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Opening Up to the Charm of Other People

Learning to appreciate a variety of things is important for what I call an independent lifestyle, that is, one in which sheer busyness, phony pragmatism, and chasing after toys and status symbols is not the 'meaning of life.'

I had a couple examples of appreciation that were new to me, recently. My dog and I were returning on a mountain bike ride. Therefore we were cruising downhill. Another dirt road 'teed' into ours. Coming down this road were a half dozen large beautiful horses, with riders. I guessed that the horsewoman who led the troupe was the employee of a nearby (dude) guest ranch. 

I asked and she confirmed it, in four or five words.  That's all it took for me to bike away, cooing, and fluttering my eyelashes at the sheer prettiness of her voice. This effect was so exaggerated that I had to wonder about it.

Was it just the usual joy juice in my blood that comes from mountain biking? This has happened so many times. Sometimes it almost scares me. Certainly, that is some of the explanation.

And yes, some women really do have lovely voices. Their voices can be amazingly clear on the telephone when the man's voice sounds like mere mumbling. I thought I was only knocked over by the hit-arias sung by the soprano in Puccini operas.

But maybe I was just being a dirty old man, and was imagining that woman in tight blue jeans, riding her horse away from me? Or maybe it was seeing people enjoy a traditional western experience?

It is rare to find a town in America that has any individual character. For the most part, they are all the same. It fits in with the massen-mensch mindset of democracy. And the consumption of mass media. And besides, there is barely enough freedom in modern America to display individuality.

Despite all that, Mayberry-for-Hippies, AZ, allows dogs in their public library. One day a reader came through with their miniature schnauzer in tow. He was grey and older, and so sedate. His whole personality reminded me of a little old man who runs an antique book store in London: you know the image, a cardigan sweater, nerdy eyeglasses, and maybe a little mustache.

I simply cannot forget that little dog. It's like he was born to work in that library. Of all the times I have been charmed by dogs, that experience is still my favorite.


  1. Nice post. I like the dog story. I'm curious as to what you mean by, "...there is barely enough freedom in modern America to display individuality."


    1. Chris, I'd rather not elaborate, lest the post become a political rant. It suffices that the prefatory statement set up the last paragraph.

  2. Ah, lovely post. Usually the air is so full of other things that we miss, time and time again, the sweetness that is right before our eyes. Be it the loveliness of a voice or a little dog who remarkably could pass as a British bookworm, sometimes we're just lucky the smoke clears for a moment or two.
    You're also correct that our chosen lifestyles makes the difference in how often these experiences occur. When we are occupied with entertaining our egos or social status or running after something we don't even need, the loveliness eludes us and rightly so for we are not worthy. Nor would we appreciate it.

    "Don't throw pearls before swine."

    Don't mistake the loveliness of her voice with wanting to see her in a pair of tight jeans. It is so much more than that. Sometimes there are no words but you've done a pretty good job here.


    1. "the air is so full of things we miss..." It certainly is. But WHY do miss them?

  3. I never took your comment as political. I am more of a social scientist than a politician and I would argue my case in this way: it is the social climate which creates the political climate so if one wants to understand the dynamics of politics it is necessary to look at the social climate.

    And what do we have? A hedonistic, immature, egocentric society. Do we not?

    We are inundated with it everywhere. And if you seek escape through friends, remember they are a product of this society as well and it is highly likely you just get more of the same from them as well.
    HOWEVER, all is not lost.
    (Here is George now, climbing on the proverbial soapbox....) It is ancient stoicism which realized that our true freedom lies only in our own minds. It is the only thing that can never be taken away from us (OK...yes, there's dementia but then who cares?)
    In our daily life before nature reclaims us as her own, it is only what goes on in our mind that matters. Social status, wealth, good looks, sexual partners, our health....all this is largely beyond our control but it usually "fills the air". It is largely what most people think of 100% of the time.
    What we do have control over is our opinions, our moral judgments, our beliefs, desires and goals. They deserve a critical analysis and should not be taken as fact.
    Allowing too much exposure to advertisement, silly people, mindless entertainment, etc. takes up the space within the mind and there is nothing left over for reflection, contemplation, meditation, etc.

    Hearing a few words spoken by a feminine voice in a certain setting can be enough to provoke dreams that can be so glorious (NO, NOT SEX)...the feminine spirit can display itself in all its beauty. With all its powers of connection and compassion; its nurturing essence there, and one senses an invitation to share in it.

    So when I read "there is barely enough freedom in modern America to display individuality" that is how I took it......most of us are sheep and we allow ourselves to be shaped by the advertisements of our day and we are intoxicated with entertaining ourselves in one way or another. That is not freedom.

    (George climbs off the soapbox.)

    1. "It is ancient stoicism which realized that our true freedom lies only in our own minds. It is the only thing that can never be taken away from us." Bravo, George. What a perfect answer. May we all take advantage of our "true freedom" to the max.



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