Surprised by how richly instructive a relatively short period of time can be. Yesterday morning, for example. I read a bit of my RSS magazine (aka blogfeed) and wondered at the surreal weight of a fellow Catholic's cross, namely Therese Borchard's, who described a misery one wouldn't wish on one's worst enemy, were we allowed to have enemies.
And shortly thereafter, on the drive into work, I listened to someone on Catholic radio describe the very persuasive arguments that the Shroud of Turin is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus. And indeed the Lord's suffering is made manifest in that cloth but also the peace, the serenity, of that face - despite the torture. I'm always amazed that I can be perennially surprised by the fact that following Jesus involves carrying the cross in imitation. How can that be surprising after all this time? And yet my mind constantly craftily seeks the low, broad, painless route and begins to fool itself into thinking that's the normal, acceptable one.
Before Therese's post, I saw where Fred of "Late Papers" fame uncorked a fine baseball metaphor on the difference between success and merit. A very meritorious post that I wish the greatest of success. Now if there were only a blogpost about how to overcome envy over the depth and beauty of other people's blogposts!
Lately much of my reading is consuming blogs, many of which have alarmingly relevant spiritual messages. Others are about beer or politics or economics or poetry. Altogether it makes for a tasty concoction. It's like a wonderful online magazine that comes out EVERY NIGHT, not weekly. I like the mixture as much as anything, the alternating tightening and relaxing of dendrites caused by reading Eric Scheske next to Heather King next to Mrs. Darwin next to M & M! All inimitable voices making up this online magazine.
There is a time for every season, and that includes the seasons of reading and writing. Too often I try to write without having done the necessary fertilization that comes with reading. But too much reading crowds my brain with thoughts wanting to come out.
I think it was either Donald McClary or Mrs. Darwin who mentioned, with elegant simplicity, why they like to read novels: for recognition. And I did recognize some of the poem prose of Middlesex, a novel that I savor at the gentle pace of about thirty pages a week. The selection about one girl's not-quite coming of age in high school was riveting: writing from the perspective of the future, she sees the girls who never picked up a book as ironically smarter than her, since they apparently foresaw how little books mattered to most people. I felt similarly in the years after college - why did I study so much I thought in retrospect.
O'Fallon's pumpkin ale is just a mite too sweet for my tastes, now that I've tasted it on more than one occasion. My palate is definitely untrustworthy without repeated drinkings. As the weather cools, I have more of a taste for the stouts or other unsweetened brews. Fruity beers feel of summer, and we've recently took a u-turn weather-wise. Very brisk weather lately, jacket weather even. Some dark, coffee-ish beer seems appropriate given the circumstances.
The baseball playoffs began the other night with the brightly-plumaged Rangers playing the Red Sox-vanquishing Tampa Rays. The field was striped with streaks of that sharp Fort Worth sun, while in my neck of the woods things were already dark. I wasn't quite ready to watch the game so I paused it, and magically the sun stayed still: for the next half-hour it was immobile. I'd not only cheated the dark with a televised view of a green baseball diamond in a western state, but was able further to arrest it in its fetching, original pose. It all felt semi-illicit. How often can we claim not to be shackled by time? Baseball, the game outside of time, is even more so with the help of a DVR.