buy any myself. Apparently the original proprietors got tired of waiting for Him to show and gave up. Either that or they went into the tree business to bring a more substantial income.
In a conversation the other day with a friend, we were discussing today’s world and the way that some people treat others. This led to the subject of what Jesus would think about all of this if he was to return today. It reminded me of a song I wrote a while ago on this very subject. This may be a problem familiar to many prophets, usually until after their death and their message has been made less threatening to those in power. I would like to share it with you now. It is entitled, “Bringer of Light.”
“He was cast up on a hillside and ministered to by angels who taught him of a better life, far from the clattering clutter of the people below.
And when his time was ready, he was sent back among the people, to speak the truth and teach the law and mark it with an O for the infinite eternity it is.
But when he placed his truth upon a lamp stand, to shine for all the world below, arose a clamor among the people, “Turn off that cursed light, we’re trying to sleep.”
Of course we may never know if or when Jesus might return as the camera is now turned off, but I did encounter a bumper sticker the other day that proclaimed that “You’ve Got a Friend With Jesus in America.” So he may be living in your neighborhood, incognito, biding His time while getting his press kit together for a full-on media blitz. But that’s a different song.
And on a related note, “just in case of the rapture, can I have your car?” (Bourke’s bumper sticker)
Have a Happy and a Blessed New Year,