Aug 242013
 

“Dear Sir or Madam will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look?” Paperback Writer  by Lennon & McCartney

Dear readers,  

I don’t see myself as wise in my own understanding, but I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a passion for writing. I also have a creative streak in my DNA that ponders how ideas can be used in our daily lives, for the better.

Being raised to appreciate that not all educated people are intelligent and not all uneducated people (in the formal sense) are unlearned, I’ve found that no one has a monopoly on wisdom or common sense. And, on either side of the fence, there are people who can teach us a lot about the human condition and spirit.

You’ll find that anyone can be a source for my short essays: the artist or writer, the scientist or musician, the professional or philosopher, to family and everyday people … anyone, including myself, who has a story you can take to heart. I see my role as simply reflecting back to others, what I’ve learned. I’m just the middle man … and often, the “man in the mirror” … interpreting what I see.

Coming this fall – just in time for Christmas giving – is “the greatest hits” version of the www.fredparry.ca blog called: The Music In Me (available both online and as a physical book). This is just an advance notice and a firm availability date will be confirm later. Please stay tuned and thank you for your continued interest!  

As many know, I quote song lyrics because they paint a picture; a picture that’s worth a thousand words. It may not be “rocket science”, but as the Rolling Stones sang so well, “I know it’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it” Yes I do!

Fred Parry

Fred Parry

Fred Parry, Canada, Aug 2013

 

Aug 182013
 

It’s happens sometimes when you’re sitting alone at 2 am watching the last embers of a dying fire – your life passing you by. Being the observer, it’s still you, only it looks different in retrospect. Instead of years, it’s measured in feelings and faces and opportunities won and lost. With the past being so long, how short does that leave the future?

John Lennon, at 40 years old, said that people fear the future because it’s unknown, but because it’s unknown, anything is possible. As I put another log unto the fire, I asked myself: why do we wait to celebrate the lives of others – until sometimes it’s too late? Are we that busy?

With a simple acknowledgement, we can confirm to those closest to us that they are loved. Encouragement, only takes a minute; yet, it can make all the difference – like reaching into the hand of God.

Especially with family, we know that we would do anything for them, but often we need to be reminded that they would do anything for us.

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At home we have an old willow tree that’s decades old. Our children grew up with that tree towering over our old farmhouse – sharing its beauty, shade and protection. Recently, during a freak storm, it snapped in two – crashing to the ground.

It seemed unbelievable that something so integral to our lives could be downed in an instant.

We checked with an arbourist and he advised that even though it may look odd for a while, there’s probably lots of life in it yet. So, we decided to give the tree a second chance… figuring we owe it that much.

Today, people seem to be valuing nature more – even as we watch it increasingly slip through our fingers. When I was twelve, I remember asking my parents if the toxic sludge being discharged from a factory into the city river would kill the fish. I was told that it was okay because it would just end up in the ocean… simple times, simple answers.  Maybe, as Michael Moore said, that’s why we love non-fiction – because we live in fictionist times.

   “Don’t it always seem to go/ That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”                                 Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

Today, I’m asking: why are the butterflies, honey bees, turtles, wild birds and bats disappearing? There’s not a simple answer for that. Life, like a tree, interconnects us all. So, it seems prudent to strengthen the things that remain.

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Photo by Anindya Chowdhury

Paraphrasing Canadian award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, David Suzuki, it’s like our world is heading full speed into a brick wall and yet people are more worried about the seating on the bus.

“But the kettle’s on the boil/ And we’re so easily called away”                                                      Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey by Paul McCartney

To me the future is a reminder of two things: not to take life for granted and not to give up on life – which is in everything.

 

Fred Parry

 www.fredparry.ca (August 2013)

Aug 012013
 

 

One day, I woke up from a dream that saw me stranded on an island. Just like many of us, who take in the politics of the day, we seem to be stuck in the middle of competing viewpoints.

 

“There’s battle lines being drawn,

Nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong.”

— For What it’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield

 

And it seems getting off our island is not that easy. It means possibly getting swept away either with one strong current of beliefs or the other … rational or otherwise.

 

However, my farmer-friend, Heinz, had a stock answer against such strong viewpoints and he’d say this whenever anyone came a-calling to promote their particular brand of religion, “I know all about your belief.You’re right and everybody else is wrong.” 

 

 I’m not knocking it– it’s just not my style. And yet, when you try to see both sides to an argument, you seem to become a target for both sides.

 

Is that the fate of anyone who wants to promote peace and understanding?

 

Personally, I knew that if I truly believed in people and wanted to be of service, I had to make it off my island. I had no choice.

 

And, as soon as I had made the decision, there was a realization that took hold: clearly something bigger was at work here.

 

My problem was my own humanity. I set my self-expectations much too high and failed miserably, often because my best wasn’t good enough. It disappointed me, and it disappointed others—it was hell!

 

The truly amazing thing though, was that when I was disappointed, or was down and out, more people came to help me than I could ever have imagined. I concluded that I was not alone in following this path and that my faith was well founded.

 

Then, I became aware of a number of resources. One of the most impressive for me was a course taught to students by the Toronto District School Board, called Character Education.

 

The underlining principles were:

1.  Your character is defined by what you do, not by what you say or believe.

2.  Good character involves doing the right thing, even if there is a risk involved.

3.  What you do matters; one person can make a big difference.

4.  Good character makes you a better person and it makes the world a better place.

 

I thought ‘out of the mouth of babes’ … Wow! If little kids are being taught this, then what’s wrong with the rest of us?

 

The resulting lesson I learned was that I don’t have to ‘change the world’, I just have to add – as humbling as this is – my two-cents worth. It may not be much but, working together, it all adds up.

 

Maybe that’s what Leonard Cohen meant when he wrote:

 

“Ring the bells that still can ring,

Forget your perfect offering.

There`s a crack in everything,

That`s how the light gets in.”

 

Is this possible? Well, no matter how, we can all use a little light. I think so … or maybe I’m still dreaming.

Fred Parry

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca