Leaving Home


















It's not the holding of his hand,
but the pulling of his arm that makes a boy leave home.





~ Words and photograph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 71:

Truth is eternal and cannot be changed by the interpretations of people.

No one owns the truth.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Brush Your Teeth!











Brush your teeth
Good and well
Cause if you don’t
You’ll burn in hell.










~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by Cathy Keifer
© All Rights Reserved

# 232:

There is nothing quite as persistent as reality, but willful ignorance comes close.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 72:

You cannot show others the way on a road you’ve never traveled.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




A Worried Man




















He was such a worried man, so sure something
was about to go wrong. Every time the clock
struck the hour, he counted the strikes, fearing
the clock would make a mistake.


~ Text and photo by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 115:

Being good is different than acting good.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Youth Has An Expiration Date


It is somewhat amusing to older folks to hear pop song lyrics and see pop song videos in which handsome young men worship at the altar of beautiful young women. Oh those words of eternal passion, pledged by the young. How quickly terms and conditions come into play as familiarity grows, as obligations mount, as the marriage ties that bind, bind.

And what of the aging process, that chronological decay of flesh that robs us all of youth’s bounty? Can you visualize a wrinkled old man and woman in a pop song video, singing:

Almost paradise
We're knockin' on heaven's door
Almost paradise
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I can see forever in your eyes
Paradise*


Herman, Marjorie & Bess Allison ~ Redondo Beach, California 1917

No, me either. Youth passes, passion passes and we move on. Yet I remember spending the night at my grandparents’ house many years ago when they were in their seventies. I woke up early the next morning and peeked into their bedroom to see if they were still sleeping. I just happened to see them waking up. My old, wrinkled grandfather gave my old, wrinkled grandmother a kiss and said “Good morning.”

Almost paradise.



*From the song “Almost Paradise” written by Eric Carmen and Dean Pitchford



~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 87:

If we could ever figure out how to travel backward and forward in time,
we’d have to get rid of the word “after.”



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 80:

Do not confuse being discovered by the world with discovering the world.

The first matters little.
The last is essential.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Enchanted Princess



She is glowing
And her light penetrates me,
Fills me with unexplainable joy.

She dances playfully around my soul
And I am awakened,
Enchanted.
All is love beyond love.

She has placed a diamond in my heart.

I do not understand the blind
Who cannot see her,
Who see only another pretty girl,
An object to possess,
To label and put into some convenient category.

It weighs on her fragile heart
That anyone should expect her to live
An ordinary life,
This enchanted princess,
Surrounded by so much that is ordinary,
This enchanted princess,
So ready for the magic to begin.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Cy Brinson
© All Rights Reserved

# 59:

Don’t cast your net too far or too deep.
Catch the fish that are here, where you are.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Filling

















When at last the lover leaves intensive care,
All is a fragile balance on the edge of relapse.
One must re-learn the enjoyment of simple things:

The bitter spark from a cup of coffee,
The sweetness of sugar on the tip of the tongue,
The penetrating warmth of the sun
Shimmering through the crisp afternoon breeze,
The pleasure of another hour,
Another day,
Filling, filling, filling
That dark and dangerous place
Where love was.





~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Maxine (aka: Maxxximpact)
© All Rights Reserved

# 48:

Poets must give one another unadulterated
praise because nobody else gives a damn.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Despair
















"Don’t do it!” I implored as the old lizard who had lost most of his tail stared wistfully into the frothy, swirling waters of the Jacuzzi.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Lizard painting by Robert Lennon
© All Rights Reserved

# 33:

Ideas should serve life,
not the other way around.

The actual life is more important
than the imagined idea.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Tuesday


















I found a piece of paper in a parking lot.

It had been run over numerous times, torn and trampled, faded by the sun and still damp from a light morning mist.

Because I was not in a hurry; because I was not wearing earbuds and distracted by music; because I was not staring at a cell phone screen; because I was not talking to anyone; because everything has design, color, shape and texture, I picked up the square piece of paper.

It had been some kind of glossy, card-stock advertisement for a nightclub, probably stuck under the windshield wiper of a parked car long ago.

Looking closer, I saw the face of my lost love, a strand of her curly long auburn hair falling across her bare thin shoulder and finely sculpted collar bone.

She was smiling and looking skyward, as if she could see all the way to heaven.

That was Tuesday.




~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by a parking lot
© All Rights Reserved

# 10:

The road to sainthood is paved with sin.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Time Travel

















If we could ever figure out how to travel backward in time,
we’d have to get rid of the word “after.”



~ Words and photograph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 66:

God is a word we made up
for that which is not a word.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 44:

Even the finest words fall away
in early morning birdsong.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Meeting Slated
















The Inland Valley chapter of the Society For Clear Thinking will hold an all-day workshop on “How To Make Life Simple” from 10:20 a.m. to 5:47 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at an undisclosed location.

New members are required to attend an orientation session at 7:48 a.m., in the Thoreau Room of the Simple Gifts Meeting Hall at the Southern California College of Agronomy and Moral Certainty.

After the orientation, exit on Walden Avenue South, past Civil Disobedience Drive, then turn west on Emerson Road and make a U-turn at the third intersection past the green/black student dormitories (If you see the black/green student dormitories you’ve gone too far!), bearing to the right onto Harpers Ferry Way to Parking Lot 81, Section 26 (southeastern quadrant), next to the campus greenhouse.

Walk northeast on Campus Loop toward the Transcendental Arts Building, past the Hell No We Won’t Go food court, turning right at the Gandhi memorial bird bath. Walk straight ahead until you see the second unmarked bus stop and wait for bus No. 331, or 28-A if after 9:15 a.m., or any bus between H-9Q and 12 if after 9:33 a.m.

Exit the bus at Tolstoy Street and walk north on Tolstoy, past the King Cotton Laundromat (on the left) to the Thrifty Chick fried chicken restaurant (on the fourth, north-south corner of the traffic hexagon). Enter Thrifty Chick and say: “Sir Larry has come to collect the poll tax,” if the man at the counter is wearing a hat or an eye patch, or “The goslings weep for their mother” if there is another man without a hat and/or an eye patch, or a woman (mature, no eye patch), behind the counter.

You will be led to the rear of the shop and put into the cargo area of the Thrifty Chick delivery van whose driver will blindfold you and take you to my house where I will then drive you to the meeting. The workshop fee is $20 (stamps).





~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 39:

At some point you must set aside what you want to happen and realize what is actually happening.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





Before I Barely Knew Anything













Before I barely knew anything
I awakened each summer morning
To the cawing of crows
And thought,
How very tall these trees
In which they gather to ruffle their feathers
In the morning breeze,
How tall these trees
And how much these crows must see.

I climbed an orange tree,
So frightened by the height,
So amazed at the sight of neighboring houses
And city streets
And thought about what the crows must see
From the tops of the sycamore trees
And from higher still
As they rise into the sky,
Knowing I would never know
What they know,
Before I barely knew anything.




~ Poem and photograph by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 42:

The truth does not depend on public opinion.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




The Fly
















H ere,
In this beautiful world,
A fly is trapped in my house.

Trapped.

It's buzzing madly against the window glass,
Certain there must be an opening,
Beckoned by the light of the outside world,
The outside world,
Just a fraction of an inch away,
An impenetrable fraction of an inch.

Here,
In this beautiful world,
Where all things are possible,
This Garden of Eden where life explodes,
Where love and hate contend,
Where joy, real joy is actually possible,
A fly is trapped in my window.

I get a clear plastic cup
Reserved for such rescues
And capture the exhausted creature,
Gently sliding a square of cardboard beneath
To prevent escape.

Here,
In this dangerous world,
Where evil survives and babies die,
A fly was trapped in my house,
And I opened the door
And I let it go.





