“I prayed to a mystery.Sometimes I was simply aware of the mystery. I saw a flash of it during a trip to New York that David and I took before we were married. We were walking on a busy sidewalk in Manhattan. I don’t remember if it was day or night. A man with a wound on his forehead came toward us. His damp, ragged hair might have been clotted with blood, or maybe it was only dirt. He wore deeply dirty clothes. His red, swollen hands, cupped in half-fists, swung loosely at his sides. His eyes were focused somewhere past my right shoulder. He staggered while he walked. The sidewalk traffic flowed around him and with him. He was strange and frightening, and at the same time he belonged on the Manhattan sidewalk as much as any of us. It was that paradox — that he could be both alien and resident, both brutalized and human, that he could stand out in the moving mass of people like a sea monster in a school of tuna and at the same time be as much at home as any of us — that stayed with me. I never saw him again, but I remember him often, and when I do, I am aware of the mystery.Years later, I was out on our property on the Olympic Peninsula, cutting a path through the woods. This was before our house was built. After chopping through dense salal and hacking off ironwood bushes for an hour or so, I stopped, exhausted. I found myself standing motionless, intensely aware of all of the life around me, the breathing moss, the chattering birds, the living earth. I was as much a part of the woods as any millipede or cedar tree. At that moment, too, I was aware of the mystery.Sometimes I wanted to speak to this mystery directly. Out of habit, I began with “Dear God” and ended with “Amen”. But I thought to myself, I’m not praying to that old man in the sky. Rather, I’m praying to this thing I can’t define. It was sort of like talking into a foggy valley.Praying into a bank of fog requires alot of effort. I wanted an image to focus on when I prayed. I wanted something to pray *to*. but I couldn’t go back to that old man. He was too closely associated with all I’d left behind.” ― Margaret McGee

“We must not despair the evanescent nature of time or our brief existence; we must embrace our delectable moment on earth. Life is a fantastic dream where we rejoice in the incomparable beauty of this misty world of ethereal sensations and sentiments. Buddha said, “It is better to travel well than to arrive.” We must swim with the tide and rejoice in life of memory, dreams, and the beauty that is transpiring before our very eyes. Indian Buddhist teacher and philosopher Nagarjuna advises in “The Diamond Sutra,” to enjoy the dream world, “Thus shall you think of this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in the stream; a flash of lightening in a summer cloud; a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.” ― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

“The mystery of existence will always remain a mystery. All we know for sure is what the ancients knew: each succeeding generation forms a link in the braided cord of humanity. Each of our lives is shallower if we do not know and pay homage to where we came from. The past forms the world that we currently inhabit, and our actions today, comparable to our ancestors’ actions of yesterday, will reverberate in the history of tomorrow. While the tools of our trades evolve from generation to generation, the way that people behave and the motives behind their behavior remains constant. Each generation must chart the same dangerous territories of the heart. Each succeeding generation must diagnosis the illnesses that imperil their mental, physical, social, and economic wellbeing. Life is brutally painful and extraordinary joyful.” ― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls