in the dark

In the dark

In the dark an owl hooted
as crickets and toads danced and sang,

while out and about
in the beautiful night,
other beings roamed without fear

and black and white
and all the shades of being in between
embraced
and flourished
together

alone

Alone

A time to return home
and be alone
has arrived

And despite all appearances,
deep down we have always been
alone
and aware
between thoughts

twenty-nine

Twenty-nine

On a low grassy hill
on a dark blue summer night,
twenty-nine kalimbas were played slowly and gently,
with plenty of space between notes

Made from oak and teak,
walnut and neem,
they sang

in harmony with all of the crickets and toads
while lightning bugs wove through the song

shangrilashram

Shangrilashram

Crow pheasants sang in the morning,
gently waking other beings,
as butterflies danced in the air

Thoughts dissipated in the calm,
while flowers stood guard,
keeping drama and din at bay

Homemade music,
wordless and gentle,
flowed from porch to porch,
as desires and identities fell away

Stars and lightning bugs filled the sky,
while crickets and toads sang lullabies
in the garden of peace and calm

Shangrila,
a place to simply be
now

a japanese dimension

A Japanese dimension

The town had the good fortune to have
a community of Japanese stoners,
who displayed all of the wonderful
and none of the terrible
aspects of Japan

They were calm and quiet,
peaceful and respectful,
honest and polite,
comfortable with silence,
and when they did something,
they did it well

But then conditions changed,
most of the Japanese moved away,
and the town was no longer as sane without them

And as the year came to an end,
it was clear it was time to go
and make a new home
somewhere with a contingent of Japanese

tumbleweeds

Tumbleweeds

A gathering of tumbleweeds roamed the land,
leaving seed here and there,
pausing now and then,
making no decisions
and going
wherever the wind took them

Detached from their former identities,
empty of thoughts, opinions and mind,
they were free
to simply be

autumn

Autumn

Autumn had arrived
with cooler weather,
and passion fruit had begun to fall

Coffee beans were ripening
slowly
while butterflies made their rounds

Birds sang lullawakes
and crickets lullabies
while flowers silently wilted and bloomed

welcome back

Welcome back

The composition of plants and colors
was different every time

Familiar trees and flowers
greeted the one who had returned

Cicadas and crow pheasants sang throughout the day,
and crickets and toads took over at night,

and the neighborhoods cats and dogs came by,

all to say,
Welcome back, friend

a gathering of clouds

A gathering of clouds

A few clouds appeared and traveled west
slowly,

without intention,
free of concepts, future and past,
simply being,
free and flowing,

and then they disappeared

an evening fire

An evening fire

 The fire flickered and flamed
until only embers glowed,

 composed for a while and then left to be
like an Italian hilltop village
slowly going to sleep

jacarandas

Jacarandas

The jacarandas were in full bloom
here and there
throughout the town

Calm and content,
and free of concepts,
they grew
slowly

pause the story

Pause the story

Trains of thought began to slow down
and then finally came to a halt
in the stillness

As the passengers got off
gusts of wind blew their identities away,
leaving them in the space between thoughts

With nowhere to go
and nothing to do
except be,
they rested in the moment

jasmine

Jasmine

Jasmine,
on a cool winter’s eve,
letting herself be known
to those nearby,

who slowed and paused
and stayed a while,
breathing in

Jasmine

thank you for doing nothing

Thank you for doing nothing

In a place where people generally did
as little as possible,
peace and harmony reigned

Thank you for doing nothing,
read a sign near the gate to the village

A bit of music was made
now and then,
and paintings sometimes appeared upon walls,
but for the most part people did nothing
except go on walks and along the way
gather food they wanted eat later on
or sit on a porch and watch butterflies
while crow pheasants sang

Sometimes a blanket would be woven
or a roof mended,
and wood was occasionally split
for an evening fire

A bit of cooking and gardening
also took place,
and nothing felt as though it were work

Everyone lived simply
without greatly disturbing
nature and all the other beings

Dwellings were simple, elegant and low to the ground,
and the village existed in another time:

a time to be quiet and kind,
a time to pause the story,
a time to be still
and aware

neighbors

Neighbors

Some golden tortoise beetles had moved into the neighborhood
and begun to lounge around
underneath some leaves
here and there

There was a rainbow that sometimes went
from the mushroom field to the house on the hill
and appeared for a while

A great variety of trees and flowers
lived quietly among the bungalows,
simply being

And now and then a silent meow
pierced the stillness

lullawakes and lullabies

Lullawakes and lullabies

Lulled to sleep
by a chorus of crickets
and toads

Woken by the songs of birds
pulling gently,
from a dream and into another

Sitting with friends in silence,
the mind still,
simply now

the end of summer

The end of summer

The rain and damp of summer subsided
as autumn drew near

The clouds had been good friends,
providing cover from the sun
and water for the beings below

The garden,
still a palette of green
and home to a chorus of creatures,
vibrated peace and calm

And among the subtlest of scents,
that of the papaya blossoms held sway
while the milk flower trees were slowly getting in the mood to bloom

trains of thought

Trains of thought

Trains of thought,
coming and going,
each wagon a word in a sentence

The station calm and still,
observing the flow

Trains of thought,
do not stop
at every station

Get on a thought
and let it take you for a ride,
or take a step back
and let it pass by

Passengers are free to get off
at any time

after the show

After the show

The play had come to an end
and the curtain had fallen for the last time

The actors and actresses walked off the stage,
removed their costumes
and went home

They had performed their roles
for a number of years
with varying degrees of love,
and now they were free
to simply be

a lull in the conversation

A lull in the conversation

A gentle melody slowly silenced
those who had gathered to drink tea
and sit quietly,

♫ ♫ ♫

and when all were seated
and the tea had been served,
the kalimba was put away
and only birds could be heard
singing in the garden

♫ ♫ ♫

Stillness reigned
for about an hour,
and when at last some words were spoken,
it was discovered that
no one had much to say

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the end of a story

The end of a story

A story had come to an end

Trains of thought passed by
a station where they no longer stopped,
a place from which they were silently observed,
a wellspring of stillness

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

Wanderers on their way
somewhere,
nowhere,
sometimes paused
the mind trip they were on,
set their baggage down
and sat
on the platform
in the stillness
for a while

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

And when they continued,
calm and clear,
down the tracks,
it no longer mattered
where they went
or whether they went at all

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eine japanische stimmung

Eine japanische Stimmung

Die alte Stimmung war schon schön,
aber es war Zeit
für eine Veränderung

Hokkaido hieß die Tonleiter vom November,
und Hirajoshi hieß die vom Dezember,
beides japanishe Variationen
von B moll

Die neuen Kalimbas waren alle so gestimmt,
und mit der neuen Stimmung kamen neue Melodien
und stillende Musik

♫ ♫ ♫

Und still war es
um das Abendfeuer herum,
wie die Farmbewohner saßen
und nicht dachten

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

Und ab und zu ist ein sanfter Ton,
eine allein tanzende Note,
durch die Nacht geflogen,
um die anderen einzuladen
ihre Kalimbas aufzuheben
und ein neues Lied hervorzurufen,
langsam,
jeder
auf einer wiederholenden Weise
ein paar Noten hinzufügend

♫ ♫ ♫

b minor

B minor

The farm dwellers sometimes sat
on comfortable straw mats
around a low fire in the evening,
enjoying the stillness,
the space between thoughts

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

And now and then together they would play
in harmony
on some homemade kalimbas that were lying around,
each tuned to a variation
of B minor,
while some frogs in a nearby paddy sang

A song had come to be one evening
early in November,
and each night it flowed
in a slightly different way,
slowly, gently
and quietly

♫ ♫ ♫

who are you?

Who are you?

A thought,
a wave
in the Sea of Love
I am
That
from which consciousness flows:
Awareness,
the stage upon which
the divine play appears
to be

Enjoying the show,
being the flow
of actors and actresses
coming and going,
entertaining
themselves
now,
always now,
no future, no past:
flowing Now

While beyond experience
nothing but
Awareness,
silent and still

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

solitary

Solitary

Khao Niao lay still
on a patch of grass near her home

Her friends Peter and Mo Ping were gone,
and the dogs down the lane were a bit unfriendly,

but she howled along
with all the others in the neighborhood
each night once or twice,
whenever another began,

♫ ♫ ♫

and she was fine
alone

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

Quietly observing
and listening,

now and then going
on a walk around her garden,

sometimes eating a bit from her bowl,

and otherwise doing
nothing at all

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.46.22 AM

Well connected with all around,
she flowed,

unbothered by innumerable thoughts
she simply was,
an expression of consciousness,
the Sea of Love

along with all the other beings

♫ ♫ ♫

Older now and letting go
slowly,
identity slipping away
and leaving only That behind

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nothing and all

Nothing and all

Crickets singing in the night,

passion fruit falling
from the vines,

a solitary dog laying
in its sleeping hole

Simply being,
calm and quiet,

nothing and all

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gentle and kind

Gentle and kind

Several beings,
gentle and kind,
had gathered for an evening fire,
sharing a few words
now and then,
sitting mostly
in silence,
surrounded by space,
being all
and nothing

♫ ♫ ♫

Crickets sang
with owls and toads,
bats on the wing flowing
gracefully

♫ ♫ ♫

And time slowed down
until it reached
a moment that could not be divided

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on the porch

On the porch

On the porch
three friends silent,
birds calling
now and then

♫ ♫ ♫

Trains of thought
slowing down
and then coming to a halt
in the stillness

rest

All luggage left behind,
identities alight
and then vanish in the nothingness
from which they flowed

space

Space

That in which the manifest dwells,
silent and calm,
observing all
that comes and goes,
undisturbed by thoughts and notions,
simply being
space

in between

branches and leaves,
musical notes
and all other beings
in this play of consciousness

♫ ♫ ♫

wildflowers

Wildflowers

The wildflowers observed
the sun and the moon,
the toads and the cobras
and all of the other beings who passed by

♫ ♫ ♫

Drawing water from the earth below,
they quietly drank their fill,

and now and then they danced
with a gentle wind
or received a visit from a bee
or a butterfly

♫ ♫ ♫

And through all kinds of weather
and perils of various kinds,
the wildflowers remained equanimous
and outside of time

rest

the tree and the stone

The tree and the stone

The tree and the stone had been neighbors
for quite some time,
and as the tree grew quickly larger,
the stone became slowly rounder and smaller

♫ ♫ ♫

Other beings came and went
while the tree and the stone remained silent and still,
except for now and then
when they made music with the wind or the rain

♫ ♫ ♫

While sensing and calmly accepting all that was,
the tree explored the universe
and the stone shed its identity
one layer at a time

♫ ♫ ♫

 

the gentle side

The gentle side

Blending music
on a warm Saigon night,
DJ Otherwise quietly set the groove

♫ ♫ ♫

Now and then a motorbike
joined the mix
and after a while as well a friend
who was passing through
the gentle side of Saigon

♫ ♫ ♫

underneath a leaf

Underneath a leaf

Leaves had been falling for weeks
and a good many of them covered the ground
during the final days of winter in Pai,
the nights still cool,
but no longer cold,
the afternoons hot
but comfortably warm in the shade

Heat and dryness increasing their presence
in the garden,
many flowers saying goodbye
for now,
preparing to hibernate
until the rains come in June
and revive them

Many shades of green and brown,
pleasing to the eye,
microscopic empires
battling it out
on the undersides of leaves,
unobserved by most
of the other beings in the garden

Still and aware,
walking
around the garden,
observing,
listening,
birds singing

A shower of leaves
falling slowly,
providing the earth with cover
from the heat of the sun
and shelter for small beings

Little cobra,
scorpion,
pretty stone or feather,
you never know what’s underneath a leaf

a step backward

A step backward

A step backward,
away from identity
and into the stillness

rest

Moment of death,
sight and hearing gone,
awareness levitating
in the pitch black stillness,
calm and quiet

rest

There we shall meet,
my friend,
now and then

night is meant to be dark

Night is meant to be dark

Night had fallen
and here and there the flame of a candle could be seen
dancing in the stillness

♫ ♫ ♫

rest

Elsewhere
only very low wattage bulbs or moonlight
were used to see in the dark

There was not much need
to illuminate
or do much of anything that would disturb
the night

Nothing to do except listen
to crickets and frogs and birds,
observe and sense
what was going on
inside and around
and make gentle music and love
all beings

A tribe without a need
for nuclear power or dams,
because it understood
that night is meant to be dark

welcome to earth

Welcome to Earth

Welcome to Earth,
said the gardener to the flower
which had that morning begun to bloom

And in its way it sensed and greeted
all of the other beings around
while calmly growing

rest

Gracefully it blessed the space
with its presence,
natural and equanimous,
calmly being

rest

the silence among words

The silence among words

Seduced by the slowness
with which she spoke
and the silence among her words,
he fell
under her spell

♫ ♫ ♫

Calm and quiet,
gentle and kind,
she flowed

through the stillness

as they drank tea

rest

unbound

Unbound

The hitchhiker lowered her arm
as the approaching bike began to slow down,
and when the unknown rider pulled up alongside her,
she got on
without a word,
and off they went

♫ ♫ ♫

For a while they rode
through the Valley of Flowers
as the sun slowly set

♫ ♫ ♫

Where are we going?

Home

♫ ♫ ♫

a ride

A ride

With Guitar slung across his back,
a kind being walked slowly down
an empty road that wound its way
through a lush forest

♫ ♫ ♫

After an hour or so
a ’63 VW bus slowed down and pulled over

Greetings, friend
Would you like to play?

Sure

Get in

The side door slid open
and revealed a comfortable den,
so inside he stepped

Welcome
We were just about to begin

The bus began to move
and the hitchhiker took Guitar out its case,
and when Violin began to sing,
it joined Djembe, Harmonica and Shakuhachi
and made music for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

So where are you going?

To wherever you’re taking me

Right on

And then through the late afternoon they drove,
calm and still for awhile

rest

bloom and flow

Bloom and flow

A twelvemonth had passed,
a cycle gone through,
and it was nearly time to go
somewhere yet unknown

Slowly and quietly
goodbyes were said
to the trees and the flowers,
who had been such good companions throughout the year

Garden, goodbye
for now
Perhaps we will meet again

Until then we shall bloom
and flow
in different dimensions

Farewell, my friend

in the garden

In the garden

Night began to fall
along with the rain that had been soaking the garden,
and some crickets and toads were singing,

while the jungle relentlessly approached,
growing and creeping

♫ ♫ ♫

If the garden were to be completely tamed,
there would be no time for anything else,
so it was left half wild
in order to have hours to do nothing

♫ ♫ ♫

The butterflies returned to their homes
and the lightning bugs came out
into the beautiful dark,
calm and stillness

fallen flower

Fallen flower

Torn away
from your home and friends,
you are missed

A blessing you have been
to all you have met,
and in our hearts you remain

We weep not for that which never came to be
and instead are grateful
for the time we spent together

For nearly nine years you bloomed,
sharing wisdom, love and joy

and your silent meow echoes
throughout this space

Ash now
you have returned to earth

Thank you, Bamboo

a new song

A new song

From its place on an old wooden table
a Hokema B9 kalimba called out,
Play me!
for it had been a while since it had been touched,
and it felt that it was time
to compose a new song

Okay

And so it was picked up and played
until a new song appeared

♫ ♫ ♫

a new dimension

A new dimension

Guitar and harmonica had been playing together for some time
when from not so far away
the voice of a violin could faintly be heard

♫ ♫ ♫

 And her voice gradually soared
as she drew near,
adding a new dimension
to an old song

♫ ♫ ♫

a haircut

A haircut

The sound of the scissors
as they cut through the silence
and through her hair
soothed the woman who sat
on a green wooden chair

♫ ♫ ♫

A bit of talk
now and then

until
the song of the clippers,
the handles gently being squeezed,
the cutter and comb sliding back and forth,
stilled the slow flow of words,

the improvised rhythm,
irregular and calming,
captured their attention and nurtured
the peaceful vibe

♫ ♫ ♫

cave man

Cave Man

Cave Man lived in a small cave not far
from a small community in a pretty valley,
and he spent his days alone high
in the mountainous jungle
and in silence,
meeting now and then
with a friend or two
for a while

rest
And in his cave sometimes he played
his twelve-string Morris guitar.
beautifully and gently,
alone and with friends,
and always with love

♫ ♫ ♫

precious silence

Precious silence

In a dimension where most of the folk opted
to speak no more than nine hundred words per day,
precious silence reigned

Only essential or beautiful phrases were spoken,
and some chose to speak in haiku

Instead of talking all of the time,
people spent their days and nights listening
to birds and other beings sing
and observing calmly
as they flowed through life,
now and then making music or love

guard flowers

Guard flowers

An army of flowers stood guard
at each gate to the city,
silently reminding
those who wished to enter
to remain peaceful and calm
and to radiate joy and love

In pots and in the ground they grew and bloomed
in and around the city
and into the hearts and minds
of those who passed by,
affecting them subtly,
softening their arrival,
slowing them down

An unarmed force
showing a way
to simply be

lullaby for a fire

Lullaby for a fire

A fire had been burning
for a good part of the night,

rest

and when the flames had calmed down
and only embers, cinders and ash remained,
those who were sitting around in silence
began to make some gentle music
while the glow of the embers echoed
an Italian hilltop town
slowly going to bed

♫ ♫ ♫

the summer beyond love

The summer beyond love

Beyond the ebb and flow of love
some beings sat quietly
in the peace and calm of the stillness

rest

Summer came and went,
emotions seducing those who were willing
to give them some attention
while others simply observed
the flow of consciousness

♫ ♫ ♫

 

would you like to come out and play?

Would you like to come out and play?

As usual,
Takashi had been in his bungalow all day,
mostly in silence,
now and then practicing his đàn môi

♫ ♫ ♫

And in the late afternoon,
as if to ask,
Would you like to come out and play?
his neighbor came over and began
to play his đàn môi

♫ ♫ ♫

And after a little while Takashi came out
and onto the porch,
and then they made music
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

would you like to come over and play?

Would you like to come over and play?

Would you like to come over and play
your role as a human being
in Life on Earth
and,
perhaps,
give it up
for a while?

Calm and gentle people
are welcome to come and enjoy
the peace and joy of being still
in the company others

rest

A few of those who had seen the invitation
were inspired to follow the directions
to a space in the jungle where
nothing was happening
other than the pouring and drinking of tea

rest

Welcome
Have some tea
and enjoy a bit of silence

rest

As thoughts and opinions
(lures and bait)
flow
around us,
let them go
away

And if you do grab hold
of one of them
and allow yourself to be taken on a ride,
remember that you can get off
at any time

rest

We are not limited
to the roles we play
When the show is over,
we can step out of our roles,
take off our costumes
and go home

No need to act all of the time,
just now and then,
remembering always that we are not the roles,
that we are beyond the show,
that we are the stillness

rest

And when the light began to fade
and the four o’clock flowers began to bloom,
those who had come began to walk
out of the jungle and to their bikes,
and then they pedaled home
through the stillness

rest

november

November

November,
dark and cool,
the milk flower trees in bloom
later than usual,
their scent falling
on passersby below

Warmer clothing from the wardrobe
for the cooler scene

An evening fire
now and then,
calm and quiet

rest

Some nights before going to bed someone would ring
one or more of the bells on her porch,
and then all of her neighbors would join in
one by one
and play their bells and gongs
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

And afterwards quiet would reign
until dawn

rest

an offer of silence


An offer of silence

A friend came over and smiled,
sat down at the table on the porch
and drank some tea

rest

Both maintained elegant and comfortable silence
the entire time
because they never got around to talking
and instead enjoyed
the stillness

rest

Some birds sang their songs
and some crickets sang theirs,
but no thoughts or words disturbed
the peace and calm
of the stillness

rest

On other occasions they had spoken or made music,
but on this night it did not occur
to either of them
to say or do anything
other than drink tea and be,
and after a while the friend rose and nodded
and then walked home

rest

a drama-free zone

A drama-free zone

A new character arrived on the scene
and immediately began to complain
about this and that

♫ ♫ ♫

Dude,
this a drama-free zone,
and we maintain a state of peace and calm
Problems are merely thoughts
so please stop talking,
give your mind a rest
and enjoy simply being
for a while

Right now,
at this moment
all is good
Birds are singing,
butterflies are dancing,
and a cloud is blocking the sun

Have some tea,
let go of your story
and be like one of those flowers over there
Just be

And so in the stillness
those who had gathered in the garden
simply were
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

a treat

A treat

Trick
or treat?

Well,
I don’t know any tricks
Would you accept a treat?

Yes

Hmm
I wasn’t expecting anyone to come
this far into the woods tonight
I don’t have any candy

Something else will do

Hmm
How old are you?

Twenty-three

And what are you dressed up as?

Love

Nice costume

Nice pumpkin
May I come inside?

Yes, come in
Let’s see what we can find

It’s dark in here

The night is meant to be dark

Pretty candle

I offer you stillness
Would you like to sit
in silence?

Okay

And so in the dark on the Eve of All Hallows they sat
quietly in the stillness
for a while

rest

And when a cool breeze flowed
in through a window,
a colony of bats descended
onto a large olive tree,
while crickets and frogs sang of love

And what are you dressed up as?

Nothing

And I am Love

We share a long border

A very soft border

Let’s remove the barrier
that is keeping us apart

The two beings then took off their costumes,
slipped out of their roles
and simply were
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

oli baba

Oli Baba

For a while Oli watched
as two large butterflies danced in the air,
one courting the other

♫ ♫ ♫

Moving slowly,
doing little
and letting go of everything,
Oli played his role gently and flowed
through the drama known as
Life on Earth

♫ ♫ ♫

Cooking for his friends,
sharing silence,
being still,
Oli offered peace
and love

the voice of a violin

The voice of a violin

Through the green dusk and up the path
came a young lass walking
with a violin and bow

Good evening
I offer the voice
of a violin

Welcome
We’ve been waiting
many moons to meet you

Would you like to play?

We would love to play
with you

And so Violin made music
with Harmonica and Guitar
while fireflies winked at their women
and crickets serenaded their lovers

♫ ♫ ♫

waiting for a cloud

Waiting for a cloud

While waiting for a cloud to come
and cover the sun,
two friends sat in silence
in the shade of a tree
as butterflies danced
and birds sang

♫ ♫ ♫

After a few cups of tea,
a large grey cloud arrived
and mitigated the heat of the sun

The temperature dropped by about twenty degrees,
so the two friends decided it was time
to go to the market

Thank you, Cloud

Yeah, Cloud,
thanks a lot

Then they got on their bikes and rode
into town

♫ ♫ ♫

a lull in the conversation

 

A lull in the conversation

The amount of talking going on
had become a bit much,
so a woman took out an hourglass,
set it on the table
and began to watch the fine black sand
fall through space
as the others fell silent
and returned to the stillness

rest

In her bag she always had
a few hourglasses,
filled with black sand for silence,
a selection of different sizes:
a five-minute hourglass,
a half-hour hourglass,
a twenty-minute hourglass,
an hour hourglass

And sometimes
when the space between words,
between sentences,
between turns in a conversation
was not enough,
when a lull in the conversion would be nice,
the woman would silence her guests
with an hourglass
for a while

rest

pedaling through the stillness

Pedaling through the stillness

Wearing a face empty of expression,
a man rode silently past,
pedaling calmly through the stillness

rest

Silent strength and presence,
benevolent rule,
kindness and compassion,
tolerance
and patience,
generosity,
love

rest

Teaching by example
because
there is not really much to say

rest

farewell

Farewell

Two black ants lay on the floor,
one half crushed
by the step of a larger being,
the other
keeping it company,
offering soothing sounds and comforting touch
until death came calling

rest

a silent meow

A silent meow

Bamboo opened her mouth
as if to say, Meow,
but instead she offered silence,
a silent meow

rest

Together they sat on their porch,
the cat and her human,
listening to and observing
the late afternoon

rest

Thank you
for being silent,
for being still,
for simply being

rest

a locomotive has no need for wagons

A locomotive has no need for wagons

Through the lush greens of a late tropical summer,
a locomotive made its way down the tracks
pulling some wagons behind,
one for each year
it had been alive,
filled with memories and emotions,
weighing it down

♫ ♫ ♫

And one day it realized
that it had no need for wagons
and all they contained,
so it uncoupled them
and let them fall behind

♫ ♫ ♫

Free of the past
and without a thought in its mind,
the locomotive continued on,
enjoying the ride
and reflecting for a moment
now and then
whether to go left
or right

♫ ♫ ♫

the joy of new strings

The joy of new strings

I offer the sound of new strings
Put them on last night
and they are wonderful

Jin then began to play
his beautiful twelve-string guitar
and fill the room with music

♫ ♫ ♫

Inspired by Jin’s song,
others began
to sing and dance
or to play along with him

♫ ♫ ♫

an invitation

An invitation

A gentle wind flowed
over a small stone bridge
that led to the other side
while musical notes danced
in the late afternoon
among those who had gathered to listen

♫ ♫ ♫

Your music is beautiful
I don’t have any money on me
and I left my seed pouch at home,
but I can offer a home-cooked meal,
said a radiant woman in an olive green dress
when the song had come to an end

She then dropped her phone number
into the busker’s case,
smiled
and slowly walked away

♫ ♫ ♫

shared silence

Shared silence

Those who are interested
in sharing 
and enjoying silence with others
while listening to and observing nature
are welcome to turn off
all of their electronic devices
and then come over,
stop thinking
and simply be —
in the stillness 

To find out how to get here,
send a message to:
sharedsilence@stillness.org

That’s what was written
on a small sign in a small café
on the edge of town

rest

Some came alone,
others in pairs
and
now and then
a few came together
to share some silence
in the stillness

rest

Tea sang softly
as it rested in cups
and butterflies danced
while gentle people simply were
in comfortable silence

rest

cat wisdom

Cat wisdom

Eat and drink,
sleep and play,
be quiet, observe and listen,
make love
and do nothing at all

Enjoy the company of others
and be happy alone

Purr and flow

Be simple

Be natural

Just be

ash

Ash

Ash rested peacefully
among the cinders,
still too hot to touch

♫ ♫ ♫

And as the night grew darker,
she cooled down,
and then she began to dance
with Wind

♫ ♫ ♫

The Queen of Love
and the King of Nothing
danced
until they were no more

♫ ♫ ♫

seven

Seven

The rainy season had finally begun
and beautiful dark clouds
were hanging out above the land

It was time to give the neighbors
their daily dose of drumming,
so two friends began to play,
and while steadily they sank
into the rhythm,
everyone in the neighborhood rose
and began to dance

♫ ♫ ♫

Deeper and deeper they went
as faster they played,
variations revealed themselves
and the seven beat rhythm flowed
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

Off on a tangent,
almost lost in the rhythm,
one of the drummers went on a journey,
and when he later returned
from that solo trip
he brought the story
to an end

♫ ♫ ♫

Welcome back, friend
Welcome home

be a flower

Be a flower

It was early morning
and the red morning glory had just bloomed
for the first time ever,
so the gardener walked over and said,
Welcome to Earth

The flower smiled
and then continued
simply being,
and the gardener did the same

♫ ♫ ♫

Flowers are cool

Yeah, and wise

Very wise

They come and go
without drama

They never complain

They accept all that comes,
rain or drought,
equanimously

They don’t care
if they bloom or wilt,
live or die

They don’t think about the past
or worry about the future

Calm and quiet,
they simply are

Butterflies and bees
come and go,
and flowers simply let them flow
away
and welcome them
if they return

We can learn a lot from flowers

Yeah

♫ ♫ ♫

And so the army of flowers
grew quietly on the front,
observing all and imparting wisdom,
and inspiring others
to be like flowers

♫ ♫ ♫

april

April

It’s hot, man

Yeah,
43 in the shade

I knew a girl in Taiwan named April
She was hot too

April is always hot,
at least in this part of the world

Hot is good

All is good

Nature gives us tamarinds,
and some beautiful trees begin to bloom,
in April

Nature gives us what we need

Nature is never wrong

♫ ♫ ♫

at the end of the road

At the end of the road

The drummers rode
down a paved road that turned
into dirt
and continued on,
as the sun was setting,
into the jungle
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

 And at the end of the road
lay Valhalla,
a jungle bar and a few tents
pitched here and there

Hello
Would you mind
if we drummed for a while?

Please do
We’re all on mushrooms

Cool

And so the drummers took out their djembes
and began to play
a rhythm,
and several friendly girls
began to dance

♫ ♫ ♫

Rhythms flowed
as the moon rose quietly in the dark,
and after a few hours
it was time to rest

Thank you, brothers
Please come and play
for us again

The drummers smiled and gently nodded,
and then they got on their bikes
and rode away

♫ ♫ ♫

the realm of flowers

The realm of flowers

Flower Man had just cast the last
of his cosmos seeds
along the road that led to town,
so he began to walk to a village nearby,
where some flowers had gone to seed,
to get some more

♫ ♫ ♫

Over the years
his ever-expanding realm of flowers
had grown to the point
where every known color was represented
in and between all the villages
for miles around

And nearly every type of flower
that could flourish in a tropical environment
could be found there

Some seeds would arrive with the wind,
from near or afar,
drifting to the ground,
their feather-like hair slowing the fall

Others were dropped by birds
or carried by insects
or brought by the tread of a shoe

And some were sown
by Flower Man
or one of his friends

On their walks they would collect seeds
from flowering plants and trees,
and they saw to it that it bloomed year round,
giving love and water to plants in need

To the realm of flowers butterflies came
to drink nectar
and then dance in the air,
and most of the women,
and some of the men,
wore a flower
in their hair

The villagers thought of their flowers as gurus
They listened quietly to their teachings
and then bloomed or wilted with joy

♫ ♫ ♫

have you smelled the flowers?

Have you smelled the flowers?

Hello

Good afternoon

Do you have a room for the night?

I do

And how much would it be?

Thirteen pounds of pumpkin seeds,
organic only,
or five gallons of coconut oil,
cold pressed,
per month

Um,
I only need the room for one night

You’re welcome to stay
for just one night,
but we only offer a monthly rate
Rather than rush
from place to place,
it is much nicer to stay put
for a while

That sounds nice,
but I’m kind of in a hurry
to see as much as I can
before I go home

Have you smelled the flowers?

Which ones?

All of them
You never know
if or when
a flower will give off a scent
Well,
often you know,
if you are familiar with their routine,
but sometimes you meet a new flower,
and it’s always nice to check in with old friends
every now and then
to see what they’re up to

Which ones around here
are especially fragrant?

At the moment the jasmine tree
and the yellow trumpet bush over there

♫ ♫ ♫

They smell great
How much longer will they be in bloom?

About a month

Hmm
What else is there to do around here
besides smell the flowers?

Listen to birds sing,
watch rainbows,
make music,
cook
Best of all is to be quiet
and do nothing for a while

I don’t have any pumpkin seeds
or coconut oil

What can you offer?

I’ve got three kilos of walnuts from Oregon
and thirty grams of Himachali charas,
and I play the violin

Here’s the key to bungalow seven
There’s a communal kitchen behind the banana grove,
we make an evening fire at around seven near the coconut trees
and you are welcome to play anything you find in the music room
Just follow the path
until you get to a big tamarind tree
Your room is the one beside it

Thank you

And so the traveler wound her way
past beautiful flowers and trees full of fruit
until she arrived
at her new home

♫ ♫ ♫

the bridge to nothingness

The bridge to nothingness

A bridge of brick and stone
and love
had just been built
to cross to the other side

The bridge to nothingness
narrowed the gap
between here
and there,
everything
and nothingness,
and led to the space
where
I am

supper

Supper

The afternoon was late
and evening had not quite arrived,
and from behind wheelbarrows piled high
with freshly-cut grass
Lakshmi and Nilama pushed
towards the water buffalo who were gathered
near the stable

♫ ♫ ♫

Nasrudin, Kali and Swaha
looked silently on
with their large black eyes
as the women brought them their meal
and drops of water fell
from their river-soaked hair

A troupe of monkeys sat to the east
among the stones and boulders,
waiting until the road was clear
and they could cross unnoticed
to the freshly-planted peanuts on the other side

And while hundreds of crickets and toads
waited patiently
for right moment to sing,
the ducks and the geese came home

♫ ♫ ♫

haiku

Haiku

Um,
could you please try to express
the essence of what you want to say
in the form of a haiku?
Or perhaps you could speak a bit more
like the characters in a Kaurismaki film
I am not used to listening
to such a long stream of words
and I can’t take anymore

Um, okay

And it would be nice to enjoy
a few minutes of silence
before we continue this talk

The two farm-dwellers then fell silent
and watched the early evening
as some birds sang nearby

♫ ♫ ♫

That bird’s song is beautiful

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah
Blah, blah, blah
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah
Blah, Blah
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

That wasn’t a haiku

I don’t speak haiku

Try
It would do us all a bit of good
if you were to talk less
and allow some space in the conversation,
some space between the words

Seventeen syllables?

In three lines of five, seven and five

Give me a moment to think

Take as long as you like

♫ ♫ ♫

The chai is especially delicious today

Thank you, Nasrudin
for sharing your mother’s milk
Buffalo blessing

♫ ♫ ♫

In the dusk garden
scents of fragrant flowers flow
through space around us

The frangipani are divine

♫ ♫ ♫

And so the conversation continued,
slowly and calmly,
into the night

♫ ♫ ♫

aus dem nichts

Aus dem Nichts

Woher kommst du?

Aus dem Traum,
den du gerade träumst

Bin ich dann
deine Traumfrau?

Ja

Bist du sicher,
daß ich keine Alptraumfrau bin?

In einem Traum
mag alles sein

Und in diesem Traum
bist du meins

Vielleicht
Kommst du mit?

Ja
Wohin?

Zu mir
ins Nichts

Ja,
ich komme mit

the temple to nothingness

The Temple to Nothingness

The Temple to Nothingness was almost complete;
most of the stones had been removed
from what it had been before
and just a few traces of something
remained

The temple was round
and made of dark grey granite
There were no walls, no roof and no floor,
only pillars
and arches between them,
and a few steps leading up
to some stairs that led down
to an empty grass courtyard inside

No statues of deities
or carvings of gods
were to be found

No offerings were made,
no prayers were said,
no ceremonies were held
and
there was no guru

Instead,
stillness reigned

rest

on the prowl

On the prowl

The evening fire had turned
into glowing embers and ash,
and the dogs and people had begun
to make their way through the dark and cool late autumn night
to the holes and huts in which they slept

♫ ♫ ♫

And when the crickets finally stopped singing,
the last two beings to leave the fire began to walk
slowly towards their beds

♫ ♫ ♫

Upon reaching the large eucalyptus tree
that stood watch near the entrance to the farm,
the dog took off
and ran faster than he ever had before,
reaching the tractor shed some fifty yards away
in three seconds or less
and leaving his human companion alone
with the leopard
that lay hidden in the shadows a few yards away

rest

Silence reigned
for several moments,
and then the man continued walking
slowly to his room,
while the leopard waited patiently
for something else to eat
to wander into its lair

♫ ♫ ♫

monday

Monday

Again it was Monday,
and the snakes on the farm felt it was safe
to move about

The cobras and pythons
and all of the others
left their tunnels and caves
and began to explore
the places they dared not go
when many people were around

♫ ♫ ♫

Quieter than usual,
because the workers had the day off,
Mondays were especially treasured,
and everyone enjoyed the silence

rest

Thoomp!

A baby python dropped from a mango tree,
paused for a moment
and then slithered away,
too young to be a threat
to the farmer standing inches away

♫ ♫ ♫

Hidden in the tall grass
along the path leading to the compost heap,
a cobra quickly made its way
to the sugar cane field
as soon as it saw the farmer’s daughter
heading its way,
preferring to avoid
a violent encounter

♫ ♫ ♫

And as the farmer’s wife
on her dark green bike
came riding around a bend in the road,
a bright green viper was crossing,
heading south and towards the rocks

Both stopped
for a few tense moments
and waited to see what the other would do,
and then the snake continued on its way
and the farmer’s wife on hers,
pedaling west and back to the farm
to enjoy a lazy afternoon

♫ ♫ ♫

into the dark

Into the dark

The smell of honey drifted
from the hive near the top of the eucalyptus tree
and mingled with the flames
that licked and danced their way
along the log that lay
upon the glowing embers
of those that had gone before
into the fire,
caressing the wood
as it shed its story
and turned into smoke and ash

♫ ♫ ♫

The story that had been ingrained in the tree,
the record of what had occurred before,
vanished without complaint,
and as the glow of the embers flowed
among the cinders and the ash,
two friends rose and walked into the dark,
leaving their stories behind

rest

another dimension

Another dimension

One morning
while Bui Linh Ha was walking
down a dirt path near a coconut grove,
a flying carpet came and landed in front of her

She took off her shoes,
boarded the carpet
and sat down,
and it then took off and transported her
very slowly
to another dimension

♫ ♫ ♫

The home of the elves
was divided into two regions:
a cool zone
and a warm zone
In the cool zone
each thing was a shade of purple, green or blue,
and in the warm zone
every thing was a shade of yellow, orange or red
The elves passed their time
wherever they pleased,
and they moved freely
between the two

Welcome,
Elf Linh Ha
It is wonderful that you have come to visit
How was your journey?

It was excellent
The carpet took me
through a space
I had never encountered before,
and as we flew
I was slowly transformed
into this transparent figure that is ever changing its hue,
blending in
with objects nearby

Yes,
you are an elf now, Linh Ha,
and as an elf
you have several powers
that you did not have before
Take a moment
and have a look
at all the arrows in your quiver

Linh Ha then had a look
inside herself
and realized that her song,
enchanting and bewitching,
had the power to paralyze combatants
until they were ready to make peace
and to keep orcs at bay

She also discovered
that her dance could entrance
and make all who watched
forget their troubles
and remember their true nature
as they swayed and flowed along

And when she smiled
no one could resist
smiling as well
and falling in love
with life

I imagine you’d like to have a look around
Shall we go for a walk?

Yes, I’d like that

And so Linh Ha and her new friend
began to explore
the elf dimension

♫ ♫ ♫

We live simply here
and well
There are not very many of us
so there is plenty for all

Your homes are beautiful

They’re made only from what we find in nature:
wood, stone, straw, mud
and things like that
Most are only one or two stories
and none are higher than three

Cool
That makes it easier to see rainbows

Clouds and stars too

The clothing here is very nice as well,
elegant and simple

Hemp mostly
It’s quite durable
We use natural dyes,
and most of us make our own clothes

A strong vibration
then traveled through the air
and enveloped the elves

That was the lunch gong
Are you hungry?

I am

Come
Let’s eat

Linh Ha followed her friend
to the dining hall,
where they enjoyed a delicious meal

♫ ♫ ♫

Mmmm!
This food is good,
and the water is the best I’ve ever had

We don’t poison our food and water with chemicals
Food grows by itself
and water we get from wells and streams

Many things we eat raw
because the process of cooking
reduces the nutritional value of food,
but of course we still cook
How else could we make pizza
and some of the other dishes we love?

