Monday, March 20, 2017


At the Zendo looking out.

Peter Matthiessen

Illness isolates me somewhat as Winter often does too. Saturday there were snow flurries, starting as big fat far between flakes, Then a lot, then nothing.
(one flake shows here)
Meanwhile, in correspondence with a friend today we spoke of how loving friends, even afar, are "Salve to the spirit"--but when I asked google the origin of the phrase it gave me "slave" references (?), so I asked about "Balm of Gilead" instead: 
"a rare perfume used medicinally, that was mentioned in the Bible, and named for the region of Gilead where it was produced. The expression stems from William Tyndale's language in the King James Bible of 1611, and has come to signify a universal cure in figurative speech. The tree or shrub producing the balm is commonly identified as Commiphora gileadensis. Some botanical scholars have concluded hat the actual source was a Terebinth tree in the genus Pistacia."  An African spiritual is where I first heard it as sung by Paul Robeson on a scratchy old seventy eight one snowed-in Winter up in Massachusetts where I spent a few weeks alone with Jean Scanlon. Here she is in 1982 with "Lulu" at her side.
 We shared many warm evenings in the seventies sitting in front of the pot bellied stove talking of her life and mine and listening to music, balm to one another then.

Paul Robeson
Peter Matthiessen


yvette said...

sitting by the stove with a good conversation....what does man more?


Mo Crow said...

what an intriguing plant, the mystical Balm of Gilead, have never seen or used it... will keep an eye out!