Feathered Sculpture - Virgil A. Walker

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Taumata Rau

Pheasant, chicken, turkey    

Taumata Rau is actually the last half of He toa taumata rau, a Maori proverb meaning 'courage has many resting places.'

As media reports and polls would have it, half my country hates me for something or other, as does most of the world. You, too, are despised for your color, gender, driving, age, profession, political views or those nasty personal habits. Dialogue, dia-logos -- the quest for understanding -- is losing its point. I hear, and frequently indulge in ad hominem fallacies ad nauseum. There is a sense of cruelty in the air.

More than fifty years ago, two young ladies from Samoa came to live with us for a summer. I remember their efforts and delight in teaching me some of their dances. They would sit on their knees singing, keeping the rhythm by beating long poles together in pattern on the floor. I danced in the middle, taking raps to my ankles until I learned the movements and felt the rhythm. They were so inquisitive, honest, direct and kind. My clumsy efforts (and sore ankles) were a genuine delight for them, and they laughed and badgered, but I knew I was loved.

An old saying has it that a man is courage, a woman kindness. This has a certain pleasing blend of symmetry and contrast, and like many things that are pleasing, is false.

 Courage and kindness are inseparable.
If one seems to exist without the other, beware.
You are in the presence of cowardice
and cruelty disguised.

Autumn Bridge
Takashi Matsuoka

The light of understanding derived from the heat of honest dialogue is a fine food too frequently lost in categorical thinking. Competition and cooperation are also inseparable.



   Photo:  Richard K. Webb

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