SLOAN – I am surprised that the Hotel / Motel folks in Old Town are not up in arms about this proposal to increase floating room competition. It appears that the big boat mania is going to destroy the flavor of Old Town.
Mayhaps things will return to normal when Cuba opens up. The big boats and the high dollar touristas will head 90 miles further South and Paradise will be restored. Regards Ron K.
Hi, Ron – I don’t think they view it as competition. In fact, I have heard hotel people say that some of their guest first came to KW on a cruise ship and that caused them to want to come back. However, what the Hotel/Motel folks in Old Town should be hollering about is the damage to the reef cruise ships have caused and will continue to cause, which cannot be good for the Hotel/Motel folks’ business future. Sloan
Agreed, I snorkeled on the reef out toward the ship channel cut. Not too pretty, better than some off of Jamaica, but still not too pretty. If the folks at Hyatt and the like are depending on Cruise Ship comebacks to butter their bread, they are not paying attention. You know this, but the flood of Cruisers along Duval and other spots kills the charm of Old Town, and I never saw the Cruisers buy more than an overpriced T-shirt or two. The big driver has to be the Conch Train franchise, he must make a bundle trucking those good folks into Old Town from the outer mole. Regards to you and your feline friend. Ron K.
I drove down to Key West again yesterday, found an apartment coming available, had a nice talk with one of the local owners, a Conch family, which spread into discussion of dreams and angels, and it seemed to go well, but she called back later to say they were going with a couple who had seen the apartment before they showed it to me.
Quite near the apartment I did not get, I stumbled into an old friend, who in the past has referred to herself as “Chickpea”, in honor of the Sufi poet Rumi’s poem by that name. We talked about chickpea stuff and how much fun it is. She is the only person I know in Key West right now, with whom I can have the kind of conversation we had yesterday. She said she might know of a living situation, she would get back to me.
The closing on my place is Friday morning. I have no clue how to pack for the move, what to take, what to leave, because I have no clue where I will lay down my head after the closing.
I turned in last night hoping for a dream showing me how to proceed.
I was beaten up in a dream around 5 a.m. this morning, for having thought before turning in last night that maybe I will have to put Miss Kitty in the Key West animal shelter after all, if I am going to live in Key West.
I crawled out of bed in the dark and dragged myself to my laptop and found an email from a Key West amiga about a possible apartment lead. At a decent hour this morning, I will call the number provided.
I’m having a wonderful time, and am doing my darndest to keep the joy from bleeding into what I publish and into my interactions with other people.
This is typical of how the angels use mystery and the grist of this world to test me.
A chickpea in a pot leaps from the flame,
out from the boiling water,
Crying, “Why do you set fire to me?
You chose me, bought me, brought me home for this?”
The cook hits it with her spoon into the pot.
“No! Boil nicely, don’t jump away from the one who makes the fire.
I don’t boil you out of hatred.
Through boiling you may grow flavorful, nourishing,
and united with vital human spirit.
I don’t inflict this suffering out of spite.
Once green and fresh, you drank rain in the garden;
you drank for the sake of this fire.
Bronze bucket, Venice, by Muslim craftsmen, 16th century. Click for larger image.
God’s mercy precedes His wrath;
by God’s mercy the sick ones suffer.
It has always been so; this is how God creates all that exists.
Without pleasure, no creatures would come into being.
what could the burning love of the Friend consume?
Such sorrow may come that you might wish
to be free of this life.
yet the Grace of God will overtake His wrath,
once you are washed clean in the river of suffering.
Chickpea, you fed in the springtime;
now pain has become your guest.
Entertain him well, that he may return home grateful,
and speak of your generosity to the King.
Instead of your vision of good fortune,
the One Who Bestows Favor may come to you;
then all true blessings may be drawn to you.
Just as Abraham commanded his son:
‘Lay your head before my knife
I see in a dream that I must sacrifice you,’
lay your head before God’s knife,
that He may cut your throat like that of Ishmael.
He may cut off your head,
but only the one that is immune to death.
Such submission is the fulfillment of God’s purpose
— seek this submission.
Medicinal plants, Iraq, late 14th century. Click for complete painting.
Chickpea, continue to boil in suffering,
so that no self may remain in you.
Though once you laughed in the garden of earth,
you now are the rose of the garden of spirit,
you now are the eye of spirit.
Once you are torn from the garden of water and earth,
you may become food, and thereby enter the living world.
Become nourishment, strength and thought!
Once you were sap; now become a lion in the jungle!
You were born from God’s attributes;
return eagerly to them.
You came from the cloud and the sun and sky,
then scattered and ascended to heaven.
You came as rain and heat;
you will return into the Divine attributes.
You were part of the sun and the cloud and the stars.
You became soul and action and speech and thoughts.
Our victory after the checkmate of death
gives truth to the words,
‘Verily, in being slain there is life.’
Action, speech and sincerity become food for angels;
they climb this ladder to heaven.
A morsel of food becomes food for humanity,
rises from its inanimate state and obtains a soul.
The caravan of spirit travels constantly between earth and heaven.
Join it gladly and freely,
not bitterly and full of hatred, like a thief.
I speak bitter words to you so you may be washed clean of bitterness.
The frozen grape thaws in the cold water
and leaves its coldness and hardness behind.
When you endure bitterness,
your heart will fill with blood like the grape,
and you will be freed from all bitterness.
A dog not kept for hunting wears no collar;
the raw and unboiled are nothing but insipid.”
The chickpea speaks, “If this is so, then help me to boil!
By this boiling you elevate me.
Hit me with the spoon; delight me!
Like the elephant, strike me and brand my head,
that I may not dream of the gardens of Hindustan.
Let me gladly submit to this boiling
that I may be embraced by the Beloved.
Men and women, imagining themselves free,
grow insolent and hostile, like the dreaming elephant.
When the elephant dreams of Hindustan,
he disobeys the driver and becomes vicious.”
Detail from Persian painting, 654/1256. Click for complete painting.
The cook says, “I was once like you, part of the earth.
I drank the fire of self-discipline, fasting and prayer,
and became worthy and acceptable to God.
I boiled long in the world of time, and long in the pot of this body.
From these boilings I grew capable of strengthening the senses;
I became animal spirit, and then became your teacher.
While inanimate, I said to myself,
‘You are running about in agitation
so that you might be filled with knowledge
and the qualities of spirit.’
Now that I have become animal spirit,
let me boil again and pass beyond that state.”
Pray unceasingly to God that you might not be misled by these words,
and that you might arrive at your journey’s end.
For many have been misled by the Qur’an;
by clinging to the rope of words, many have fallen into the well.
The rope is faultless, O perverse ones —
it is you who lack desire to reach the top.