Out, Out, Brief Candle!


“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

― William ShakespeareMacbeth



People of Another Rain


We’re all just little drops of dew clinging tentatively to Nature’s design

People of another rain

With faces reflecting their existence

Ever turned toward the embrace of warming rays

Awaiting the release of inevitable evaporation in a sigh

To merge with the evanescent clouds of the cosmos

Until it’s time to fall again in the eternal rain called Life

A Boy’s Question

This is the latest entry in the 100-Word-Challenge for Adults.  This week’s challenge was to use the words “… I’m exhausted. Shut the door behind you..”


“What’s the meaning of life?”  the boy asked the old man.

Rearranging noisy bones he replied, “Life has no meaning, boy.”

The boy stared, thunderstruck.

“But why are we here?”

“Look, to know what life is you first have to learn what life isn’t.  And believe me, son, there are almost as many things that life isn’t as there are stars in the sky.  When you’ve exhausted them all you’ll have your answer.”

“But I’ll never figure it out!” the boy whined.

“Some don’t,” the old man agreed.  “Now, I’m exhausted. Shut the door behind you so I can rest.”

He smiled as the door clicked closed.


To see my other 100-Word-Challenge entries go here.  To learn more about the 100-Word Challenge for Adults, read here.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin

Sometimes the smallest things in life are the hardest to find the courage to face.  The most troubling of those, the 100-headed dragon, is the simple act of letting go.  As a child, all the joy, the fun and the wonder was in letting go and just being a child; being curious, being wild and untamed, not harboring a care in the world.  We were the wind that rocked the trees and billowed the sails of life.

But something happens as we age.  Life goes from being an unexplored beach of soft sand and whimsical sea creatures washed ashore to something hard and cold and formidable that must be shoe-boxed, pigeon-holed, alphabetized and ultimately controlled.  We find we’re no longer the wind but the tree struggling not to be rocked by it.  Our sails become tattered and torn.  Simply put, we go from letting go straight into resistance.  And if Life teaches us anything, it teaches us that resistance is futile.

What is it we’re holding onto so desperately?  The illusion, or perhaps better stated, the delusion that we’re in control.  Unfortunately control isn’t something tangible; you can’t hold it in your hand.  It’s an idea much like the color blue.  It doesn’t actually physically exist.  It’s merely an idea.  How do you control an idea?  You might as well try holding smoke in your hands.

Sometimes the delusion succeeds.  We get lucky and that thing we’re trying so desperately to control goes our way.  Victory!  Nothing tastes sweeter than victory, does it?  We congratulate ourselves on a war well fought, a job well done, and take up arms ready for the next life event we must vanquish.

Other times luck isn’t on our side and things don’t go our way.  Things are out of control.  We feel defeated.  We “should have…”  “If only…”  Shoulda-coulda-woulda.  Time to beat that sense of control right back into ourselves so we don’t mess up again!  Grab that wheel!  Hoist that sail!  Tiring isn’t it?

I won’t deny that some things can be controlled, somewhat, by things like foresight, planning, acquiring skills, and saving but these things aren’t even guarantees.  They may better your odds a bit, but they’re still not a 100% guarantee of much of anything other than at some point Life will turn a corner you hadn’t planned on and you’re spinning out of control again.

The truth is Life has its own currents.  It’s a wide and amazing river we’re all traveling.  We can neither see the currents nor can we control them.  All we can do is go along for the ride.  The beauty is that we can at any time re-find the courage to become like a child again; to be the wind.  Instead of tirelessly paddling against the tides we can simply ride them, hands in the air, embrace the adventure and wonder at the vistas.

Let go.  Go with the flow.  Be brave.  Bloom.

New NASA Imaging of the Earth: True Beauty

Blue Marble

A ‘Blue Marble’ image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite – Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012. The NPP satellite was renamed ‘Suomi NPP’ on January 24, 2012 to honor the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin.

Suomi NPP is NASA’s next Earth-observing research satellite. It is the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth.

Suomi NPP is carrying five instruments on board. The biggest and most important instrument is The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite or VIIRS.

Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

The above was taken from NASA’s official site:  http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2159.html

This is one of those images that just doesn’t require any words, but I wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Solar Storm January 2012—How is it Changing You and the World?

Picture taken less than 24 hours of the posting of this article.

I need to pay attention to the news more than I do.  We’re currently in the throes one of the most intense proton sun flares we’ve seen since 2005.  It’s dangerous enough that high altitude flights which normally travel at high latitudes are flying lower to reduce radiation risk.  Astronauts are to stay “indoors” and avoid space-walking, but levels aren’t high enough to pose any higher alarm than that.

