With / Within

On the emergence of an odd conflict in the wonder world of the smoke lounge

With the regularity of a weekly rhythm I am reminded and reaffirmed in my decision of May 2013 to keep a journal under the working title of Smoke and Minds. The centre is the use of fine tobacco, but the topic could be easily connected to history, psychology, technology, nature or even creativity. Although mostly the manly breed, both, ladies and gentlemen frequent the lounges where cigars and pipe tobacco are smoked. Construction workers, students, entrepreneurs, bankers, professors, lawyers, intellectuals, politicians, priests – wealthy or on a budget, all gather to celebrate the ancient culture of the burning rolled leaf.

From the early smoke ages with medicinal and religious intentions, we have evolved to an all-encompassing global village of socialites, culturally hungry and culturally rich individuals, interested in sharing passion, mind and humanity. We contemplate the ashes and the smoke. We mind, not to attack the hand-rolled masterpieces with the aggressive fire flames, but first toast the feet gently with the heat of the flame. Most of all, we come to participate in life as one. Deep, passionate and intellectually intricate conversations take place in lounges every single day – politics, religion, family, music, the world.

Because it repeatedly becomes evident that each time we search conversation we are gathering to share life as one, Smoke and Minds has been posting two complete years with the self-evidence that this title is the epitome of its contents. And suddenly Bill sat with us.

Rick and I had been chatting for a while. He initiated the contact by commenting on my Leica and the conversation took off from there, going in various directions. As Bill joined us, it felt as though our round of two was complete and content; perhaps because Bill wore very dark sunglasses and was quite younger. I read a person who wishes to be alone, may be even incognito. However, it did not take long before the round was a very lively and excited threesome. Suddenly, almost like a confession, Bill informed us of his choice of state when he comes to a lounge to smoke a cigar. He turns his telephone off. One and only one is his purpose for being there with a cigar – a cigar smoke. He desires that all of him is susceptible to the cigar. The smoke should penetrate his skull and caress his ears. He is there with the intention to assimilate the cigar and the smoke it produces.

The nucleus in the center of the atom is he. In a way a sample for what we all are as individuals, with sensitivity, intelligence, weights and joys of our own. In part there to share, but actually, firstly there to be in the best -ing form possible unto ourselves. Subsequently, perhaps then open to the co-existence in whichever intensity level conceivable.

In the best scenario, we enter a lounge centered and the cigar or pipe we smoke will contribute to an enhanced balance, or we may enter to supply missing parts through the attentive smoke, eventually through the support of a conversation with those there for similar reasons. The tenor of many of my thoughts on our coming together to converse has been that we gather foremost in the sense of community. I reckon this must be revised. We gather primarily because here we find realms of security and openness to be within our complex latent selves. Open enough to support us in the fragility of our powers and secure enough to challenge us without losing our source of power.

Bill and Rick / Nat Sherman, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4
Bill and Rick / Nat Sherman, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4
Rick / Nat Sherman, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4
Rick / Nat Sherman, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4
Bill / Nat Sherman, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4
Bill / Nat Sherman, New York, NY / Leica D-Lux 4

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