One of the things I learned in South Dakota is that there is light in the sky before the sun actually breaks the horizon. Duh. That simple reality became a metaphor for understanding my experience of December 17th, and the name of this site is sort of a playful reference to Wordsworth’s poem, except the “clouds of glory” point to the future rather than the past.

Either it is true or it isn’t that a fundamental change in human consciousness is coming. Strangely, it is not as important to me as one might think. My moment of clarity, now nearly two years ago, simply happened.

It is interesting to me that there were, so to speak, hints of that coming moment in the several years previous.  That is a story in its own right, or a narrative, as we say today, but what I want to write about now is just one part of that. 

On March 8, 2007, I came home from work and was lying around on the couch watching CNN when it came on the crawl that an old friend – one of the two or three best friends I’d made in my eight years as a professional athlete - had just died.  I hadn’t spoken to him in fifteen years, hadn’t even known he was ill.  I remember the date exactly because it was coincidentally the 39th anniversary of my mother’s sudden death from a stroke when I was a teenager.

A few days later one of my high school students, along with his mother, was killed in a car crash. Like anyone else in their fifties, I am not unfamiliar with death and not immune to looking in the mirror from time to time with something of a shudder. But there was just something about these two events, coming at this time of my life, in the very cold days of almost Spring (at least very cold where I live) that was almost, among many other things… disorienting.

I have always thought the most evocative adverb in all of literature comes in the dismissal of Lear by one of his two wicked daughters: “He hath ever but slenderly known himself.” I stepped outside the old farmhouse where I live on one of those very cold March mornings and wrote a very short poem, the first three lines of which were:

Who isn’t Lear
But slenderly knowing themselves
Sustained on a fragile tendril
............of some few words

I sent this to my sister who was kind enough to write back and ask me what the heck I was actually trying to say. I wrote back a long, rambling letter that was pretty much my philosophy of life at the time, ending with this paragraph:

Now back to my poem with one little last note. The line that's really the heart of it is, I think obviously, “Sustained on a fragile tendril of some few words" - meaning at some level our core support to continue as a human being may lie in the simplest expression of words whose importance we ourselves may not recognize….
I don't know if you know anything about my old days at the Kototama Institute and the sound meditation we used to practice - but as I have said I take sound and human expression in words to be at the center of, well, everything, I guess…. Somewhere along the line I have come to think of the human body as something that will finally be understood, or grasped, in terms of sound vibration. And in regard to the fragile tendril, I will just say I have been exploring the idea that the spinal column - the individual vertebrae flowing up to the brain - those vertebrae can best be understood as individual sounds. So the hidden, mysterious meaning of my poem is that the fragile tendril of words supporting us is that row of distinct sound vertebrae running up the spine. You might say that for me all of time and evolution and human consciousness are in that line.

This was where I was nine months or so before the night of December 17th, 2007, and in a sense it is where I still am today. That single line of poetry (and I am quite humble about my poetic abilities - if it is even poetry at all) is my philosophy of life. And my deepest understanding of what it is to be a human being is simply to stand on this glorious earth and make the free sounds of the Kototama Principle (admittedly slightly tweaked) with reverence and awe for the sounds themselves, the creator and the listener, and whatever level of awareness we can feel for the body, especially the human spine, of the practicant.