“Twould Be More Fun…to Go by Air…but We Couldn’t Put …These Signs up There--Burma Shave.”
As you drove along the highway, usually on long strips of isolated roads laden with sagebrush, you would come upon a little sign…then another...and another followed by “Burma Shave.”
We kids loved to see them—we would read one aloud, wait for the next one--maybe an eighth of a mile down the road—read it and the next until the punch line, and laugh as the last sign, “Burma Shave,” rolled by.
The above sign quote was from Charles Kuralt’s book, A Life on the Road. It took me back to Sunday mornings when I sat mesmerized in front of the Television, watching Kuwalt sitting in a chair, no props, simply a chair, where he spun out tales of small-town America.
For twenty years, Kuwalt roamed the back-roads of America and gave America back to Americans on the CBS Sunday morning TV show On the Road with Charles Kuwalt.
How I envied his job.
And then we moved to San Diego, where John Sinor wrote folksy essays, similar to Kuwalts for the San Diego Union-Tribune. I envied his job too. His tagline was “Every day problems of everyday people,”
“A tough-looking but harmless lizard adds to our annual dessert hike. For a moment, I thought I was looking into a mirror.”—John Sinor.
As it turned out, although we didn’t know it, we bought a house right next to his. We were on the edge of a canyon, so nobody was on the other side of our property. However, I never took the chance to become acquainted with him--too bad.
I remember his story about the little white deer who roamed Presidio Park in San Diego. No one knew what happened to her mate, but she, a lone deer, would, on misty mornings, give happen-chance viewers a belief in magic. I never saw her and didn’t know she existed until I read Sinor’s column where City officials worrying about her safety as she would sometimes be seen on the road, decided to move her to safer territory. Someone shot her with a tranquilizer gun and used too much tranquilizer.
Bambi all over again.
And now I think about those signs, the physical ones alongside the road that made us laugh, the inspiring writers who made us want to create something of value, and last night another sign came up-- about the spiritual nature of we, the people.
I got a glimpse into how the universe works.
Our lives are made of bits and pieces, signs, showing us the way.
Look what we have been through, little biological bodies carrying a soul we didn’t know we had for a long while. We had an inkling but couldn’t quite get it. We went into psychology, physiology, and anatomy to get a picture of what we were about. All the while trying to eke out a living while also trying to make sense of this complex condition called life. We muddled through—the good, bad, and ugly--but if bad was all we were, we probably wouldn’t be here today.
Remember what Steven Pressfield said about cleaning the way so the Muse doesn’t soil her gown on the way in?
She doesn’t always come, but she sometimes does, and often after years of labor. (It takes enormous sweeping to clean our emotional/spiritual house or years of wandering in the wilderness before bumping into the giant Sequoia.)
Many a creative has felt the Muse’s effects, a formula that presented itself whole and complete, an answer to an equation that made itself known, a writer who read over his material and said, “Who wrote that?”
These sorts of events often happen after you have swept your house.
Burma Shave went out of business in 1963. Change happens. They sold to Remington.
Change happens with the signs too.
Last night I watched Nanci L Danison speak of her death experience and felt that lady was spot on.
She added more signs into the link of signs—how we are biological animals of the earth with an eternal Soul, how we’re had God all wrong by believing in a Patriarchal being who lives outside us and is kind and compassionate on the one hand, and doles out punishment on the other—demanding sacrifice, admiration, and who sends people out to kill and do atrocious things. And would send his creations to eternal punishment, for heaven’s sake.
We are afraid to stand up to that whatever, for fear of death and eternal damnation.
On the other hand, some say, “God is Love,”
Love, smove, you say, it doesn’t feel like it.”
“I’m both enamored with and terrified by Jesus’ audacious ethic,” writes Barney Wiget, vagabond preacher. “His Sermon contains some of the most fetching words ever spoken and, at the same time, the most unachievable to live under human steam. Love your enemies, do something good for the person cursing you, and do it without telling anyone you did it seems pretty out of reach to me!”
The biologist in me liked that Nanci Danison said, “We are all animals.”
The spiritual person in me liked that she said we are souls, a part of the God being,
a part of The Source. She sees the two, the biological entity and the soul, as separate.
I have hesitated to go to this place, for I know everyone has their belief system, and we want to respect that. So? What am I afraid of? Just say it. The last sign might say, “The Source in Within You.”
I have come through Catholicism, Protestantism, Atheism, Unitarianism, Science of the Mindism, and the Law of Attractionism, to a new understanding. Most all isms carry a sign, a piece of the lineup that tells the joke, but crash into the others before completing the run.
Nothing has changed my mind from ancient beliefs that God is too big for us to understand. For example, I’ve read that some Native Africans say God does not live in a Church, but in the forest and the fields and on the mountain when the rains come.”
My model is that God is like the ocean, and we are the drops in it. We are all a part of the whole.
But that model is my need to have a visual picture, something to explain the unexplainable. Scientists are now studying consciousness, which is probably another aspect of Source by a different name. We are getting pieces and signs and slowly piecing them together.
Another explanation is that God exploded himself into all souls. With our human bodies, we are the little antennas, like neurons from God, feeding back to The Source. In this manner, Spirit knows what it feels like to be flesh and boney creatures, to love and be loved, to bring forth offspring, to find our spark of creativity, and to look in awe at His paradise.
Maybe when it said in the Bible to worship God, it meant more like “Look out in wonder, and appreciate it.”
If we thought we were all in this together, we would act differently. The biological entity looks out for itself, for its nature is to survive. The spiritual entity has another agenda.
“I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in
the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”
— John Steinbeck, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1962