11 September 2009

My Twin Towers

I watch the Twin Towers grow up into the skyline as I attend New York University. My twin towers grew slowly. Philippe Petit walks his tightrope from one twin to its other. It was a sensation. I take my twin towers for granted.
The Twins were my destination. I rode my bike to and around them on sunny lower streets and avenues. They loom over me. Their plaza was my focal point for exploring all lower Manhattan. I biked on their plaza, circling their fountain and brass sphere at its peaceful center. I bought Sabretts w/ kraut & mustard and Dr. Brown's from sidewalk vendor. I ate, drank, rested, and was refreshed at the edge. The splash makes white noise in our conversation. I never dined in their Windows on the World. I knew people who bragged of their food, their wine, their view, their being on top.
I took the subway to and from my twins. I navigate their subterranean pathways. My Towers were embarkation and debarkation, a journey in and out of. A community of people worked inside and up the twins served by people who worked down and under the twins.
I rode my Twins' elevators up and down, the longest up or down in Manhattan; such a time in space - you had to transfer from one set to the other to reach the top. They shook, shuddered, and swayed, while we moved up and down in their shafts.
My Twin Towers swayed together in the wind; they were meant to sway. I felt one sway. I stood on its sway. I could see us sway looking down and out our window. I was nauseated. My palms sweat, even now. I felt my fear and I walked a catwalk atop a Twin before their TV antenna is set up on. It's windy and was a blue-beautiful cold October day. We swayed, as one, as I once dreamed.
Townsend said, "I want to see your New York City, Daddy." He wanted to see my New York City. We visited my Twins where they'd lived. Their pit my emptiness is fenced clean with a platform for steady pausing people who look in, peer down, and feel spirits rising hand over mouth....
I was 24 when Joseph Beuys gave me a Twin Towers post card. It was a gift. He wrote Romulus & Remus on it. He signed it; his name and signature is all. It was thanks, a giving; I'd shepherded he and his friends in our New York City. He had given an art lecture Energy Plan for the Western Man at The New School for Social Research. Townsend never saw it. I took it for granted. I couldn't see it. I lost it.

31 August 2009

Fresh and Soul

What does fresh have to do with soul?
The American Heritage dictionary of the English Language defines soul as,
The animating and vital principal in human beings, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion, and often conceived as an immaterial entity.
By the same source, among multiple definitions fresh is defined as, Recently made, produced, or harvested, and as Having just arrived.
How does fresh have soul? Fresh has soul if fresh is imbued with human touch, the faculties of thought, action, and emotion. Human touch.
I sum this up with an old notion and word. It's a word that's but a cultural remnant from an earlier time. A word like a Biblical metaphor now on the field's fringe. A word absent from all contemporary use. A word smothered by contemporary ideas of science, efficiency, production, volume, and storage. A word imbued with man's loving and caring touch. The word is husbandry.
The act or practice of cultivating crops and breeding and raising livestock; agriculture.
Husbandry is practiced by a husbandman, one whose occupation is farmer. My maternal grandfather was a farmer. One might just as well say yeoman, a man who cultivated his own land.

Fresh
cannot have soul if fresh is planted by machine, tended by machine, harvested by machine, processed by machine, sorted by machine into containers where it's stored, maintained, and/or treated by machine until ready for and transported by machine to a market, all for the purpose of maximizing profit for a corporation's shareholders.
I once heard a CNBC talking-head business person say profit is amoral. Really. If one purchases fresh from big-agra's means of production does that mean that what you eat is amoral. I'd guess the consumer doesn't think of it that way. Big-agra might.

07 August 2009

Random 2

I'm from Connecticut. My mother's birth family, Savage, lived in CT since 1649 and some still do. The Savage clan had a farm in Berlin. My father's family, Collins, had lived in CT since the late 19th century. They were railroaders. Some were active in local CT politics. His Uncle was a Mayor of the City of Hartford. His brother, James F. Collins ran for Congress but lost; my father financed his campaign.

Every summer our household moved from West Hartford to Madison, CT. for the season. We lived a 5-minute walk from a private beach on Long Island Sound. I lived my summers at the beach, on or in the water. Fresh seafood and farm food were part of daily life.

My family moved to Dayton, OH in 1959 when I was 8. We continued to summer in  Madison. My parents returned to Hartford in 1965 after I'd been sent to school.