I love pizza

And we cook with wood
Since there are so few of us,
wood is abundant
The forest grows faster than we can use it
and we rarely cut down trees
We just collect what falls to the ground

You live in a sustainable manner

Yes
And we collect seeds from the plants and trees
that we especially like,
the ones that make beautiful flowers
or delicious fruit
or hard wood that is suitable for making a drum,
and plant them here and there
There is a food forest around each village
and there is more than enough
for all the beings in this dimension

Cool

I like planting flowers and trees too

Would you like some tea?

Yes, please

Green tea was poured
into little purple cups,
and the two friends then drank in silence
for a while

♫ ♫ ♫

We don’t use money here
Instead we use seeds as currency
Everyone has a seed pouch
in which they carry seeds they would like to trade
for goods or other seeds,
and they also keep a selection of their favorites on hand
to offer as gifts

Shall we go for a walk
and collect some seeds?

Okay

And so as the sun moved slowly
towards the horizon,
the two elves walked around the village,
through some fields
and in the woods,
gathering seeds
from the plants, trees and flowers
that were ready to offer them

♫ ♫ ♫

Twilight was edging its way across the village
when the elves returned with their treasure
and stowed it away in a variety of jars

A few candles had been lit,
but for the most part the villagers were enjoying
the dark

Thank you
for everything

You’re welcome, Linh Ha
Come again soon

I shall

And before you go,
please accept this seed pouch
In it is a collection of my favorite seeds

Thank you

The others are outside,
and they have something for you as well

The elves left the house
and stepped into the night
and the glow of the crescent moon,
where all of the other elves were waiting

Thank you, friends
You have all been very kind

Linh Ha then took her Melodica out of her knapsack
and played a farewell song
while the elves placed some of their favorite seeds
in her pouch

♫ ♫ ♫

And when she had finished,
she boarded her carpet,
and then,
armed with her song,
her dance
and her beautiful smile,
she gave a wai and took off
and returned to the dimension from which she had come,
flying through the night
to her home in the jungle

♫ ♫ ♫

https://winterblume.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-elf-dimension

dessert

Dessert

Dusk had turned into a deep dark blue
on the night of the new moon
and three friends were speaking softly
and slowly
and finishing their evening meal
while crickets sang
around the outdoor kitchen

♫ ♫ ♫

Thoomp!

A passion fruit fell
from its vine high up in a tamarind tree
and landed with a soft thud
somewhere in the dark below

♫ ♫ ♫

Thoomp!

That’s two

♫ ♫ ♫

They waited a bit longer,
and when it seemed
that no more would fall,
Thoomp!

And then one of the friends took some light
and went to find dessert

♫ ♫ ♫

Mmm!
Sweet

Mmm!
Divine

Mmm!
They’re especially delicious
right after they fall

♫ ♫ ♫

mother and father

Mother and father

While two friends made music,
tears fell
from the eyes of a gentle being
as she listened to
and felt
the song

♫ ♫ ♫

Your music is like mother
and father

The three friends then enjoyed some silence
for awhile

rest

cave girl

Cave Girl

 Cave Girl left her home
at seven o’clock each morning
and began the five-mile walk
to school

She didn’t live in a cave,
but the other students called her Cave Girl
because she didn’t have a TV

Instead of spending hours
watching mind-numbing shows,
she passed her time in the garden
and in the forest
with the flora and fauna,
observing and learning

Her parents had built
a mud brick home,
trimmed with wood and stone,
with a thatched river reed roof,
and when she was thirteen
they built her a hogan,
Navajo style,
on a far corner of their land
so that she could have a place
to be alone

♫ ♫ ♫

 I don’t want to go
to school anymore,
Cave Girl announced one morning
shortly after she had turned fourteen

Okay,
said her father
Your mother and I didn’t care much for school either,
and neither of us feel that it was of much use
Everything important we learned elsewhere somehow

And so Cave Girl began
to enjoy school-free mornings
by following her pet tortoise around,
a friend who constantly reminded her
that slow is good

♫ ♫ ♫

scent

Scent

The last week of September had arrived
and most of the milk flower trees had seemingly yet to offer
their sublime scent
to the village of Pai

Since the middle of the month
every night people had been visiting
the milk flower trees that they knew
to see if they had begun to bloom,
and it appeared that they had not

♫ ♫ ♫

They’re late this year

Yeah
Maybe because we’ve had less rain than usual
I went by the tree at the courthouse a couple nights ago
and the one over by the gas station
Neither were giving off a scent

There’s one out near the hot springs that has begun to bloom
I could smell it last night as I drove by
And today I found another one
It’s near the intersection where the afternoon market begins
I noticed it while waiting for the light to change

Cool

♫ ♫ ♫

The rain has stopped
Shall we go for a ride and smell the trees?

Let’s go

And so the two friends
rode through the night
and into town
to visit the milk flower trees they knew
and to look for others that they had not yet met

♫ ♫ ♫

darshan

Darshan

The late afternoon,
cool and beautiful,
flowed,
as all the beings present
listened to Charlie Parr sing
Just Like Today

♫ ♫ ♫

He plays that twelve string pretty well

Yeah,
and he tells a story worth telling

Yeah

The banjo version is pretty good too

Yeah

♫ ♫ ♫

It looks like we might get a rainbow today

The conditions are right

I think your phone is ringing

♫ ♫ ♫

She said there’s a double rainbow to the northeast

Let’s go check it out

And so the two friends walked up the hill
to a place above the trees
in search of the rainbow

♫ ♫ ♫

There it is

What a beauty

Vibrant and vivid

And then in silence
the men enjoyed
darshan with the rainbow
as the light began to fade
and some crickets began to sing

♫ ♫ ♫

hoa sua

Hoa sua

It was the middle of September
and the hoa sua trees had begun to bloom —
and to give off one of the most sublime scents in town

Each tree had its own schedule,
some would begin to bloom in September
and others in October,
and whenever he noticed
that a new tree had begun to bloom,
the cyclo driver would alter
one of his routes to include it

He would pass by each tree at least once a day
and pause for a moment or two
to breathe in its fragrance
before continuing on his way,
pedaling slowly
down the tree-lined streets of Ha Noi

♫ ♫ ♫

linh buddha

Linh Buddha

One beautiful morning
Linh Ha left home
and traveled far and near
across oceans and through jungles
until the day she met
a Buddha
and realized
that there was nowhere left to go

Good beautiful morning,
she said
as she approached an old man
who was sitting on a tree
that had fallen along
the side of the dirt road

Good beautiful morning

I’m Linh Ha

Some people call me Buddha

Our names our kind of similar

Yes,
but there’s really no difference
between you and me

Yeah,
we’re just different expressions
of the same thing

That’s right it, Linh Ha
You understand
Would like to join me
in silence?

Sure

And so Linh Ha sat down
next to Buddha on the tree
closed her eyes
and observed her thoughts
and the ever-increasing space between them

rest

Hours passed
as if they were a single moment,
and when the sun
had begun to set
and the sky had filled
with purple and orange
and pink and red,
Buddha rose and said,
Dance
Dance, Linh Buddha

Linh Buddha stood and joined
Dancing Buddha
in the middle of the road,
closed her eyes
and danced
slowly
and gracefully,
flowing
into the evening

♫ ♫ ♫

And when she opened her eyes,
Linh Buddha saw
that she was alone

Undisturbed
by thoughts of the future
and of the past,
she gathered her things and set off
in the direction of the rising moon
while crickets and frogs
sang courting songs
and owls flew overhead

♫ ♫ ♫

hanoi

Hanoi

 The sun had set
and the early evening vibe was pulsating
as a man made his way across town

 A beautiful young woman crossed the line
and headed straight for him,
only to return to her side of the road
at the last moment
and continue on her way

 Hanoi
Hanoisy
Hannoying
Home

 Welcome back, brother

 Welcome back, friend

 Hey, foreigner!

 Non-stop reminders
that he was not from around there
flowed around him,
and yet he was home
Hanoi was home
in many ways
that no other place had been

 A town full of cops and robbers
who bore a striking resemblance to each other,
who plied the same trade

 A place where cowboys rode
wherever they desired
on stallions made of steel
and did whatever they pleased
while Indians watched the rapid demise
of what once had been a jewel,
residual beauty and charm
giving way
to modern horrors

 Hidden treasures and precious gems
abounded
amidst the pollution,
the greed
and the noise,
patiently waiting
to be discovered

 Me first!
Me first!
cried millions of egos
as they pushed and shoved
their way around

 Never stop,
never apologize
and never empathize
with those whose names you do not know
was the motto of hundreds of thousands
as they rode the wrong way down one-way streets
at night without a light
while composing a message on a phone
and driving through a red light

 And in secret gardens
the kind and gentle
tended to their flowers,
sipped green tea and shared
moments of peace and calm

 And in the middle of busy intersections
those who had lost their minds
danced for hours
without pause
as herds of motorbikes flowed by them

 Bigger, faster,
taller, louder,
many competed to see
who had the worst taste of all

 And young flowers bloomed
and dared to free
themselves
from the shackles of stifling traditions

 Old haunts and old friends
offered warm hospitality,
and the city had been kind
to the man who had returned home,
but it was beginning to lose its grip,
and there was not enough oxygen in the air

 Abandon ship!
We’re going down!

 An alarm had been raised
and it echoed around the city

 Don’t go, whispered Temptation

 Stay a while longer, friend

 Casting webs of drama
Hanoians fished
for all that they desired
And while some went after the bait,
others managed to slip through the nets
of pleasure and pain
and swim across the border
to islands of paradise

 The time to go has come, my friends
Come and visit me
beyond the veil

turned off

Turned off

 The concert last was wonderful
without telephones and cameras in attendance
It was so nice
not having to hear
annoying clicks and beeps during the performance

 Yeah,
and it was great not having to put up with
people taking videos
and blocking the view of others
and being generally annoying
rather than sitting quietly and enjoying the music

 Having a camera and phone detector
at the entrance to the concert hall
and providing soundproof lockers
to keep annoying objects in
was an excellent idea

 Yeah
It is finally again possible
to listen to music that musicians have composed
without unwelcome additions from the audience

 Yeah
It would be great if cinemas also had phone detectors
and soundproof lockers for mobile phones

 It would be wonderful if there were a cinema like that
that also showed good films

 Yeah,
most of the new films kind of suck

 Yeah,
they’re really disappointing,
and the camerman often pans the camera so quickly
that it is impossible to fully appreciate a scene

 Aki Kaurismäki makes good films

 Yeah,
his films are great
They slowly show
a non-dramatic way of being

 An absence of drama
suits me well

 Me too

 And it’s really nice
that mobile phones are prohibited here on the farm

 Yeah
It’s great not having to listen to horrible ringtones
all day long

 And to one half
of many conversations

 Yeah

 Some people talk really loudly
when they’re on the phone
For some reason they think it’s necessary
They don’t realize that the microphone is quite sensitive

 Some people talk really loudly
all the time

 Yeah

 The Japanese are pretty quiet

 Yeah,
the Japanese are great
Sometimes you can barely hear them

 They’re comfortable with silence

 Very comfortable

 Silence is sublime

 Silence is medicine

 Let’s enjoy some silence

 And so the two friends fell silent
and observed some butterflies
for a while

rest

comfortable silence

Comfortable silence

 The quiet four had been sitting
in silence around the fire,
undisturbed
by thoughts and words,
for several hours

 The moon traveled slowly
across the night,
crickets and frogs sang,
owls hooted and dogs howled
and the leopard walked quietly around,
waiting for a chance to grab
something to eat

rest

The fire was kept low,
and now and then it would be fed
another log

 Flames lept and flowed,
embers glowed
and wood slowly turned into ash

 The stars and the planets
flew quietly by,
and one by one
the fire watchers rose
and made their way through the dark
and to their beds
until just one was left
at the fire’s side,
keeping it company
a little while longer

rest

And when the moon was halfway
to the other side,
he too got up
and returned to his hut
slowly

rest

the chocolate way

The chocolate way

 The evening meal had ended
and everyone was sitting in silence
when the chocolate guru returned to the dinning hall
with a tray full of chocolate

 Mmm!
It’s really good

 Josef Zotter
Walnut marzipan

 Thank you, Peter
It’s delicious

 Just what we needed

 Lindt is good,
and Maestrani is excellent,
but this Austrian chocolate is sublime

 Karl Fazer makes some pretty good chocolate too
His blueberry chocolate is my favorite

 Yeah,
Finnish chocolate is great

 They say that many of the enlightened masters
are fond of sweets

 Maybe eating more chocolate
would result in enlightenment

 Maybe

 Maybe we should eat more chocolate

 I think it’s the other way around
The more aware you become,
the more chocolate you eat

 The chocolate guru then went back to his chocolate celler,
made his way through a maze of shelf-lined passages
until he got to the room
where he kept his finest chocolate,
and then
with another tray in hand
he returned to his guests
and offered them some more

 Finnish blueberry!

 Mmm!

 Divine!

 It’s really good, Peter

 The chocolate guru and his guests then ate
chocolate prasad
and practiced the chocolate way
in silence
for a while

rest

drumpower

Drumpower

 Upon finally realizing
that the overuse of cars and motorbikes
was killing the planet,
people began to look for other ways
to get around

 Most began to ride bicyles
and to walk again,
and some decided to stop moving around so much
and to sit quietly and observe instead

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 One day a djembe player from Mali
found a way to ride
through the air on his djembe
on a wave of sound

 He also discovered
that most of the rhythms he knew
fell into three catagories:
rhythms to ascend,
rhythms to descend
and rhythms to fly level
He played variations
in order to turn left or right,
and of course the faster he played,
the faster he traveled through the air

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Within months
almost everyone on the planet
was riding a djembe around town,
across a desert,
through a forest,
among some mountains
or over a sea

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Some djembes were big enough for two
and djembe taxis began to appear,
each with a big strong djembefola powering his ride

 And it was not uncommon to see a woman in a dress
riding sidesaddle through the air
while her friend or lover drummed

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The air is much cleaner now

 Yeah,
it’s great being able to breathe clean air again
And I’d much rather listen to drumming
than to horn honking

 Me too
And it’s good that everyone who wants to fly a djembe
first has to take drumming lessons,
so that we don’t have to listen to bad drumming

 Yeah,
bad drumming sucks

 A fresh coconut would be nice

 Yeah,
let’s go to the coconut grove

 Shall we walk or drum?

 Let’s drum

 The two friends then holstered their machetes,
got on their djembes
and rode off in the direction of the coconut palms,
leaving a trail of rhythms behind

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the edge of nothingness

The edge of nothingness

 All of the others
had gone to bed
and the quiet four remained,
sitting in silence
around the evening fire

rest

 The fire burned
all thoughts away,
and there was nothing left
but flowing space

rest

 Now and then
a word or two was whispered,
a laugh was shared,
a gentle song was played or sung,
but for the most part stillness reigned
because there was little worth saying
that was more beautiful
or essential
than the stillness found
on the edge of nothingness

rest

dance of the dragonflies

Dance of the dragonflies

 It was late afternoon
and mosquitos had been attacking for a few minutes
when dozens of dragonflies
came to the rescue

 They hovered and flew
above a dark green meadow
and among the tall wildflowers that grew there,
eating the mosquitos
they found along the way

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Thank you, dragonflies

 Yeah,
thanks a lot guys

 With their bellies full,
the dragonflies brought their dance to an end
and then headed off
towards the rising moon

 ♫ ♫ ♫

rhythm web

Rhythm web

 Several drummers
had been playing a compelling rhythm
for quite some time
when two girls wandered into their web

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Trapped in the rhythm,
the girls began to sway,
and before long one of them began to dance
and the other to sing
while the drummers continued to weave
their web of notes and waves

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 After a while
the drummers stilled the rhythm,
and everyone then enjoyed
a few minutes of silence

rest

We were walking nearby
and heard you drumming

 This rhythm always manages
to entrance, bewitch and seduce
People hear it
and then cannot resist
the call to sing
or dance

 It’s a kind of magnet
that draws one closer to home
and sets one free
from thoughts
for a while

 Would you like to join us?

 Yes

 Oui

 The two girls then took
the offered drums
and played with the drummers
while butterflies danced in the air
and birds sang their songs

 ♫ ♫ ♫

across the sea

Across the sea

 The return of passenger ships on the high seas
had been welcomed by many

 Airplanes had been polluting the skies for a century,
and so it was with great pleasure
that people began to cross the seas by ship
again

 From New York to Hamburg,
from San Francisco to Hong Kong,
and to and from
a few other places
ships sailed once a week,
taking a week or two,
and sometimes three,
to reach their destination

 And they were always full
because many people had finally realized
that it was time to begin doing things slowly
and in a sustainable manner

 The ships resembled those that used to cross the oceans,
in recognition of the fact
that it was generally not necessary
to change a design
every year

 The propellers were quieter than those on earlier ships
so as not to disturb the whales,
and a few other dashes of modernity
could be seen here and there,
but the ships were otherwise as beautiful and elegant
as their foremothers

 The cabins were unpretentious yet beautiful,
and the meals were simple and healthy
There was a music room
for those who had brought instruments
and a meditation hall
for those in need of absolute silence

 These ships were unlike modern cruise ships
in that no food was wasted
and no effort was made
to entertain the passengers
People were encouraged to enjoy simple pleasures
such as watching the passing dolphins,
looking at the stars
and talking with each other
now and then

 On board the Sea Flower
the evening jam was underway,
and a few of the passengers were dancing
while some of the others drank tea
and ate cookies

 Sure, it takes longer,
but why hurry?
I’d rather spend two weeks on a comfortable boat
than twelve hours on an uncomfortable plane

 Me too
It so nice that passenger ships exist again
Trains and ships
are my favorite ways to travel

 Mine too
They don’t pollute nearly as much
as cars and planes,
and one is free to get up and walk around

 Yeah
And we can gradually adjust to a new climate

 It’s really nice
that the use cameras and telephones
is prohibited while on board,
and that there is no access
to the Internet

 Yeah
Here we have the chance to connect
in a different way

 It’s also nice
that there are no plastic bottles on the ship
In fact,
I don’t think there is any plastic at all

 Yeah,
our great-grandparents managed to thrive
without plastic
We should be able to do so as well
It’s insane
that people buy water in plastic bottles
That’s one of the reasons the ocean is full of plastic
and the fish are dying
People think that the plastic they throw in the recycling bin
gets recycled somehow,
but often it simply ends up in the ocean
or gets sent to China,
where it is burned in an incinerator
and then comes back with the wind

 And then we breathe it in

 Yeah
Plastic sucks

 Yeah
I prefer to buy drinks
that come in glass bottles

 Me too

 When I am traveling,
I always carry a metal water bottle in my bag,
but sometimes I run out of water and feel thirsty,
so I buy a Coke
It’s often the only drink available
in a glass bottle

 Yeah
And in many countries
those bottles are washed and reused

 Yeah,
that’s pretty cool

 Coke has done some pretty uncool things too

 So has Pepsi

 Yeah
They both go around buying lakes
that belong to everyone nearby
and then take away their water

 Yeah,
and they pollute the area around their factories

 Yeah
Making Coke and Pepsi
is a rather toxic process

 Yeah

 I used to drink a lot of Coke

 Me too
I like it better than Pepsi

 And then one day I decided to stop eating and drinking
unhealthy things,
so I began to limit myself
to one bottle of Coke a week
I’d have it on Friday after work
with a bag of Kettle Chips

 Kettle Chips are good
Which flavor do you like best?

