Since I moved to my “Little Cabin on the Hill”, I no longer take buses to work.Instead, I walk.Early morning, the air is crisp but the sun is warm and welcoming.If there is a wind, it usually is very mild.Spring time, the walk is exceptionally delightful for my neighborhood is remarkably verdant.By late April, every hillside is covered by emerald foliage and with profusion of wildflowers. They fill the air with sweet fragrance.
I am usually alone on my footpath, but it does not take long for me to realize that I am actually not alone.As soon as I enter to the county park, I am accompanied by many earthly creatures.After a long winter, wildlife inside the park resumes active, squirrels are running back and forth between trees to mark territories and other flying insects are beginning to emerge as well.
Hidden inside the wooded areas where big tall trees reside are lots of birds.They are extremely vocal in the morning.I am captivated by their vociferous abilities and enthralled by the sweet melodies made by these song birds.At first I thought all the birds make the same noise but as I pay more attention to their calls, I begin to distinguish the variety of tunes made by different birds.Some birds send out a quick, sharp cry, it sounds like “my tree, my tree” as if they are giving out warning to other birds that the trees are their realm.Other birds make a long, soft and iterated call, happily exchange flirtations with other birds.Some birds’ shriek are very interesting, they have rhythm, like the “quick, quick, slow” step dance.Their songs echo inside the forest tirelessly, over and over.Standing in the mid of their world, I am gratified by their performance; enjoy a free concert orchestrated by these song loving creatures.
One spring morning, not only was I impressed by these charming singing fellows, I was actually stunned by their audacity.Dawn, at the entrance of the county park, for no apparent reason, I was harassed by a little bird.This bold fellow perched on a park fence.As soon as I got closer to her, she reacted very belligerently towards me.Her wings half opened; her tail elevated up to a 75 degree position, and she kept making this croaky cry.I approached her with caution and made a friendly whisper to calm her down. Immediately, she flew up to a tree branch above me, still not willing to leave, continued to bully me with the hoarse scream.I stood there and looked up to where she landed, implored to her with an even more friendly gesture.But she continued to stand her ground, not willing to budge.Finally, I detected a small nest hidden behind branches.It was her babies she was guarding.
This little bird is no bigger than a tennis ball, but to protect her young she was willing to put up a fruitless fight, sacrifice her life to defend her family. She was a devoted mother.
Through the jungle I know my way, I know my path, I know my footing, I know my hidden ways. I fear no other animal but one, Mankind. I had given her the fear......I must appologize Not wanting to irritate her further, I carried on with my journey.
I fancy my morning walk every day, look forward to getting more acquaintances with the earthly creatures inside the park.
Before I moved in to this newly purchased home in Virginia, I had this insane childlike excitement.I could not sleep; kept thinking how to decorate this 550 square feet soon-to-be home stereo.
First time I saw it, I fell in love with the place.Although it is not the “Cabin in the Wood” that I always dream of, the place has my name written all over. It is a small living quarter located on the top floor of a high-rise building, overlooking the “Pentagon City Valley” down below.The building was constructed on a steep hill; walking up to that hill is quite an exercise, which I certainly do not mind.
Inside the apartment is one big airy space.An open kitchen connects to dining and living areas.The apartment does not have a bedroom but a handcrafted Murphy bed provided efficient sleeping platform.Other living spaces including bathroom and walk-in closet are also small, but again efficient.Former owner had a hard time selling the place.I can understand it for not everyone is comfortable living in such a small home. Besides, with months of neglect, the place was covered with layers of dust, clustered with unused furniture, and permeated with the moldy smell of dirty rugs.Curtains were draw down completely to block out sun lights.The place resembled an aged citadel, lacked of vibrant, color, character and life.But the place was in fact a citadel, a small fortress that perhaps once upon a time had its magic.I can image many moons ago, before the pentagon city was built, the place probably offered a panoramic view of the Potomac River, stood tall on a hill and overlooked the valley down below with grassy meadows and lush forests.
One of the most alluring features of the apartment is its wooden floor.Former owner put sectional rugs covered 80% of the floor surface.I spent 5 hours painstakingly removing the old rugs and scrapping the yellow glues out of the wood surface. At the end, what I discovered underneath was this gleaming Brazilian cherry hardwood floor.Today, the floor once again reveals its original glory.