Before 1965 my social, cultural, class, and educational frames of reference were in CT. My Mother, her birth family and generations of her relatives, my brother and my Father are buried in the Wilcox Memorial Cemetery, in Berlin, CT. It's maintained by the Connecticut State Historical Society.

Pothole ~ A Story of Failure

Once upon a time, on a Monday, a man was walking down a road. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he found himself at the bottom of a big, dark place. It was scary! After several hours, he figured out that he had fallen into a very large pothole. He wasn't able to get out on his own--actually it required a lot of help to get out, but eventually he did get out. It was awful.
The very next day--Tuesday, the man was walking down the road and fell into the pothole again. This time he immediately recognized where he was, but he still couldn't get out. He needed help again.
Wednesday, when the man fell in the pothole for the 3rd time, he remembered how to get out, and--with much hard work--was able to get out on his own. Whew!
On Thursday, the man was walking down the street again. As he approached the pothole, he remembered his previous falls. He even saw the pothole when he got close... but unfortunately he fell in anyway. But he knew the way out pretty well this time, and got out quickly.
On Friday, the man saw the pothole from a good distance away. He felt so proud of himself for spotting it, and while it took a lot of effort, he did manage to walk around it safely, and didn't fall in for the first time in a long time! Hurrah!
On Saturday, the man took a different road.

26 July 2009

America's Cup '62 ~ "Weatherly" vs. "Gretel"

A long time ago, September, 1962, in what now feels like another era, my family attended an America’s Cup Regatta race on Narragansett Bay, off Newport, RI. I was 11. We were on “R.I.P” our family cruiser. It was a Huckins, descendant of WWII PT-boats. It had twin diesel engines and balls of power.
There were hundreds of vessels, all shapes and sizes, everyone bobbing, straining for binocular glimpses of Weatherly and the Aussie’s Gretel, all while trying to stay out of each others way.

Suddenly, to me, a U.S. Navy ship, might as well have been a destroyer, was bearing down on us, sailors lining the rail, watching the spectacle and the race, me bug-eyed, and the ship blasting a verbal shot across our bow, “Give way, Give way.”

I was sitting on R.I.P's bow. The destroyer, closing on us, was grey-metal and massive.

My father screamed a “We don’t move! You move!” to the delight of all sailors cheering my father's defiance.

I don't know who won the race. Gretel won once in a rough and windy sea. Weatherely, the last wooden yacht used in the Cup's defense, took four to win the Cup. The next summer my father ran R.I.P aground in the Connecticut River and she sank.

15 July 2009

Stewardship into Day-to-Day Living

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand. Stewardship is action. Stewardship is doing. Stewardship is transformation.

Stewardship is weaving my day to day living with my beliefs.
  • Be an ambassador for Christ: 2 Corinthians: 16-21
  • Give of my treasure to the Body of Christ or a Church
  • Work towards the tithe
Christian stewardship is weaving my day to day living into the church.
  • Eucharist once a week
  • Prayer / Lectio Divina
  • Volunteer in service to another
  • Study / Reflection / Lectio Divina
  • Labor / Work
  • Teaching / Lectio Divina
  • Witness / speaking out; publicly articulating my faith
  • Writing / Reflection / Lectio Divina
  • Music / instrument or choir
  • Practice hospitality
  • Renewal / exercise
Stewardship is to be
  • intentional & conscious; a doer
  • patient & flexible
  • modest and simple, without ostentation
  • persistent
Stewardship is to sacrifice

  • egocentric creature comforts; feather bedding
  • my ego for the welfare of an other's being
Stewardship is forgiveness
  • when I falter be forgiving of my self
  • when another falters be forgiving of their self

14 July 2009

Random 1

I was born into my family hierarchy as a follower. I am the youngest of three. My father called my older brother #1 son, a la Charlie Chan, and called me #2 son. I don't recall he ever called our oldest sister #1 daughter. My dad would've seen Charlie Chan and I suspect he'd have liked the character. My dad was the oldest in his family, and my mom was the oldest in hers. I speculate that, as all were distinct alphas, they competed to tell me what to do. I'm a natural introvert and they all are/were natural extroverts. As the youngest, aka "the baby", I didn't know anything. I grew up feeling beset upon.