The Current Solar Storm

The coronal mass ejection took place on January 22nd and is still hurtling at the earth at a rate of 1,400 miles per second.  If you haven’t been keeping abreast of it, this geomagnetic storm is causing some mild radio blackouts and power grid fluctuations.  Most of those fluctuations are being handled at main grid levels so most of us aren’t seeing much of an affect.  There is a possibility if it goes on for a long time, though, transformers may be damaged and that’s a worst case scenario.  On the up-side, the auroras may be visible at latitudes as far south as New York City.

What Exactly is a Geomagnetic Storm?

Our planet’s magnetic field diverts most solar particles into a path around the Earth in a circular fashion.  Without it, we’d be burned to a crisp.  Like our weather patterns, solar wind patterns can change quickly but the magnetosphere, Earth’s protective field, quickly responds to the threat and absorbs the impact, wriggling in the process.  Geophysicists call this reaction a geomagnetic storm.

Solar wind's affect on the earth's magnetosphere.

What is the Effect on People?

But I have to wonder.  What effects do these solar flares have on people?  I’ve found that not only do they affect us biologically, they affect us mentally and emotionally too.  Studies have shown there is an undeniable direct link between increased solar activity and geomagnetic storms to peaks in mood disorders.  Oleg Shumilov of the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems in Russia researched activity in the Earth’s geomagnetic field from 1948 to 1997 and found a remarkable increase in the amount of depression, anxiety, bi-polar (mood swings), aggression and even suicides in the northern Russian city of Kirovsk over the same period.  The book Solar Rain-The Earth Changes Have Begun in 2003 also outlines the effects on humans and animals extensively.  So, if you’re feeling edgier than usual there’s a good chance it’s due to the solar storm.

When looking at why it affects us, you have to consider the brain’s pineal gland.  It’s sensitive to magnetic fields.  This is the gland which regulates circadian rhythm and melatonin production.  It’s our “biological clock” and it’s not specific to only humans.  Plants, other animals, cyanobacteria and fungi have one as well.   The electromagnetic field is one of the environmental cues this “clock” uses to run.  When increased or extreme solar activity affects the fields, our own mental state can easily become “off.”  It even affects hormone levels.

Solar Flares Contribute to War and Global Conflict

Cold hard evidence points to the fact that wars and international conflicts most often erupt when sunspots, the cause of these lovely solar flares, are rapidly forming or rapidly decaying.  In 1915 Russian scientist Alexander Chizhevsky began work on a study that observed mass changes in human behavior correlated to sunspot cycles.  Professor Raymond Wheeler, a historian at the University of Kansas, then took this observation even further in the 1930s, assigning numerical rankings to the severity of battles as they correlated to solar cycles.  Edward Dewey then validated the existence of these war cycles but couldn’t make a provable connection to sunspot cycles because sufficient data at that time wasn’t available.  By the 1980s it was.  Wheeler’s data was analyzed in more detail and the correlation was proven valid.

Eruption footage from January 23, 2012.

A Not-So-Scientific View

Some believe large solar flares can also affect us on other levels.  It’s thought to increase creativity, ESP, dreaming, visions and other spiritual phenomenon aiding our spiritual growth.  On the flip side it’s also said to cause earth changes that are damaging to life such as an increase in violent earthquakes and weather patterns.  Some believe this peak in solar activity over the last 10 years is ushering in the transition foretold in many cultures prophecies and legends; an end of the old ways and a beginning of the new.

“We too have magnetic fields which surround each of us. I think it is not unrealistic to conjecture what is happening “externally” is also happening “internally”. I believe current science will acknowledge this notion, showing the Sun’s “charged particles” and its influence on Earth’s magnetic field is the impetus of change. In-like, this same causal effect occurs with human magnetic fields ushering in a change or “transition”. Perhaps this is what our Mayan elders are trying to tell us.” – World-Mysteries.com

All this inevitably points to the end-of-the-world hype.  To be honest, I’ve never believed the world will “end” with some cataclysmic turn of events.  I don’t believe humanity will be wiped out precisely on December 21, 2012.  What I do feel is that human culture is in the death throes of a way of being that no longer works.  We are too many.  We are no longer isolated pockets of humanity but a global village.  Diversity and divergence are forcing the abandonment of old dogmas and stigmas and demanding we re-evaluate, regroup and reorganize.  We have to shed our old “skins” and find a more suitable way of living with ourselves and our environment with a new level of responsibility.

But to usher in change of such an unprecedented magnitude for all of humanity, it has to begin on the level of the individual.  Perhaps existence itself, in its unfathomable wisdom, has decided to help us along.  Perhaps there are wheels of some timeless machine turning we’re not capable of understanding, whether it’s been created by our collective consciousness or something else.  Even in the discomfort of a solar flare, perhaps minute changes are taking place that are necessary in some grander cosmic plan.  I have no clue, but it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Video of yesterday’s solar flare (January 23, 2012).  This is magnificent.