Another appealing feature of this “cabin” is the sunny balcony.It faces south east, captures the morning sun from dawn until early afternoon.Summer, when the air is hot and humid, with shade, gentle breeze and a cold drink, this balcony can be a safe haven to escape the unbearable southern heat.My plants will be delighted too; finally, I find a good home for them.They will attract birds, butterflies and all kind of plant loving insects.I am going to buy a bird feeder and perhaps leave a bucket of water every day for them to take bath.I picture myself waking up every morning by these cheerful singing creatures. With minimal decorations and lot of cleaning, this place ought to be a cozy place to live, to read, to write, to entertain, to hide and of course to foster many of my dreams.
I am determined to beautify my “cabin” with simplicity, keep only functional furniture, let plenty of sunlight and fresh air filter in; replace all the abstracted paintings with my adventure photos, add house plants here and there. When I finish, the place re-affirms my desire to live a simple life and mirrors my personality as a nature lover.The place is a perfect place for my retirement!
Amazing how life revolves. Years ago when I graduated from college, I often dreamed of living in a huge apartment but at that time, all I could afford was to rent a tiny living space in someone’s basement.It flooded every time after rain.Two years later, my financial situation improved.I moved out and rented a stereo apartment in a not so good neighborhood.I was robbed first week after moving in.Two years inside the stereo, no matter how much I cleaned, scrubbed and bleached, roaches were everywhere. They ate my noodles, crackers, and left their wastes to mark their territories.One day, I discovered a dead baby mouse underneath my sofa, I moved out as soon as I could.By then, I saved up enough money to buy my first condominium.
It was a brand new unit inside a luxury building.The building had a gym, a nice garden, and 24 hours doorman.The unit had concrete floor and walls, sealed away all the noises from neighbors, a charming kitchen with new appliances, washer and drier, small balcony facing a park.It was a 180 degree improved living conditions.I loved the place, and so were my hiking friends.They all wanted to hang out at my place.My career was doing very well and with increased salary and year-end bonus, I purchased a bigger unit; a two-bedroom apartment in the same building with a large dinner room and living room, one and half baths.For 20 years, I lived in a very materialistic and luxury lifestyle.
Money allows us to choose but it can never make us happy.My high paid job in the Wall Street area took away every bit of my personal time.I was very stressed and unhappy.I began to look for the true meaning of life and I found Peace Corps.Two years living in Azerbaijan, I had very little to live on.I was poor but happy and content.There were no deadlines, no time schedules and no demanding requests.Instead, I had time to think, to relax, to read, to write, to take long walk and above all, to give something back.It was the most humble and rewarding experience of my life. Two years flew by in no time.When I was back to the United States, I knew exactly what I wanted in life.I settled with a low paying government job.I wanted more time to fulfill my other dreams, to travel, to climb more mountains, to spend time with family, to be with nature and to devote time helping others.I want to LIVE.
Giving up the fancy lifestyle in New York, I moved down to Virginia, started a new life with new friends.Nowadays, I do not care much about living in a large apartment, a small cozy stereo will be sufficient.I do not need to entertain big party to feel important.Few close friends with occasional visits are much preferred.Weekend, instead of wandering in a shopping mall, drinking and gossiping in an expensive restaurant like Mr. Chow, I would rather be alone in the wood, stroll along the four-mile run creek, and let nature heals me from years of artificial living.
It is ironic; I started with nothing but wanted to have everything. Now my strongest desire is to have nothing, but a content life and a happy soul.
up early in the morning on Sunday, when the rest of the world is still sleeping.The husband and wife birds that usually greet
me in the morning are yet cuddling contently inside their nest, not willing to
make any move.Outside, the foothills are
completely covered with snow.Yesterday’s
snow storm has decorated my neighborhood with unadulterated whiteness.While I am having a cup of tea, the sun
begins to rise.I watch its rays filter
through tree branches; hit the ground and instantaneously, the floor illuminates,
thousands of sparkling crystals appear. My God, it is beautiful! "Good
Morning!” I cannot help but greeting the earth blissfully.
plants are waking up now.I notice that they
look their best under the morning sun.I greet them, and they look back at me, seem
to tell me they are, indeed happy.
I enjoy this moment very much, may seem boring to some
people, but a morning like this is very precious to me.I grab a jacket and head out for a walk. As soon as I step outside, the freezing air chills
me to my bones. But it does not deter me
from leaving my apartment.It is too
beautiful not to go out….. just too beautiful.
Although I am not against Homosexual, I never thought that the behavior was natural or normal until I stumbled upon this article:
Among plants, sometimes flowers possess both male and female sex organs, sometimes they are unisexual and on different plants, sometimes unisexual and on the same plants, sometimes flowers are designed so they can't self-pollinate, other times they have to pollinate themselves, and some plants skip the sex scene altogether by reproducing vegetatively.