When I recently told my sister I'd signed up on FB and had 60 friends she said, "Really!"
Sensing a competitive edge in her surprise I said, "Tara . . . It's not a competition."
"It's not? Oh yes it is!," she said.

Well I was competitive too. Later on I parried my positioning by not doing what my brother did. It was easy not to follow his mistakes. And I listened to them too. Making my own choices was singular, but because they were only mine I couldn't pin a tail on their donkey. I grew and separated it didn't kept my brother, for a time, from following me. I never saw his emulation as a complement. The great equalizer was our parents proclaiming, "You're all equal." Never looked like that to me when their view of me as the tag-along and the baby never changed.

13 July 2009

Sweet William

I am the youngest child of three.
I am a Connecticut Yankee.
I am a father of two.

My first wife picked me up in a bar.
My second wife picked me up in a church.

I sang in church choir from time to time.
I attended private school for almost all my education.
I made toys with artist William Accorsi.
I love New York City; I lived there.
I drove a taxi in NYC.
I have a BA in the History and Literature of Religion.
I was a professional-photographer.
I like to write; some folks are complimentary.
I am an Eagle Scout.
My lottery# was 348.
I worked as a church secretary.
I spent every summer at the beach until I was 12.
I apprenticed at the Woodstock Summer Playhouse. Diane Keaton was there; w
e knew she'd be a star.

My maternal grandpa was a fruit and poultry farmer.
My paternal grandpa was a railroad engineer.

I bought tickets for the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
I walked out of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
I like the Benedictine order for living. I need a sense of community.
I worked at Sotheby's Auction House.
I had 4 years of ballroom dancing as a youth.
I like cycling; I used to cycle everywhere.
I mow lawns to earn money.

30 June 2009

Iraqi Oil and China

Today the NY Times publishes an article about how China is aggressively bidding on Iraqi oil reserves.

I have always intuitively believed the Iraq Was was about oil. Yes, it's been about Saddam Hussein, Al Quaeda, and WMD's too, but economics always play a role in the weave in the fabric of international policy and international relations.

Let's face it Iraq has a lot of untapped and inefficiently produced, refined, and distributed oil underneath it. Since the United States imports 40% of it's oil from Nigeria why the big US push? My answer has been to secure sources for oil on behalf of its largest international lender: China. America has secured the largest proven reserves of oil in the world on behalf of it largest lending partner.

No none of it's a big conspiracy. I do think that it is more than coincidence that America biggest lender is aggressively bidding for drilling rights to oil that America has secured with it's blood and treasure.

Well maybe that is America's blood and China's treasure. So then the securing, drilling, and distribution of Iraqi oil is a national American and Chinese joint venture. Makes natural business sense to me. 

29 June 2009

Facebook

I've taken my FB page down, for now. It's like looking in the mirror; it's boring. And it's a conceit to "use" it a marketing tool. And, yes, as a marketing tool it's effective, it's a diary, and it's a small one. But only if a person chooses to read it. For anyone else, except the IRS and the NSA, who cares?

If Melville or London used FB it would've turned out to be fascinating. In the end maybe Melville and London scholars, devotees, and students called upon to write term papers about Moby Dick and White Fang might care. And not that those intellectual endeavors wouldn't make for illuminating insight and reading.

And besides FB claims it "owns" my pix once I've uploaded them. Mmmmm, I don't think so Facebook. Mmmmm, does that means it "owns" my ideas and thoughts I've posted too? Mmmmm, I don't think so Facebook. I'm not that insightful and my writing isn't that profound.

See ya!

13 June 2009

Mow Low ~ Mow High

To mow too low is to stress the grass. Many lawn problems are the result of a low mow. Grass shorn too close to soil is more likely to succumb to poor rainfall, or drought, foot traffic, inadequate sun, or insects. Grass shorn too high from soil leads customers to believe a provider is working to increase income. Ideally a mow should shear 1/3 of the grass leaf.

12 June 2009

Showery Days

Grass is a plant; it has roots. Lawns need about 1" of rain, or watering, a week. Deep water penetration helps roots grow down. Shallow water penetration helps roots grow sideways. Soil composition makes the water amount vary and shapes what direction roots will grow. If soil has a lot of clay water tends to run off. If soil is sandy water tends to soak in. Grass roots seek water and will grow down into a soil that is cared for. Grass that is uncared for tend to grow horizontally in a soil that is hard, clogged, and untended.

08 June 2009

1Man/1Mower at 8 Weeks

I decided to venture into 1Man / 1Mower because
  • I can work outdoors
  • I like to mow
  • I like to use and learn about the machinery and its vocabulary
  • Health is an asset I can rely upon now and lawn care helps me sustain physical activity
  • I felt I could grow into the work and study of it over the next 10 to 15 years.
The 8 week results are in and it's a start, we all have to start somewhere, but there's lots of room for improvements.

Customers:
  • 10 customers
  • 3 active sustaining customers, bread and butter investors, repeaters
  • 4 or 5  churners, folks who said yes, or maybe so, and ultimately after one mow or no mow, a no thank you
  • 1 charity mow
  • 1 whom I declined ~ fee vs. costs for job
  • 0 deadbeats
  • an abundance of well wishers
Assets:
  • Reliability
  • Provide Value for customer's expense
  • Added Value I bring to "lawn care"
  • I own a run-down 26 year old Ford F-150 truck that runs good enough
  • I keep equipment expenses low
  • Revenue; it's low, a trickle, but it's more than I had 12 months ago!
Surprises:
  • Customers grip pricing regardless of providers' costs
  • Pricing: it's not correlated to yard size or terrain
  • Pricing: it's somewhat correlated to geographic/neighborhood location
  • 90% of competitors have a $15,000 lawn care equipment investment, w/o the truck!
Challenges:
  • Coping with equipment breakdowns and repair costs.
  • Finding customers and/or getting an introduction for a "foot in the door" for a tryout.
  • Developing sustaining customers.
  • Nurturing a customer/provider relationship.

07 June 2009

Wind Blows Where It Chooses, And You Hear the Sound of It

When I was thirteen my birth family's house was next to a bird sanctuary. In winter storm the wind blew. I could hear it because it blew through the sanctuary. At times the experience was a memorable winter sound & sight, trees and wind melding into a bluster whooshy sway. This I recall from wind deep in the night.

The winter nights were often punctuated by my father's drunkenness. He'd sit and drink in the living room into the night. In some nights my mother would hide. I'd hide too. If I was seen he'd call me to sit with him to keep him company. On such a night a storm was blowing.

"Listen to the wind." he'd say.

I'd learned to sit and be quiet, to offer anything was dangerous.

Do you hear it? Listen, listen to the wind.

He'd sit, sip, swizzle ice in his glass in his hand rolling it with his wrist, listen, maybe for a response, sit in the whooshy sway of the wind's noise outdoors.

Listen to it!

I had not clue what he heard in the wind. I'd have to say something, if only out of my fear for risking saying nothing. To say nothing was dangerous too.

Ironically I liked the winds' sound; I still do. I like wind. I love to sail, especially in wind. I feel alive in wind, leaves, trees, out in nature, on the water. If I lived in Oklahoma I'd probably like the wind across the plain.

Decades later when I was reading the parable of Nicodemus in John 3: 1 - 17 I was struck. I sensed I was experiencing God again, unlike Nicodemus trapped in his everydayness. I felt my father, in his drunkenness, had pointed me to experience the Divine (though he nor I knew it then) as those in the past have experienced the Divine recorded in the Testaments. I felt as if something redemptive had come out of something terrifying. In what had been a frightening trap for me, had in time and Godly reflection, come to be a revelation.

Such an irony.

06 June 2009

In Praise of Praise

. . . there are few things in middle age as wonderful as having streets lined with people who cheer you just for running by.

I used to be a runner. If I ran a marathon I'd want some cheering. I'd need some cheering. I cannot imagine doing anything and not receiving some sort of recognition, thanks, or remuneration in return. It's only natural to want some praise.


02 June 2009

Muses

"I love your blog, it's a little wordy, but it's how I keep up with you!" Tara enthused. Me? I can't believe I've more than 2 readers, in a good month maybe 3. My blog breaks every design suggestion for increasing readership. Question does my blog count my logging on as a visit? If so I alone maintain the 80 / 20 principle. 80% of visits are from me. I can only shake my head.

Here are 7 citations; each could serve as a muse.

Ordinary people and cyclists persevere next to each other under extraordinary conditions. Cyclists are the only athletes who permit their fans right next to them while competing. This happens in no other professional sport.

