Life and Living Music and Art

Once Upon a Tiger

Hey there!
When my wife and I were about to be married in 1976, I commissioned a talented Kentucky wildlife artist, Jon Henson, who happens to by my nephew, to paint a tiger, my fiancĂ©e’s favorite animal, as a wedding gift. At the time, Jon, about fifteen or sixteen years old, had already created some remarkable pieces of art. When I offered my request, he said, “Well, I usually paint ducks and geese, but I’ll give it whirl.” He did so and I am in awe of the image to this day. It hangs above my desk as we speak, stalking my every move. Isn’t it amazing how a great work of art can inspire one to truly appreciate many of the common things in life

I was touched several months ago learning of Nadia, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo and the first animal in North America to contract the Covid-19 virus. It’s important to keep our facts straight. Covid-19 is a recent strain of a viral pathogen that has been around a long time. The human plague we call the common cold is from a Coronavirus strain as is the new Covid-19 virus with all its variants and countless other strains affecting both humans and animals.

So we have always known that tigers can kill a person. Here and now, it’s the other way around. People can kill tigers with their Covid disease. In fact, according to a report on January 27, 2021 from, a seventeen-year-old Siberian tiger called Nastasja, kept at the Boras Zoo in southwestern Sweden was euthanized due to Covid-19, the infection having spread from a zoo employee attending the animals. Also another tiger and a group of lions in the same building have shown symptoms with at least two other confirmed cases.

True enough, the Bronx Zoo tiger, Nadia, recovered as have several others but that is not the point. Tigers and Lions are majestic creatures as are the other species in the animal kingdom. But do you know who else is majestic? You are, and every member of your family. I am and all the members of my family. Project that globally. Humans, the proverbial caretakers of all the animals, are truly as majestic as all other mammals.

In Genesis 1, verse 27, the Bible claims that we humans are made in the image of God, the Creator of all. Yet, look what Covid-19 has done to us. As of right now, March 8, 2021, Covid has claimed the lives of over 2-and-a-half million people since it started the Summer of 2019. The United States has lost over 520 thousand lives since our first death in early 2020. Who is to blame? That’s likely an inappropriate question with no good answer, but we humans like assess blame. We could blame God, which is usually referred to as an “act of God.” But blaming the Creator does the created no good in assessing blame since we created beings are perpetually at the Creator’s disposal. We are powerless to change that.

We can blame the Coronavirus, which is as futile as trying to blame God. The virus is just doing what it was created to do which is to hang on to life anyway it can. It’s too bad that the virus fulfills that role by planting itself into the bodies of humans and animals, many of which will die. So, maybe no one is to blame. No one can be held accountable to the existence of Covid-19, though that has been tried but without any real validation.

What we humans can be blamed for, though, is not following the guidance of the people who understand how to exist in a pandemic. Doctors, scientists, and those who specialize in learning what things to do and not to do to keep the spread of Covid-19 at bay, to limit the number of cases and therefore to limit the number of deaths. If we willfully choose to not listen to them, we who cause more spread and more deaths are to blame.

We are almost there. With three vaccines, we are so close to being immune to that which can kills. Let’s do everything we can to make it happen quicker. Let’s listen to the specialists. That means not only must we hear them, but heed their admonition to do the hard things to keep Covid from spreading.

When I look up at my tiger on the wall, I would be devastated if someone were to take a knife to that canvas and destroy the image. If I can keep that from ever happening, I would do it. There’s not a whole lot of difference in that and quelling the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bye for now!

Life and Living

Happy New Year!

Hey there.

It’s the end of the twenty-teens and now we’re on to the twenty-twenties. I was impressed with one of my friends’ posts today regarding the new year, being positive as it begins. Her premise was to use the first letter of our name and make a positive word from it. So I’ll go one step further and choose the initials of my three names.

First, “F” is for free. Ours is a free nation and in many ways we take hold of our freedom and soar. My question though is “do we fully live up to our personal potential for the freedoms we have?” I believe there persists a much too narrow view of what it means to be free. It’s akin to Plato’s Cave Allegory in which humans are chained to a cave floor facing the back wall, skewing reality into a false view of shadows of moving bodies in front of a fire projected on their wall. An enlightened person, to Plato a philosopher, frees himself from the chains, turns and walks out the cave entrance into the sun, enlightening him to true reality.

“D” is for dream. Related to getting the most from being free, I wonder if we dream big enough. Dreaming is the initial thought process for aspiring to grow and reach for the top. A baby in a crib is constantly searching for a way out. One day she looks up and realizes there is no top on her jail and she stands up to reach for the top. Eventually she gets tall enough and not only reaches it, she’s at last strong enough to pull up and escape. At first her dreaming hurts as she falls on a hard floor, but then she learns to climb down and crawl to explore her world outside the bars. Dreams make us reach. They challenge our status quo and raise questions we could never conceive of before dreaming.

“S” is for submit. I know this one may seem out of kilter with the other two. Actually, when you really consider positivism, there is no freeing or competent dreaming until one is ready, willing and able to submit.

That we exist as a free country is proof. When the people who started us decided that they had had enough, they rebelled. Not hardly in keeping with what I’ve been saying so far, eh? Think again. Yes they had submitted and submitted to the point of breaking, because their submission only helped another country whose king seemed to care little about the hardships they faced and the hard work they had accomplished for him. So, in the proper course of time, they revolted and won the war.

But did they stop submitting? No! They knew that if they won their independence it would mean, yes, finally at last, the freedom from the forced submission of a tyrannical king. They also knew that to have and hold that freedom to dream and accomplish, they would have to submit to each other. They knew that the cost of being free to dream and reach for the top would in some ways be putting the good of the whole nation ahead of their own interests.

If you don’t think that’s still true, ask all the family members of the women and men who have given their lives for our freedom this past year. Ours is not only a country of being free to dream, but one where it’s constituents are free to dream and reach for the top so they can help others to the same goal. That’s pretty positive in my book.

Have a happy 2020!

By for now.