• Karl Thunemann

Karl's Keyboard #5



When it Comes to Redwoods, a Picture Is Worth …. 10,000 words?

Soon after the last Keyboard was sent flying your way, a magnificent picture came zinging back –a closeup of giant redwoods shrouded in mist and sunlight. It came from my nephew, Phil Krumpe, who lives in Fresno. As you can see from the photo, he knows how to use a camera! A picture such as this deserves its own blog post, so you will find it here. Of course I had to drape it with a few words, like draping a few strands of tinsel on a big community Christmas tree.

Before hearing from Phil, I had planned to file a couple of posts on etiquette. Two very different kinds of etiquette—one working out my arrangements with my parents during the last decade of their lives, the other one probing my efforts to achieve peace with being estranged from an adult child.

When I was young and at odds with my parents, I felt a weird sort of grace. If they needed care during old age, certainly they would tap one of my siblings. But things had changed by the time I took them on a pilgrimage to Grace Cathedral. The trip was part of our finding a proper etiquette for their final years. They had named me as attorney for both financial and medical matters. It would be a hard and torturous path, yet I would come to feel grateful!

I feel no gratitude for the estrangement my daughter has imposed on me. Maybe someday I will.  I have been working on it for a long time. The epistle featured today,” Estrangement Protocol—Part I” –was written more than a year ago. I hope you read it sympathetically—and you do not need to take sides! After a year passed, I was surprised to discover the outline of Part II taking shape. I will bring it along soon. For a long time I have understood the ultimate challenge of estrangement protocol. In form it seems simple. But it is so tough. Now I think of it as Part III, but fear that by the time I really absorb it, I may be calling it Part VIII, even IVX. Who knows?  One of these days I will write about it, even if it still lies beyond my reach. I would hate to die and leave readers wondering, Just what was that ultimate protocol?

This week’s featured epistles

Standing Beneath True Giants. The photo will take your breath away.

A Pilgrimage to Grace Cathedral. I take my parents to the site where my father had been ordained a deacon in the Episcopal church, more than 30 years earlier.

Estrangement Protocol—Part I. You think it’s easy, being estranged?


Introducing the Second Contributor to ‘Gratitude’

Today I introduce the second contributor to the blog. Dick Kite introduces us to the realm of using tar drums to frame meditation. This single-headed drum is ancient, hailing from North Africa and the Middle East. Dick and his wife, Carole, conducted a music ministry in churches for decades before moving to the residential co-op for seniors where I live. Both are excellent musicians Dick started a “philharmonic orchestra” featuring members of the co-op. Kazoos are welcome, and the music is serious.


Try Drumming to Relax Into a Meditative State




A Big Huzzah

Well, of course Langston Hughes, the great American poet born in 1902, had something to say about social justice. Please check out "I, Too", courtesy of the Academy of American Poets:

I, Too

Langston Hughes - 1902-1967

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong.

Tomorrow, I'll be at the table When company comes. Nobody'll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then.

Besides, They'll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.




A poet, novelist, fiction writer, and playwright, Langston Hughes is known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties and was important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance.



Let’s start a dialogue! There are two ways to take part:  1.     Post a comment on the blog! Some readers haven felt frustrated with this, but it’s pretty simple: To comment on the blog: scroll down to the bottom of the post, where there is a comments box. You will have to leave a name in order to comment, but all other information is optional. It will give the option to leave your fb, twitter or Gmail but you don't have to.  2.     Consider becoming a contributor. I will consider posts about meditation. I prefer stories over instruction, but I am flexible. I prefer posts of less than 1,000 words. Send your proposed text--or a query—to me at gratitude.kt@gmail.comour text here. Edit to add dynamic values like name, email and more.


Til next time … May you keep meditating, and send lots of love. 




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