The only people you are talking too is your self. No one else really cares except your beloveds.

"Sing, Brain, Sing"
I like to sing. I'm blessed.

The university liberal arts educational system is a con. Nobody cares about BA's BS's or MS's, MBA's because the markets are flooded with us. GM is in backruptcy and the educational system is round the corner.

Well, no I didn't, but I did push him around a few times and came pretty damm close to hitting him. He backed down. I wouldn't have.

Just what are the gifts and stories we are blessed with? Do we exchange them? I'm not talking Christmas gifts here.

My father terrified me with the threat to send me to "technical school" because I used to get 98's in industrial arts and 68's in grammar. He sent me to summer school to remediate my grammar and I had to practice handwriting too. Yes handwriting.

Any one of these articles might serve as my muse. Usually its a phrase or a sentence or a circumstance that moves me to write. There's a message in what I read but unless I explain it there's has no chance of anyone hearing it.

28 May 2009

Can't Keep From Singing

I'm in my church choir and I can't keep from singing.

One of my natural gifts is musical. I'm blessed with pitch discrimination and tonal memory. I'm also blessed with rhythm memory but this isn't so strong. My pitch and tonal gifts are in the 90th percentiles.

This natural gift was measured by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation http://www.jocrf.org/. This foundation is the place to test what your natural gifts are. Johnson O'Connor calls them aptitudes. Yes there are series of exercises that measure aptitudes.

This test demonstrates I like to sing. In fact I'm a happier person because I sing. If I don't sing I'm probably not using my God given gifts. If I don't sing I'm incomplete. It's not that I'm unhappy it's just I'm incomplete, less than whole. In the Biblical sense, I'm keeping my light under a basket. So I'm reminded of a UU hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing." It's a great melody and the original lyrics, below, are attributed to the nineteenth century Baptist preacher Robert Lowry.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation.

Refrain:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that Rock I'm clinging.
Since love is Lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?
(Refrain)

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
(Refrain)

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
a fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am his!
How can I keep from singing?
(Refrain)

25 May 2009

348

348 was my Selective Service lottery number. It was pulled on December 1, 1969. Buttons were fashioned soon after and sold in shops in Greenwich Village; have something to proclaim, say it & wear it on a button, like a campaign button. I picked up a yellow one with black 348 Gil Sans numbers on it. I wore it on my calf length winter army-surplus brass buttoned wool coat. It felt authentic and it was warm.

I was immensely relieved and felt liberated by my lottery number. I knew it was highly unlikely I'd be called to serve. As a result I didn't have to really contemplate my brother's lead and proclamation some years earlier that, "I'll go to Canada." in protest and to avoid service. He got a college deferment. He was afraid too. I was proud and self centered. I was ignorant. I was inexperienced.
I'd been reared in a cultural and educational ghetto. My ghetto didn't include an active birth-family military tradition of service to a cause or belief greater than one's self. In my birth family my parent's couldn't successfully convey the notion there was a belief or ideal greater than one's self. As a result I didn't understand the personal sacrifice of body and soul in military service. I think that was true of many in my cultural ghetto.

I live in a different culture now. I'm woven into that culture and it into me. It's a culture in which a person's military service may be their only experience beyond their birth culture. It's a culture in which many people and families find honor and pride. It's a culture in which many people and families are permanently shaped. It's a culture that is different from my birth culture.

08 May 2009

Wealth





Print Ridder says,
"Never measure wealth by money."

Wealth is an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.
Capital is an abundance of money. It is a resource.
Wealth is not money.
Stewardship is not money.
Stewardship is what we do with resources.

01 May 2009

Stewardship & Fresh

Stewardship is helping us see our abundance.
Stewardship is connecting us to what is authentic and healthful.
Stewardship is facilitating, creating, and therefore revealing authenticity in every person.
Stewardship is connecting us to our human nature.
Stewardship is connecting us in a faith community that we sense is helping us to see abundance.
Stewardship is connecting us to the I AM of the natural world.
Stewardship encourages us to spend time in natural world, in our human nature, and in our community of faith.

29 April 2009

Fresh

I've just read about a book, "Fresh" by Susanne Freidberg. She also posts at the NY Times Freakonomics blog.


Just what is "fresh"? What does Prof. Freidberg sense contemporary culture means by the word fresh? How is that meaning applied by marketers keen to use it, keen to sell it? There was a time in my lifetime when this question would never have been asked. Why do we need to ask it now?


My Grandpa Savage produced eggs, strawberries, veggies, apples, and more on his family farm. He manned a roadside stand. He sold fresh. An income stream depended on it and his customers knew they were purchasing fresh. In other words folks knew that Mr. Savage's tended hens that lay the eggs he sold and he tended trees that produced the apples he sold. He was known by some as "the eggman." Grandpa Savage was authentic and unspun. When asked by my father "When was the best time to prune the orchard trees?" Grandpa Savage replied, "When the shears are sharp."


When it comes to food I think fresh is a vitality. It's a taste, odor, and color that is retained in the foods preparation, its eating, and our perception of its nutritional value. This quality feels authentic. Fresh is not rotten. We still know what rotten is, but it's getting harder to sense and identify. Fresh is getter even harder to sense and identify because so much rides on the maintenance of fresh foods for sale. As we travel further from the origin of our food chain we travel closer to the premeditation of our spin. As a result fresh is now a cultural idea in our culture of mass consumption.


Ms. Freidberg says the appeal of the word fresh,
lies in the anxieties and dilemmas borne of industrial capitalism and the culture of mass consumption. This culture promotes novelty and nostalgia, obsolescence and shelflife, indulgence and discipline. It surround us with great abundance, but not with much that feels authentic or healthful. It leaves many people yearning to connect to nature and community but too busy to spend much time in either. Above all, it's a culture that encourages us to consume both as often as possible and in ever better more enlightened ways. . . . Of all the qualities we seek in food, freshness best satisfies all these modern appetites.
Look at the coolpix image of shimp at the top of the page. We ate some two times, 3 lbs total, on St. George Island, FL. It was caught the day we ate it. Look at the color vitality. It tasted as good as the color looks.

We live in a culture of extraordinary abundance that is quite real. Our culture of mass communication and industrial big-agra capitalism surrounds us with grandiose notions of our abundance. Simultaneously we corrode our natural ability to recognize what is authentic and healthful. As a result I sense there is much that does not feel fresh. What does the word "fresh" in Fresh Market mean? How many of the foods sold actually are fresh? How are the foods in the Whole Foods market whole? What does "whole" mean?

Marketing and ads tell us what we need or don't have. As a result deflecting attention from what we do have. I remind myself of rebuking my whining child. "Stop looking at what you don't have and start looking at what you do have!"


We like fresh. We want fresh. In fresh I hope to connect to nature, to health, and to a larger community. We are too busy to spend much time in nature or community. We spend little time with nature. Nature becomes the weather channel. Nature is no longer our food chain and in the chain fresh is corroded.

24 April 2009

Saint George Island ~ Leisure


Leisure is thankful, being thankful, the abundant resources in our lives when many lose or have never known it. Leisure is how do we do thankful.

We're heading down through flat western Georgia peanut, walnut, pecan country, below the southern Appalachian mountain chain terminus to the gulf. It's breezy warm day cool night and all sound of high and low water tides whipped to surf by wind curling breaking out into bu-gurgling foaming sound down to fizz, again and again, into crushed shell sand shore.

Leisure is watching nothing seeing everything. Leisure is surf breaking listening. Leisure is on the beach until I get itchy, walking until I feel I've walked enough, turning over to return where I began. Leisure is reading. Leisure is eating fresh . . . shrimp. Leisure is shelling with my honey pie. Leisure is a cold one. Leisure is hot, hot, and hot! Leisure is feeling skin burn covering up feeling skin tan. Leisure is old days gone to memory.

Leisure is the leatherback sea turtle flippers digging laying eggs watching return home for the first time, probably my only time.

Leisure is seeing the dying retriever with unseeing eyes lying in surf washing over for last time owner lays hands on tells her story. Leisure is listening. Leisure is the ear of my heart. Leisure is walking under round surf cast lines or stepping on the whole unbroken sand dollar. Leisure is finding a tiny seahorse washed ashore placing on concrete a week watching ants leaving the luminescent skeleton.
Leisure is while being in health. Leisure is feeling sun hearing wind seeing surf tasting shrimp swimming in gulfs’ ocean. Leisure is the long gentle arc of light blue dark blue horizon line so big so wide so unbroken ~ but by morning shrimp boats or afternoon jets ~ that scares the afar friend but comforts me.

