Francis Meyrick

Of Helicopters and Humans (28) “Beauty and the Wind “

Posted on June 25, 2014


I gaze in rapture
At a thin gaseous layer
With which our home
Fragile and small
Is blessed by Forces
slightly understood
And by a Great Cosmic Kindness
Whom we, noisy and unseeing
Barely acknowledge.

Of Helicopters and Humans (28): Beauty and the Wind

(Seeking Beauty, a hint of Tranquility, exploring Hurt, and the soothing Wind)


Who takes the Cold Mountain Road
Takes a road that never ends
The rivers are long and piled with rocks
The streams are wide and choked with grass
It’s not the rain that makes the moss slick
And it’s not the wind that makes the pines moan
Who can get past the tangles of the world
And sit with me in the clouds?

Han Shan, 8th century Chinese hermit

I know I have often wandered.
Roamed. Puzzled. Searched. And bust my butt over slippery rocks.
But for what?
Ah… I don’t quite know. Beauty? Peace? Understanding? Forgiveness of self? God? Truth? My glasses?
“Honey, have you seen my glasses?” (Crunch…!)
“Oh, never mind, here they are, I just sat on them…”
There were and are always those who just “live for the moment, one day at a time”. Carpe Diem.
That’s a mass consumption commonplace. A bit of a mindless escape, really. Kind of a cop-out. A convenient, comforting, shutting of the windows of the soul. A ban on mountain gazing, star gazing, poetry, or sitting quietly at the shores of the Great Ocean of Life. Just ‘blast on’ the television, advertisements and all, volume (automatically) cranked up, and let it wash over you, like a strong bleach, sterilizing all soft thoughts and murmurs of your restless spirit. Immerse yourself in what’s at hand, in front of you, job, career, profit, gain, fame, notoriety, more gain, more profit, bigger wallet, bigger clout, bigger bragging rights…

Francis, you want to be the ant that boasted?

That’s funny-silly. I’m going to stick a cardboard box over my head, with two slits for my eyes, and declare the inside of that box My Universe? And me, smart guy, the Master thereof? Come now. I’m throwing away the box.
Lest I sound somehow judgmental, and haughty, condescending and maybe even sneering… Hey, I’ve done it. Moi aussi la boite. Me too the box. Eye slits and all. But never for very long. Too restless. Too curious. Too… what? Stubbornly inquisitive?
My small, groping mind, even now, is tap-tapping away at the keyboard, at three in the morning, like a hyper active woodpecker, tap-tapping away at a soft bark, hoping for that hollow sound, that echo, that means the chance of grubs and termites, and dinner. I too, am hoping, to tap-tap slightly closer to that elusive target, that mystery quest, another tiny grub of Understanding.
Where… do I seek this Beauty?
In Nature? In Art?
In Man’s heart?
(Ah! Come out, come out, where ever thou art…)
I seek it in Nature, and I seek it in Art. But Nature comes first.

I bank my helicopter away from that dark, rain bearing cloud. I notice the sea below turning abruptly violent, with tell-tale white riders erupting everywhere, warning me of downdrafts and turbulence, wind shear, possible water spouts and hail.
Caution: Danger…

I study my weather Overlay on my GPS, and I notice the warning colors escalating rapidly. A Green hue, that covers a large area, and then an exploding bright Yellow, that wells up in minutes. I wait for the Angry Flower. And sure enough, when the system updates, angry Red Flowers erupt on my screen, screaming their innate violence, barring my progress ahead. My mind plans calmly around the problem, fuel, endurance, time, track, the movement of that storm cell, wind, radio calls, ETA, fuel alternatives…
And I see the Art. The Angry Flowers. The sheer enormity of forces that I must respect, that I cannot hope to beat. Nature wins. Again. It is I who humbly bow before her, respecting her, and it is I who change course. It is I who surrender.