Related links:

Solar Cycles and War
Circadian rhythm
A Raging Solar Storm
Solar Flares!  Are You Affected? 

Committee of the Bushy-Tails

Convened in gentle morning sunlight, the committee’s called to order.  Each participant is at its post and eager to begin.  Poised and alert.  Focused.  Third-floor clothes line, second floor balcony, fifth-floor brick jutting from the façade.  The straggler waits on the rock wall across the lot.  A shrill “pee-deep!” rings out; seconded.  A third barks to disagree.  Heated squeaking debate rings out.  Bushy tails flailing; throes of squirrely conviction, argued.  The loudest will prevail; until tomorrow.

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

These little squirrels live all over the apartment complex.  I see them every day climbing the building like it was tree, going from balcony to balcony, nosing in potted plants, peering in windows.  They don’t miss much.  Every morning they convene in their favorite places and “peep” to each other.  I often wonder what they’re talking about.

Call in the Fog

Droning tones of call to prayer drift ghostly in unpopulated fog.  Eerie specters to the ears roam from home to home.  They’re peering in windows, creeping through doors, searching for believers.  The cold predawn defies the rule holding people in their beds, but it relinquishes them reluctantly.  Duties must be fulfilled.

A small stone in River of Stones entry.

Copyright Jean Mishra 2012

As a footnote:  We live in a predominantly Hindu neighborhood, but the Muslim call to prayer can be heard in the distance.  In the stillness of the early morning, before the sun comes up, it has a very eerie quality.

The Kreativ Blogger Award… Thank you so much!!

I’m just blown away with happiness and gratitude for Linda Willow and her blog Heartwinds for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger Award.  If you visit Linda’s blog, and I encourage you to, you’ll understand.  Her blog takes you through a beautiful world filled with inspiration and eloquence.  She’s quite a remarkable and accomplished person.  Thank you again, Linda.  I’m honored someone of your caliber found my blog worthy.

Sometimes synchronicities can be enlightening and receiving this award brought one into my life.  I mentioned to a friend because I was pretty excited.  Her response was, “No offense, but it can’t be much of an award if it requires you to widen the circle.  Sounds like some pyramid scheme for bloggers or something, not that I know anything about it.”  At first I was deflated but this caused me to go off quietly and think about this award, as well as the other two I’ve been nominated for.  Instead of lessening my happiness, it only deepened it.  I later explained to her:

“It’s an award that’s given by your peers in recognition of what they feel is a worthy blog. No. It’s not an official sponsored literary award, but it is peer recognition. We’re a community of weblog writers and readers and this is a way we support each other. As far as “pyramid scheme”… to what gain? It helps drive readership to quality blogs. I don’t think that’s anything shady or underhanded. Regardless, I’m still happy to receive these from my peers considering I’ve only been blogging for a little over a month. I’ve been working pretty hard on it and it gives me the incentive to keep forging ahead and hopefully keep improving.”

I guess in summation, this makes me feel welcome and warm and among good folks.  I’m very proud to display my “awards that aren’t a big deal.”  They certainly are to me.

Now, in keeping with the rules of this very appreciated award, I must share 10 things about myself.  I’ll try not to exactly repeat the 7 I listed for the Versatile Blogger Award, but if I do forgive me.  I’m writing this at 3 am.  (Who says I’m obsessive??)

  1.  Yes, I am obsessive.  When something trips my wire I dive in head first and don’t stop until I’m worn out.  This may not always show externally, but internally my gears are always going.
  2. I lived in Egypt for a year and sat on one of the stones of the great pyramid in Giza.  I saw Tutankhanum’s golden death mask at the Cairo museum and the Roman ruins in Alexandria.
  3. When I was young I pursued show jumping and dressage lessons and was determined to become an equestrienne, but an injury forced me to quit and then life currents swept me elsewhere.
  4. I’ve published one short story in a book, Rural Voices, which is now out of print.  It was about the life of my grandfather on the Nebraska Prairie.
  5. I love animals.  My life is void of color without their presence.  To me the song of a bird is more beautiful than any music ever composed.
  6. I have a fascination with the moon.  I’m a Cancer, but even as a child before I knew what that meant, the moon was my special night time friend.  I sat at my window many nights and talked or sang to it.
  7. I’m fascinated by the mind in all its aspects.
  8. I used to make my own soaps and lotions.
  9. The only Hindi I know is related to cooking even though I live in India!
  10. I have a secret obsession for Indian cloth and sarees.  I find them unspeakably beautiful and fascinating.