 Honey Mustard

 Honey Mustard is pretty good
I like Salt and Vinegar too

 After a few months
I realized that I wasn’t enjoying Coke
as much as before,
so I began to drink it only once a month

 Good idea
I’ve cut back on Coke too

 I still have a Coke about once a month,
but now I only enjoy it half the time
Often I tell myself I should stop buying it altogether,
but sometimes it is quite nice

 It would be great
if someone were to produce a healthy cola

Yeah,
one that came in a glass bottle

 Glass is cool

 Yeah

 The two friends then fell silent
and began to observe
the whales that were swimming nearby

 ♫ ♫ ♫

herbicide

Herbicide

 The court finds you guilty of herbicide
for the slaughter of a Cannabis indica plant
that was growing in your neighbor’s backyard
I hereby sentence you
to three months in the Greenhouse

 As the verdict was read,
the district attorney smiled
and then nodded to the deceased’s friends and relatives
as they sat quietly in their pots
in the front row of the gallery

 The defendant was then escorted out of the room
and taken to the Greenhouse,
also know as Oregon State Penitentiary 420

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Welcome to the Greenhouse,
said a guard
Hopefully during your stay here
you’ll learn to appreciate other forms of life
and to respect their right to live

 The prisoner was given a uniform made of hemp
and then shown to his cell

 His cellmate was smoking a joint when he moved in,
and he declined the offer
to smoke with him

 It’s good stuff, man,
Mendocino’s finest

 I don’t smoke

 They give us space cakes for dessert
after the afternoon meal
No need to smoke

 I don’t take drugs

 It’s not a drug, man,
it’s a plant,
and nature provides it for a reason,
like mushrooms

 I prefer alcohol

 Dude,
alcohol numbs your senses
and too much of it encourages you to act like an idiot
or become aggressive
Thousands of people die every year because of alcohol,
but almost no one has killed anyone
or died
as a result of smoking pot

 I just have a little wine with dinner

 I enjoy wine too
now and then
I have nothing against alcohol;
it has to right to be
My father makes a pretty good apricot liquor

 My uncle makes a nice Cabernet Sauvignon

 Homemade is hard to beat
What I object to is the government supporting something
that in general does more harm than good
and prohibiting something
that does more good than harm
I think the alcohol companies must have bribed the government
to get them to ban weed
so that they could sell more alcohol
I can’t think of any other reason
why they would act so stupidly,
in contradiction
of common sense

 Hmm,
could be
The car companies bribed the government officials in LA
and asked them to dismantle the streetcar network
so that they could sell more cars

 Yeah,
what a mistake that was
It’s ridiculous that one needs a car
to get around in that town

 What are the benefits of smoking weed?

 It mellows people out,
softens the edge that they project
and inspires creativity
And people who smoke weed
tend to flow better than those who don’t

 Some people flow pretty well
without taking anything

 True,
but why deny others
the chance to do something beneficial
that doesn’t harm anyone?
Have you ever tried it?

 No
I’ve heard that it leads to heroin addiction

 Do you believe everything you hear?

 No

 Don’t believe the propaganda
I don’t use heroin,
and I’ve been smoking grass for years
And if you use a vaporizer,
it won’t damage your lungs at all

 What are you in here for?

 For cutting down a large portion of the primeval forest
I was clear-cutting a redwood grove
when the green squad captured me
What about you?

 I killed my neighbor’s marijuana plant

 Dude, that’s not cool

 Neither is clear-cutting the primeval forest —
or any forest

 Right you are
Since I’ve been in the Greenhouse,
I’ve planted thirteen thousand trees —
more or less

 That’s a lot
Where have you planted them?

 They let me out on the weekends
I take saplings from the prison nursery
and plant them in the areas that I deforested

 Cool
How long have you been here?

 Two years and thirty-seven days
Only three hundred and twenty-eight days to go
How long did they give you?

 Three months

 Three months will pass quickly
You can help out in the nursery if you like
It’s a lot better than sitting in here all day
Since you killed a marijuana plant,
they’ll probably ask you to take care of them

 You grow ganja here in the prison?

 Sure
It’s legal now
We grow very nice weed,
and we sell it in the prison gift shop
and to the local hospice centers

 Hospice centers are cool

 Yeah,
I’d much rather die in a hospice center
or at home
than in a hospital

 I think I’d like to die at home,
surrounded by a few friends playing gentle music
and then be buried in a field
and have a tree planted on top of me
No need for a coffin

 Good idea
Cemeteries take up a lot of space,
and we could use more trees

 Yeah,
we could use a lot more trees
Sometimes I have the feeling
that there are more people than trees

 Me too
There are definitely way too many people on this planet
In 1900 there were only around a billion
and now there are more than seven billion

 It can’t continue like this;
it’s not sustainable
If people don’t stop having so many children,
the planet will create a disease
that will kill off most of us —
some kind of plague like they used to have in Europe

 Yeah,
I suppose the planet knows how to take care of itself
It’s been very patient with us,
but we’ve really been pushing the limits of tolerance lately

 I recently read that the Japanese government is worried
about the decline in population in Japan
What idiots!
They should be happy
In countries where there are not many people,
the standard of living is much higher
Finland has a lot more trees than people,
and the Finns are doing pretty well
There’s plenty of space for everyone

 Yeah
If every country had a small population,
everyone could live pretty much wherever they wanted
without having to pay rent
or buy groceries
They could just eat whatever they found growing naturally
and plant a garden or a food forest if they felt like it

 The Japanese government
also wants to start using nuclear power again
Anyone who didn’t learn from Fukushima
must be super retarded

 Yeah
Unfortunately we’re still using nuclear power here
I guess our politicians aren’t any smarter
than the ones in Japan

 I’m not sure that any of them are very intelligent —
except for the president of Uruguay

 Yeah,
Mujica is okay
He’s clearly serving the interests of the people,
not some big companies —
and he gives away ninety percent of his salary

 Yeah,
he’s super cool

 Václav Havel was alright too

 Yeah,
and they both served time in prison

 Maybe it’s necessary to do time
in order to be a good president

 Maybe

 Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso was pretty cool too

 Did he serve time?

 I don’t think so,
but he played the guitar pretty well

 Cool

 And he kicked out the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

 Good riddance
Those guys go around devastating third world countries

 Yeah, I remember when they destroyed Jamaica’s dairy industry
After the government agreed to accept funds from the IMF,
they were required to allow the import of powdered milk from the States,
and because it was cheaper than fresh milk,
everyone bought it
The dairy farmers could not compete and slaughtered their cows,
and then there was no fresh milk in Jamaica
The IMF and the World Bank operate under the pretense
that they are helping poor countries,
but in reality they are merely serving the interests
of businessmen from wealthy countries

 Which company is it
that keeps trying to convince mothers in Africa and Viet Nam
that infant formula is better for their children than breast milk?

 Nestlé
And that’s why I don’t buy their products anymore
I don’t want to support a company
that does things like that

 Neither do I
I’ll stop buying their candy bars

 The problem is that most of the big companies
do really horrible things
It’s pretty hard to find a good one,
so I’ve begun to make my own junk food,
a healthier version

 What do you make?

 I really like Cheez-its,
especially the white cheddar ones

 Me too
They’re the best

 The original flavor is pretty good too

 Yeah,
but white cheddar is divine

 I looked up how to make Cheez-its online
and I found a video
It’s super easy:
You just fry some cheese in a pan for a few minutes,
flip it over and fry it some more
Then you cut it into squares
Parmesan cheese works really well

 Cool

 There’s the lunch bell
Come,
I’ll show you the way

 The two prisoners then made their way
to the dinning hall

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Mmm,
this soup is really good

 Yeah,
tomato weed is my favorite here

 Tomato is a weed?

 No, man,
they put weed in the soup,
like the people in Lao,
to mellow us out

 Oh
It’s pretty good
Now I understand why the Lao
are so gentle, calm and peaceful
Are we allowed to have another bowl?

 Sure
We can have as much soup as we like

 Cool
Maybe I’ll try one of those brownies too

 And so the two cellmates enjoyed their meal
and then returned to their cell

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It’s two o’clock
Time for a walk
Want to come?

 Sure

 And so the prisoners went out into the yard
and began to mingle with the others

 Some of the guys have a big P on the back of their shirts

 They’re from P Block
The P stands for pollution
Those guys polluted our air and water
with chemicals and fumes from their factories
When they arrive here, they have to drink and shower
with water from polluted rivers for a month,
so that they get an idea of the suffering they have caused other beings,
and if that doesn’t kill them,
they are given clean water,
and they have to stay here for a minimum of ten years
without the possibility of parole

 I’m glad they’re in here with us
I’d love for our rivers and air to be clean again
What about the ones with an A on their shirt?

 They’re architects who designed buildings that are so ugly
that people feel pain in their eyes
or go blind
when they look at them

 A Block must be pretty big

 It’s one of the biggest

 So it’s not just green-collar criminals that get sent here

 Nope

 I’ve heard of people dying from depression
because they lived in an area full of ugly buildings

 Some have heart attacks
when they are confronted with exceptionally bad architecture

 How long are they in here for?

 One year for each ugly building they made,
and while they’re here
they learn how to make environmentally-friendly buildings,
how to make adobe bricks and thatched roofs,
how to collect and save rainwater,
how to draw a curved line

 Nice thick adobe walls are best
They keep a room cool in the summer
and warm in the winter
How about the guys with an F?

 Those are farmers who used chemicals
They have herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers put in their food
the first month they are here,
and if they survive,
they are given organic food like the rest of us
It sounds cruel,
but many of them only put chemicals on the food they sold,
not on what they grew for themselves
They need to feel the effects of those chemicals
in order to generate compassion among them
for the people they feed
Then they are taught how to farm the traditional way,
without chemicals,
and they learn about companion planting,
using ducks to control pests
and things like that

 Cool
It’s about time farmers stopped poisoning us
and the bees that pollinate their crops

 Yeah,
the bees have really suffered
The chemical farmers have been ruthless

 Who are the guys with Vs,
and why are some of them wearing a ball and chain?

 They’re the violent ones
The ones with a ball and chain have refused to attend
the courses that were designed to turn them into peaceful people
The ball and chain makes it really difficult for them
to go around attacking other prisoners
We can easily avoid them

 What kind of courses do the ones without the ball and chain attend?

 They start with a ten-day Goenka vipassana meditation course,
and then they learn how to grow flowers
They prepare the beds,
plant the seeds,
water and weed,
trim the wilted blossoms
and make nice flower arrangements for the dinning hall
After that they learn how to conduct a Japanese tea ceremony
and finally they are given a pet to take care of

 Sounds like a good way to foster change
and not simply punish

 Yes
Here at the Greenhouse
the inmates learn other ways of being

 I don’t see anyone with a D on his shirt

 All the people who were in here for non-violent drug offenses
were set free a few months ago
to make space for all of the green-collar criminals
who have recently been prosecuted

 Just then a call to drum could be heard
from somewhere not too far away,
followed by the prison’s drum ensemble
playing Balakuland

 It must be four twenty,
time to smoke a joint and make music
Almost everyone here
has learned how to play an instrument
Lessons are given in the morning,
small groups of musicians meet after lunch or after dinner
to play together,
and at four twenty the drummers let us know
that it’s time for the open jam

Those guys are pretty good

 Yeah
Sometimes they’re let out
so that they can play at parties and festivals
Do you play an instrument?

 No

 Not yet
Come,
I’ll take you to the music room
You can choose whatever instrument you like

 Okay

 And so the two friends made their way through the prison
as the other inmates
continued to play

 ♫ ♫ ♫

waiting for the oleanders

Waiting for the oleanders

 The oleanders have begun
to release their scent

 Yeah
I’ve been waiting for them for weeks

 Me too

 The white ones smell very nice

 The red ones smell pretty good too

 And the frangipani flowers are divine

 They’re extraordinary
Have you noticed the scent of the papaya blossoms?

 Not yet

 It’s quite subtle
but very nice

 Let’s have a smell

 And so the two friends walked over
to where some papayas were growing
and smelled the blossoms
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

school sucks

School sucks

 If I had a child,
I would definitely not send her to school

 Me either
School sucks

 Monkeys don’t go to school
They learn from their parents
and from the others in their troupe

 Yeah,
and they seem to be doing quite well
and are perhaps better off than most humans

 They’re pretty smart
When they’re hungry they just pick some fruit
or dig up some peanuts,
and otherwise they just hang out and enjoy being

 We could live like the monkeys
We don’t really need much,
just a bit of shelter,
some warm clothes in winter
and a bit of food

 The only math I’ve ever needed
I learned in primary school

 Me too:
Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

 And I learned how to read and write
in primary school

 Yeah

 Primary school was okay

 Yeah,
I liked it too,
but after that school began to suck

 Yeah
What’s the point in writing an essay about Madame Bovary?

 Or the significance of the color blue
in Tonka?

 It would be better to take some blue paint
and paint flowers on a wall

 Or play a song on a guitar

 Or sing

 Or dance

 Or meditate

 Or learn how to roast cashews properly

 No need to go to school
to learn how to sing and dance

 Or to paint or play the guitar

 School kills
a child’s creativity

 Yeah, school kills

 It turns out zombies
that then go about destroying the planet
by creating and consuming garbage

 School teaches children
how to destroy the planet,
how to destroy their home

 It’s because of schools
that we have idiots who create nuclear power
and poison the earth

 Yeah,
without schools
the planet would be in much better shape

 People too

 Yeah

 When I asked Mardan to write down his address,
he told me that he didn’t know how to write
He said,
I didn’t go to school
I’m natural

 And he’s one of the nicest men in the village
The ones who can read and write
are not nearly as nice

 Vocational schools are okay

 Yeah,
vocational schools are cool
Learning how to be a carpenter,
a chef
or a stone mason
is definitely worthwhile

 We could use a few more stone masons
Stone structures
are much nicer than concrete ones

 Yeah,
concrete sucks

 And stones are healthier

 Stone walls are cool

 Stone floors are pretty cool too

 Yeah,
and so are earth floors
that have been covered with cow dung

 Yeah,
cow dung floors are great
They cover the earth
and they’re very comfortable

 The locals here know how build their own homes,
make their own clothes
and grow their own food and cook,
and they learned how from their parents and neighbors
No need for school

 Yeah,
I sure wasted a lot of time in school
learning how to do things I have never needed to do
instead of learning the essential skills
that a human needs to survive
and to thrive

 I have met a few young Europeans
who never went to school
and they are really cool
Their parents let them learn what they wanted
when and how they wanted,
and they turned out just fine
One of them speaks three languages,
plays the guitar very well,
and he has never had to take an exam
or compete for a job
Because he is so cool,
a master guitar builder offered to teach him
how to make guitars,
and he earns a living doing that

 Cool

 Hey,
there’s the truant officer

 I’ll go sound the alarm

 And soon the village bell was ringing
in a such a way that all the children in the village
knew it was time to hide,
and they climbed up into the trees,
went in one of the caves
or slipped inside a haystack
and hung out with the cobras
while waiting for the truant officer to leave

 ♫ ♫ ♫

fire

Fire

 From the evening fire
nourishing energy flowed,
and a few held out their hands to receive it

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 There’s more than heat
coming from the fire

 Yeah
And it’s strong

 Very strong

 And nourishing

 I’ve heard of people who don’t eat,
who get their energy from the sun

 Maybe it’s possible to live off of the fire’s energy

 Maybe,
but I wouldn’t want to give up chocolate —
especially that blueberry chocolate from Finland

 Yeah,
the Finns make pretty good chocolate

 The two friends then fell silent
and returned their attention
to the fire

 ♫ ♫ ♫

doctor susi

Doctor Susi

 Good morning,
is the doctor in?

 The last time I saw her
she was running around in the forest

 About an hour ago
I saw her digging a hole
in a flower bed

 She was eating the dogs’ food
a few minutes ago

 There she is

 Susi came trotting towards the people
and greeted them with her snout

 She’s —
a pig

 A wild pig

 What kind of medicine does she practice?

 Love and joy
Just hang out with her for a while
and you’ll be cured
of most of your problems

 Yeah,
she’s good
She cured Ingo in less than a month

 Susi then took off
and headed down the road

 Looks like she’s heading towards the peanut fields

 Darshan with Susi
is often brief
unless one is willing to walk with her

 A walk would be wonderful

 The woman then took off her shoes
and began to follow Susi
around the farm

 ♫ ♫ ♫

a visit

A visit

 The mistress of the house
heard some commotion
and came out of the kitchen to see
what was going on
And she was just in time

 She yelled at the driver of a car
and told him to stop,
and then three drunken, spoiled and belligerent men from Bangalore
stumbled out of the car
after managing to bring it to a halt
just a few millimeters before the water fountain
in the heart of the farm

 The driver wore only his underwear
and he smoked non-stop,
now and then throwing cigarette butts
here and there

 Who are you to tell me to stop?