16 April 2009

Sign of the Times

I'm fortunate, at the age of 58, to have the resources to begin to do work I've never done before. It's a paradigm shift for me. I call the work 1Man / 1Mower. It's yard work. I enjoy it, people pay $$$$ in return for my labor, I get exercise, I work outdoors, and I'm learning new stuff. So it's a positive personal 5-Star paradigm shift.

I've been letting my grass grow, waiting, so to mow it high. Yesterday a young woman came to our front door asking,
"Can I mow your grass please?"
"I'm so sorry. I do it myself. I've been out of work now for 15 months."
"Yeah," she said bewildered, "these are crazy times."
"I know; I'm so sorry." And she walked on.

Oh dear, now I'm sorry, I should've said, "Sure!"

15 April 2009

Regina caeli laetare

I had some work at the Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum. I blew leaves and weeded. I worked with Tonya. We were maintaining a garden bed that's to be redesigned and replanted. It was the day after Easter Sunday.
After a bit all I could hear was the Regina caeli latare, by the Venetian, Antonio Lotti (1667 - 1740), which the choir at St. James Episcopal, Knoxville, TN., performed for our Easter service as a communion anthem.
In the midst of the blower's drone, up into my mind pops the opening lyric and music (base) drowning out the drone. This is very pleasant, and I feel quite happy singing out loud!
Here's a link to what the music sorta sounds like, click on "listen preview" to the mid and very right of the page. The link isn't for double choir, nor is it antiphonal, where our choir was split in two placed in separate parts of the nave calling and responding as we sang to one another with the congregation seated between. We sang the Latin lyric; below is Latin and an English translation.

Regina caeli laetare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia:
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia:
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom thou wast worthy to bear, alleluia.
Hath risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord hath truly risen, alleluia.

Easter; it's a season and lasts 56 days.

09 April 2009

Checklist for Lent ~ Question Eight


Finally, and most importantly, what is your relationship with Christ? What is your relationship with prayer? With scripture? With worship and the sacraments? With the reality of your own sin?
Wow, question 8 packs a wallop. And they’re 6 little wallops.
Well, I’m a sinner, no question. I miss the mark more than I hit it. I've often failed to do what I ought to have done. I’ve often done what I ought not to have done. Good Lord forgive me.
And Jesus Christ is my lord and savior. I’ve been, I am still, and I will be born again. All that I was, all that I am, and all that I will be is the life I have in, by, and through my Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God.
I know this because I know I take intentional steps and actions to live a life that endeavors to be consistent with my religious beliefs as found in the baptismal covenant of the Episcopal Church. Am I perfect? No. Am I observant? Yes. Do my actions and observance reflect my beliefs? Yes. Am I always successful? No. I’m human, thank God.
As for my relationship with prayer, scripture, worship and sacraments? Well . . . if observant religious life were my life-time baseball batting average it’d be `bout .285 to .310. I pray, often daily and anyplace that suits; it’s usually at night; it’s usually brief; it’s usually a thanksgiving and a hope. I read and reflect, sometimes with scripture! I worship weekly; I don’t feel badly if I miss. I glean spiritual insight into the meaning of religious and secular life as it reflects God in world when I regularly attend service. I observe and respect the sacraments. I believe in so doing I’m blessed. I don’t do as prayer as I’d like to think I might. I probably do more than most lay folks, but who knows. I pray priests do more than I. I know monastics do much more than I.
Monks live inside a campus dei; living is ordered in a balanced manner to reflect God in the monk, in the community, in the world. I like the Benedictine Way. It’s a balance of prayer, scripture, worship and liturgy, sacraments, work, learning, and reflection. I’m not a monastic but such an order of weaves a personal relationship with prayer, scripture, worship, sacraments, learning, reflection, music, and work into an order of living. The monastic model gently transforms a person into a disciple.
I tell my wife, if she dies before I do, I’ll never remarry but retreat to monastery. It’ll never happen I’m a viejo. The monastic living model is a blessing beyond monastic walls. Monastic steps are concrete steps one can take, make, and do.
I know there is more I could do to reflect God in the order of my life and see God’s reflect God in the lives of others. I know there’s more.