I seek Beauty, but for me, the track leads more ‘naturally’ from Nature to Art. I try, in Art, with my daft scribbles and my good humored Moggy-bloggings, to wood-peck-peck away at some soft part of the bark. I sense the Symbolism. I sense the deeper meaning. I can’t yet quit nail that little sweet spot, but I know it’s there. Somewhere.

Spring has come again the snow has finally stopped
The crescent moon and leafless trees look thinner than before
At night I push my window open and gaze into space
Beyond my pillared eaves spreads a sky of stars

Han Shan Te-ch’ing (1546-1623)

In some ways, I too am a Mountain Man. Kind of uncouth, and not very sophist-soaf-so… So-phisticated. Right. Many not so phisticated mountain men who have gone before, decades-centuries-aeons-before-Moggy, their ashes long returned to All Our Mother, would easily, easily identify with my tiny spiritual wood-peckings. Where ever they are now, or their souls, or the essence of their Being, where ever (and how ever) they have become part of that great Cosmic Kindness, that surrounds us, I know they nod approvingly.
I can hear them -or it? Her? Him?- chuckle.

What motivates this tiny mind? Tap-tap. Tap. Hmmm…
What drives the frequent nocturnal pacing, the reams of scribbles, the child-like delight at an old poem, written a thousand years ago?
I’m not a conventional Christian, I think. But I have intensely studied the Bible, and I am hugely attracted to the sense I have of a genuinely compassionate, forgiving, all knowing God. Organized Religion in the man-organized sense makes me real nervous. “The only way to God is through us, our church, me, this book, this tradition, and NO OTHER WAY IS RIGHT? You say?” Really… um.

You want to be the ant that boasted? Mister?
You so clever you captured Him? You got God-in-a-Box?

I think we’re all full of… noise. Bursting with self importance. Denying the enormity of the riddle. Too many Sunday Church tourists. Full of some cheap two dollar holiness. Whatever goes on the collection plate. A religious insurance policy. No depth, no conviction. No passion. Get mad as hell at mischievous pagans and lunatic heathens (like me) disturbing the tranquility of their smooth -holy- ( “Ha-ha, WE are saved, and YOU are not “) supreme self satisfaction.
I am not impressed. With Man.

On the other hand, Religion in the God-inspired sense… Hmmm… now that IS interesting.
I’m wary and suspicious that Man usually hams it up to his own advantage, f@#ks it up, and infuses a Cosmic Truth with his petty little schemes (power…), (MY soul’s salvation) but that does absolutely not necessarily invalidate the ‘Cosmic’ God part. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Don’t stomp angrily on the mussel ‘cos he’s got a nasty shell. Don’t judge the Light by a wintery beam that struggles through a dense overcast.

Don’t judge a symphony by one instrument. A Porsche by the noisy air horns….!! (yeah, baby) Or a song by one single note. There may well be a God. Or a Great Cosmic Kindness, which surrounds our little, groping minds. Waiting, patiently. An awesomely patient Creator, who bides His time.

I’m not a Buddhist, I think, but I admire much of their teaching, and I admire the gentleness of so many of them. I’ve met some wonderful people of that persuasion. One day, when I was livid, furiously angry, (not without some cause), stomping down the road, intent on bloody violence, mayhem and murder… it was a Buddhist friend, who, wordlessly, wrapped both arms around mine, and would not let go. He knew. He said, afterwards, very gently, that he saw it in my eyes. He gave me that critical few minutes. To compose myself. Because young Moggy… had temporarily lost it.

I’m not a Taoist, I think, but I identify with that need to nurture tranquility and understanding. Not too wild about some of the sutras though. Is that getting oblique for the sake of non-transparency? Or is just little moi, the dufus ant?
I too clear wish at times to flow with a certain current in a certain stream. Not the big murky river, where most people go en masse. I mean that stream, the one with the clear waters. Where I don’t always have to battle upstream, exhausting myself.

I’m not a Muslim, I know, by a long shot, I don’t give a stunted rat’s who was supposed to succeed Mohammed. I’m certainly not going to fight or kill you over it. But I have also met those Muslims who were quiet and thinking, and seemed feeling and gentle. With that I can identify. Shariah law gives me the willies, (try reading the bloody thing), and those Muslim men who even remotely share, for instance, that Shariah view on the lowly, subservient status of women, I am wholly unable to respect. That’s medieval stuff. A pointless throw back. And hurting, no, systematically torturing people in the name of Allah the Compassionate? Are you nuts?

I’m not a modern city dweller. I’m unimpressed by the increasing, all-too-common urban cocoon. The urban blindness. The madness. The rush. The unseeing eyes on the sidewalk, who look past and through you. The cardboard boxes with the slits, or the paper and cardboard cubicles, or the concrete and marble cells…

Trees filter out stupidity. Mountains and hills, seas and rivers rinse out pretense. Sunrise and sunset, wind and rain remind the keen observer of his Smallness, and should be felt and savored by a simple man, wandering, searching. Preferably he will sense the wind and the sun raw on his cheeks. Nature should be tasted, felt, with the passionate intensity of a young lover. Not abstractly observed (and dismissed) by somebody staring dully (“Duh! It’s raining…”) out of a triple glazed window on the seventeenth floor on forty-fifth street, Lower Manhattan. Or, even worse, by somebody glued like some half blind mole to the ever flickering boob-tube. Hysterical “buy-me!” adverts and all. (“Duh! Look… It’s raining on television…”) (“Rain?…. what’s that?”)
There is a strange sickness, which leads to a weird Alienation, which is associated with Man spiraling ever faster away from a primordial reverence and Awe of Nature. Again, for me Beauty leads from Nature to the Arts. It is in Art I seek the expression of my reverence for Nature, my search for the True Cosmic Kindness, and my decidedly uneasy relationship with my Fellow Man. It is in Art I strive to explain -or find- my doubts and my worries, my awe and my hope, my true self and the meaning of Life. Why am I here? Who am I? Why this turmoil? Why the sleepless nights? The hankering? The sense of enormous loss?

But some Art… I cannot respect. Some men… I cannot respect. When you start glorifying ugliness. Violence. Sadism. Cruelty. Power over people by brute force. When you start expressing, in pseudo Art, your Hatred. Your Prejudice. Your narrow-mindedness. Your insatiable lust for recognition and praise. Your persona.
You want to be the ant that boasted?
That’s not Art. That’s an ego trip. Politics. A narcissistic orgy.
Sometimes, Quietness is just the ticket. Contemplation. Be Still. Meditate. Rest.
And how many people fear Silence? Have you visited offices and homes, where the television is blaring nonsense in every room, regardless of there even being anybody there? In our pilots’ crew room, if there is nobody there, I will mute the television. (Don’t even DARE to switch it off). Somebody will come in, instantly flick it back on, watch borderline garbage, Zombie-style, for a few minutes, (maybe a program on the finer nuances of colored knitting, or how plastic spoons are made), (complete with noisy “buy-me!” advertisements) and walk out. Volume left on. Of course. I mute it. A few minutes later… and so on, and so forth. I’m the funny dude everybody laughs at (you’re welcome, I don’t mind) who wears EAR PLUGS in the crew room. So I can concentrate on what I’m reading or scribbling.

So am I religious? People have said so. I get some super nice emails, (from my 2 regular readers), and they have said my writing at times is (cough) (cough again) spiritual and uplifting. What!? Maybe there are many more others, who don’t write, who think it’s the worst drivel they ever wasted thirty seconds on (surf on, Brother, surf on), and, worse, maybe they are right too. Oops. Hell, I don’t know.
I don’t want to be the ant that boasted…
I find the question intriguing. Moi? Religious? Spiritual? Really? You’ve never seen (or, worse, heard) me drunk as a skunk. Singing Irish Rebel songs, and falling off the table. But how do you define that word ‘religious’, Amigo? Man made? God made? Ah, and here we are, around in a complete circle, eh? Does it matter?
I don’t think so…

