October 07, 2013

Sevenish Quickish Takes


On Friday I felt out of breath, work-speaking, if vaguely inspired by the amount of grind I covered in a relatively short span of time. (Intentional sic, as all my sics are. jk.) Couldn't quite get it done without some drama, i.e. a leap year error, but such is life in these United States.

Surpassing warmth for October. I spend a minute outdoors under a pleasant sky. Cloudy, but that's all for the good given that I lack sunglasses. The overcast afternoon lends a lull to things while at the same time offering a a vibrant undercurrent of electricity. (Am I drunk?) Now raindrops are fallin' on my head and I must head in. Maybe in just a bit…

Lovely little stream, manufactured though it might be, out in the landscape bed. A corporate stream, which makes it fake but anyway, still….I can smell the freshness of the water, or maybe that's the chlorine. Took a picture because, as Pee Wee Herman used to say, it'll last longer.

Sittin' in the lush
of tropical hush
abounds le' thrush
where nature feels plush.

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Oh row a tree!
There's not a rhyme for “poetry”?

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I made a picture out of a humble thing: tall ornamental grass growing at a 45 degree angle over the pink and gray granite with a maple seed showcased front and central.

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Saturday was a fine young cannibal sort of day. The morning was typically filled up with "fiddling", as in fiddling around the house, reading the paper, getting McDs, etc…Planted one of the new peach trees then starting digging a hole for a second one, out front, when pain shot up my back and I instantly hit the ground. From upright to fetal in less than half a second. Lower back spasm which put my tree-planting to a sudden end. Fortunately residual effects seem small. A bit sore, but no serious pain. In fact, with the help of my magic magnetic belt, I was able to complete a desperately needed 2.7 mile run.  Then took Buddy to the park for a walk but the rains came. I do feel it incumbent to take him on a walk at least once a week. His life consists of 85% sleeping and it seems like he needs to get excited (by smells) once in a while.

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Mahler's 2nd, the Resurrection Symphony, begins the Columbus Symphony season tonight. At 8pm. People sure must have a lot of energy to want to get all dressed up and drive a half-hour downtown and listen to music. God bless 'em.

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Love that Psalm 92 (morning prayer Lit of Hours), especially:

To proclaim your love at daybreak,
your truth in the night.

This line always hits me so powerfully, and I searched high and low for commentary on it that says what I always think about it, and finally I did from Keil:
Loving-kindness is designedly connected with the dawn of the morning, for it is morning light itself, which breaks through the night (Ps. 30:6; 59:17), and faithfulness with the nights, for in the perils of the loneliness of the night it is the best companion, and nights of affliction are the “foil of its verification.”
Beautiful!

Also mesmerized by the energy (and devotional energy) of this blogger:
http://marymission.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-reading-bible-changed-my-life-and.html
Carumba! Her relentlessness comes through, relentless pursuit of God and virtue. Fanatical, one could say, but then that's how the saints were, and that childlike intensity I think is what God expects of us. I think of the Beatitude: “blessed are they who hunger and thirst after holiness, for they shall be satisfied.” Her love of Scripture, shall I say adoration of Scripture, comes through, and it's interesting that she sees now that even that has to be moderated, that one can't simply read Scripture and not work and serve.

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The novel My Struggle contains some arresting lines on death. The non-believer narrator/character calls it the thing that makes life meaningless (because nothing lasts) and meaningful (because it makes the days precious just by virtue of its brevity). Reminds me of how momento mori is taken so differently by Christian monks versus pagan Mardi Gras revelers. For the former, it's “remember you will die and be held accountable.” For the latter, it's “remember you will die, so eat, drink and be merry now!”

The novel also mentions how there is much “excitement and intensity” when we read of others dying in, say, a plane crash even though we don't know the victims because we identify with them:

“What was this? Were we living other people's lives? Yes, everything we didn't have and were not experiencing, we had and were experiencing even so, because we saw it and we took part in it without being there ourselves.”
Speaks to some innate sense that we are all one Body perhaps, and I think it also explains why I'm bothered by “outliers” and seeming unfairness, like those who did not get to know Jesus simply because they lived before Him. But perhaps this is majoring in minors since what we know of God now, even the saints among us, is likely an infinitesimal fragment of what we'll know of Him in Heaven.

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Quote below, written of the fifth century Germanic tribes reminds me of violent youth today:
“All the most brave, all the most warlike, apply to nothing at all…They themselves loiter. Such is the amazing diversity of their nature, that in the same men is found so much delight in sloth, with so much enmity to tranquillity and repose.“ Excerpt From: Tacitus, Cornelius. “Tacitus on Germany”.
There the similarities end and abruptly. Tacitus describes the Barbarians as having a lot of impressive qualities. Adultery is exceedingly rare. Reluctance to having children is shunned, and abortion considered evil. The hospitality and generosity is incredible - when someone runs out of food and drink they go to the neighbor's house and run them out of food and drink, and the neighbor is glad to accommodate them. And of course the bravery is exceptional.

There is something about some of these old societies that seems healthier than our current one. Brave and eminently hospitable, one could do worse than that.  These Germanic tribes who drank, drank, drank did so constantly but without it entering into the typical sexual debauchery of more advanced societies. The lack of pornography among some of the cave dwelling artists is a similar sign of restraint. They drew beautiful images of cattle, horses, but not of naked women.

Of course the Barbarians were hardly perfect, and I found this matter-of-fact verbiage unintentionally humorous:
“To continue drinking night and day without intermission, is a reproach to no man. Frequent then are their broils, as usual amongst men intoxicated with liquor; and such broils rarely terminate in angry words, but for the most part in maimings and slaughter.”
 Ouch.

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