~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Artwork by Chris Ezelle aka Boogey Man
© All Rights Reserved

# 29:

The meek may indeed inherit the Earth,
but they will not explore it.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




One Small Candle




When we decide to love,
To fall in love,
We luxuriate in our love,
Our precise, exquisite love,
Denied to so many.

We light one small candle
In a dark room,
Believing the whole wide world
Is ablaze.


~ Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by Christopher Andrew Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Living In A Tree


























I f the world were filled with people like me,
I’d likely be living up in a tree.

~ Words, photograph and rat by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 69:

Be imperfect and acknowledge your imperfection. In this way you will become honest and no longer need to present a false image of yourself to the world.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 218:

"Normal" is an idea in wet cement.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 83:

We are not in this world. We are of this world.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 105:

You know you’re getting old when you have a lifetime supply of paper clips.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 52:

Philosophy, the graveyard of life.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 47:

A kind heart may refuse to judge,
but a wise mind will measure.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 241:

I don’t say grace before my meals.
I believe in the separation of church and plate.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 24:

Improve the world. Sit quietly. Do nothing.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 41:





When we say what something is like,
we replace the actual with the imagined.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 257:

If you were granted the power of a god,
your ego would be sorely tempered
by your responsibilities.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 1:

Those who believe in God, abandon God.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 237:

Weighing one sin against another does not change the fact that a sin is a sin.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 108:

It’s not what we take,
but what we make that interests me.

# 13:

The universe is not the product of an intelligent being, the universe is an intelligent being.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 63:

The secret of wisdom
is to question
what you think you know.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 8:

In poetry,
the writing is the thing that comes last.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 25:

You must give up where you are
before you can get somewhere else.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 228:

Someday, people will look back at us and laugh at our appearances. But most of all, they will be amazed at what we believed.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 19:

If you are not living the life you imagined, imagine the life you are living.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 243:

The game’s no longer fun,
after the game is won.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 186:

We are all called.
Some of us listen.
Some of us hear.
Some of us answer.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 256:

No mind of man shaped these mountains.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 171:

Maintenance is an unwelcome distraction.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 169:

The way to end conflict
is to desire an end to conflict
above all else.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Of This World



















We are not in this world. We are of this world.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
Artwork by Julie A. King ~ website?
© All Rights Reserved

# 181:

Anyone who can look back at life
without feeling some degree of humility
is either a saint or a liar.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 160:

Children have a way of living up to
their parents’ worst expectations.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 166:

If you pray for the end of all suffering,
you are praying for the end of this world.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 155:

It’s original ignorance,
not original sin.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 187:

Do not overburden your heart
with what is beyond your influence.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Peter Pantheism
















I am a Peter Pantheist.

I have a childlike belief that everything is a component of God.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 188:

Too many conclusions crowd out the mystery
of not knowing, leaving little room
for the surprise of discovery.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 193:

Listen to the inner voice
that tells you what is wise.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 153:

If you awaken; if you become enlightened,
it will not free you from pain.

But it will help you understand
the nature of pain, and all other

earthly sensations, better.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 254:

The innocence of the future
will defeat the duplicity of the past.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 189:

Spiritual growth requires honesty
in every action, in every word spoken,
and, most importantly, in every thought.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 253:

Why?
Because God allows everything.
That’s why.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 198:

One must resist the slumber
induced by a false sense of permanence.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 183:

Is reason superior to emotion?
It depends.
Which would you prefer:
to think about love, or to feel love?



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 151:

How to stay out of trouble: Wait!


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 154:

If you ever get everything you want,
you will become a slave to prosperity.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 172:

The best teachers do not try to change us,
they help us unlock what is already within.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 194:

Do not cloud what is real
and unexplainable
with rational pretense.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 190:

The friendliest, most kindhearted people
are those most without fear,
especially fear of themselves.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 195:

Instead of arguing,
learn what your adversary thinks and why.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 175:

If I didn't know what I know now
I wouldn't know what I know now.
But I know now what
I didn't know when
I didn't know what I know now.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved





I've Been Busy!