The waves, my friend, are really kicking up now. See those black streamers separating down from that ugly overcast? I suspect turbulence there. We are maintaining a healthy separation, and I am planning on flying around this monster. I shall go Westwards, ever West, until we can jink Southwards. Maybe forty clicks South, and then a quick dart East to our destination. It will have to be quick, because the way that front is coming up, the curtain will go down over there in the next forty-five minutes as well. This is going to be a quick foray, a nip in and a nip out, before we are overwhelmed…
By darkness? By bad? By horrible thunder, and lightning, and torrents of water, and downdrafts, and violent gusts? All bad? Evil?
No, by the inevitability of Change. Change is normal. If we respect it, we can work with it. Understand it. Respect it. It need not… affect the outcome of our flight. Of our life’s quest…

We are transient beings. Transient manifestations of Thought. There is a vast Reality out there, of which we are just a tiny, infinitesimal grain. That Reality is way too much for our minds. It’s a billion times harder than that proud ant mentioned earlier trying to understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. That knowledge should not stop us from trying though. I am the ant who tried to avoid vanity, but decided to learn Higher Mathematics. Hell, yeah. One and one makes… two!
Wow. Some smart ant.

The sign posts are there. We must practice The Way. We know Life is terminal. Brief. We know there is much good, much beauty, much Kindness, much Compassion. We know there is much Dark.
We sense, if we rise above the word games, the tangled vines, that there is some sort of Karma. Christian, or otherwise. We sense, intuitively, that things matter. That what you do, and how you treat others, is no small thing. The Great Triangle of Love (God/The Great Cosmic Kindness at the top, Others and Self at the bottom) merits more than a passing nod. There are consequences. A price to pay for Actions and Thoughts. It is good to love.
I believe, in things far, far greater than us.
I know there is Hurt, deep, deep hurt. Pointless hurt, wantonly and cruelly inflicted.
But there is also the Great Ocean, indivisible, where the fate of one small wave in no way detracts from the Ocean. Where that small ripple, washing at my feet on that Angolan beach, is all that is left of the Ocean crossing juggernaut. And things are… as they should be.
My little Life Lessons in the Sky have taught me to listen to the wind.
That soothes away the noise. And the hurt. Eventually. The wind, that transports me, far, far away, across old mountains and ancient rivers, across restless seas and ancient cities, and over, way over the heads of those who are cruel and proud, self righteous and blind.
My final destination looms ahead. I prep the cockpit, and run the checklist. It is good.
So what am I? Christian, Buddhist, Taoist? Agnostic? Daft as a brush?
It doesn’t matter. It’s merely a sticky label. You decide…
To me, I’m just a funny little creature. I live -for now- on a tiny mote, suspended in a sunbeam. Here it is:


Home – for now


I am a pilgrim of sorts. Simple fellow, really. Not very phisticated.
Means well, but not very bright. Kind of clumsy. Sits on his glasses. Knocks over your beer. Does terrible things to the American English idiom. Stammers profuse apologies. Harmless moron.

But with that realization, or affirmation, I am content.
To fly, and ask, to grope, to love. To love honest words. No pretense. My simple blog. Two readers.
To search.
To scribble incessantly. Whatever thoughts jump into my curious mind.
Until the time comes. Days, weeks, months, years ahead. Who knows. It doesn’t matter.
When all I have to do, is fly a clean approach, and land, lovingly.
Cherishing the moment. Laughing.

One last time.

* * * * *

And a beloved old poem comes to mind. Written, so long ago. By a man called Huai Ku. As if good poets hand down their gentleness, their mild humor, with kindness, to those clumsy ones, like me, who travel the same rocky road. Knocking over people’s beer.

Autumn’s born
Along a deep path
Old and sick, my eyes
Open lazy.

My door the monks
Have vanished. In the woods
A north wind plays. Chaotic crickets
Call from an ancient moat. Lingering
Sunlight illuminates
A desolate terrace.

There’s a date
On another mountain
Close friends coming
In sight.





Last edited by Francis Meyrick on September 21, 2015, 10:09 pm

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