Sunday, June 17, 2012

Remembering My Father

Remembering My Father: John Park Taylor, Sr. (1928 - 2001)
John Park Taylor and Clara Nelle Westmoreland, Dec 18, 1949
John Park, Jane Clark, Melanie and Clara Nelle, 1958

John Park's 70th Birthday, 1988
Driving through the Mississippi Delta farmland last week brought memories of my father. He loved the flat Delta land - heat, humidity, floods, drought, bugs and all. Our farm was 500+ acres of cotton, soybeans, rice and later catfish. He used the land as a steward and taught me so much. I cannot ride through any farm country today with composing a report to Daddy in my head. He will want to know what is growing, how is it faring, is the land wet or dry, is it well tended. Of the many life lessons from my father, the one I think of most that was uniquely his, is to look carefully, listen, and pay attention to the world around me. He passed on to me his love for the environment and his desire to take care of it. He loved to “ride down the road” and see what was happening. To the uninitiated, it might seem that nothing was happening on that flat empty land. He would stop and ask me “what do you see?” or “what do you hear?” He taught me to look closely for subtle variations in the landscape or plant growth. He taught me to listen for the birds, the breeze, even the hum of the electrical lines. He taught me to smell the rain coming or the pungent odor of the rice growing. He took me to the woods in the fall and winter to hunt, sometimes on horseback, sometimes on foot. He taught me to walk gently and quietly, to be attentive for snakes and to handle weapons respectfully. For us hunting was just that - the thrill of finding the signs left by the game, tracking, thinking ahead to where it might be going so as to cut it off. I don’t remember that we killed anything and rarely took a shot. The hunt was the thing. The life lesson was to look, listen and walk gently on the earth. Thank you, Daddy.

Daddy and Son, 1964

Toasting my marriage, Nov 4, 1972

Friday, June 1, 2012

One Minute Meditation - Birdsong and Rainfall

Gentle rain falling
Softly lifts me from night's rest
Restores my gardens.