Las nubes

Posted on February 12th, 2008 by george.
Categories: coincidence, enlightenment, epiphany, future, life, love, numbers, photography, poetry, prayer, serendipity, space, synthesis, travel.

Helix
low clouds drift over
her plunging arcs
helices adorn
her pure crystalline slopes
under the watchful eye
of the sliver of a crescent moon
Twin contrails
twin contrails cut across the sky
as they carve their way
through the forest
deeper into the heart
of the valley below
Through the forest
the great granite monolith
reigns regal over the valley
as the traveler departs the shores
of the great salt lake
both their heads in the clouds
Great salt lake
the hawk prays on detachment
in solitude above the clouds
that at the peak of the mountain
he should find his other wing
attached to an angel
Signs point to yes
he cannot cast his eyes
upon anything but signs
he is enveloped in assurance
his threading path is lit
by luminous rays
do you love me from the smallest ant
to the littlest loud?
su corazón pregunta
you mean cloud, he says
si, nube, she replies
James and Caytlin
do you like strawberries?
asks the little girl
after the traveler is diverted
from his prayers
I love strawberries, he responds
two women engaged in conversation
not a word of English between them
halt their cascade of Spanish to repeat
a single word foretold:
cloud
eleven arrives
to carry the weary traveler home
his head in the radio
as he reaches
mile marker 43
out of the corner of his eye
flow tears of certitude
leaving tracks on his cheeks
and crystals on the dry lakebed
of his heart
soft whimpers escape his lips
and with them his doubt
as the tortoise shell of his heart melts
and the delicate blossom of love
unfolds
everything in the universe
every slice of time and space
every cause and effect
has led to this moment
numbers themselves were created
to add up to this love
exit 52 leads him home
he walks out to check the mail
but on the way to the box
stoops to pick up
an empty cup
standing up his eyes rise
and fix their gaze on a star
the brightest setareh in the sky
shining in brilliant splendor
as the clouds march by
he looks to his hand
as his disbelief evaporates
and in its stead he finds
16 ounces of truth
straight from the mountain top
Mountain top

5 comments.

Warbled melodies

Posted on January 28th, 2008 by george.
Categories: friends, life, love, poetry, travel.

From colonial villages comes forth the call
Cross goldenrod meadows in breezes of fall

The stage has been cleared and the hour is set
We’ll toast to the thrasher, we’ll feast and we’ll fete

From his oceanside home the cardinal flies
By ribbons of scarlet he knows he’s arrived

And jolly the happenings there to be had
Hats off to the thresher, a fine young lad

When mention is made of her, contrast is stark
He’d long since lost touch with the faraway lark

But right here she is where she’s been all along
In the robin’s red breast and in homage, his song

The cardinal smiles at such earnest young love
And calls upon blessings to rain from above

He wings his way home through the blackest of skies
The moon his companion to witness his sighs

The raven’s call rings out on every side
Bids softly the angels close tight their black eyes

His mind tumbles back on her soft swirling dance
The heat and the flame of ill-fated romance

The song of the shepherd sufficient to hook
His black sheep’s heart in its cradling crook

His thoughts fly away to the lands never seen
Their history ancient and playas serene

For the quetzal’s resplendence his heart doth yearn
But she sings in a language he’s not yet learned

3 comments.

Calling all music nerds

Posted on December 27th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, music, travel.

They Might Be Giants.

Orlando.

Thursday, March 13th, 7pm at the House of Blues.

BE THERE.

I will give you a ride and a place to say, all you need is transportation to Florida.

And I guarantee we will ROCK OUT.

5 comments.

Ojos Mexicanos

Posted on October 10th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, friends, fun, life, love, photography, space, synthesis, travel.

It’s 11:30. Let’s see if I can crank this out before another midnight rolls around.