Brian Williams and I were recently embedded in Afghanistan but we got separated from our military escort and were lost for a week at the Kandahar International Airport, living on vending machine candy and coffee.

Then, in the middle of the night, the ghost of Robert Frost suddenly appeared on a luggage carousel, enshrouded in a glowing blue-white mist. He spoke to us:

"Whose woods these are I think I know, his house is in the village though," pointing toward the northeast quadrant of the airport. At first I had no idea what this meant, but he kept repeating the phrase in a louder and louder voice: "His house is in the village though," until at last, almost shouting he said:


"HIS HOUSE IS IN THE VILLAGE YOU DUMMY!"

This final outburst awakened Brian and between the two of us we realized Frost was directing us to a part of the airport that would facilitate our escape.

By early morning we'd made our way northeast where we finally encountered the ticket counter. We were a bit embarrassed that we hadn't thought of this before, but wrote it off to battle fatigue. Brian tried to charge our tickets on his NBC Visa card, but for some reason his account had been closed, and so I sprung for the airfare. At least they gave me an Auto Club discount.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 144:

There is no “best” way to satisfy hunger,
with food or religion.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 205:

Earth is the place for making mistakes,
the place of learning,
especially,
learning to forgive.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 252:

A prayer is an articulation of the soul.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 173:

Embrace your sadness,
for the wound must be treated
in order to heal.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 143:

We have a moral obligation to embrace joy,
to be as happy as possible.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




Blackjack




Poor old Blackjack,
Battered with one eye swollen shut,
He comes to my back door and cries for food
But he hurts too much to eat.

He cries to bring me out,
To hear the sympathetic sound of my voice,
To feel the rush of warm air from the open door
Against the stiff chill of early morning.

He comes close to the open door
But will not go in.
Some distant memory of being a kitten,
A house cat,
Pulls him to this place of food,
This place of sanctuary from the larger world,
The more dangerous world
He is now too wild to escape.



~ by Russ Allison Loar
~ Photo by Russ Allison Loar

# 152:

Everyone is no one at all.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 161:

May we live up to the wisest words we speak.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 182:

Enlightenment is not a destination,
it’s a beginning.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 202:

Perhaps another word for God is Being,
Something whole
In which we have individual parts,
But still always part of the whole.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 212:

You must see your own destiny to fulfill it.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 251:

The Truth Has Jagged Edges.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved




A Lie






I was playing with a baseball I’d found in my front yard when two older boys walked up to me.

One of them said, “That’s my baseball. I hit it over here all the way from the park.”

The park was about three miles away, but I was seven years old and I believed him. I gave him the baseball. The two boys walked away down the sidewalk laughing.

Lying in bed that night, thinking over the events of the day, I realized those boys were laughing because they had told me a lie and I believed them. They were laughing at me.

I decided I wouldn't be so stupid next time. Despite my decision, so many years later, I’m still surprised how skillfully people can lie.








~ By Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 204:

Those things you waited for never happened,
because this world requires that you

make things happen.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 165:

So much of the trouble in this world
is caused by certainty.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 162:

Despite your heartfelt forgiveness,
there are truly evil people in this world
who do not deserve to be forgiven.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 148:

Sometimes, the belief that achievement
comes only after prolonged effort
becomes an excuse.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 203:

I am not important enough to disagree with.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 197:

Perception requires contrast.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 240:

My moments of enlightenment
remind me of just how far I’ve fallen.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 176:

Jesus, the embodiment of God.
The only one?
What about you? What about me?
Even the tiniest blade of grass
reaches toward the light.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 163:

I see my faults most clearly
when I point them out in others.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 147:

It’s only my body that ages.
My soul has a different measure.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 141:

If you grow a larger soul,
be kind to those you leave behind.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

# 209:

This world is a joke, but I don't get it.
I am a joke, but the world doesn't get it.



~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Mindings