 This is my farm

 I have come to visit

 Please move your car
The parking area is near the gate

 I can do whatever I like
Someone told me about this place
and I came here to be free,
to free my soul

 You are not behaving
in respectful manner
You’re drunk
and you almost crashed into the fountain,
and your car does not belong
in the heart of my home
Please move it

 The three drunks had been acting rather aggressively,
so within minutes of their arrival
a number of the farmhands had come,
armed with pitchforks, machetes and scyths,
to protect their mistress

 Shall I kill them, Ama?
There’s plenty of room left in the rubbish pit,
and we’re planning on burning the rubbish later this afternoon

Let’s give them a chance to leave

 Two of the drunks were not quite as drunk as the driver,
so while one of the farmhands
sharpened his machete,
it was suggested that one of them move the car

 I can’t do anything
The driver is my owner

 Your owner is an idiot
Perhaps you should find yourself a new owner

 He might kill someone
if he manages to make it back to the main road
Perhaps we should take his keys

 Those guys are super aggressive
They wouldn’t give up the keys
without a fight,
and beating them up
would have undesirable consequences
We have to either kill them
or wait for them to leave

Killing them would be a bit harsh
Compassion is best
Let’s wait for them to leave

 We could sic the camel on them

 Or the boar

 Yusseff can kick sideways,
and he can pick up a donkey with his mouth
and throw it twenty meters

 Yeah,
Yusseff is strong
The driver might drop the keys in fear
if he sees Yusseff coming in his direction

 Susi could ram them with her snout
Then he’d drop the keys for sure
Last year she killeded Raja the ram
when she rammed him
She’s like a torpedo

 A light jab to the gut with a pitchfork
would change their attitude

 I could graze the driver’s neck with the machete
That might motive them to go

 I have the right to be here
I want to be free

 You should come back another time
when you’re not drunk
Perhaps then we could talk
about freeing your soul
Right now you need to move your car
or let someone else move it

 After some time,
the driver finally shut up and got back into the car,
put it into reverse
and very slowly
tried to move backwards

 Drive straight,
you idiot

 The driver had backed into a flower bed
and knocked over a hibiscus bush

 Eventually he made it back to the gate,
but instead of leaving he parked
and the three drunks hung out near the gate alone
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 They’re leaving, Ama

 Good

 They just hit the neighbor’s motorbike
and knocked it off the road
and into a ditch

 It would be best if they hit a boulder
before they get to the main road,
so that they don’t kill anyone

 Everyone then returned to sweeping
or weeding
or cooking
or whatever else they had been doing
before the visit

 ♫ ♫ ♫

barkaholic

Barkaholic

 She’s a barkaholic, man

 Yeah
And telling her to be quiet hasn’t worked

 Neither has throwing a shoe in her direction

 Shock therapy didn’t work either
One night I threw a bucket full of cold water on her,
but it didn’t help
She kept on barking into the night

 I think she has a learning disability

 Yeah
She’s super friendly,
but she’s also kind of stupid

 This morning I tried talking quietly with her
I told her that if she didn’t stop barking all the time,
Peter would take her to Gangawati
and leave her there

 Yeah,
like he did with Rani two years ago

 Rani was a good dog

 She was a great dog,
but she kept destroying Peter’s mosquito net every night
in order to get into his bed

 All beings here are given a chance,
and she’s had more than a year to mellow out,
but even the other dogs seem to be
a bit tired of her barking

 Yeah,
they’re like,
Hey, shut up
It’s just one of the dogs from the village
We know him
It’s okay

 The leopard made the right decision
when he attacked her a few weeks ago

 Yeah
The leopard’s not in the habit of making mistakes
He chose well,
but she got away

 Yeah
It’s too bad she managed to escape

 Maybe iboga could cure her addiction
It worked for my father
He was an alcoholic,
and he stopped drinking after taking iboga

 Iboga is a strong medicine,
but I’m not sure it works on dogs

 It might

 Yeah,
it might

 Let’s see if we can get some

 Okay

 It’s almost chai time

 Let’s go

And so the two friends walked over
to where the purple flower vine
was dropping its flowers
and had a cup of tea

 ♫ ♫ ♫

summon your song

Summon your song

 The men had been drumming for a while
when the woman began to sing,
quietly at first
and then with tremendous passion

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 She sang well last night

 Very well

 The drumming helped
to free her voice

 Yeah
Drums are good
at getting people to overcome their fears
and begin to sing and dance

 The way Navila danced to the kalimba
was beautiful

 She was amazing

 She flowed
elegantly

 Yeah

 A friend once told me
that she doesn’t trust
people who don’t dance

 I don’t either

 Divinity is sometimes revealed
through singing and dancing

 Yeah

 At the fire a few nights ago,
Murti said that the kalimba made his heart tremble,
and since then he’s been full of joy
and he smiles all the time

 It helped to open his heart

 Yeah,
the kalimba is good
at opening hearts

 The purple flowers have begun to fall

 It must be time for chai

 I’ll get my drums and kalimba

 I’ll get my guitar and harmonica

 The two friends then went
to get their instruments,
and then they began to play
and to open hearts
while the others drank their chai

 ♫ ♫ ♫

ride

Ride

 The train had already left the station
by the time the rider arrived

 He could see it off in the distance
and decided that it might be possible to reach it
before it got to the tunnel

 Where the train crossed a road,
a line of cars waited,
and the rider and his horse jumped over them

 When they got to a stream,
the train crossed over a bridge
and they leaped to the other side

 The rider urged his horse on,
and slowly they drew
closer and closer

 Some of the passengers on the train
had noticed that they were being followed,
and among them was a young woman
who knew the rider
and his horse

 The mountain loomed ahead
and the rider asked his horse
for just a little more

 Soon they were riding
alongside the train,
and the rider held out a scroll to the woman,
who took it and read,

 The mountain is high
and will keep us apart
if you pass to the other side

Come,
ride with me
before it’s too late

 The woman’s heart began to race
and she realized
that she had to get off the train

 Leaving everything behind,
she ran to the end of the wagon,
opened the door
and hopped on the horse

She then held the man tightly
as they veered away from the mountain
and rode towards the setting sun

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the neighbor

The neighbor

 The neighbor came over and began to complain
about the farmer’s ducks paddling about in his rice paddy

 It didn’t seem to bother him
that one of his buffalos
had come over during the night the week before
and knocked over three of the farmer’s banana plants
or that three of his sheep
had been grazing on the farmer’s land that morning

 For years he had intentionally grazed
his animals on the farmer’s land,
even though he had been asked many times not to

 And he seemed to enjoy yelling
and was always on the lookout
for an excuse to be angry

 What is he whinning about?

 He says the ducks were in his rice paddy again this morning

 Five ducks swimming about in his rice paddy and eating insects
is not a problem
Tell him that the next time I see his sheep or buffalo on my land,
I’ll catch them and sell them

 The farmhand interpreted for the neighbor
what the farmer had said,
and the neighbor then began to yell more loudly

 Let him yell for a while,
said the farmer
Perhaps he’ll have a heart attack
and cease to be a problem

 The neighbor continued to yell
for a few more minutes,
while everyone else ignored him
and carried on with their work,
and then he walked home

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 His wife is even worse
When she came over looking for her sheep this morning,
rather than apologize,
she yelled at us for tying them to a tree

 She’s definitely one of the most unpleasant women on the planet

 We could dig two graves near the front gate,
place a tombstone at the head of each one
and then put the neighbor’s name on one
and his wife’s on the other
Then we could take a photo of the graves and the tombstones
and have it delivered to them with a note that said,
We’re ready for your next visit
Are you?

 It’s a good idea,
but perhaps there’s a gentler solution

 We could put MDMA in their water tank,
just a small amount every day
That would open their hearts
and mellow them out

 Yeah,
that’s a better idea

 It might take a while
Those two are pretty heartless

 I have enough for a week or two,
and I’ll order some more tomorrow

 I’d be happy to put it in their water tonight

 With the problem thus solved,
everyone returned
to watching the sun set

 ♫ ♫ ♫

through the night

Through the night

 It was the middle of winter
and the blanket fairy had just begun
to make her rounds,
going from hut to hut
and making sure
that everyone was warm enough

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Good evening
It’s a bit cool
Would you like another blanket?

 Yes, please
Thank you, Blanket Fairy

 The blanket fairy placed a grey woolen blanket
on top of the man
and then asked,
Would you like some company
for a while?

 You are always welcome
under my blankets

 The blanket fairy then climbed into the bed
and held the man in her arms
until he began to dream,
and then she slipped out of the bed
and into the night

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Good evening

 Hello, Blanket Fairy

 Are you warm enough?

 Yes

 Is there anything I can do for you?

 My shoulders are a bit sore

 The blanket fairy then joined the woman
on her bed
and massaged her shoulders
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Good evening

 Good evening, Blanket Fairy

 Shall I tuck you in?

 That would be great,
thank you
A bit of cold air
has been coming in near my feet

 The blanket fairy rearranged the blankets
so that they covered the man well,
and then she began to caress his face
and run her fingers through his hair
as he drifted off to sleep

 ♫ ♫ ♫

And so the blanket fairy continued,
moving around the farm
and through the night,
giving everyone
just what they needed

 ♫ ♫ ♫

ein seitensprung

Ein Seitensprung

 Er hat sich entschieden
die Nacht woanders zu verbringen

 Er hat ziemlich viele Liebhaberinnen,
und er kann nicht jederzeit bei allen sein

 Heute war es eher ein Kurzbesuch

 Ja,
er wollte uns nur necken

 Er tut nur so als sei er interessiert

 Wir sind nicht seine Hauptpartnerinnen

 Nein,
das sind wir sicher nicht

 Eine bessere Beziehung mit ihm wäre schön,
ein bissel stabiler,
etwas regelmäßiger
Vielleicht könnten wir uns sogar sehen
an bestimmten Tagen
zu bestimmten Zeiten

 Ja,
das wäre schön

 Wir sollten es versuchen,
ihn irgendwie anzulocken

 Ja, aber wie?

 Vielleicht sollten wir ihn einladen
hier bei uns zu wohnen

 Ja,
dann würde er nicht so viel
herum strömen müssen

 Na ja,
wenn er immer da wäre,
würden wir ihn vielleicht nicht so sehr schätzen

 Er muß frei sein,
kommen und gehen zu können wie er will

 Vielleicht brauchen wir ihn gar nicht

 Hmm,
vielleicht hast du recht

 Also Kerzen haben wir,
lesen könnten wir während des Tages —
wenn überhaupt,
einen Kühlschrank haben wir eh nicht,
und die Pumpe könnten wir mit einem Fahrrad betreiben

 Ist recht
Machen wir das

♫ ♫ ♫

 Eines Tages ist der Strom dann zurück gekommen,
und alle durften ihn
wieder genießen

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the color of music

The color of music

 In front of a stone church in Barcelona
stood two young men singing arias,
and the vibrant colors of the notes they sang
as they floated through the night
were astounding

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Maybe they’re students from the music academy

 Yeah

 I didn’t know that each musical note
had a different color

Me either
They’re pretty cool

 It would be great
to be able to see spoken words too

 Perhaps sometimes
Whether or not it would be great
would depend on who was speaking,
what they were saying
and how they were saying it
I already feel the vibrations of words —
and they’re not always nice

 Yeah,
tone of voice,
volume
and the matter being discussed
make a big difference
in how a word feels

 Yeah
Maybe it would be better
if people were to talk a bit less
Then we might all feel a bit better

 Yeah
And a lot of bands would sound better
without their singer
Many good songs
have been ruined by horrible lyrics

 Yeah,
like Calexico
They make nice music,
but the singer manages to destroy
most of their songs

 Fortunately they have a few instrumental songs

 Yeah

Dirty Three is one of my favorite bands

 Mine too

 They almost never sing

 Yeah,
they just play beautiful and compelling rhythms
that take you on a trip

 Horse Stories is a great album

 It’s one of my favorites

 It would be nice if more songwriters
would wait for inspiration
and let a song come naturally
rather than sit somewhere and try to write one
and end up inflicting a bunch of rubbish
on the rest of the world

 Yeah,
silence is better than rubbish

 And if someone is going to sing,
they ought to sing clearly,
so that people can understand what they’re singing,
otherwise they might as well just sing vowel sounds,
which is often quite nice

 Yeah,
like Leonard Cohen
You can understand every word he sings,
and each song is meaningful

 Dawn Upshaw has a nice voice

 She has a beautiful voice

I love the way she sings Henryck Gorecki’s third symphony

 So do I

Lucy has a beautiful voice too
The way she sang at the fire the other night was divine

 Lucy’s an angel

 Her voice travels
to the depths of one’s being

 Yeah
I could listen to Lucy sing without pause
forever

 Me too
And I could listen to Vannte play his guitar forever as well

 Yeah
They sure make
some beautiful music

 Hey,
check out that constellation of notes

 Wow
What a combination of colors

 And so the two friends continued to listen
to the opera singers
and to watch the notes drift by

 ♫ ♫ ♫

may you be a blessing

May you be a blessing

 May you be a blessing
to all you meet
May your presence be a gift

 That’s what was written
on a sign at the entrance
to Café Quiet

 Shall we go in?

 I don’t know
Do you think we would make good gifts?

 I’m not sure
I haven’t been that nice to others lately

 Me either

 We could try to be nice

 Yeah,
we could try

 And so the two friends went in
and sat down
on some cushions on the floor

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 What a menu

 Yeah
I’ve never heard of some of these teas before

 Me either
Medicinal Dose of Motherly Amor looks interesting

So does Light and Sound Dimension

 I’d like to try both

 Me too

 The waiter then came over
and took their order

 Would you like your tea
in a cup or in a pot?

 We’d like a pot of each, please

 An excellent decision
Please enjoy the silence
while I prepare your tea

 The waiter then went to the kitchen
to prepare their tea,
and the two friends had a look around
at the other patrons,
most of whom were sitting or lying quietly
with their eyes closed
and smiles on their faces

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Mmm!
This tea is delicious

 So is this one

 The two friends continued to drink
until both pots were empty
and they felt that it was time to lie down

 May you inspire others
to be peaceful and kind,
said the waiter in passing

 With that thought in mind,
the two friends melted into the moment
and began to enjoy the silence
of the space

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 This place
is a well of love

 Yeah

 And the walls are breathing

 Yeah
And so is the floor

 I feel good here

 Me too

 The two friends then fell silent
and began to explore
inner space

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 I can’t feel my body

 You don’t have one anymore

 Oh
Hey,
you don’t have one either

 We’ve disappeared

 But we’re still here

 I guess we’re not limited
to our bodies

 I guess not

 Cool

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Who are you?

 I’m not sure
I’m on the edge
of being all and being nothing

 Me too

 Nice space

 Yeah

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It’s pretty quiet here

 Very quiet

 And it’s nice

 Very nice

 I am God

 Me too

 Yeah

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It’s pretty dark and silent down here

 We’re pretty deep

 I think we’re at the center
of the universe

 Could be

 It seems pretty empty here

Yeah,
I don’t see anything —
except that seed over there

 I feel like I’m levitating
in nothingness

 Me too
It’s pretty cool

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 I have access to
an incredible amount of power

 I feel it too
It’s very strong
I could move a mountain

 Or solve any problem

 There are no problems

 Not anymore

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Hey,
there’s Siddhartha

 Yeah,
he’s here too
Hey,
I can’t tell
where he stops
and I begin

 And I can’t tell
where you stop
and I begin

 I guess we’re made
of the same energy
and are not really separate beings

 Or beings at all

 I am nothing
but pure awareness

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 That tea was pretty good

 Yeah

 I think I lost my ego somewhere

 Me too

 I don’t miss it

 Neither do I

 I feel very present in this moment

 Me too

 Shall we go?

 Where?

 I don’t know

 There’s nowhere left to go

 And so the two friends decided to stay
at Café Quiet
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the trip

The trip

 The song of a light being
danced through the night

 The most beautiful voice
he had ever heard
entered the traveler
and went deep inside

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The bearer of light went deeper
than anyone else had gone before

 Pure love embraced him
and tears flowed

 I would like to listen
to this song forever,
thought the traveler

 Then deeper and deeper he went
until he reached
the edge of the dream

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 At the center of the universe
on the edge of nothingness,
lay a seed

 Down he looked
into the void,
and silence greeted him

rest

Omnipotent power flowed through him,
problems ceased to exist
and there was nowhere to go

 Welcome home
You made it

 A few others mingled in paradise,
an oasis
of calm and love

 An endless and abundant supply of nourishment
was available to all who had come,
and it was there that the traveler
decided to stay

 ♫ ♫ ♫

ein geschenk

Ein Geschenk

 Ihre Stimme tanzte
durch die Nacht,
leicht und hell,
am heiligen Abend

 Die schönste Stimme,
die er je gehört hat,
war sie

 Von Lucy,
Trägerin des Lichts,
strahlte ein Licht, das tief,
sehr tief,
so tief, daß tiefer nicht möglich wäre,
in seinem Wesen eingedrungen ist,
um ihn zu erleuchten

 Ein Geschenk,
ein heilendes Geschenk,
ein heiliges Wesen war sie
mit ihrem Licht,
mit ihrer Stimme,
mit ihrer Anwesenheit
am heiligen Abend

monkeys!

Monkeys!

 Monkeys are coming from the North!

 The alarm was raised,
the shepherd raised his cane
and began to shout at the troupe of monkeys,
and the women who had been cutting grass nearby
ran towards them
and tried to shoo them away

 The monkeys continued to pick peanuts
from the freshly-planted field
and waited until the humans were almost upon them
before retreating to the edge of the forest
and climbing to the tops of the trees

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Peter grabbed his rifle,
mobilized his army of farmhands
and headed down to the front
to do battle with the most elegant animals around

 An excellent shot,
Peter aimed to barely miss
and merely frighten the monkeys
The others shouted
and threw stones and clods of dirt
in their general direction

 The monkeys realized
that they would have to come back later
and made their way back to the river

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The monkeys are cool

 Yeah
I like hanging out with them down by the river
and up among the rocks

 And they’re smart too
They don’t work like people do,
they simply wait for food to grow on its own
and eat it when it’s ready

 Yeah,
bananas and papayas
and pretty much everything else
can grow by themselves

 Yeah
When Fukuoka was walking back to his village
after the war,
he noticed that rice was growing in fields
that had not been irrigated or tended to for years
He then began to farm his land
by doing almost nothing at all

 If there were less people on the planet,
everyone would be able to move around freely,
picking whatever fruit and vegetables were in season
There would be enough for everyone
to eat as much as they liked

 We could live like the monkeys

 And the bats

 Yes, and the bats,
and all the other animals that move from tree to tree
and place to place,
eating whatever is ripe and delicious

 We could migrate north in the summer
and south in the winter,
like the birds

 Monkeys!
They’re coming from the hills!

 Again the alarm was raised
as another troupe of monkeys began to forage,
descending from the stones
that overlooked the farm

 Peter prepared for a showdown
and soon was on his way,
bicycling down to the peanut fields
with his men running closely behind

♫ ♫ ♫

babavision

Babavision

 Would you like to watch TV?

 Um,
not really
I stopped watching TV
about twenty years ago

 This is a special kind of television
I call it a babavision

 The host then unveiled
a television that had been carved out of stone
and looked like a TV from the sixties

 Now and then I change the channel
by painting a scene on the screen,
but usually I just leave it blank
and watch it like that

 It would be pretty hard
to disturb your neighbors
with a TV like that

 They haven’t complained yet,
and one of my neighbors recently asked me
to carve one for him
His wife is addicted to watching TV
and he’s tired of having to hear
stupid dialogues all day long
He wants to replace his TV
with a babavision

 Good idea
Stones are cool

 Yeah
They’re usually pretty quiet
and they keep to themselves —
except when they decide to slide down a slope
or explode in a fire

 Yeah
Stones are pretty meditative
I have some pretty ones in my hut

 I have a few too

 I used to have a lot of crystals,
but I have given most of them away,
and I don’t collect them anymore
I have the feeling that they enjoy
being deep underground
and that they might be doing
some important work there

 Yeah
Who knows what they’re doing down there

 Maybe it’s time to stop mining
and taking things from places
where humans are perhaps not meant to go

 A small shaft now and then,
here and there
is probably alright,
but a lot of those mining operations
are destroying everything around

 Yeah,
some of those holes are pretty big

 Maybe we could do without
a lot of the things we have grown accustomed to
and live more simply,
like the way people did before the second world war

 Yeah,
I could live without plastic

 Me too

 And I could live without genetically modified seeds
and chemical fertilizers

 Yeah,
heirloom seeds are best
And there’s no need to poison the earth with chemicals

 Organic farming is best

 Yeah
And it’s kind of strange
that we have to say organic
when we talk about the traditional way of farming
It would be better to call the farmers who use chemicals
chemical farmers,
or perhaps poisoners

 Yeah,
that’s what they’re doing
They’re poisoning us and the land,
and that’s not cool

 Yet another post-second world war phenomenon:
most farmers have become poisoners

 Yeah
A lot of bad things began after that war:
ugly architecture,
a rapid rise in the population,
the poisoning of our food and water
and the use of plastic

 Chemical farmers should be required
to disclose all of the poisons and other chemicals
that they put on plants
and into the earth

 Yeah
Maybe then people would stop buying their food
and all farmers would return
to a healthy and sustainable way of farming

Yeah
That’d be cool

 It’s almost chai time

 I’ll get my guitar
and meet you there

 And so the host and the guest
returned to their huts
to get the instruments they wished to play
while everyone drank
their evening tea

♫ ♫ ♫

the dude with the green marble

The dude with the green marble

 Near the tractor shed at Rishimukh
stood a man with a dark green marble
He held the marble up in front of his right eye
and appeared to be looking through it
He held it there for quite some time,
and now and then he would turn to the left
or to the right
and look in another direction
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 He put on a good show,
but nobody paid him much attention
Extremely unusual behavior
often attracted little or no attention in India
Everyone just walked on by
without giving him a second glance

 And when the show appeared to be over,
the man held out his hand
in the hope of receiving a little money,
but again no one appeared very interested
in what he was doing,
so he moved along a bit
and then began to look
through the green marble again

 After this attempt failed as well,
the man began to wander towards the guests’ rooms,
and he was then promptly given an escort
to the gate

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Did you see the dude with the green marble?