I got off the plane in Miami yesterday, and by some miracle sailed through Customs. Straight to South Beach, where I had a panini and an iced cappuccino at the only dedicated Segafredo cafe in the world. Caught the parade on Lincoln Road, then sauntered over to the beach for my first ocean-water ablutions. No visit to SoBe is completed without a cruise down Ocean, and I must say Kashmir was feeling pretty hip with her sunroof open and Air on the stereo. Stopped by the giant sculpture of a hand on the way out of town, only to discover it was a Holocaust memorial. Spent a haunting hour reliving that nightmare in words, photos, music and art. The tour was free and I was undisturbed by any other visitors, thanks to the kind security guard. Took the scenic route out of town through Surfside, Bal Harbour, Haulover, Sunny Isles and Golden Beach, all the way to Hallandale before hopping on 95. An hour and a half later I was in Port St. Lucie, visiting Denise, catching up, eating protein pancakes and discussing the spirituality of extraterrestrials. We talked so late I ended up crashing in the guest room about two a.m. (after posting the nightly obligatory photos to flickr). Up by seven for a quick goodbye, on the road and into work by 9:30. Full day catching up on emails that arrived during my time in Mexico. Had the incredible honor and distinct pleasure of meeting Sunita Williams at the Expedition 14/15 presentation this afternoon. What a singularly amazing person! She is unbelievably kind, upbeat, fun-loving, intelligent, positive and happy. What a joy to meet someone so deserving of astronaut wings.

George, Suni, and Luke

Finished up a work, drove home to catch up on the scuba class I missed Monday. Managed to digest 90 pages of information in 45 minutes; enough to ace both tests today. Got out of class around 10:30pm, quick bean burrito from the border, and now this. I’m starting to get upset that I simply have no slots in the day in which to fit my gym routine. What a great problem to have, eh?

I relate all this to you in order to contrast the experience of the past five days in Mexico. People, I could write a small book describing what happens to me in that place; suffice it to say I took over one thousand photos. And you wonder why I’m six months behind on flickr. Though I will remind you that I’ve been consistently six months behind over the past year. So at least I’m keeping the pace, if not catching up.

But pay attention, chico! Mexico. Taxco was a dream. There’s no other way to describe it. Imagine waking up one morning and praying for the perfect day, then having your wildest dreams exceeded at every turn. Just wait til you see the photos. It was so idyllic I’m loath to even tell you the name of such a magical place, perched high atop cliffs in lush, pristine mountains. From our meal on the rooftop terrace overlooking the zocalo, to finding a nine-pointed star in the endless silver shops, to wearing one of my fifteen (!) new lucha libre masks through town and creating a scene…well, you just had to be there. Heck, if you want to go, I will take you there. In a heartbeat.

We fit a month into five days. I’m not even beginning to exaggerate. Floating languidly down the canals on a pole boat in Xochimilco. Dancing at one of the hippest clubs I’ve ever seen in Polanco. Racing through the empty, rain-soaked streets of one of the world’s largest cities at the wheel of Lulu’s Liberty at 4am. Quiet dinners and home with my Mexican family. Profound glances. Unspoken truths. Learning more Spanish than most people would in a semester.

Of the hundred epiphanies that were visited upon me during my stay, one stands out: on the last night, as I watched the lights twinkle on the mountains that ring this dream of a city, I realized:  I am a different person here.  Not once had I thought of my home in Florida, or my job, or my mortgage, or my bills, or my obligations. It dawned on me that my personality had changed; I was literally seeing with new eyes. Mexican eyes. What everyone had been telling me was true. “You’re at least half Mexican.” “No wonder you like Mexico, we’re all like you!” “You are my cousin, mi primo.” “You are my brother.” “Te quiero mucho.” “I love you.”

It’s a good thing I came back “home” through Miami. Otherwise I might not have survived the reverse culture shock.

8 comments.

Home in Mexico

Posted on October 5th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, life, travel.

It’s been a hectic few weeks in Florida, working on the Shuttles every day while trying to complete the engineering certification process. It can be difficult to find the balance, to fit all the necessary tasks into each day. Meanwhile I’ve signed up for scuba classes, kept the house in working order, kept the car maintained, seen friends, read, prayed, kept up with friends online and stayed busy putting out the myriad fires that flare up in daily life. It’s been a sleep-deprived blur over the past few weeks, and chores always accelerate when you’re trying to get things in order in advance of an international trip.

