Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Walk of the Year 2004: Trek on Mars

If Time magazine has its "Person of the Year", this blog will, starting this year, feature the "Walk of the Year". This is an event or story which I find to have the most impact on me, even kept me at the edge of my seat.

So for this year, I chose as the Walk of the Year the story of the two humble and diligent robots, Opportunity and Spirit, which practically walked the surface of Mars since early of 2004. I've been monitoring their trek ever since. Their discovery that the red planet was once drenched in water of vast quantity really astounds me. Water means life, and it has always been used to symbolizes spirit and Tao. And if there was water in that planet, it is possible that there was or there is water in many other planets!

Incidentally, the editors of Science journal chose the same story as the Breakthrough of the Year. "Their finds mark a milestone in humankind's search for life elsewhere in the universe," Science said. (source: www.cnn.com)


Blogger mael brigde said...

roh mih, i like very much your idea of walk of the year.

it is hard for me to think which would be my own walk of this year. there have been several very important ones. perhaps deciding to set my boundaries and preferences aside for three months (though at the tinme i didn't know how long it would be) to spend every day with a friend who was struggling with something that then seemed impossible to her, in order to let her see it was possible, and complete it. it was very difficult work and resulted in my being quite over-stressed and eventually depressed, but only for awhile. it also resulted in her overcoming her fear sufficiently to do it. i did this because i could, not because i thought it would be fun, but because i knew that it was very important in her life. thus we both went well beyond what we thought we could do in order to accomplish this goal. we were both horribly grumpy at times as a result, but we kept going together until she was able to find other support and continue on her way. i myself have been resting as much as possible since!

if it was a walk i witnessed but didn't participate in... it would be that of a friend who continually deals with great stress and pain in her own life in order to be a courageous and loving caretaker for dying people. her name is carla, and she is a great model for me.

roh mih, i wondered if the philipines were affected by the tsunami i heard about. my prayers go out to all touched by this.

11:01 AM  
Blogger mael brigde said...

oh, heavens, roh mih. what a devastating thing is happening in asia right now. i hope you are well and i imagine you are in the thick of things. let us know if there is any help we can give. i will be sending money to the red cross for assistance.

3:40 AM  
Blogger roh mih said...

Hello,Mael! We're OK here. Philippines is not affected by that tsunami. But it kept me thinking of our coastal hometown. Although we planned to spend the holidays there, I cancelled it the last minute (it was a day before that disaster occurred.)

You're so thoughtful, caring and kind, and I think such kindness is one of the great things that make our world so beautiful.

Concerning Carla, is she the one you wrote about in your previous post, regarding your vacation in the mountain? God surely is manifest in you! God bless you!

2:27 PM  
Blogger celia kusinera said...

Happy New Year Roh Mih! May the coming year make us all kinder and wiser...

10:19 AM  
Blogger mael brigde said...

i was feeling so down when i came to read your blog the other day, feeling down on myself, too, for how sensitive and jumpy i can be. so to read your kind words brought on a good and well-needed cry. thanks, roh mih! (do you know, i have a friend in israel whose name is rami. very similar.)

blessings on this new year's day.

8:32 AM  
Blogger mael brigde said...

roh mih, i think you might like something a friend just wrote:

Hello everyone,
I just saw the most amazing thing. It's very foggy here today, one of those 'tween times' I wait so yearningly for, in order to try and glimpse, catch- a bit of spirit. Suddenly down through the woods from the north, great grey wings came swooping, landed on the hill with his owl feathers all gathered in predatory fashion, landed on the ground and hopped a foot or so and then disappeared behind a dark walnut tree with whatever prey he found. I couldn't tell, because his wings hid the event.

I sat and waited 45 minutes to try and catch another glimpse of that beauty, till it ocurred to me that perhaps he took his food into a hollow log, because that's the area where I first saw the coyote yesterday.