 Yeah
I think he was trying to make us believe
that he’s some kind of sorcerer

 He needs to work on his act a bit

 Yeah

 The gypsy women who came and danced last month
earned their reward

 Yeah,
they weren’t bad the first time they came,
but a few mornings ago a couple of them showed up drunk
They asked for more money and offered to put on some sort of show,
but no one was interested in paying
two drunken old women to stumble around

 The harmonium player yesterday wasn’t too bad

 He wasn’t that good either

 That’s true
He was a little good

 Yeah

 He comes by about once a year
to play the harmonium and sing a few songs
in exchange for a few hundred rupees

 There’s no end
to the stream of people
who come to the farm in search of money

 Yeah
They all seem to have missed
the real gems this place has to offer:
the silence,
the serenity
the love

 This place is nourishing

 Yeah

 It’s time to water the flowers

 And I need to prepare the fire

 See you at chai time

 See you then

 And so the two friends began their work
while some birds were singing
Good Late Afternoon

♫ ♫ ♫

the lighthouse

The lighthouse

 From his place at the top of a stone lighthouse
several hundred miles inland
a sage sat in silence
and spun around slowly on a revolving platform,
emitting a soft blue light from his right hand
as he went around

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 He’s been up there for about three hundred years
Doesn’t eat or drink anything anymore,
and he never comes down
He just sits like that
in silence
and spins around
very slowly

 What makes the platform turn?

 Two of his disciples
are on the level directly below
riding bicycles that power the mechanism
that turns the platform

 Cool
How do they get in?
I haven’t seen a door

 There’s a secret tunnel
that leads from the under the lighthouse
to somewhere else
The door was walled up and the tunnel was dug
about two hundred years ago
The sage got tired of people knocking on his door
and wanting to speak with him,
so now there is no door to knock on

 His light is soft
but very strong
And it never dims

 Yeah
He’s got a good connection to the source

 Yeah
He could leave his body at anytime,
but he hangs around
to give us
and all those who pass by
his blessings

 It’s pretty cool that he can live off of prana

 Yeah

 Does he still talk?

 I’ve only heard him sing mantras
and lullawakes

 He sings pretty well

 Yeah
He doesn’t feel the need to talk anymore
He’s in a state of bliss
What is there to say
when you’re in that space?

 Yeah
Talking is overrated
Earth would be a lot nicer
if there were a bit less talking going on

 Yeah

 A lighthouse is a good place for a light being

 Yeah
Some withdraw and stay in caves,
but he’s chosen to sit here among us
and send out waves of light and love

 Maybe he could do something about all the blackouts

 I’m not so sure
He’s from a different line
and he’s off the grid
He has a wireless connection
to another kind of power,
the source of all power

 He’s a kind of transformer

 Yeah
Everyone who wanders
into his sphere of influence
experiences some sort of positive change

 It’d be cool if every town had a lighthouse
with a sage inside

 Yeah
That’d be super cool

 It’s time for lunch

 Let’s go

 And then the two friends made their way
to the dinning space
while some monkeys made their way
to the freshly-planted peanut fields

 ♫ ♫ ♫

at night darkness is best

At night darkness is best

 The daily power outage in Hampi
would sometimes last for three whole days,
but usually it was out
for only eight to ten hours a day

 The power outages were scheduled,
but the men in charge of distributing the power
never stuck to the schedule,
and the schedule changed
from week to week

 They send most of the power to the cities,
which waste it on lighting up the whole town at night

 Yeah
What a waste of power

 The sky at night
is more beautiful
when the lights are off

 Yeah
At night darkness is best
When I need light,
I use a candle
or a low-wattage bulb

 Yeah, no more than forty watts
No need to disturb
all the other beings
that prefer darkness at night

 I like to get up with the sun
and go to bed soon after it gets dark

 Me too
I love going to bed at seven

 Yeah,
seven is great

 Sometimes I stay up late,
but usually I go to bed between seven and eight

 I wonder how they decide
when to give us power
It seems to come at random

 I think there is a power struggle going on
in the switch room
Some of the guys want to obey the rules
and keep to the schedule
and others prefer to take bribes from the owners of factories
and other things that consume a lot of energy
and then sell our power to them

 Maybe they arm wrestle for control of the switch,
and the winner of each match,
gets to choose where the power goes
Pinning his opponent’s hand to the table
causes the switch to flip or
stay put
in his favor

 So the strongest guys get the power

 Maybe they just roll some dice now and then
to determine when and where
the power should be sent

 Maybe they’re all drunk
It could be that they spend the whole day drinking
and walking around in a drunken stupor,
and perhaps now and then one of them bumps into the switch by accident
and either cuts off the power
or begins to send it to us again

I like the system in Cuba
They had scheduled power outages when I was there
There would be a power outage in each neighborhood once a week,
and on that day the power would be out all day
In one neighborhood the power would be cut off every Thursday,
in another every Friday
and so on

Cuba has a few good systems in place
Power outages aren’t so bad
when you know when they’re going to be

Yeah
If the guys at the power station here
were to stick the schedule,
it would make a few things a bit easier

 Yeah

 The power then went out again
and everyone decided that it was time for bed
They made their way to their huts,
lay down
and fell asleep while listening to crickets and toads sing

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the silent zone

The silent zone

 A bit tired
of all the talking
and all the horn honking,
the traveler walked to the edge of the town
in search of a quiet place
to sit

 I can still hear the horns,
he said to himself
when he had reached the bottom of the hills
on one side of the town,
so he decided to climb up and over the hills
to see if it was quieter
on the other side

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 From the top of the hills
the traveler could see another town,
but he could not hear
what it had to say

 The town of Silence
was divided into twenty-four zones,
and in each one silence reigned
for a different amount of time

 In Zone One
for one hour each day
everyone would be
as quiet as possible,
and when that hour would be
would change from week to week
One week it might be from two to three in the afternoon
and the next from three to four in the morning

 In Zone Two
everyone would be quiet
for two consecutive hours a day,
and,
as in Zone One,
the quiet time would vary
from week to week

 In Zone Three
the people were quiet for three consecutive hours a day,
in Zone Four for four
and so on

 In Zone Twenty-four
silence was sovereign
the entire day

 The traveler descended
into Silence
and slowly made his way
to Zone Twenty-one

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 After sitting quietly
for quite some time,
after having enjoyed the singing of some birds in a park,
the traveler got up and began to walk
towards Zone Thirteen

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 I too
was suffering from a lack of silence,
said a girl
that the traveler met in a café,
so I moved here
It’s a great place to live
There are tree-lined canals
dividing each zone,
so sounds rarely travel
from zone to zone,
and one can move about
according to one’s need
for silence

 Often silence is more beautiful than words

 Yes
Shall we sit quietly?

 The traveler nodded in agreement,
and the two friends drank tea and sat
in silence

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 In search of the ultimate silence,
the traveler walked to Zone-four
There he sat and meditated
and went further and further inside
beyond the chatter
of the mind
and to the other side

 ♫ ♫ ♫

kaleidoscopes are cool

Kaleidoscopes are cool

 Japanese girls
keep appearing in my dreams
Always different ones,
and last night there were two of them

 One of the girls said,
Catch me if you can
I told her that I don’t run anymore
and that perhaps we’d meet up later
The other one stayed put,
so I hung out with her for a while
She was making kaleidoscopes
and I asked her if she would make one for me
She said yes
and she let me choose the glass
Purple, green and blue
were the colors I chose,
and she made me a very nice kaleidoscope

 Kaleidoscopes are cool

 Yeah
And the Japanese are cool too
When they do something,
they do it well
or they don’t do it at all

 Yeah,
like the Germans and the Austrians

 And the Swiss

 Yeah
But they don’t know how to make nuclear power plants very well

 Yeah,
but then nobody does
All of those plants are going to have a problem
eventually

 Yeah
Nuclear power sucks

 Yeah
Fortunately some countries have gotten the message
and have stopped producing it

 Yeah,
like Germany

 But some countries that have never had a plant
still want to build one

 Yeah,
like Viet Nam

 One accident there
would kill everyone in the country

 Yeah
It’s not worth the risk

 It’ll probably take one more big accident
like Chernobyl or Fukushima
before everyone on the planet finally agrees
that nuclear power is not the way to go

 It would be nice if everyone were to realize that
before such an accident

 There was at least one positive consequence
as a result of Fukushima

 Yeah,
Germany shut down all its nuclear power plants

 So did Japan

 Yeah,
but the politicians there want to reopen some of them

 I guess they didn’t get the message

 Maybe the accident damaged their brains

 Yeah

 And it would be nice if people would stop building tall buildings

 Yeah,
they block one’s view of rainbows,
the sunset
and other cool things

 Yeah,
and they’re all going to fall down one day

 Like the World Trade Center

 Yeah,
it’s just a matter of time

 Five stories is the limit I would set
for buildings in a city

 Yeah,
The five-story ones in New York are nice

 In Santa Barbara the limit is four stories
And it is the only city I know
that has gotten prettier with time
The façades of many of the ugly buildings,
the ones built after the second world war,
were redone in the colonial style
so that they would blend in with the pretty buildings

 Most of the architecture before the second world war was alright

 Yeah,
and then something happened
The whole planet took a turn for the worse after the war
The quality of workmanship,
the environment
and a lot of other things

 Yeah,
but there have been a few good inventions
since the second world war,
like avocado ice cream
and the Internet

 Yeah,
the Internet is pretty useful
I support advances in communication and healthcare,
but most of the other things that people keep inventing
don’t really improve life on earth

 Yeah,
We don’t need faster planes and trains
or to spend time on the moon

 Slow trains are great
You get to enjoy the passing scenes

 A blend of the best of the old
and the best of the new
would be great

 Yeah
A lot of people are leaving the cities and becoming farmers
and learning how to do things the old way

 Yeah,
growing their own food,
making their own clothes,
and doing everything by hand

 It takes longer,
but why hurry?

 An axe makes a lot less noise than a chainsaw

 Carrying water from the river
keeps me in good shape

 Bathing in the river
means I don’t need to build a shower
and install plumbing

 The river is great

 Yeah
Let’s hope this one stays clean

Yeah

 Farmers are cool

They’re super cool
And they’re more useful than businessmen
You can eat food,
but you can’t eat money

 Yeah
We need farmers,
but we don’t need businessmen

 Farmers are cooler than businessmen

 Much cooler

 It’s almost time to milk the buffalos

 Yeah
Let’s go

 The buffalos are cool

 Yeah
And they’re super meditative
and easy to get along with

 They chew each mouthful of grass very slowly
at least twenty times before they swallow

 Yeah,
they’re never in a hurry

 And so the two friends
made their way over
to where the buffalos were hanging out

 ♫ ♫ ♫

farmshram

Farmshram

 The first guest of the season
had been released earlier that day,
fully restored
to his original condition,
and a new guest had just arrived

 Good beautiful morning

 Good morning

 Welcome to Rishimukh
Are you a doctor or patient?

 Um,
are there any other catagories?

 Most people seem to be
mostly one or the other,
although it is sometimes hard to tell
the difference between them
and everyone seems to be
a bit of both

 I’m not sure
which I am

 Don’t worry
While you’re here
you’ll find out
who you really are
I’ll show you to your hut

 And so the farmer led the guest
to a hut near the aqueduct

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Darshan with nature
is one of the best medicines

 Sitting quietly under the soap nut tree
does one a lot of good

 Listening to the crickets and toads
sing lullabies at night
has cured many people

 Hanging out
with the wild pig and the monkeys
and all the other animals
can be quite therapeutic

 Watching and listening
to the birds and the butterflies
helps to still the mind

 Pulling weeds and watering the flowers
and helping out in the garden
is a good way to reconnect
with earth

 We grow most of the food we eat,
without chemicals,
and we make everything fresh every day
We don’t have a refridgerator

 Enjoy the fragrence and the feel of the flowers
as well as their elegant beauty
Some of them
are smoother than silk

 Please feel free to sing, dance and make music
whenever you feel inspired

 Try to avoid using any electronic devices
while you are here
And please leave your telephone turned off

 I suggest that you get up early enough
to watch the sun rise,
that you make sure to see the sun set
and that you go to bed early,
advised the doctor
And don’t miss the stillness
inside

 The farmer then left the guest
to suffer or to explore
as she liked

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Hello

 Hello

 Would like to watch an ice cube melt?
asked a man who was staying in a hut nearby

 Okay

 Come
I brought one from the village

 The man led the guest
over to his hut,
from which he took a rapidly-melting cube of ice
He placed it on the ground
and together they watched it grow smaller
in silence

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Are you a doctor
or a patient?

 That depends
on your point of view,
and that point of view may change
with time

 Would you like a tour of the land?

 Sure

 And so the man began
to show the guest around
and to explain to her a few things
about her new home

 We have coffee at breakfast
made with milk from our buffalos,
a tender coconut in the late morning,
freshly-pressed sugar cane juice
with just the right amount of lemon after lunch,
lemon juice with a hint of cardamon at three o’clock,
the best chai around at 5.20
and an herbal tea with all meals

 We haven’t yet had
lemon juice and sugar cane juice on the same day,
but if that ever happens,
I think we’ll all imagine
that we’ve died and gone to nirvana

 And the food here is the best in Karnataka
Everything is made fresh each day
We grow our own rice, corn, peanuts and sugar cane,
we cook with cold-pressed peanut oil
taken from our peanuts
We have mango, coconut, avocado, cashew, lemon, jackfruit
and many more trees
We grow our own papayas, bananas, pineapples and sugar cane,
and eggs we get from our ducks

 Be mindful of what you do
and how you do it,
and you’ll have no problems here

 The cobras are pretty shy
and would prefer to avoid your company
as much as you’d probably prefer to avoid theirs
Just be aware
that they’re around
and of where they’re likely to be
and you’ll be fine

 Leave your story behind
Don’t worry about the future
Just be

 Feel free to borrow an instrument from the music room
and play with the band
before and after meals in the dinning area
and at the evening fire

 The forest is down there,
the river is on the other side
and lunch is at one o’clock
I’ll leave you now
and see you at lunch

 Thank you
for showing me around

 The guestt then began
to wander around on her own
and greet all of the flowers,
admiring their colors and forms
and breathing in their scents

 The scent of honey
wafted through the air
and blessings began to flow
in her direction

 ♫ ♫ ♫

scent and sound

Scent and sound

 May the scent you wear
be as subtle and pleasing
as that of a frangipani tree

 May the voice you speak with
be deep and quiet,
gentle and slow

 And may you be aware
that not everyone in town
wants to hear your conversation
or inhale your perfume

 That is what was written
on a sign at the entrance
of Café Quiet

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Luli’s father
could hear her voice,
and it seemed
that he could hear no other

 Perhaps he was just pretending
not to hear what others said
in order to avoid
having to talk with them

 Or perhaps he had trained his ears
to only let in
pleasing sounds

 We can learn a lot from the Lao,
she said,
for example how to talk
on a telephone

 They understand
that the microphone on a mobile phone
is quite good
and that there is no need to shout
into everyone’s ears

 They speak so quietly
both in person
and when on the phone
that those who are standing,
sitting
or lying around nearby
cannot hear
what is being said

 The Lao are smart

 Yeah
They understand telephone technology
better than most

 And they don’t go around
infringing on other people’s rights

 I don’t think Lao
has ever attacked another country

 Or tried to impose their way of life on others

 Well,
the communists have done quite a bit of killing
and forced a number of unpopular changes
at home

 Yeah
Their government kind of sucks

So does ours

Yeah

 An annoying ringtone
then sounded loudly
and continued to disturb the peace
until the owner of the phone
finally got around
to answering the call

 Sounds like she needs a different job

 And a different boyfriend

 She sure complains a lot

 And wears a lot of perfume

 I think she used the whole bottle

 And it looks like she’s going to talk for some time

 Let’s go somewhere quieter

 Somewhere where the air is fresh

 Wait
It looks like the waiter
is going to ask her to leave

 She doesn’t seem to understand
why anyone would object
to her presence

 There she goes

 In a huff

 I love this café

 Me too

death and life

Death and life

 Bang!

 At a little past four in the morning
the door to the wood storage area under the oven
slammed hard against the stone wall
as a leopard silently dragged Claire
away from her puppies

 Everyone on the farm awoke
and wondered what had happened

 At sunrise the puppies were found alone
and leopard tracks were seen
here and there

 She must have been sleeping

 Yeah
And none of the other dogs
barked a warning

They must all have been sleeping

 The leopard is rather stealthy

 The other dogs don’t seem very upset

 They must understand
that everything comes and goes
And rather than be sad
because of a loss
they delight in what they have

 They’re like the characters in Aki Kaurismäki’s films
They accept life as it comes
and live free of drama

 Yeah
It is what it is
No point in complaining

 Crows don’t take death so well
I once found a dead crow near my hut
and I picked it up and took it to the rubbish pit
All along the way
about forty other crows crowed loudly in protest
I think they thought I had killed their friend

 One of the puppies also died last night
and we’re going to bury her near the yoga hut
and plant a tree on top of her grave

 I’d like to have a tree on top of my grave too

 So would I

 Cemeteries are kind of cold and depressing

 And they take up a lot of space

 Yeah
With all the people on the planet,
all the cemeteries are going to fill up pretty soon

 Cremating is not much better
Too many trees are cut down
for funeral pyres

 It would be much nicer to plant forests

 Yeah
It would be nice to visit our friends
who have departed
in a beautiful place
full of life

 We can give the puppies buffalo milk

 Like when Susi was a baby boar
and had been abandoned by her mother

 I’ll prepare a new bed for the puppies in the kitchen

 I’ll warm up some milk

 Claire was a good dog

 And a good mother

 And a good meal for the leopard

 Yeah
The leopard keeps the dog population
at a sustainable level

 And it keeps the boars under control too

 The planet could use something
to keep the human population at a sustainable level

 Yeah
It’s kind out of control at the moment

 It would be nice if people stopped breeding mindlessly

 One can always adopt

 Yeah
There are plenty of children without parents
No need to make more

 Yeah

 I haven’t seen any boars around lately
except for Susi

 I think they’re waiting for Peter
to plant more peanuts

 Yeah
And the monkeys are waiting
for the bananas to ripen

 Me too

 Yeah
Naturally-ripened bananas are the best

 Yeah

 The monkeys are pretty cool

 Yeah
When they’re not taking the bananas

 Or the mangos

 Or the papayas

 They’re a lot like us

 Yeah
Not much difference
I saw one picking flowers the other day
and then eating them

 The butterfly pea flowers taste pretty good

 I like them too

 I saw one of the crocodiles yesterday
It was lying on a boulder near the river

 We’re lucky the crocodiles around here
don’t eat people

 Yeah
Both the leopards and the crocodiles
leave us alone

 The cobras leave us alone too

 As long as we are mindful of what we do
and where we step,
and if we give them some space

 If we leave them alone,
they leave us alone

 Yeah
I haven’t seen any of the bears around lately

 Me either

 But I found a dead scorpion in my room the other night
And it was missing an arm

 I wonder what killed it?

