July 11, 2012

Various & Sundry

Mark Doty poem on sunflowers (I may've gotten the line breaks wrong):
All smolder and oxblood,
these flowerheads, flames of August:
fierce bronze, or murky rose, petals concluded in gold—
And as if fire called its double
down the paired goldfinches come swerving quick
on the branching towers, so the blooms sway with the heft of hungers indistinguishable, now, from the blossoms.

If I were a sunflower I would be the branching kind,
my many faces held out in all directions,
all attention, awake to any golden incident descending;
drinking in the world with my myriads of heads, I’d be my looking.

Nothing gold can stand apart from any other;
the sunflowers are trafficked by birds,
open to bees and twilight, implicated, alert:
fire longs to meet itself flaring,
longing wants a multiplicity of faces,
branching and branching out,
heads mouths eyes wishing always to double their own heat.

Felt significantly fatigued today after yesterday's exertions. Muscle soreness and overall tiredness such that it was quite an effort to do the 3.5 mile hike at the park. Then a quick doze on the hammock after googling, "Why don't the Jews build a third temple." Lots of reasons it would seem, at least in present day Israel given that there's a mosque on the Temple Mount. I'm ever fascinated by the anecdote rarely mentioned, that of a temple being attempted in the 4th century only to have it destroyed by inexplicable fires (i.e. from God).

I find it inspiring, these bible scholars, who see how human the making of the Scriptures looks and yet still believe it as God's revelation. It takes more faith arguably than someone thinking God gave the King James version directly to the apostles.

It's surprising to me that you can't buy an audio book (of recent vintage) for your smartphone except by signing up with something like audible.com and incurring a monthly charge. Count me out, audible.

So many good things on the 'net (or the "internets" as some people call it) recently. A memorable post by Mrs. Darwin on our mutual swan song, death, and how we have confidence that Mary will take us to Jesus. Jennifer F. of Conversion Diary put it starkly in a post on a talk with her gay friend: "We are a religion of the crucifix, we give up everything for the promise of endless joy," or words to that effect. Okay that deserves checking for the actual quote: "I have converted to the religion of the crucifix, a belief system that promises joy in exchange for losing it all." Good Betty Duffy post as well. (Purely incidental, by the way, that all three happen to be attractive women. All my favorite novelists are male.)

Reading "The Fix", a book about how addiction is a sliding scale not an either/or thing and how we're all becoming addicted to our electronic devices and such. (Ironically, if you're addicted to books then he's a part of the problem!) Also "had" to get Mary Karr's memoir "Lit" in the hopes it'll be HK-like. I sing, "Gonna read my ass off / read my ass off/ read my little ass off.." to '80s tune "Heat Is On" by Glenn Fry. TMI perhaps. Karr says that alcohol contributed to her depression ("after all, it is a depressant," she says) but I wonder if that is to typecast alcohol. It may be a depressant, but it seems to have a stimulative effect on me. Alcohol always wakes me up, makes me more alert. I can rarely stay up late unless I'm drinking, which suggests it's not as much a sedative as one would think.

It never quite dawned on me why the Twelve Step program so emphasizes addiction as disease. The thinking is that if you think it's your fault - the other option - then you'll be caught in a shame cycle where you desire the drug again to escape the shame. I suppose there's a little bit of this in the sin psychology of church liberals: if you tell people they sin and they subsequently feel bad about themselves, they'll be more likely to lean even more on those sinful structures. One gets the sense that the only way out is the pure positivity of God and to focus on him, that yes we sin but He forgives.

So how could I leave Adoration? I wasn't signed up, but I was alone with Our Lord and it felt wrong to leave him "unguarded". I waited another ten minutes and it looked like I should leave so I could have time to eat before going to the hospital to visit someone. But when I started to head out, I came across the sign-up list with a note that said words to the effect, "Please wait for the next person to come to Adoration. Someone needs to be here at all times." So how could I leave? I went back inside and sat down in a rare act of obedience. (Also ringing in my ears was Fr. Martin's tweet about how Christ asked us "not to worship him, though we should, but to follow him.") And not ten seconds later a family came in. I smiled. God just wanted that small act of obedience.

Birds sing into the drink
of our fountain, lozenging water,
spritzing it over their backs with sprightly
half-jumps beneath a Spanish-like sun.

The thermometer cracked the 100 degree mark the other day, a rather rare event in Central Ohio. This sudden transition from low 80s to 100s was swift - the turning of seasons ought be gradual (except when leaving a poor one, ha). Certainly there is something lost in that tissuey, mythical air of mid-June so brief! Cottonwood fuzz no more, where once we spent evenings on the patio until the lightning bugs arrived now we spend most time indoors, the heat and humidity quickly oppressive. How sad to see June's flower so quickly wither into July's maturity!

From Pope Benedict:
"Then, the proverbial scene of the doubting Thomas that occurred eight days after Easter is very well known.....'Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe'.

Basically, from these words emerges the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face. Thomas holds that the signs that confirm Jesus' identity are now above all his wounds, in which he reveals to us how much he loved us. In this the Apostle is not mistaken.".


Ellyn said...

I do like Mary Karr's books but she's no Heather King. Though there was a time when I'd get their one word titles confused.

MrsDarwin said...

Thanks for the link, TS! Glad you enjoyed the post. Through my own fault, I had thought that I was supposed to be writing about the word "of" instead of "our" and so had to write the actual post in about twenty minutes the day before it was due.