Thursday, February 2, 2023


Two years ago, a dear friend and man who I had made a mason reached out to me with a request. Being elected to the East, as Master of the lodge, he wanted me to sit next to him as Chaplain and return to the place I had barely been in a long time, sitting regularly amongst the brothers.

I took a while to consider his offer. While continuing my membership in the craft by paying my dues and still reading various writings of it, I had lost interest in returning to regular meetings and all that comes with it.

At times like this I had returned to this page and read the writings of a stranger. 

It's funny to say but reading the many posts, that I had definitely written myself, years later as a different man, I found myself in awe of that person I used to be. My old thoughts were deeper and more profound than they had become after years of scarring and calluses being built around my being. And I don't say this in a bad way.  

The passing of time and my own aging had developed a crust over the person who wrote so much. I had become that "Grumpy Past Master" that I never believed I could become. My brother asking me to come back to lodge was the first strike of the chisel on the experiential mantle that had enveloped my spirit.

After much thought I agreed to return. It was easy at first, the world was under the pandemic spell and our meetings were virtual so all I had to do was go up in the attic and log into a zoom meeting with a mostly new cast of brothers. eventually, getting in the twice a month habit returned. When we were finally allowed to get back together in person it was quite refreshing and strange all at once. When last I sat in the chaplain's chair, fresh from my time in the Oriental one next to me, I could recite every opening and closing ritual and many other parts without the aid of my book. Now I needed the book because I had nearly forgotten it all. Bits and pieces remained but as fragmented lyrics of a song I used to know. When the chorus came, I could join in but mumbled my way through the rest of the song. We did degrees, I did some of my favorite parts again, yet for some reason I could not get that feeling I once had after a lodge night. The shell, although cracked, refused to break open.

Here is where the resonance comes in.

One night after lodge, I had a couple casual conversations with some brothers, had grabbed my coat and said goodbyes to whom I had chatted with. It was going to be an early night. On my way out the door in the lobby waiting to say goodbye to the brothers gathered there I became engaged in their conversation. I don't remember how it began but we ended up talking about our lodge and some of the artifacts that were saved from the old temple. I enquired about an old sign that hung on the street and next thing I knew we were in the basement where we found the old sign and numerous other treasures. 

Resonance, by definition in physics, is the reinforcement or prolongation of a sound by reflection of a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object. 

In one of those casual chats I had before I was about to leave, one of the brothers had mentioned to me that the lodge furniture from his grandfather's lodge in England had been saved by his family and had made its way to him and eventually the basement of the lodge. It was a small sound that struck me but would have been forgotten had I not ended up in that basement and was able to explain to some other brothers the story I had just learned. I reflected that sound and that resonance opened the cracks in my shell some more.

Part of what I loved in my first iteration in Freemasonry was telling forgotten stories, and here I was like old times reciting a short tale of some old chairs in a basement. We had some more conversations and I ended up walking out of that cellar with the old sign and the impetus to restore it for future use.

It's funny how a tiny frequency shift can change things.

I began the restoration of the old lodge sign soon after. With it came a stronger reverberation that would end up with me back here and writing and deeply thinking again. 

Have you ever seen a glass break from sound? A glass has a natural resonance, a frequency at which the glass will vibrate easily. If the force from the sound wave making the glass vibrate is big enough, the size of the vibration will become so large that the glass breaks. My next post will be about how the restoration of the sign became the resonance that broke the mantle that had formed around me.

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

― Franz Kafka

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Brother Came For A Visit

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash
Its always the same.
Long periods go by and then through coincidence or overdue planning, a visit occurs.
In the blink of an eye conversation returns just where it left off no matter how long the interruption.

Good to see you. Its been a long time. Although I have popped in a few times over the years. It was usually a test to see if I could write or not and for such a long time "I " have not been there to answer the test. Vagaries, poems and stabs at blogging is what I have been doing for a long time because I can honestly say my mind had not been my own. My past two posts have been in September a year apart. This one is exactly 364 days since my last.

What is it about September??

I spent 7-1/2 years working a very demanding job in a 24-7 industry. I learned a lot, I taught a lot, I traveled, I got angry, I laughed, and everything in between. After all the blood sweat and tears, my position and department were eliminated and I was set free.
"set free??"


My work was my life, well not exactly. I never let it become the end all be all of my existence, but due to my job and what I supported in that role; in between time with my family and a few extra curricular activities, it took up most of the rest of the grey matter in my skull. Despite its demands I am ever thankful for my landing that job. It helped to support my family and allow us to do just about anything we wanted to do.
The company I had been a part of was acquired by a bigger company and after a departmental development meeting it became clear to me that my time was short. I was furious at first but I had seen the writing on the wall since the purchase and started to think about where I was and where I wanted to be. What I was being forced into was a blessing in disguise and thankfully I recognized it as such.

So now I am free.

I started my own company and for 2 months or so the cloud over me is lifting and I am starting to feel like myself again! It has been so liberating. Although the worries about my business still worry me all the time, they are good because they are my own.

One of my best friends and brothers was recently over my house for a party and in no time at all we were addressing all the problems of the world and carrying on as usual. When Freemansonry came up, as it always does between us, during the usual "have you paid your dues yet?" conversation, we both brought up our dear friend who is now in the celestial lodge and how he had kept us in the fraternity for a good stretch and how much we missed him. JH must have been with us during this meeting because all of the sudden our "to demit or not demit" conversation turned into good thoughts of our traveling days and a warm feeling came back to me about the fraternity. We both loved what we were doing in the Order when we were in the thick of it and unfortunately the bad stuff had overshadowed the good for too long. The more we talked the more I wanted that person I was back. All of the sudden I had a blog post forming in my head. The feeling of that spark of creativity washed over my being and I welcomed it back with a smile.

Unfortunately for all of us, a few beers and great camaraderie washed away the profound post that I had in my head that night but here we are none the less. I'm Back.

Last night I listened to a Manly P Hall lecture "Reclaim the Mind"

I think I will!

Thanks NS. Thanks JH

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A Whisper in the Darkness


The deep darkness surrounds and is all.
The vastness of it is overwhelming.
The world is a constant blur of doing...

What happened to being? Sensing? Delving?

Memories of a spark, a taper in a large room, a beacon in the distance,
A feeling of purpose.
To a numbing throng of dithering.
White noise constantly distracting.
Vuzz, click, swipe.
Click, vuzz, swipe.
Vuzz, click, swipe.
Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll...

Whats this?
In the middle of an eclipse a faint something diminishes the calignosity.
Senses awaken from a slumber of non use.
A feeling of curiosity returns, delivered by the same device of diversion.

The Mystic Tie that bonded but never broke.
A handshake in the dark,
The grip was correct.
A voice long missing needed to sound.
Inaudible at first, just mouthing the long forgotten...

Silence is broken, the veil of blackness lifts ever so slightly...


A whisper in the dawn.


Just a glimmer but a hope...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Memories Mean More, as I get older

Memories are like stars in the sky,
you can sometimes see them,
and sometimes you don't.
They are always there somewhere,
Hidden by light,
Hidden by clouds,
but always the background.
You need to sit still in the dark,
and look

Words, people, landscapes, stories from your life are real.
They happened.
In the blur of living they get added on everyday.
Hundreds upon hundreds,
Thousands upon thousands of new stars in your mind.

like Polaris or Sirius, are brighter than others and are easily found.
are like faded constellations, that you know where they are,
 but occasionly need time to orient yourself in the right direction on the right night to recognize.

There are some that exist,
 but can only be seen when you are in a completely different hemisphere of being.

The thing about them,
is that they are infinite,
far off glimmers of a distant time and place.
In reality and in the mind..

You need a night of no clouds and silence to stop and take them in to recall and reflect.

We all need to look at the stars more often,
We used to....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Memento Mori

The roll of the workmen has been called and one Master Mason has not answered to his name. He has laid down the working tools of the Craft and with them he has left that mortal part for which he no longer has use. His labors here below have taught him to divest his heart and conscience of the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting his soul as a living stone for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. In reverence then, let us lift our prayer to the Divine Being to insure the favor of that Eternal God.

This is one of the most beautiful pieces of lecture in the Masonic repertoire. It invokes such a profound realization of loss in me.

I can hear his name being called ... no response, called again ..., called once more ...
We travel along this winding path of life and are joined by so many over time but sometimes it seems that there are so few that hop along side and walk beside you, truly.
With those true friends you know whatever twist the road may take, even though you may take different sides of the fork, just around the bend your paths will meet again and it will be just as before.

I had a friend like this.

