31 August 2005

Sara Groves on Home

I’m confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with human sight

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

-- Sara Groves, "Going Home" from the album Conversations

You know how a song will just knock you over the head sometimes? This one did me. Maybe it's because I've been thinking about home, about what makes a place home.

I don't know that I've ever felt, ever really felt, at home. Home has mostly seemed to be just ahead, around one more corner. And what's strange is that the times when it's seemed most imminent have often been times when I'm far away from my own house and my own bed. For example:

- Inside the winding stairs of St. Peter's cathedral dome, wrapped up and contained in the heart of the holy, living stone.
- Along the water, feet in the sand, in the gathering gloom of evening, the Oregon Coast before a storm, the glimmer of hidden light in your eyes.
- In the humid, heavy darkness of the Cambodian countryside, dinner for 8 or 11 or 25, I can't tell, but the stars are shining and faces are smiling in the dim light of one bare bulb.
- The Mojave desert after dark, the night we heard the earth singing.
- When the sun came up over Santa Rosa Island one morning.

In each of these, and a thousand more times that I remember, I've smelled it and seen the light of it as if it were just there, just out of reach.

So what do we have then? Not a place or a particular time, nor company, nor solitude. Something else. Some mysterious presence. Not much is clear, but I know this: I cannot wait to be going home.

29 August 2005

Kites Again


This is a picture of our kite about to be dive-bombed by a commercial airliner.

Fortunately, we had practiced up on our complicated evasive maneuver strategy (lots of running, shouting, and waving of the arms) and we escaped unharmed.

Next time we're getting the kite with the pirate on it...

28 August 2005

Solitude On A Sunday Afternoon

Another Angle on Kite Day

Kite Day

Yesterday was Kite Day. So we went to the beach and flew a kite.

Walker Percy on Leaving Home

...It is my fortune and misfortune to know how the spirit-presence of a strange place can enrich a man or rob a man but never leave him alone, how, if a man travels lightly to a hundred strange cities and cares nothing for the risk he takes, he may find himself No one and Nowhere. Great day in the morning. What will it mean to go mosying down Michigan Avenue in the neighborhood of five million strangers, each shooting out his own personal ray? How can I deal with five million personal rays?

- Binx Bolling in The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy

A Fable

A few days ago I pulled onto the freeway, on my way to work. I had driven a mile or two when I noticed a strange looking blade of grass clinging to my windshield on the passenger side. But it wasn't a blade of grass. It was a praying mantis hanging on by one claw. He seemed to be pretty concerned about things, as much as a praying mantis can be, I guess. I slowed as much as I could and pulled to the right lane, heading for the nearest exit. But he was apparently in a hurry and misjudged the strength of the wind. He stretched out one leg and let go with the other and that was all it took. I blinked and he was gone. He was beautiful. I wish he would have waited just a little longer.

23 August 2005

Simple

It's simple, he said, like building a skyscraper out of toothpicks. You just need a light touch and a lot of really good glue.

22 August 2005

Pat Robertson's Mouth

I'm not interested anymore in having a political blog. I'm not really even interested in having a blog that comments much on current events. But I am ashamed and appalled by this man. I hope he is taken to the cleaner's by the news media for these moronic remarks.

[8/24/05 UPDATE] Robertson responds: "I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time."

Thanks for the clarification, Pat. It's nice to know that you're not only wise, but humble too.

[8/24/05 UPDATE II] "Robertson has made the mistake of believing that a brand of right-wing extremism is equivalent to the Gospel," said Mvume Dandala, general secretary of the Nairobi-based All Africa Conference of Churches.

18 August 2005

One Of The Mysteries Of Life

Really now, how do they do that...?

Another one of the mysteries of life: my parents were married 36 years and 2 days ago. They remain so. Love to you both and thank you.

