Things that Matter

We encountered heavy rain, on and off, as we approached Hot Springs Village yesterday on our way home from Tulsa, but the rain was not overwhelming. But after we picked up el perro and took him home, we set out for a late lunch at SqzBx; we had been craving pizza for quite a while and my IC had never eaten there but had wanted to for some time. So we set out for Hot Springs. Only moments into our drive, long before we got to the west gate to exit the Village, the clouds above us—apparently behaving like a balloon collecting water—ripped open. Water poured from the sky in sheets, prompting us to abandon our plans for SqzBx pizza. Torrential rains continued, off and on, for quite a long time. We opted to take a pizza from the freezer for dinner. This morning, as my IC was walking el perro, the sky burst open again, drenching dog and woman and causing dog to abandon his morning constitutional. And, so, we’re preparing to go to church; no, el perro stays home, guarding the castle.

Tulsa was great fun, though we did not make it to all the museums we had hoped to visit. The Gilcrease is closed for reconstruction. The Philbrook, on our plans, took a back seat until it was too late to visit. But we saw the Greenwood Center and the Woodie Guthrie Center and had wandered around downtown Tulsa and environs and stopped in at a place whose name escapes me, a gallery displaying string instruments and promoting the skills of accomplished luthiers. And we had lunch with an old friend of mine. And we discovered superb dining establishments and a huge park called The Gathering Place, said to be the largest public park ever built with private funds, $465 million. We will go back to Tulsa and stay longer because there is just so much to see.

During our visit, and our drive to and from, we discussed other places we might want to visit soon. Among them: Corpus Christi, Texas and Asheville, North Carolina. Unless our preliminary plans get derailed, we will visit one or the other (or both) sometime in August. Another road trip in the offing! And we may make a trip to Tucson, Arizona very soon to visit segments of my IC’s family; this trip depends on several factors that may or may not come together. Ah, life is good these days1


My IC has taken on a new role with the church; responsibility for scheduling volunteers to staff the welcome tables at the front and rear doors of the building. While in Tulsa, visiting the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, she hatched ideas for the welcoming process, prompted in part by the way the folks in Tulsa welcome visitors. But my IC has her own spins for the process; I like her creativity and critical thinking skills. I wish I could borrow them, which would help transform my thoughts from idea to execution.


All this talk of travel leaves me thinking about words I’ve read in my anthology of Zen quotations.  Here’s one piece that seems especially appropriate as I think about travel and travelers, including the way I behave as a traveler and as a human being:

One who excels in traveling
leaves no wheel tracks.
One who excels as a warrior
does not appear formidable.
One who excels in fighting
is never aroused in anger.
One who excels in defeating his enemy
does not join issue.
One who excels in employing others
humbles himself before them.

~ Zen Tradition ~

I have so much to learn, even after completing five decades of life and working toward completing a sixth and, I hope, a seventh and an eighth. The most successful among us learned all these lessons early, so they could teach others along the way. I have been a slow learner in some important ways, all these years. Much of what I thought was important turned out to be inconsequential and frivolous. And what I thought unnecessary is imperative to a life that matters. Live and learn.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Things that Matter

  1. Of course! You’re right about that. So, I’ll adjust my wishes to a seventh, eighth, and ninth decade!

  2. Colleen Boardman says:

    Um, haven’t you completed six decades of life and heading toward seven?? Just sayin’…

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.