After growing tired of watching, suddenly I saw a squirrel go timidly up a sycamore, with a big nut in his mouth, he rousted another squirrel out of a nest in the tree. Saw leaves falling everywhere, then the
squirrels cautiously moved down the tree and onto branches, where they sat and looked around worriedly. The owl didn't get the squirrels, as I suppose he's sleeping with a full tummy, but the sight did inspire this little haiku, which may or may not be technically correct, but I don't care it is or not, because I like it!

New Year's Day 2005

Red squirrel prepares to feast,
flirts, preens his tail, unaware.
Grey wings sweep through fog


10:27 AM  
Blogger roh mih said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, CELIA,MAEL AND ALSO STAN, and all other friends and guests who drop by my blog! May this year bring you all the goodness and blessings from the Tao!

That's a very nice haiku, Mael! You know, as far as I can remember, there are only two instances when I saw a squirrel in real life. (I can't even remember if there's one in our zoo.) The first was in Washington DC, USA, when I was heading to the hotel where I stay. That was in 1990 (or 1992?)! The other was in 1994, at San Francisco, USA, as our car was passing that famous red bridge of the city. That's a little more than a decade ago. I wish I could see one again...this time, in Canada!

Lily's story also reminds me of a Taoist tale that gives a different perspective about food chain. People usually think and say that all the plants and animals are given to us by God as our food, to sustain us. But the Taoist story tells us that human beings are by no means above anything in the food web. We are also part of it-- as food to others, dead or alive! Those animals and bacteria that feed on us may also be "thinking" that we were given to them by God as their food and thanking God for it!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Stan said...

Hello Roh,

Now that the news of the deaths has settled into aid efforts I can relate to Mars again. Yes, your walk of the year is certainly the Rover journeys. I too have been following it very closely since the beginning. You wouldn't believe how many raw images I've examined as soon as they hit the internet, which was the moment they hit Earth. I also rediscovered that water is everywhere in the galaxy, one of the most common molecules in existance, and as you say essential to life, along with, to our astonishment, amino acids, the basic complex molecules of life, that are floating everywhere in space! As for water representing spirit in the Tao Te Ching, I have a lot of dreams of being either beside the ocean or a river; and its very obvious that my unconscious mind sees water as representing spirit, with rivers being life force, or at least that's as close as I can interpret it.

As for my own big walk of my life, it is literally a walk. In my early thirties I decided I had to break out of my own anxiety and shyness by forcing myself to endure something. That turned out to be an attempt to walk across Canada carrying a back pack. I did make it half way, learning to tolerate stares and criticism, and over the next three years I canoed most of the way across with several others, then bicycled it, and finally holed up in a tent in the bush for the last month into december, using poetry to try to reach my subconscious. I nearly went crazy there.

This was a big turning point in my life in a number of ways, but, after reading of Mael's walks, built on empathy and compassion, I'm reminded of an earlier one in my teen years, a very momentary one, but which had a profound effect. I was a farm boy, and I was standing in the yard between the house and the barn, not doing anything. I quite often went out hunting squirrels with my gun, but now a squirrel that had been in the barn loft decided to clamber down and walk across the yard right in front of me. I kept myself still to see how close it would come, it being a wild creature. Finally I slowly bent over, picked up a little stone and was going to bounce it in front of it, to see if it would notice. By sheer accident the stone hit the squirrel in the head and it fell over dead. I was very shocked. It made me feel terrible. Maybe if I had planned on killing it, it wouldn't have bothered me. But instead, I felt sick, and even said out loud to it, "I didn't mean to." From then on, I never shot another animal, and couldn't even get myself to kill insects most of the time. Suddenly I had empathy for them. That accident was all it took to open that up. So that's what you could say was my first 'walk'.

Thanks for putting that quote from the Tao Te Ching in your comment on my site. I studied it very carefully and made a comment back, arriving at what to me was an astonishing conclusion. I hope you have a chance to read it. It's about two thirds down the comments in the posting now called 'Science vs Religion and the Sense of Superiority'.

3:11 PM  

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