Among animals we find everything from the male seahorse who carries the eggs, hatches them and takes care of the young, to the "polyandrous" Spotted Sandpiper whose females may lay up to four nests in a season, each equipped with a different male incubating the eggs. Of course, the common earthworm is both male and female, and some snails sometimes mate with themselves, producing offspring.
The higher up the evolutionary scale you go, the kinkier it all gets. Among communities of mice and other mammals, when population density reaches a certain high level where diseases and famine threaten, not only does homosexual behavior appear but also parents begin killing their own offspring. It's always the case that the Creator chooses the welfare of the community over that of the individual.
In short, it is simply wrong to say that homosexual behavior is never natural.
I share this article with my religious friend.He argues that according to the bible; homosexuality is not an acceptable behavior in the eyes of God.I scratch my head and wonder, if god is the creator of the natural world, everything in nature surely is his intention, right?He disagrees!
That is exactly the problem I have with religious.I have many religious friends and they go to church 3-4 times a week, speak of how wonderful God is, how they love God, but do they truly understand God or they just blindly accept God.
My relationship with ‘God” has been consistent. I believe there is “something” out there.Some people call it “God”, I would rather call it “secret power”.Some people like to use bible to express God's will, I would rather be with nature and let “God” show me his words.
If there is a “God”, I truly believe I will find him in the woods someday.My friend Derrick did, he met God when he climbed Macho Picchu in Peru.
“The place seemed holy, where one might hope to see God.
This is the experience I am waiting for. When I see him, I will have tons of questions for him, including this one, homosexuality.
End of Daylight savings time means that when I get home from work, my running path would be in complete darkness. For a while, it deterred me from venturing to the night.But after a several weeks, my body began to protest, I had to get out to “liberate” the energy trapped inside my body.So one cool night, I went out for a long run.Once I started running, I felt better.I guess I need running in much the same way as other people occasionally need coffee or booze.It just feels right and natural to be running again.
Certain sections of my running path edge around woodlands.There are no street lights and I totally depend on the fickle lights coming out from few houses to guide me, and I welcome the barking of dogs, they make me feel safer.Another problem running in the dark is the cars.Their head lights either blind me or startle me.I need to wear an outfit that has those fancy reflective materials to make myself more visible in the dark.Running in the dark, sometimes does attract attention, unwanted kind of attention.To be sure that I am safe, I have to avoid running on a same path. By and large, I feel constricted, not having a complete enjoyment to run.My co-worker urges me to join a gym.So I decide to check out the gym in my neighborhood.
As soon I entered to the facility, I was confronted by the most uncomfortable stifling air.There were no windows, no fresh air, no trees, no flowers, no birds, just human. I spot a good looking trainer with expensive workout clothing flirting with his trainees.The receptionist was a young and attractive girl. She asked me to put down my personal information. Of course, I hesitated.Eventually, she called her manager.The skinny manager took me to his small office and went over the price tags of being a member.The cheapest one: $499 annually!I thanked him and left.
I do not believe paying someone to get myself healthy.Besides, I prefer fresh air than body odor.That night, I went out running again.I passed two churches and I asked God watch over me.As always, when I finish my run, I am a subtly different person from the one who set out.The cold crisp air indeed does my body good.
reaches me from NY that a friend from my hiking club passed away few days ago of
lung cancer. I learned about her illness
and visited her last month.When I saw
her nearly lifeless body in the hospital, it deeply saddened me.She was unable to eat, to talk, to move or to
look at me.Her body was unbearablely thin.
A once energetic, healthy, full of promises
woman turned into “vegetation”.I spotted a small tear drop at the corner of
her right eye.I sensed her sorrow, despair
and anger.She was not willing to say
goodbye to the life she used to live, and the world she used to know. This unexpected illness devastated her.“Why me?”Perhaps, she was still struggling with the question and could not find
peace with her destiny.
If there is
something to desire,
be something to regret.
If there is
something to regret,
be something to recall.
If there is
something to recall,
nothing to regret.
was nothing to regret,
nothing to desire.
If one can
leave this world with such a lighthearted feeling, one has lived!
are ordinary mortal, but we can definitely live an extra ordinary life, and if
we did, when time to depart, we should have nothing to recall, to regret or to
most of my hiking friends are still mourning for her death, I quietly applaud
for her new life. She is on her way to a new journey, a new place. We celebrate birth, why not death?