I am passing this award on to 10 more bloggers.  If you’ve already received one, just know that I feel you deserve another one!  They are:

  1. Allaboutlemon by adollyciousirony
  2. Being Arindam by Arindam
  3. A Mantra a Day by belleofthecarnival
  4. Source of Inspiration by patcegan
  5. A Heart’s Whisper by jackielrobinson
  6. Dear Kitty.  Some blog by petrel41
  7. Photos from the loony bin by photosfromtheloonybin
  8. Robert coffey’s Photo Project 365 by urbanbuda
  9. Straight from the Horse’s Heart by rtfitchauthor
  10. Deidra Alexander’s Blog by deidraalexander

Enjoy your award.  You all deserve it!

Strange Sounds Coming from the Sky

This is one of those articles I’ve been walking around all day chewing on.  Should I or shouldn’t I?  I hesitated on the side of vanity, because frankly I value my credibility and this could send that into the waste bin with some of my readers and I value my readers as much as I do my credibility.  This is also an inspirational blog and I’m straying a bit.  The only thing that spurs me on is the fact I experienced this phenomenon.  It’s being reported from many people all across the globe and I’m wondering if anyone else out there reading me now has too.

Okay, first let me wipe the sweat from my palms.  It’s that credibility thing squeezing at my stomach again.  I hope you don’t stop reading me after this.  I hope that you’ll at least give me the benefit of the doubt, because I have nothing to gain and everything to lose.  I guess the most logical way to say it is to just say it.

Two times during the past two weeks I have heard a strange sound I’ve never heard before.  Once was at night and I was here alone.  I haven’t lived in India even a year yet and a lot of things here are new, so even though this sound was strange, and it quite frankly frightened me a bit, I shrugged it off as my inexperience with all the sounds here.  The second time was in the afternoon.  Everyone was busy in their daily doings and it was anything but quiet.  The air was alive; a melting pot of sounds:  jets flying overhead making their approach to the Delhi airport, trucks and cars trundling down the main road, the generator from the petrol station, various car horns, people talking, children playing.

Then the sound came.  I recognized it immediately; the sudden loud hum rising and then falling then rising and falling again.  It swallowed everything else, vibrating through the floor and the bed I was sitting on.  I ran outside.  It was coming from everywhere all at once.  A few people were looking around, looking up just as I was; and we all looked confused.  Something, okay everything about the sound was “wrong.”  It was too loud.  It lasted too long.  It wasn’t moving.  It had no definable direction.

Just as my stomach was beginning to knot with the realization this was not something normal, it just stopped.  As is the case with this type of thing, everyone shrugged it off and went about their business.  I did too.  I flipped on my computer and lost myself in writing, the day passed, and the next, and the next.  I completely forgot about it; until last night.

Because I also write articles on HubPages I receive the featured Hub on my Facebook every day.  The featured Hub last night was about just this very thing.  Even as I read the title, it didn’t click.  It wasn’t until I started listening to some of the YouTube videos from people who claimed to hear “a strange sound” and recorded them that I remembered.  I more than remembered.  I was utterly shocked.  It was the same sound.

Search engines are supporting the sudden interest in this strange hum.  Google Trends shows internet searches for “strange sounds” has skyrocketed in the last 30 days.  My logic tells me it could be because everyone is just starting to talk about it, but so many reports of this hum have also been reported just prior to and during the same time frame so it’s very hard to tell if that’s even relevant.

Someone has gone to the trouble of actually plotting reports on a Google Earth map.  Again, I don’t know if this can be relied on for any type of accuracy.  It represents those who have reported witnessing the phenomenon, but I don’t know it’s reliable for assuming any kind of trending.

Of course no one knows what the strange sound coming from the sky is.  The only thing that’s certain is people are speculating.  This is a list of what I’ve found:

  • the harbinger of the end of the world
  • electromagnetic waves being released by the earth portending a mega earthquake
  • the heavens announcing the Second Coming
  • proof the world will end
  •  demons
  • the gates of hell opening
  • the sounds of an inter-dimensional doorway being opened
  • the choir of heavenly host
  • a global secret weapon
  • magma movement
  • a viral 2012 end-of-world marketing hoax

You can view the HubPages article that I read here.

What do I think it is?  If I hadn’t heard it myself, I would vote for hoax.  But honestly, I haven’t a clue.  I wouldn’t even begin to guess.  I know it was strange.  I know I’ve never heard anything like it.  And I know I don’t know what it was.  Like others, I found it unnerving.  My curiosity is piqued.

So, if you haven’t decided that I’m a complete loon, freak or “one of those people” and you’re still reading, have you heard it?  What do you think it is?