Pine Nuts: A stump-tail philosopher at 77

Life on Earth is good, mostly, unless you’re a moth, and fly too close to the flame. It’s an interesting journey for us humans to be sure. We’re always seeking a reason for our being here, and usually come up with something expansive like, “to make the world a better place,” when the real reason is, “to tie this shoe.”

It has taken 77 slow rolling years for me to fully appreciate the value of friendship. Camaraderie provides contentment, and contentment is a state of mind more durable than joy, gladness or happiness. And too, friendships can evolve over time into permanent fellowships capable of collaborating on great ideas.

As to God? If you are in possession of a divine love for a god, then your god is just as real to me. Though where some believe God will take care of us, I tend to believe we need to take care of God, AKA Mother Nature, and that includes our big blue Walden Pond, Lake Tahoe.

As to women? I hate to say this, but they are not equal, they are superior, and will be the saving of us. I won’t go into just how right now, because I don’t know just how, but I do know with the conviction of 77 years, that they are better equipped to secure a lasting world peace than are we.

As to adversaries? We have no permanent adversaries. The Vietnamese gentleman that I was exchanging expletives and gunfire with back in the sixties, well, his grandsons and granddaughters are now winning debate contests in some of our best schools. I know this because I had the honor of judging one such debate a few years back and had to confess quietly to myself that I had been on the wrong side of history, an embarrassing and odious place to find oneself.

I suppose compromise might be the secret to contentment, compromise between wanting to be the person we would like to be, and actually becoming our best self.

To be a cheerful, charitable person is enough. And in this 21st century of ours, ‘enough’ is more than enough, maybe better even than a trip to Disneyland, often touted to be, “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Truth is, a blanket on the beach can provide as much happiness as a ride down Splash Mountain.

In closing I would like to propose a humble stump-tail prophesy. Our amazing, fast changing world will survive our shortsightedness, and will eventually evolve into a lush parkland to rival even our memorable Garden of Eden.

Personally, I am ever so grateful to be around to witness these tumultuous times. Let us be persistent in pursuing a universal harmony, and do it with, as a great man once posited, “malice toward none, and charity for all.”

Our grandchildren, particularly those too young yet to have a voice, are counting on us to control climate and cool conflicts. We can do this!

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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