In our last (and first) instalment, I refrained from using the often-quoted Lao Tse adage “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. But that’s how it feels to have finally begun this blog. This is really going to help me to write! I’m sure of that now. For whatever reason, keeping a conventional journal just wasn’t working for me. But this, being put “out there” on the internet is going to make me want to continue to update it. Once begun, I’m compelled to keep it going and see where my thoughts take me. It really has a life of its own!
And I really just need to practice!
About the title of this blog: Zhūangzi (c. 369 BC – c. 286 BC), literally Master Zhuang, was a Chinese philosopher, who is supposed to have lived during the Warring States Period, corresponding to the Hundred Schools of Thought. His name is also transliterated as Zhuang Zi, Zhuang Zhou, Chuang Tzu, Chuang Tse and Chuang Chou. Here is a little story I read about him a long time ago; “Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things”.
I’ve always remembered that story, and when I was in my early thirties I wrote the following poem, and named it “Butterfly Dreaming”:
While sitting quietly in a pine forest on a sunny afternoon
I dreamed I was lying in a forest having a dream,
and this is what I dreamt:
I was a tree,
a great tall oak with roots deep in the cool earth
and limbs reaching into a limitless sky,
And I was also every leaf upon every branch of that tree,
drinking the light of heaven’s sun and gazing upon the world
in every direction at once.
And then I dreamed that the oak/I dreamed
I was every mosquito that danced among my branches,
each spider and ant that crawled through the growth
in my mighty shadow,
every warbling, twittering bird that soared above my sanctuary,
from horizon to far green horizon
across a forest of trees that were all me.
And I dreamed I was the omnipresent hum
that lingered ceaselessly on the air
of the combined sound of every buzzing insect wing
within my forest.
And the sighing of innumerable sun-drenched leaves was also me.
And nodding again,
I dreamed that I dreamed I was the earth that held my roots
in the deep bosom of her ancientness,
nurturing my life which nurtured the myriad living things
above and within me,
which grew and died and grew again
in a wondrous net of communion
that began with the union of earth and sky
from a spark of Light that is also what I am.
And I dreamed I awoke then amid the shadows of the still pine forest,
suddenly remembering who I am;
only to awaken to another dream in which I had forgotten.
I thought that might also be a nice name for this blog, but my totem animal is a dragonfly, and I’ve been very fond of them for a long time, I decided Dragonfly Dreaming is more appropriate.
Looking ahead, there are so many things I’d like to write about. And hopefully in future, with feedback from you, the reader, this will be the beginning of dialogues that will lead to hence undreamed of directions! I’m a stay at home dad and we are home schooling the kids; so that will be a topic of future interest. And about fifteen months ago I began using Gnu/Linux operating systems on our computers, after using Macs for 11 years and dabbling a wee bit with Windows, and over that time I have fallen in love with Linux (Ubuntu and Mint, specifically) and the Free and Open Source Software community. Much more about that later…
On a separate note; for any fans of the New Battlestar Galactica TV series, the spinoff/prequel series Caprica has begun on the SyFy Channel, and we were favourably impressed by the pilot. There’s an article about it here.