 Maybe a bigger scorpion

 I saw an orange one in the stack of wood
near the fire pit

 I saw some bright red dragonflies
above the swimming pool
Really little ones

 There’s a frog hanging out in the shower

 It’s probably resting
The frogs were singing all night last night
with the crickets and the toads

 Yeah,
they’re back
I think they were on tour for a while

 The bats over near my hut
screeched all night
They’ve been eating those little berries
in the big tree by the haystack

 One of the water buffalo
was singing for a while last night too

 Yeah
She’s in heat

 Water buffalo are cool

 Yeah
They’re super mellow and friendly

 The ducks are cool too

 Yeah
They quack really quietly

 And they’re friendly

 Yeah

 The geese are really loud

 And unfriendly

 And super stubborn

 Yeah
The other day when they were making their rounds
they wanted to pass between two huts
and I happened to be standing in their way
Rather than go around me,
they squawked until I moved out of the way
There was plenty of room
for them to pass by,
but they wanted to have
the space to themselves

 Maybe they were afraid

 Yeah
People who are loud
are often afraid
of not being noticed

 Yeah
And people who are quiet
don’t feel the need to attract attention

 Some people are like geese

 And some are like ducks

 I prefer ducks

 Me too

 Do you think those black and yellow centipedes bite?

 I’m not sure
They haven’t bitten me yet

 The orange and blue colored ones
look a bit more aggressive

 Yeah
You don’t want to mess with them

 Did you see the owls yesterday morning?
They were both on the branch behind Hanuman House

 No,
but I saw one of them about an hour ago
It was perched on the roof
of Shiva House

 Have you seen the new cluster of bees,
the one behind the kitchen?

 Yeah
They just moved there a few days ago

 The bees in the eucalyptus tree over by the bicycle shed
have been making a lot of honey
I can smell it every time I walk by

 Me too,
especially in the early morning
and the late afternoon

 Have you seen the jumping ants?

 Yeah
They jump down from trees and land on you
if you stand still long enough

 Some of them swing on spider-like threads
like Tarzan

 Yeah
I call those ones tarzants

 A python has been using the road that goes to the village
Yesterday I saw a deep wavy line etched in the dirt
It went from just inside the gate
to about a third of the way to the crossroad

 I wonder if it was coming or going

 I hope it was going

 Me too

 I wouldn’t mind the darshan of a cobra,
but I don’t think I’d feel very comfortable around a python

 Me either,
but if we meet,
I think we’ll manage somehow

 Yeah,
if it’s meant to be,
it’ll happen,
and whatever happens will be okay

 Yeah

 Cobras are pretty mellow

 Yeah
It’s possible to share a space with them

 Just don’t knock down an abandoned termite mound
or lie on a haystack

 Yeah
They like to hang out in places like that

 Just then
the donkey began to bray

 Maybe he wants some flowers

 Let’s get some for him

 Okay

 And so the two friends went to pick some flowers
for the donkey to eat

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A few orange-breasted woodpeckers
flew overhead
and landed in a mango tree
while a flock of parrots
headed towards the cashew grove

 Three brown sheep,
a ram, a ewe and their lamb,
made their way to the meadow next to the citrus grove,
accompanied by the old man
who shepherded them,
and some black and red butterflies
fluttered around
the lavender hibiscuses

 Susi was let of the pen
that she shared with Youssef the camel
and went on her morning walk in the woods

 All of the other animals were let out as well,
and they began their walk
down to the river
where they could run and play
for a few hours
before returning for lunch

 Youssef led the way,
followed by the Ganesh the bull,
his harem of cows and his children,
and then all of the water buffalos
and finally the donkey

 Camels are noble creatures

 And elegant

 Ganesh looks pretty strong

 I think he could knock down a stone wall
if he wanted to

 Yeah

 I think it’s time
to bury the puppy
and plant a tree

 Yeah,
let’s go

 And so the two friends
made their way
over to the freshly-dug grave
with flowering plants and a tree
to mark the resting place

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the museum of unwanted art

The Museum of Unwanted Art

 Yet another painting
had been dropped off at the back door
of the Museum of Unwanted Art,
so the curator made her way up from the vaults
to inspect the new arrival

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 What do you think it is?

 I’m not sure
It kind of looks like a scarecrow

 I think it might scare away
just about anyone who looked at it
It might even scare off a burglar

 Let’s let the docents decide tomorrow

 Okay

 The assistant then put the painting in the lounge
where the docents met every Thursday,
got really stoned,
and then tried to figure out
in which gallery to put the paintings
that were of an extremely ambigous nature

 Some of the paintings had been inherited,
most had been received as gifts
and all of them had been unwelcome
in the homes of their previous owners

 Most people dropped off their paintings at night,
hoping not be seen
by the person who had painted the painting
or the one who had given it to them

 Some artists would visit
now and then
to see if any of their paintings
had made their way
to the Museum of Unwanted Art

 In the wing for paintings
that appeared to be unfinshed,
a supply of paints and brushes were available,
and visitors were encouraged
to finish the paintings

 Not all of the paintings
were an eyesore
or mediocre at best
Some of them were rather good,
and now and then
a true masterpiece would be donated
by someone
who had no appreciation of fine art

 And for those interested in exceptionally bad art,
a room known as the torture chamber was reserved
for the worst of the worst

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The museum had been open
for only a few months,
and yet all of the walls were full,
and in the storage vaults below
the curator was quickly running out of space

 What shall we do?
she asked
at the docents’ meeting on Thursday

 We could donate them
to prisons for white-collar criminals
and hang them in their cells

 That would be cruel

 I think it’s a good idea

 They might hang themselves

 The planet would probably be better off
without some of those guys

 Yeah,
some of them ought to leave this dimension
and reincarnate as a tree or something
before attempting to be human again

 We could give some of the paintings
to the architects
who designed the ugly buildings in this town
and tell them that if they ever design
such ugly buildings again,
buildings that we have to look at every day,
we’ll kidnap them and put them in a cellar
that is full of ugly paintings

 Great idea

 Yeah, man
It’s about time to put a stop
to bad architecture

 Let’s leave the front door unlocked at night,
so that thieves can easily take
whatever they desire

 Excellent idea
Let’s start tonight

 We could burn a few of them every day
when it starts to colder
That way we wouldn’t have to cut down any trees
for firewood

 Let’s have an auction
Paintings that some cannot stand the sight of
might appeal to others

 I quite like that one of the purple turtle

 Me too

 People have a tendency to value more
things they have to pay for,
so if we had an auction,
people might like the paintings more than before

 And by thus increasing their value,
the paintings would find their way to new homes,
where they’d be loved and cherished

 We could also encourage people
to adopt a painting

 Good idea

 And perhaps we should do something
to discourage people who attempt to paint
without divine inspiration

 Hitler sent some of his paintings to Kandinsky
and asked for his opinion
Kandinsky sent them back
and told Hitler that they sucked

 Yeah,
and then Hitler changed his job

 And went on a world tour

 Yeah

 We shouldn’t discourage anyone from painting
One of them might start World War III

 We should neither encourage nor discourage
Who knows what would happen as a result

 Yeah

 It would be great if people would stop trying to be painters

 Yeah
People should stop trying to be anything

 Yeah
They should just be

 Yeah
Think of all the trees
that are cut down every year
to make frames and to support canvases

 Save a tree,
just be

 Yeah

 Painters should wait for inspiration
and allow creative energy to flow
rather than think about
what they’d like to paint

 Yeah
Less thinking
and more being

 So where shall we put this painting?

 It’s not really clear
what it is

 Maybe it’s upside down

 The colors are nice

 Let’s smoke another joint
and then decide

 And so the docents continued to smoke
and to decide
where to hang unwanted art

 ♫ ♫ ♫

the scarecrow

The scarecrow

 Rangaswami had been resting on the farm
for just over a week
when Peter decided it was time to let him go

 He had been hired
on a provisional basis
at the request of his father,
but every time someone saw him,
he was just standing around,
sometimes with a tool in his hand,
doing nothing

 The other workers complained
that Rangaswami would spend ages
tying his shoes,
inspecting his fingernails
or adjusting his lungi
whenever sacks of rice had to be loaded,
unloaded
or carried somewhere

 He’s useless,
said some

 He doesn’t know how to do anything,
said others

 He’s not a worker,
he’s a rester,
said everyone

 Because Rangaswami had a brain like a buffalo,
his father had had to pay quite a lot of money
in order for him to pass his exams at school,
but to no avail
He had been unable to find a job anywhere
No one would hire him

 He had wanted to join the army,
but they wouldn’t take him
because he was too short
Then he tried to get a job as a policeman,
but they wouldn’t take him either
because he couldn’t run
And every other place he had tried
had turned him away

Please, Peter,
give my son a chance,
Rangaswami’s father had asked
I know he’s useless,
but he needs to find a way to support himself
I don’t know what to do with him

 Peter had finally agreed
to give Rangaswami a job
on the condition that he would really work
and not just stand around,
but the according to everyone on the farm,
he had done nothing but stand or lie around all week

 What shall we do with him?

 He’s lazy
I’m going to fire him tomorrow

 Can’t we find something that he can do?

 There’s nothing he can do
except rest

 He’s pretty good at standing around and doing nothing

 Maybe he could work as a scarecrow in the garden
We could give him a pitchfork
and tell him to stand near the tomatoes

 He might squash them all
if he decides to lie down and take a nap

 Or if he falls asleep and then falls down

 We should give him a final chance
to see if there is something he can do well

 I’ll give him three more days
to convince me that I should not fire him
And if he fails,
on payday I am going to divide his salary
among all the other workers
who did his share of the work for him
and tell him not to come back to rest

 And so it was
that Rangaswami came to work
as a scarecrow

the blanket fairy

The blanket fairy

 The temperature had dropped
to the edge of being cool
and becoming cold,
so at three in the morning
the blanket fairy began
to make her rounds,
going from hut to hut and making sure
that everyone was warm enough

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It was a bit cooler last night

 Yeah

 I was too cold and tired to get out bed
and get another blanket,
so I just lay there and shivered

 Me too

 And then the blanket fairy appeared,
unfolded my extra blanket
and put it on top of me

 Yeah,
she did the same for me

 Life in this dimension is great

 Yeah,
the blessings keep flowing

 Each one equal to
or better than the next

 What could be better
than the blanket fairy?

 That blueberry chocolate from Finland was pretty good

 Yeah,
it was really good

 Maybe someone else from Finland
will come and bring us some

 Yeah,
that’d be cool

 Finland is cool

 Yeah

rishimukh

Rishimukh

 Purple flowers began to drop
from a twisted vine
that had grown up the trunk of the big pepper tree
and spread out among the branches,
signaling that it was time
to serve the evening chai

 Butterflies fluttered
from plant to plant,
having their evening meal,
and a great variety of birds sang their songs
and looked for a bedtime snack
while the ducks waddled and quacked
and the workers began to return from the fields

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A hint of cardamon
and just the right amount of buffalo milk
made the chai at Rishimukh
the most delicious chai in Karnataka

 Homemade music
accompanied the birds
as Vannte played his guitar
mantra style,
repeating a beautiful melody
over and over again
because no one ever grew tired
of listening

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Which flower
do you think will fall next?

 Hard to say
They’re all ready
to fall
at any time

 We should be ready too,
to leave this life
at any time

 I’m ready

 Me too

 But let’s enjoy it
as long as we’re here

 Yeah

 Flowers never die
They just change form

 Like us

 Yeah

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A light dinner at six
while the sun sank to the west
and the moon began to rise in the east

 That roti was right on the edge
of perfection,
hard enough to maintain its shape
yet soft enough to tear

 And the soup was just right,
filling, but not too heavy

 That Finnish chocolate was pretty good too

 Yeah
The Finns sure know how to make chocolate

 The crickets had been singing
for over an hour
when all at once
ten thousand toads began to croak

 I guess it’s time
for the evening jam session

 The power then went out,
for the fourth or fifth time that day,
and everyone returned to their room or hut
to fetch the instruments
they wished to play

 And then on drums and guitars,
a harmonium and a harmonica,
a kalimba, a mouth harp and more
the Rishimukh band took everyone on a trip
through a musical wonderland

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 By seven thirty
almost everyone was pretty tired,
and one by one they left
and headed off to bed

 After putting away the louder instruments
the few who remained
walked down to Viswa’s hut
to have a smoke and sing and play
a little longer

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The call of a very large being
passed through the night
and everyone stopped to listen

 What do you think that was?

 No idea

 It sounded like the howl of a very large wolf
and the trumpet of an elephant
mixed together

 There it is again

 Maybe it’s Hanuman

 Hanuman is usually pretty quiet
even when he’s doing battle and rescuing girls

 Yeah,
he’s a silent servant

 I think what we heard
was a passing truck
that sounded like a big wolf

 And an elephant

 Yeah

 Maybe it was a chupacabra

 Maybe

 Just then the dogs began to howl,
warning of something
and telling it to keep away

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The leopard is usually pretty quiet

 Yeah,
he likes to surprise his prey

 I saw one of his paw prints this afternoon
down by the river
It was as big as my hand

 Without walls
it might be hard to keep him out of the huts

 He hasn’t eaten any people around here
Mostly he goes for dogs and ducks
and other small creatures

 The dogs then fell silent,
hoping
that they would not be chosen that night,
the people returned to their huts
and went to bed
and some owls hooted
throughout the night

 ♫ ♫ ♫

café quiet

Café Quiet

 A flock of humming birds
sat quietly in a tree
that stood silently outside the window

And a few of the regulars
and one or two others
spoke in low voices
or said nothing at all
while they enjoyed their cookies and tea
at Café Quiet

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A pack of Israelis
came pouring through the door,
oblivious to everyone
and everything else
around them

 All of the birds flew away,
the cat hid under a sofa
and the dog began to howl

 Even the monkeys
that had been hanging out at the temple across the street
decided go on a run through the town

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Good afternoon
I would like to invite you
to enjoy the silence
It’s the specialty of the house,
said the owner
after the chosen people
had selected a table
and settled down
and begun to try and order
everyone around

 Perhaps you haven’t noticed,
but since you arrived
the rest of us haven’t been able to hear
the silence
that we have come to love

 The chosen people looked
as though they could not understand
why anyone would object
to their babel and hullabaloo

 If you must talk,
would you please do so quietly?

 Rather than apologize
and quiet down,
they all got up and left,
leaving a trail of invective behind

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Perhaps they are afraid
of silence

 Or perhaps they simply know
no other way
to be

 I think they’re just rude in general

 Yeah

 They think they’re tough,
but they have no idea
what it means
to be really tough

 Yeah

 I bet they couldn’t complete
a Goenka course

 Yeah,
ten days of silence

 And the silence was the easy part

 Yeah

 The regulars and the other lovers
of silence
then returned
to their peace and quiet

 ♫ ♫ ♫

calling on the king

Calling on the king

 The sun was no longer unbearable,
a cool breeze had begun to blow,
and it was nearing the time
for a late afternoon walk
along the ghats in Pushkar

 I wonder who lives in that palace over there,
the one with the cool domes

 Maybe one of the Rajasthani kings

 Maybe
I heard there are a few kings in town this week

 Shall we go call on the king
and see if he feels like hanging out?

 Okay

 And so off they set
down the steps of Gujjar Ghat
and to the water

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A troupe of blacked-faced monkeys,
gray langurs,
sat quietly at the top of Chari Paidi Ghat,
a flock of birds stood silently to their right,
and on their left
a group of humans mingled

 A dog passed slowly
through monkey territory
as the two friends walked
along the lake below,
now and then passing a cow
that was moving in the opposite direction

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 At Hanuman Temple
on Yogya Ghat
some old men were singing bhajans in Sanskrit,
at the far end of the lake
some drummers were playing an African rhythm
for the departing sun,
and somewhere off in the distance
someone was ringing a bell

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It looks abandoned, man

 Yeah
All these palaces look kind of abandoned

 Let’s knock on the door

 And so he did

 And to their surprise,
the door immediately swung open
slowly

 Good evening,
said the butler

 Good evening

 How may I be of service?

 We’ve come to see the king

 And you are?

I’m King Dom,
the king of the streets,
and this is my street musician,
Kalimbaba

We’d like to offer the king a song

 Please come in
and have a seat
I’ll inform the king

 King Dom and Kalimbaba entered the palace and sat down
on some of the softest cushions they had ever seen,
dark blue, purple and green,
and enjoyed the cool silence
of the room

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The king will see you
Come this way, please

 The butler led the way
through a number of passageways and courtyards
to the sitting room,
where the king was sitting
on his throne

 Welcome,
said the king
as he got up and walked towards his visitors
I’m Ganesh

 I’m Dom
and this is Kalimbaba

 Namaste

 Namaste

 Namaste

 Nice throne

 My grandfather had it made
when he became king

 Beautiful carvings

Teak?

 Yup
What kind of throne do you have?

 A Mexican hammock,
Mayan weave

 A royal hammock

 Most comfortable throne I’ve ever had

 Would you like some tea?

 Some tea would be very welcome

 Oolong or Darjeeling?

 Darjleeling in the evening
is a pleasure

 King Ganesh nodded to the butler
and then motioned to his guests to sit down

 My throne is not really very comfortable
I prefer sitting on the floor

 Me too
I’ve never cared much for chairs
Kind of limiting
The floor is the best throne

 The three men sat down
on woven straw mats
and King Dom took out his chillum

 Do you smoke?

 I do

 King Dom handed King Ganesh
a thola of charas
and said,
I just got back
from Great Himachal National Park

 It smells delicious

 It was rubbed a few days ago
by a teacher from a nearby village
and his students

 King Ganesh tried to hand the thola back to King Dom

Keep it
I’ve got plenty more

 He then took out another thola
and began to prepare a mix
When it was ready he loaded the chillum
and then offered it to King Ganesh

 Kalimbaba struck a match,
King Ganesh boomed the chillum
and the three men smoked
in silence
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 And while the kings cleaned
the chillum and the stone
Kalimbaba took out his kalimba
and began to play Viswa’s Journey

 Gentle music flowed
and the butler returned with the tea
and a jar full of cookies

♫ ♫ ♫

 The tea is excellent

 And the cookies are really good

 My girlfriend made them this morning

 The men continued to eat and drink in silence,
and when no cookies were left,
King Ganesh said,
Let’s move to the music room

 He got up and walked over to a wall
covered with a mosaic of some camels at an oasis in a desert,
pressed a hidden lock
and a secret door swung open

 King Ganesh led the way
through a narrow passage and up a flight of stairs
to a room filled
with almost every kind
of musical instrument

 Nice collection

 A hidden treasure

 Feel free to play
whatever you like

 King Ganesh picked up a bansuri
and began to play an enchanting melody
while King Dom and Kalimbaba
had a look around

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Beautiful

 Yeah, man
Nice song

 King Ganesh walked over to his medicne chest
and took out the royal chillum
and a thola of charas

 Mmmm!
What a fine bouquet!
said King Dom

 Malana cream
Buried under the mud somewhere in Goa
and aged for two years

Vintage charas at its best

 What a beautiful chillum
It looks like one of Marco’s

 It is
He made this one for me
the last time I paid him a visit

 And the cover is gorgeous
Did Lucy knit it?

 She did

 I see that we have some friends in common
Marco has made all of my chillums
And Lucy has knit all the covers

 King Ganesh began to prepare a mix
and Kalimbaba sat down
in front of a harmonium
and began to play
Music for a King

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Boom

 King Dom had boomed the chillum
and then passed it to King Ganesh

 Good stuff, man

 King Ganesh smoked
and then passed the chillum on

 Great taste

 Kalimbaba handed the chillum to King Dom,
and round and round it went
while outside the bats began to hunt

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The call of a peacock
broke the silence,
and then King Ganesh said,
Shall we go and sit
with the silent baba on the roof?

