The Man with Antlers and the Twin Verses

dale-collins

In the year 2001, Tricia’s father, Dale Collins, died suddenly, but peacefully, just as he himself predicted, on the slopes of Mount Ranier, while hiking one sunny day.

I remember just months before his death, Dale invited Tricia and me to join him on a spring hike on the same slushy path to the summit of the 12,000 foot volcano located in Washington State. As the trail led us past a sprawling hillside teeming with freshly blooming wildflowers—every shade conceivable, crowded in a mile-wide cluster, yet perfectly color-coordinated, Dale, being a proponent of quantum mechanics, whispered to me, “I know it’s all an illusion, but what a fan-tas-tic illusion it is!”

Dale Collins was a scientist who worked for Battelle, having participated in many high-level, top-secret projects. On a personal level, he had rejected the usual covenant many of his peers had made in regards to a belief system: agnosticism, aetheism, or a wait-and-see-attitude, never did it for him. Logic and reason, though enough to whet his pallate, never quenched his thirst outright. Something deeper, bigger, beyond the reach of present-day science, had to account for that fantastic mile-wide illusion on Mount Ranier.

Every so often Dale would make a trip down to sunny California and visit with Tricia and me. He’d never fail to voice his deep concerns about the fate of his daughter’s soul, and perhaps more urgently, the state of her husband’s mind. In those days, I hadn’t much tolerance for sky pilots and pulpiteers. Hearing Dale babble endlessly about the danger I was putting myself and his young daughter’s future state in, was enough to drive a man into the arms of Ol’ Scratch himself. I was all too preoccupied with destiny and my artistic ambitions to lend Dale an honest ear. Besides, I had given at the office, having been raised a Roman Catholic in French Canada—recovering quite well without the help of the ‘absurdities’ that drove me to the brink in the first place.

My answers were always somewhat clip and derisive, something like, “ Don’t worry, Dale, I think the bulb has ample wattage”—or, “I’ll make sure to try not corrupt Patti-Jo too much.” While applying the necessary tone, my eyes would allude to Tricias’s nice clothes, our elegant surroundings and newly purchased two-acre spread. Dale would acknowledge my self-possession, but at the same time, crack a father’s patronizing smile, as if to say, “one day your awakening will come. . .hopefully without too much pain.”

I knew very well what Tricia’s father was insinuating, yet I was so overstuffed with ambition, a sense of destiny, what’s more an utter disdain for ‘Fire and Brimstone’ or anything that smacked of mind control using divine authority as a two-by-four to get my attention. Thus, I disregarded Dale’s delicate warning—what’s more with a touch of righteous indignation.

Of course Life lessons come at you precisely where you live; in my case, betrayed by destiny—my artistic ambitions crushed by ‘mysterious, and hostile forces’.

Overnight, I went from singing smart-ass to doing rain dances and peyote ceremonies in the high desert—from palm readers to prophets—at times, endless days with oracles in mountain–top temples, dressed in brown or ochre robes. I eventually buckled down and took the longer, more reliable route to solving my problems, by way of study, and the application of whatever knowledge I had gained, eventually coming full circle and seeing my own Christian heritage, in effect, all creeds and convictions, from an entirely different perspective. I leave the complete details of that journey for another day.

Many years ago, Dale Collins had ‘accidentally’ left a dusty old book behind. It seemed to follow Tricia and me wherever we went for the last forty years, always popping up as we would empty our moving boxes and slide our book collection into our oak shelves. Strange that I had never thought to give it a good honest read, even during the years of urgent seeking. It just seemed to me, bland and a bit rudimentary. How wrong I was.

The other day, a bit uneasy, after watching more bad news on the tube, as if the book had a will of its own and set of legs to match, “The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha” (first spoken 2,500 years ago) somehow magically appeared before me, lying just inches from my fingertips. I could almost hear it whispering, “Read me!” I thought on this day, in remembrance of Martin Luther King, perfect to share with you.

The Twin Verses

“He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”
—in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease.

“He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”
—in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.

For hatred does not cease by hatred any time, hatred ceases by love—this is the eternal law.

The Buddha

Thank you Dale.

Your son-in-law
Gino

5 Comments
  1. Thx for sharing Gino, great story. Yes life has a way of humbling you after it kicks your butt a few times if you are wise and brave enough to look at and appreciate/respect the big picture. There are way too many souls flying solo today in this “Crazy Life”
    Safe Travels,
    Regards,
    Sam & Carole

  2. Thank you Gino for giving us a wonderful story about Tricia’s father.

  3. Just imagine all the other subliminal messages still tumbling around with Dale’s name on them.
    BTW- your music, in and of itself, is like metaphysical teachings replete with golden nuggets just waiting to be uncovered…just saying.
    Gino, when will you be swinging by the greater Seattle area to see ALL your loyal fans?
    R. and M.
    Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the heart felt story about your father in law.

  5. Dear Maestro ,

    Thanks for your writing/the book , lyrics , poems + CD and music . The Buddha must have written some fine lines , as did Arestotelis , and the words of Jesus can also teach us some . The JOURNEY is the MOST important and my Dutch writings about it , even go to Padova , to an Italian-Peruvian woman , who does not read Dutch . How strange the world . I like writings that have a good plot , from a person’s heart or mind . I have missed that in this writing . As you did not write about your JOURNEY , all is a bit of loose sand to me . But I always like your words , because I can feel the distance to your Self . I do the same
    and I write about my closeness to myself too . I do not know if you have read about your ‘closeness to the SELF . Please tell me if you did …grEETz , fZ

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