I met him first when I was a junior officer of the lodge accompanying the oldest member of my lodge and my mentor on an investigation of a petitioner to the Mysteries of Freemasonry. I was the enthusiastic young Brother who wanted to do everything and be everything for my new lodge and raised my hand for any and every voluntary contribution to the Craft that I could.
We came to his place of work, a country club, where he sat us at a room in the back overlooking the harbor of our city, it was a beautiful place, the only other time I had been in a country club was either at a wedding or caddying as a kid. He explained to us that he had heard of Freemasonry through a member of his club that was a member of our lodge and that he had always had an interest in the fraternity. I took a back seat for the beginning of the interview but my exuberance soon took over and I was answering and interjecting myself into the whole process. I was twenty years this man's junior but spoke to him like the wizened warrior monk I thought I was and the crazy thing was he was not taken aback by my young age at all!
Before I knew it, I was a masonic mentor to this man who technically could have been my father. We soon discovered that our paths had many common areas that were too common to be coincidence. Friends, co workers, etc was a long list of "Oh yeah I know him (or her)! How the hell have we not met before." Before I knew it I had a part in raising this man to the sublime degree of Master Mason and gained a Brother and life long friend.
He always said I reminded himself of him as a kid of my age and I wanted to be a man like him of his age! He was kind and wise and versed in his profession and most of all he respected a rapscallion like me. It wasn't the phoney respect you get from some older guys who just are patronizing you to keep you going, but genuine respect of a man to another man who realizes you come from another experience and wants to learn from you regardless of the age difference. We had many similarities; our Irish heritage, our passion, our fire and ice personalities, there were people who either loved or hated us and we didn't care because we were both confident in who we were. I don't know for sure if I bolstered his confidence but I can tell you without a doubt he made me much of the man of who I am if you meet me today.
He was entered, passed, and raised with me on the line and a part of every part, and I say that with this with sincerity, that I have and will always consider him my first and true Master Mason that I was a part of.
As we grew in friendship I discovered just how similar we were in many ways.
We were Irish. (given)
We were traditional. (given)
We were wandering souls. (very Irish tendency)
We sought an anchor for life's travails. (given)
We were conservative. (rare in the Irish world)
We were outspoken. (I won't even go there)

He was there behind me in my highs.
He was fighting for me in my lows.

There were few calls that I walked away from what ever was happening in my busy world to take, but his was one.

He became my rock.
He became my weather vane.
He became my hero.

When I wanted to throw the fraternity to the curb he held me fast. When I wanted nothing to do with my lodge he lulled me back in. He was my hero.

When I learned of his current health crisis I didn't even think that something could happen to this man because he was made of iron and could not be broken. When I spoke to him last, I felt ashamed that I had called to question his health because his positive attitude would prevail against anything that could be thrown against him. Then I received  a horrible text.

I didn't believe it.
I still don't.

Back to the ritual...

My Brethren, we have assembled in accordance with the ancient customs of our Craft to bid farewell to the mortal body and Godspeed to the immortal spirit of him who dwelt a Brother among us.
Brother James Charles Hutchinson. Born: December 11, 1955,  Raised: November 6, 2008, Passed to the great beyond: March 1, 2015.
Ours is a ceremony, not of grief and despair, but of faith and hope. 
These last rites we accord Brother Jim signify only our parting with his flesh, from which the immortal spirit has achieved emancipation. We perform them serenely, supported by our knowledge that each of us in his time must follow the pathway his soul has taken and, beyond the vale of sorrow, meet again to part no more. Having faithfully discharged the great duties which Brother Jim owed to God, his family, his neighbor and himself, it has pleased the Grand Master of the Universe to summon him into His Eternal presence.
 May the trestle board of his whole life pass such inspection that it may be given unto him to "eat of the hidden manna," and "to receive the white stone with a new name," that will insure perpetual and unspeakable happiness at His right hand. How often, when the day is ended and the sun is gone to rest, we pause to stand in awe, beholding the western sky transformed with a radiance that seems to shine out from the very gates of heaven, a wonderful picture painted by the hand of God, and we are lifted and exalted by the beauty and glory of nature. And when a life's day is ended and a loved one is gone to rest, we are somehow lifted above the plane of our everyday life and our souls are permitted to catch faint gleams of the ineffable glory of that spiritual world, and we are comforted with a new assurance that: 
"There is a mystic borderland that lies just past the limits of our workday world.".

I love and miss you my Brother,
until we meet again.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter is Coming

It is with heavy heart that I begin to even write this post, but by my less frequent writing anyone who may still even pay attention to this blog would surely know that my time with the fraternity has been coming to a close.

My journey was like a glorious sunrise that seemed to take forever and then the day begins and the magic is gone. When I think about all of the time I dedicated to the craft and to my brothers and I cant help but be proud of what I accomplished and the lives I touched and be thankful of the men who helped and nurtured me. Like everything I have done in my life I would not change a single second of it for anything. 
My being needed something to unlock the man hidden in an overgrown boy and Freemasonry held the key. It is crystal clear to me now and easy to admit that even the cataclysmic end to my time in lodge was just as important to my psyche as its stupendous rise. Maybe even more so.
Before the two defeats of election of my peers, my entire life revolved around my lodge. It decided my free time. It decided my alone time. And more often than not, it seeped into the time that I should have dedicated to my family. I don't say this with regret because it is what my soul needed to get me through what I went through, but as I have now evolved I can see now that it took a lot.
It is the internal not the external
I have a very good job now that without Freemasonry's teaching of meeting people on the level I could never have held or been successful at. My time in the craft gave me the confidence to meet with any man or woman no matter what their title or stature and not give them reverence due simply because of their title or position. I only give respect to those who are deserving of my respect and I am not shy in dong so. My defeat taught me to not hold myself too high either. It was just at the time that I started to think about my legacy that I was taught a valuable lesson on humility.
Stand before us an upright mason
Dealing with politics and different people with strong beliefs can harden a man. One of the greatest things I took away from my regular attendance at lodge was a sense of self confidence and practice at it that changed me in a very good way. Even though I was always outgoing and confident, holding different positions in the lodge and dealing with traveling dignitaries strengthened my spine and made me walk with my head held high knowing that when you know what you are talking about you can talk with anyone.

Recently I joined a new organization that has taken up my nights, but unlike lodge, playing Ice Hockey only takes me away for a couple hours and happens very late at night when my family is fast asleep. A nice side effect of this organization is weight loss and aggression venting. The only downside is that my knees are starting to really hurt...
I have not handed in a demit but I have no urge to sit in a lodge and have serious issues in handing over my dues for something I don't participate in. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I have been dreaming allot about Masonry lately. Not the starry eyed what can I do for the fraternity kind, but odd, out of place, what are you guys doing kind. They revolved around me going to a lodge, my lodge or another, me walking about as usual meeting and greeting and being happy to see my brothers and feeling good; then something happens and I start thinking to myself what the heck am I doing here...they haven't been good dreams.
When I was younger I always had dreams that revolved around me going to school and not being able to find my locker before class or not being able to get to my class from my locker. I was always searching and late and not feeling good about what was happening. Those dreams haunted me. I would wake up with a horrible feeling of not being able to do what I wanted and was capable of doing.
These dreams followed me through my years in school, in the Navy, after the Navy, and into adulthood. Perhaps a reader or Brother with knowledge into the meaning of dreams could delve deeper into my mind but from what I can figure out myself with my high school/military education and experience is that my soul is desiring something that is so close but so far away...
Back to Masonry.
In the spring of this year I enjoyed a couple of visits and degrees that I had decided to go to, or had the honor of being invited to that had me feeling a small bit of Masonic renewal in myself that had been long gone. In my own thoughts I thought of myself having a Masonic Spring. I had great boosts of confidence and wonderful rekindling or cementing of relationships I have had through my travels as a Freemason. But they were fleeting. In my ever growing panoply of real and work life events that I encountered, the Masonic ones seemed trivial in comparison.
The majority of my Masonic interaction strictly revolved around Masonry and when that level of familiarity was pressed to a different one it rarely resulted in an evolution. To put it simply, I found it hard to talk to my Brothers that I had grown in the order to talk of anything other than the craft. My Masonic friends were not my friends outside of masonry and when I tried to elevate that friendship 9 times out of 10 it stayed strictly Masonic.
That makes me sad.
Don't get me wrong. I have made a number of lifelong friendships within the fraternity, but I have also through this blog and a lot of travelling, met a voluminous amount of Masons yet the R.O.I. has not come near the expenditures.
So where the heck am I going with this?
I don't know.
I wear my ring every day or at least have it in my little jeans pocket.
I still am drawn to any lodge building or story about Freemasonry, no matter where I am.
I am paid up in my dues and am considered a Brother, but I cannot imagine dedicating the amount of time that I had in the past to my pursuit. Mostly because my family and job require that time and both have an exponentially higher R.O.I.
What does any of this have to do with the title to my post?
I stepped into my mother lodge, "Old St. Johns", for the first time since my failed attempt at returning to the East to hear what a joint committee on consolidation of the two local lodges had produced. I saw some very dear old Brothers and friends, along with others who were not so dear but brothers none the less.
One of the men there, who I hold in the highest regard and fondness, has reached the epitome of what it is I was striving for. Due to life's demands I had not been able to congratulate him in person and I was very glad to see him and give him my esteem. To tell the truth, he was the real reason I came to the meeting because I knew he would be there and I knew it would be one of the only times I could give him my reverence due.
None the less, I listened attentively to the findings and politely yet vociferously stated my opinion along with some other very passionate opinions by members of my lodge.
Unbelievably, yet not really, the ones who lingered after this very pivotal, historical meeting to talk were not members of the lodges involved, but the visitors... and I, save the brother who waited for us to leave and lock up and one other mentor.
I had not seen or talked to him since my "downfall" and he politely waited outside to say goodbye. We did have some curt conversation to catch up but had not really talked earlier. As I walked out with others he interjected himself into the conversation and we caught up.  I was glad for the conversation but it ended all others and we all left for home.
The end result of it is that my mother lodge, two years short of reaching 250 years on its original charter, is merging with a lodge that sprang from it and turning into something new. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing because I had no idea before that meeting that we would have to surrender our original charter as a result of the merger, no matter how much the consolidation was needed.
I was not at the final meeting for the vote.
It was unanimous...
Adieu SJ6..............