 Sure

 Sounds good to me

 And so King Ganesh led the way
up a spiral metal stairway in one corner of the room
and through a trap door in the ceiling

 The moon is orange tonight

 And the stars are especially bright

 The baba is in his hut

 The men walked over
to a hut made of bamboo and straw,
pressed the palms of their hands together
in front of their hearts
and silently greeted the baba
Then they sat down
and sat quietly for an hour

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The arrival of a carrier pidegon
was a sign that it was time to get up

 The men took leave of the baba
and then King Ganesh accepted the offered message

 My girlfriend is coming back tonight
She took her camel to her village this morning
so that it could visit its mother,
and she sent us some opium

 King Ganesh removed a small pouch from the bird’s leg
and took the opium out

 Fresh is best
Her father must have collected it this morning
Shall we have some?

 King Dom and Kalimbaba nodded yes

 Do you prefer to eat it or to smoke it?

 I prefer to eat it

 Me too

 So King Ganesh divided the opium into three portions
and then gave some to his new friends

 Looks like Hanuman is coming over

 From the roof they had a clear view of the lake and all the ghats,
and the men could see a troupe of monkeys
running and leaping towards them gracefully,
jumping over walls,
swinging from trees,
and always landing softly

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 King Ganesh summoned the butler
and asked him to bring up a bunch of bananas

 Greetings, Hanuman

 Hello, Ganesh

 Make yourself at home
Some bananas are on the way

 The monkey king and his troupe
made themselves comfortable
while some geckos took their positions on a wall
and some pigs squealed and oinked in the distance

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Mmm,
these bananas are good, Ganesh

 I had them brought up from Hampi for you

 Thanks, man
Feel like drumming?

 I do

 Go get the drums, guys,
said Hanuman to his troupe

 The monkeys climbed down the spiral stairway,
gathered a number of drums, bells and gongs
and brought them up on the roof
And soon everyone was playing a compelling rhythm
that ever changed and flowed

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Mind if we sleep here tonight, Ganesh?

 My palace is your palace

 And so the monkeys returned the instruments to the music room
and then returned to the roof
and settled in for the night

 King Ganesh and his friends
said goodnight to the monkeys
and went back inside
and down to the den

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Nice crown, man
Where’d you get it?

 This one belonged to my father
I don’t wear it very often

 I don’t wear mine much anymore either

 Sometimes I wear one that my girlfriend made for me

 I usually make one out of flowers
when I feel like wearing one

 Sometimes I wear a feather

 Cool

 This opium is nice

 A subtle presence

 The men then fell silent
and lay down on some cushions
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Namaste

 A gypsy girl in a purple sari walked into the den

 Guys, this is Lala

 Lala, King Dom, king of the streets,
and Kalimbaba,
his street musician

The two friends greeted her in turn

 How’s the opium?

 Sublime

 My dad says it’s the best he’s grown in years
And I made some more cookies

 You’re an angel

 Ganesh,
what’s up with the abandoned look?

 In ’47 the government took the palace from my family,
but then they didn’t do anything with it,
so in 1968 I moved back in,
illegally,
and Lala’s family moved in a few years ago
There’s plenty of space
and I don’t mind the company
Her parents divide their time
between the palace and their farm

 These cookies are really good

 They’re bhang cookies

 They’re delicious

 So basically I’m occupying my former residence
and I maintain the abandoned look
to avoid attracting too much attention
A lot of the kings have moved back into their palaces
We keep a low profile
and the cops leave us alone
The place looks abandoned,
but we’re but fully stocked
Lala does most of the cooking,
but I like to cook too

 Tonight we’ll cook for you
Lead the way to the kitchen

 King Ganesh got up and led the group
down a set of stone stairs
and to a large kitchen

 We’ve got pretty much everything one could want,
but if there’s something you need,
we can send the butler out to get it

 King Dom and Kalimbaba had a look around
and thought about what they could make

 I’ll make a soup and bake some bread,
said Kalimbaba

 And I’ll make a salad and a dessert

 King Ganesh went to get his bansuri,
and when he returned he played
a haunting melody
while Lala danced slowly and gracefully
and King Dom and Kalimbaba began to prepare
the evening meal

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 I think the soup could use a bit of weed

 I’ve got just what you need

 King Ganesh went to his medicine chest
and came back with several ounzes
of Idukki Gold

 Nice, man

 Kerela’s finest

 This soup is going to be good
And the bread is almost ready
Sourdough

 The salad is done
and dessert is chilling in the fridge

 Let’s eat

King Dom served the salad
and Kalimbaba took four baguettes out of the oven
and placed them on the table

 Bon appétit

The friends then began
to enjoy their meal
while the soup continued to sit
over a low flame

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Dom,
this salad is fit for a king

 And this bread is divine

 I think the soup is ready

 Kalimbaba went to get the soup,
and as he was serving it,
a pack of street dogs nearby began to howl,
and their beautiful song echoed
from palace to palace

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 I think the soup is beginning to take effect

 Yeah

 Good soup, man

 It was delicious

 Is everyone ready for dessert?

 I am

 Me too

 Yup

 King Dom then went and got
the whole wheat puttu,
covered in chocolate sauce
and laced with California Sunshine,
that he had prepared

 A Kerela specialty,
he said,
as he served his friends

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 That puttu was excellent

 Yeah, man
It was really good

 Delicious

 Shall we move to the drawing room?

 Good idea

 Let’s go

 And so the four friends
made their way
to the drawing room,
very slowly,
stopping now and then
to admire something
that had caught their attention

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Nice room, Ganesh

 Yeah, man
Super space

 Pens, pencils, charcoal and paper are over there,
paint, brushes and canvas are in the corner
and crayons are in the top drawer of that chest
And you are welcome to paint on the walls if you like

 Cool

 King Ganesh decided to draw Lala
as she sat meditating on the floor,
King Dom went for some paper and the crayons
and Kalimbaba began to paint flowers
on the walls

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Some music would be nice

 Yeah,
let’s go back to the music room

Shall we take the short way
or the long way?

 The long way

 Yeah, man
Definitely the long way

 King Ganesh then led the way
from the drawing room into the library,
and when he removed I Am That from a bookcase,
a secret door swung open

 A powerful book

 Nisargadatta sure knew
how to explain things

 Yeah

 King Ganesh passed through the doorway
and into a narrow passage
that went both to the left
and to the right

 The king went left
and the others followed,
slowly stepping
downwards
until they reached the wine cellar

 My grandfather used to collect wine,
so he had this celler made
I use it to store honey that I take from the bees
that live in the hives built in the walls

 The older homes in Himachal
have beehives in the walls too

 Yes,
that’s where I got the idea
Would you like to try some honey?

 Yes

 Definitely

 I’d love to

 King Ganesh took a jar from a shelf
and placed it on the table in the center of the room
Then he opened it and poured
a bit of honey onto four spoons
and handed one to each of his friends

 This is from spring last year
One of the best harvests ever

 Mmmm!!!

 Delicious!!!

 It’s the most delicious honey I’ve ever had

 What a treasure

 And this is from late summer this year

 Wow!

 It’s very different

 But just as good

 I have honey
from each year for the past thirteen years
Shall we try them all?

 Yes!

 Definitely, man

 I never put my homedmade honey on bread
or mix it in a drink
It is perfect as it is
If I were to dilute it with something else,
it would not be possible
to appreciate the subtler characteristics

 And so the four friends sat
around the table and savored
an incredible variety of honey
until they had tried them all

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Let’s take a bottle of mead
and head up to the music room

 Okay

 Sounds good

 And so the king
took a bottle of mead from a rack,
which caused the rack to swivel open
and reveal yet another
secret passageway

 Up and up and up they went
until they reached two doors
King Ganesh opened the one on the left
and everyone stepped into the music room
He then closed the door
and from inside the room and it appeared
as though it had never been there

 The king opened the bottle
and served his friends,
Kalimbaba took out his kalimba
and began to play Dominique’s Dance,
and soon both of the kings and Lala
were dancing slowly

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 After a while
King Ganesh took out a microphone,
connected it to a lead,
and then plugged it into a jack in a wall

 I have a secret connection
to the loudspeakers on that island in the lake
You can play a lullaby for the whole town
if you like

 Kalimbaba moved his cushion
a bit closer to the microphone
and then began to play Lullaby for Pushkar
while the others lay down
to rest and dream

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The night came to an end
and the sun began to rise
Kalimbaba took out his kalimba again
and began to play
a lullawake

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Thank you, Ganesh
Thank you, Lala
for your hospitality

 Yes, thank you
We’ve enjoyed your company very much

 And we’ve enjoyed yours
Come again
the next time you’re in town
And please,
accept these gifts
in memory of our evening together

 King Ganesh handed King Dom
a thola of two-year old Manala Cream,
and to Kalimbaba he gave
a Rajasthani mouth harp

 Thank you, Ganesh
We wish you both
an excellent day

 And then King Dom and Kalimbaba
took leave leave of King Ganesh and Lala
and went for a walk along the ghats
as the birds sang Good Morning

 ♫ ♫ ♫

see you in another dimension

See you in another dimension

 The season was coming to an end
and the characters
were beginning to move

Some headed south
for the winter,
and others north

A few went west
and others east,
like stars in the evening sky
moving slowly
apart

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It’s been good
sitting with you
these past few months

 And with you

 Thank you
for your silence

 Thank you
for yours

 See you
on another stage

 In another dimension

 And so,
in the ever-changing roles they played,
the characters left the scene

 ♫ ♫ ♫

smoke and silence

Smoke and silence

 Two Israeli girls came up on the roof
and sat near Kalimbaba and his friends

The men had already been sitting quietly for some time
Now and then
one of them would utter a word a two
in a low voice,
and occasionally they would prepare a chillum
and pass it around
Sometimes Vishwa would quietly chant a mantra,
and a pair of djembes lay nearby

 The girls took turns
glancing nervously at the group of friends,
and one of them took to staring

They did not speak to each other
or to the men,
and when the chai that they had ordered arrived,
they decided to leave it untouched
and go away

 Too much silence for them

 It must have made them feel uncomfortable

 Maybe it was the mantra

 Or Vishwa’s beard

 Or Dominique’s lungi

 Or the feather in your hair

 Maybe they were afraid
of what the drums might do

 The men fell silent again
and continued
to listen to the birds
and enjoy the view

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 

the pear room

The pear room

 The apricots and plums
had almost finished
and the pears were just beginning
to ripen

 Plum season didn’t last long,
said Kalimbaba

 Yeah, it was way too short

 Those plums were good

So were the apricots

Yeah

 I think some of the plum trees further up the hill
still have plums on them

 Maybe we should take a walk up the hill

 Yesterday as I was walking home
I saw an old woman with a basket full of plums
She must have seen my face light up
because she stopped and gave me a handful of plums
And she wouldn’t accept any money

 Dude, you lucked out

 Yeah, man
Did you follow her home?

 No, man
I was in a state of bliss
Those plums kept me immobile for at least ten minutes

 A plum goddess she was

 Man, those pears look good

 Yeah, I love fresh pears

 Me too

 They should be ready soon

 I’ll ask the owner of my guest house
if he has any pear trees

 
And so Kalimbaba and his friends
waited
for some pears to appear

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 A couple of pear farmers walked by,
each with a basket full of pears on his back
Some children nearby saw them
and rushed over to take a pear each
out of a basket

 Go away!
Don’t take our pears!
said one of the farmers,
but the children paid him no heed
and ran away with pears
and with smiles on their faces

 Kalimbaba decided to follow the farmers
to see where they stored their pears

 It didn’t take long to find out
because just a few houses further down the path
the men disappeared
They had entered a large building
and Kalimababa got the entrance just in time to them
reach the end of a long corrider
and enter the last room on the right

 Kalimbaba went inside the house,
peered inside the room
and discovered that it was full of pears!
The entire floor was covered in pears
and in some places the pears piled waist high

 The men had begun to unload the pears in their baskets
and Kalimbaba asked them
if he could buy a few

 Sure
As many as you like,
said one of the farmers

 Forty rupees a kilo,
said the other

 Kalimbaba offered one of the men a hundred rupees
and the man then began to fill Kalimbaba’s bag
with freshly-picked pears

 Thank you

 Anytime

 And then Kalimbaba went to find his friends
and share his good fortune

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 These pears are delicious

 They’re great

 Where is the pear room?

 It’s just over there,
in that purple house

 Excellent
Now we know
where to get pears

 The friends then continued to eat
pear after pear

♫ ♫ ♫

 The next day Kalimbaba returned
to the pear room
to buy a few more,
and then he went to his afternoon haunt
and shared them with his friends,
first peeling away the poison
that the farmers had applied

 Pear prasad,
said Viswa

 Pears are great,
said Dom Baba

 Long live pear season,
said Ajay

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The following day Kalimbaba went back to the pear room,
but all the pears had disappeared

 They’re gone,
he told his friends
The pear room is empty

 The farmers must have taken them to the market

 We need to find a new supplier

 
I’ve seen pears in that room over there,
the one with the metal door that rolls down,
but the door is almost always closed

 Let’s take turns keeping watch
When the farmer returns,
we’ll ask if he has any pears to sell

 I’ll take the first watch

 And I’ll take the second

 And so the four friends arranged
to keep a lookout
for the elusive owner
of the second pear storeroom

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Has the pear farmer turned up?

 Not yet
No one has even glanced at that door in passing

 It’s been a few days
Maybe he took them away
and sold them during the night

 Maybe

 We need to find another source

 Just then Dom Baba came along
smiling happily
and holding a half-eaten pear in his hand

 I just came across some more pear farmers,
he said
And I bought three kilos

 Excellent!

 Cool!

 Right on!

 Dom Baba handed out pears to his friends,
and then they all ate in silence
for a while 

♫ ♫ ♫

 I wonder when the apples will be ready

 The ones on that tree over there look pretty good

 Yeah,
I can’t wait for apple season

 See that room over there?
The one with the green shutters
That’s where they store apples

 Cool

 We’ll have to keep an eye out
for apples

 They should be ready soon

 Freshly-picked apples are great

 They’re the best

 Almost as good as pears

 Maybe just as good

 Maybe

 And so the four friends sat
on the balcony of their afternoon hangout
eating pears
and waiting for apples

 ♫ ♫ ♫

give

Give

 Kalimbaba wandered
from place to place
and from space to space

 He traveled with little money,
never knowing
where he would eat or sleep

 As the sun approached its zenith,
he arrived in a new village
He walked to the square,
sat down on a bench
and in silence observed
what was going on
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Some birds landed
in a tree nearby
and began to sing
Kalimbaba listened to their song
for about half an hour,
and then he took out his kalimba
and began to play

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The birds listened
for a while
and then they took off,
only to return soon
with gifts in their beaks
They brought a key
and a dark blue feather

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Kalimbaba thanked the birds
for their songs
and for their gifts,
and he offered them some sunflower seeds
Then he placed the key in a pocket,
put the feather in his hair
and set off on a walk
around the village

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 An old café
in a quiet corner of the village
called to him,
so Kalimbaba went in and sat down

 There were a few low wooden tables
and some soft purple cushions,
silence streamed
from the stereo speakers,
and a painting reminiscent
of Picasso’s blue period
hung on a wall

 Simple and elegant,
an oasis of calm,
the café was a place
where a few vagabonds
and some of the local characters
gathered
to drink tea quietly,
speak mindfully
and enjoy moments
of silence

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Kalimbaba asked for a pot of tea
and then observed the scene
quietly

 The tea arrived
after a while

and it was excellent

 After he had
a few cups of tea,
Kalimbaba took out his kalimba
and began to play

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Your music is very soothing,
said a man at another table                    

 When I listen
to you play,
my mind withdraws
and thought subsides,
said another

 I have plenty of room for guests
If you need a place
to rest and sleep,
you are welcome to stay in my home
offered an old woman

 Your coat looks a bit threadbare, brother
I have more than I need
Come by sometime and choose one

 Thank you, friends

 Try this pie,
said the owner of the café
The plums are from a tree out back

 It’s delicious
Thank you

 Kalimbaba ate
the piece of plum pie
slowly,
savoring each bite

 And then he began to play
again

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Your money is no good here,
said the owner
when Kalimbaba tried to pay
for the tea and the pie
Come again anytime
Your music is medicine
and we’d love to hear you play again

 Thank you, friend
Kalimbaba then took a beautiful seed
out of his seed pouch
and offered it to the owner

 Plant this seed
in a place that gets lots of sun
and soon you’ll have plenty of shade,
beautiful flowers
and delicious fruit

 Thank you

 And so it went
wherever he traveled:
When people listened to his music,
their hearts would open
and they would give
whatever they had
that they felt he could use:
a coat, an old guitar or a meal,
a smile
or simply a gentle presence

 And once he was offered
a bit of land
Some villagers built for him a dwelling,
planted some fruit trees, flowers and a garden nearby
and told him that this could be his home
whenever he was around

 Come with me,
said a girl
There’s something I’d like to show you

 And so they left the café
and walked
to where a spider was weaving
a sublime web

 It’s beautiful
Thank you
for showing it to me

 And then they watched
as the spider wove
for a while

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Can you show me the way
to the old woman’s home?

 She’s my grandmother
I’ll take you to her place

 And then they walked
to the grandmother’s home
in silence,
listening to the birds sing
along the way

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 It’s a beautiful room
Thank you

 I have more rooms than I need
You are welcome to stay
as long as you like
And in the room across the hall,
the one with the purple door,
you’ll find some old instruments
that haven’t been played in a long time
Feel free to have a look
and take anything you like

 Thank you, ma’am

 The two women then left Kalimbaba alone,
and he went about creating an altar
with some pretty stones and pine cones,
some feathers and flowers
and a few other things
that he had found in nature
along the way

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The girl had come up for a visit
while Kalimbaba was having a look

at the musical instruments

 There are some very nice instruments here,
he said

 They belonged to my uncle
Nobody plays them now
I’m sure they would love to be played again

 These djembes are beautiful

 My uncle used to play them for my grandmother
She loves to dance,
especially to the sound of drumming

 Do you play an instrument?

 I play the piano
We have one downstairs in the music room
And I play the violin

 The violin and the djembe
go very well together

 Shall we play tonight
at the café?

 I’d love to

 My grandmother is preparing dinner now
I’m going to go and help her
Please join us in about half an hour
Afterwards we’ll go to the café

 I’ll be down soon

 And then Kalimbaba continued
to look at all the instruments
and chose a few to bring along
to the café

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Dinner was delicious
Thank you
I also enjoy cooking
Perhaps tomorrow
you’ll let me cook for you

 With pleasure
Our kitchen is open
to all who like to cook
Let’s head down to the café

 And so Kalimbaba, the grandmother and the girl
gathered their instruments
and headed down to the village

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 This tea is excellent

 It’s my grandmother’s secret blend
She has a large collection
of herbs that she’s gathered,
and whenever we come here,
she brings a special mix
made just for that particular evening
to share with everyone
Your grandmother is pretty cool

 Shall we play?

 Let’s

 Kalimbaba then took out two djembes
and began to quietly play
one of his favorite rhythms

 The girl took a seat at the piano
and soon began
to play as well

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Thumbakkam Thumbakkam They-ey
Thumbakkam Thumbakkam They

 Someone had begun to sing Thumbakkam
and a few others had joined him
Then the grandmother got up
and began to dance
and soon a few others
were dancing as well

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 Kalimababa and the girl
began to play louder
and faster,
and the dancers flowed
with the rhythm

 The singers continued to chant

 Thumbakkam Thumbakkam They-ey
Thumbakkam Thumbakkam They

 and eventually everyone in the café
was singing and dancing

 ♫ ♫ ♫

 The musicians began to play slowly
and quietly again,
as slowly and quietly as possible,
and everyone sang

 Thumbakkam Thumbakkam They-ey
Thumbakkam Thumbakkam They

 for a while 

♫ ♫ ♫