I could run you through the entire saga of travel for the day, but it’s late and I’m tired. Despite best laid plans, I find myself chronically late. But there always seems to be a way to catch up. Suffice it to say I made it from Melbourne to Miami International in exactly 2.5 hours during rush hour. Made the plane with minutes to spare. TGFRD (you’ll have to ask Fresita).

It’s been over a year since I’ve been here, and I’ll admit to a twinge of apprehension while waiting at the airport. But as the short flight progressed (three hours? it takes longer to get to Utah!), any residual anxiety melted away. I made it all the way through customs, answering questions and chit-chatting, without a word of English. I’ve never taken a course in Spanish in my life. Hear that, amigos? It must finally be rubbing off on me! The customs officer even called me Jorge without prompting. Me. The tall, Irish-looking white boy. In fact, by the time Lulu picked me up in her white Jeep Liberty, I was beaming. I am absolutely ecstatic to be back in Mexico. I love this country. And that is due in no small part to the people. It may seem hard to believe, but these people are my family.

Lulu summed it up best, just now, as we said buenas noches.

“Welcome home, Jorgito.”

5 comments.

Serendipity

Posted on September 17th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, food, friends, fun, future, history, life, love, music, prayer, synthesis, travel.

Fere, Farah and Sarah

If there’s one thing I’m learning about writing it’s that when inspiration strikes, you must strike back, while the iron is hot. Some of you are probably wondering after the whereabouts of that potentially controversial essay I planned to write on Thursday, the day Lazi got into a car accident that left her and her friend upside down, hanging from their seatbelts. Don’t worry, she’s ok. But you see how easy it is to get distracted? Now it’s three a.m. after a life-changing weekend and my head is full of five pages that I can’t afford to sacrifice sleep to commit to words. God forgive me, but I feel I must resort to the dreaded bullet list. Behold: as many highlights from the weekend as I can remember. Rest assured there are hundreds more my poor brain is already forgetting as the cup overfloweth.