{This photographic moment brought to you courtesy the light filtering through the morning clouds, fresh spearmint tea from the window box, and a remarkable 15 minutes to spare before having to leave for work.}

17 August 2005

Seeing Part Of The Picture

14 August 2005

In The Wash

Do you ever get the feeling sometimes that somewhere along the way you've missed a turn, but you're not sure where? In fact, you can't really even remember seeing any other roads go by, at least not for a long time. But you're looking around at all the scenery and you're thinking that it all looks a little strange and unfamiliar. When was the last time you saw a sign? And where is that map anyway? Maybe there was a fork in the road back there during that stretch where you were really tired from driving all night and maybe you flew right by it. Maybe it's this dirty windshield with that big ugly crack running across it. Or maybe it's your eyes, dry and red from lack of sleep. Whatever it is, doesn't it seem like you're off track somewhere? Something just isn't right here. Do you ever feel this way?

It's times like this when a little fresh water would be nice, something to splash on my face, something running down over the head and shoulders, something reminding me of grace. Anyone know where I can find something like that?

10 August 2005

Switchfoot on Wanting More

Maybe we've been livin with our eyes half open
Maybe we're bent and broken
We want more than this world's got to offer
We want more than this world's got to offer

- Switchfoot, Meant To Live from The Beautiful Letdown

09 August 2005

A Little Light

On a walk tonight, we crossed paths with someone from "the cherubic plane," as she called it. It seemed clear pretty soon that she wasn't really sure where she had come from or where she was going. We talked for a long time, struggling to find a way through the weeds of her confusion. She wrestled with her words as if they were snakes, tangled around her tongue, too big to fit in her throat. From what we could tell, she was living, barefoot and dirty, in a canyon at the edge of town. Holding a conversation with her was exhausting and yet we were drawn to her somehow. Like a little boat adrift in powerful seas or a light surrounded by great darkness, she seemed too small to face whatever or whoever was pursuing her.

Sometimes, in the face of need, I also feel too small. May the peace of Christ be with you tonight, Rebecca.

07 August 2005

Rumi on Being Human

GUEST HOUSE
Rumi (1207 - 1273)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

Thanks to Kim McMechan for the words.

06 August 2005

Tomato Report: Productivity!!!

I know you all have been dying to know how the tomatoes are doing...well, wonder no longer.

Journal entry: Henninger Flats

Yes, this is a portion of last night's journal entry, only edited a little. If you get squeamish reading someone else's journal, then consider yourself warned. I'm posting this here partly to remind myself, but partly because it touches on some things that I have been struggling with and I think that sometimes it's good to open the windows and get the fresh air moving around a little...

My back to the mountain, I am rediscovering how to be still.

Watch the sun drop below the horizon. In the distance, the sound of traffic. Evening lights all across the city beginning to come on.

Silence. See the world with an open heart.

Some resolutions: I will climb mountains rather than stand at the bottom of them looking up. I will explore. I will breathe. I will feel the earth beneath my feet. I will look closely to see the heart of things. I will plant things and help them to grow. I will care for them with all of my heart. I will be still when necessary. I will be silent when my heart has no words. And when it does, I will speak them, seasoned with grace, without reserve. I will not hold back. I will allow myself to feel the difficult feelings -- pain, sadness, anger -- and I will speak of them honestly, not to take revenge, but to give them air and wings to fly. But neither will I hold back in love. I will be elated. I will give of myself. I will not hold back.

Peace. So help me, God.

05 August 2005

Helen Keller on Courage

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

- Helen Keller

Thanks to wish jar journal for the good words.

02 August 2005

Note To Self

Insofar as a human being makes do with the things that he experiences and uses, he lives in the past, and his moment has no presence. He has nothing but objects; but objects consist in having been.

What is essential is lived in the present, objects in the past.

- Martin Buber, I And Thou

I'm trying to learn to keep my "you" and my "it" separate. As if they are mine at all. But you know what I mean. Well, maybe you don't. Simply said, I'm trying to pay attention. There you have it.