• Working extra hours in advance to leave work early Friday for Savannah to attend Louis and Shezel’s wedding
• Picking up Sarofsky and Justin in JAX
• Seeing happiness in the eyes of the four parents of the bride and groom
• Meeting Louis’s and his father Michael’s brothers
• Meeting Cara and Rob from Orlando and learning about life at Guantanamo and the difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer
• Bonding with Justin
• Bachelor party laser tag
• Gourmet brekkie at the posh hotel downtown, included with the room
• Getting half price on said posh hotel
• Meeting Brittany, the vibrant soul with light in her eyes, a lilt in her voice, spring in her step, and heart in her service, a senior in interior design and our cashier at the sandwich shop
• Hearing the words “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” sung by a local artist at an outdoor cafe the moment we rounded the corner to the sandwich shop
• Making it to the wedding in advance to help set up
• Enjoying the honor of reading 1 Corinthians chapter 13 during the ceremony from the microphone between the bride and groom, their silhouettes framing the faces of an audience brimming with love and support for the couple
• Reuniting with members of my local Brevard County family on the lawn
• Meeting Brenda and Nancy, kindred spirits, by the hors d’oeuvres as the sun went down on a beautiful day
• Sharing tough but enlightening conversations with Ladan and Ramzi and family
• Witnessing the impossibly beautiful blending of the cultures of two different families manifest itself on the dance floor
• Busting several moves on said dance floor before the rug-cutting was cut short
• Listening to Darrell dedicate his poem to his little brother
• Eating wedding cake in honor of Mom (it’s her favorite dessert)
• Throwing Persian “rice” at Louis and Shezel on their way to the limo
• Finishing off the last of the wedding cake
• The Saturday night misadventures of $20 covers at bowling alleys, full car sing-alongs, and visiting the beach at Tybee Island for the first time at 2am, spending hours splashing in the ocean, looking at the stars and talking about the universe
• Waking up late Sunday to bid farewell to so many wonderful new friends (including the third interior designer!) like Navid, Adeeb (my new cousin), Shawn, Mona, Nissa, Cheryl, Sarah, Jalil and Sina
• Eating leftover wedding cake before lunch
• Enjoying lunch on the sidewalk in downtown Savannah with Sarofsky, Farah, Fere and Justin
• Justin’s eagle eye spotting Brittany walking straight toward us from across the street
• Marvelling at the serendipity of meeting a complete stranger twice in two days in a major city, embracing the second time and realizing you are old friends
• Hitting the road like Juan Valdez in order to make it to St. Augustine by 7pm for the once-a-year 1905 Day at my favorite restaurant in Florida: The Columbia
• Arriving at 6:35
• Being informed that no more reservations are being taken
• Sweet-talking the hostess and getting a table for 8:45
• Stepping outside to inform the group that we need to wait two hours and can enjoy the city, the second wonderful historic Southern town to introduce Justin to in the span of two days
• Being caught by the manager just before we set out and being taken to a table right away
• Enjoying the best gourmet Spanish food this side of Spain and paying 1905 prices (Cokes were ten cents, soups fifty cents, salad a dollar, entrees $2.05)
• Paying the tab without blinking and tipping the waiter double the bill
• Enjoying the ride home with my sisters Farah and Fere accompanied by good music
• Thinking the night was over only to be introduced to five religious refugees from Iran, family of local Baha’is who arrived in the United States 10 days ago
• Welcoming them to our community, learning about their lives and their journey, sharing stories and gaining amazing insights about prayer and destiny
• Being blessed with tangible evidence of the undeniable unity of all humans in the form of five brilliant souls
• Mentioning the five sisters and noticing the five-pointed star on Mehrvash’s necklace
• Listening to Siroos translate from Persian to English, and noticing that Kazim used the word “rouhani” several times in Persian
• From what I can tell, rouhani means “spiritual”
• Rouhani is Shezel’s maiden name, bestowed upon her family in the early history of the Baha’i Faith
• Kazim had never heard of the Rouhanis until tonight
• Thanking God for the limitless divine outpourings accrued over what must be recorded as three of the most intense days of my life, three days which are a direct result of the spiritual journeys taken last weekend in Texas
• Witnessing firsthand the soul-stirring, foundation-shaking, happiness-inducing, resolve-solidifying, purpose-endowing power of the Tablet of Ahmad, the Fire Tablet, and the Tablet of Visitation of Abdu’l-Baha

9 comments.

Beloved

Posted on September 3rd, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, future, life, love, poetry, travel.

praise each dusty step
along this vast expanse
from scalloped ridge
to gnarled branch
from scorpions to ants

time is drawing nigh
a meeting soon at hand
our faces lit
in reunion
eternal golden strands

bitter makes the sweet
distance draws us near
without this time
apart from you
love couldn’t be so dear

now the city lights
dance happily below
down this mountain
through the vale
our kindled hearts aglow

4 comments.

High school reunion

Posted on July 29th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, life, poetry, society, travel.

every day
for four years
then not a word
for ten
and I’m supposed to catch up with you
in two minutes?
the same circles
quickly coalesce
forming an osmotic barrier to reunion
making any interloper
feel like a virus
and yet I persist
making the rounds
and seizing on eye contact
to take a chance on striking up a conversation
and forging a bond
relinking the rusty, broken chain
persistence pays and soon
we chat easily
like the old friends we are
and delve beyond the familiar
hometown, job, spouse and kids
a few stars shine bright
above the horizon of the past
and laughter rings
as the moon rises full
smiling on us from beyond the flagpole
I offer up a silent prayer
realizing I haven’t had a change of heart
but that we’ve finally found our way to
the heart of change

14 comments.

Seth & Cara’s Wedding

Posted on July 19th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, life, photography, travel.

Tonight I spent the evening rotating, cropping, adjusting, titling, tagging, captioning and uploading 71 new photos. I give you, by special request, the wedding of Seth and Cara.

It was a beautiful event, and I was honored to be included in the wedding party. In fact, this was my first opportunity to be a best man. Seth, thanks for letting me be a part of your special day. I wish you two all the happiness in the world!

4 comments.

Wet ‘n Wild

Posted on July 16th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, life, travel.

I mowed the lawn today. Because I didn’t mow it yesterday.

May Neda George Nika

9 comments.