Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday morning, April 30th, 2008, and an easy morning so far

I feel like I am taking this uncouth, wild (red in tooth and claw) boy and training him in the basic requirements of living in civilized society.

I am thinking of a eulogy for a tree. This nice poem by Freada Dillon came up on a goggle.


The mulberry tree has grown crooked, seeking light
from under a canopy
of massive hardwoods and pine sentinels.
covered with leaves the size of dinner plates,
sway precariously over the roof.
All attempts to redirect its growth have failed.
sprung from berries broadcast
along with bird droppings,
flourish in better light. But I will not
see them reach full growth.
The chainsaw's grind and sputter
punctuate the air. In moments
the yard is adrift in deadfall.
With the last bite, the chain binds,
then releases.
The trunk falls almost gently,
settling into a bed of its own foliage.
Rising sap puddles on the raw stump,
warm to the touch,
bitter on my tongue.

“Falling in faith and falling in love can be understood the same way. People fall in love with no evidence of how a relationship will work out and no real knowledge of who their partner is, let alone who they will be.... We never have any real information about anything important. It takes a lifetime for the ramifications to be worked out. ...

The irony is that we all—secular or religious people alike—make our biggest decisions on faith.... You would have to live a lifetime to be qualified... And since we can’t do that we trust to luck, religion, and the kindness of strangers.”

From Frank Schaeffer’s book Crazy for God.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

another day

Monday, April 21st, 2008. The fifth week of Easter

Today is Monday beginning the third week of Caleb staying with me. I have my 14 year-old grandson staying with me for a while. And I have managed to make just about everyone mad at me. The Pope has been in the U.S. and I missed his visit entirely. Well, maybe not entirely, but I hardly knew it was happening. The last two weeks have been “weird” for sure. Oh well.

Monday was followed by Tuesday and everything changed. So today it is

Tuesday, April 29th, a week later and all is well.

I am thinking about this morning at the coffee shop. My dog Izzy has taken on iconic status at the local coffee shop. Doubtless she has stories told about her to friends and acquaintances. But I am not privy to those.

Here is the dialogue from today’s two-for-Tuesday mocha walk.


I feel so sorry for that dog.

Would it be better for her to sit at home for 2 hours or take a 3-mile walk?

Woman (with back turned, up-raised backhand gesture, derisive voice)
I wasn’t talking to you.


That did poor Izzy a lot of good.

Doesn’t it seem more helpful—and potentially more beneficial to the animal you are sympathizing with—if you talk to the human owner instead of self-righteously, dismissively responding to an attempt to communicate? I don’t get it. Like I said, it did Izzy a lot of good.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tuesday, April Fools, Second week of Eastertide, 2008. Actually, now it is Thursday the 3rd.

I don’t remember where I came across this prayer:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt:
Put me to doing: put me to suffering:
Let me be employed for thee, or laid aside for thee:
Exalted for thee, or brought low for thee:
Let me be full, let me be empty:
Let me have all things: let me have nothing:
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, [Mother/]Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth let it be ratified in heaven.

Again, my memory is fussy, but didn’t I read somewhere that Flannery O'Connor wrote this?

“Subtlety is the curse of man, it is not found in the Deity.”

I got this Franz Wright poem from Knopf’s daily April poem. “Sunlight will win, don’t worry.” That’s a quote, not the title.

Publication Date

One of the few pleasures of writing
is the thought of one's book in the hands of a kindhearted
intelligent person somewhere. I can't remember what the others
are right now.
I just noticed that it is my own private

National I Hate Myself and Want to Die Day
(which means the next day I will love my life
and want to live forever). The forecast calls
for a cold night in Boston all morning

and all afternoon. They say
tomorrow will be just like today,
only different. I'm in the cemetery now
at the edge of town, how did I get here?

A sparrow limps past on its little bone crutch saying
I am Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca
risen from the dead—
literature will lose, sunlight will win, don't worry.

The following block is from a book review of Scott Weidensaul's Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding and Jonathan Rosen's The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature by Cindy Crosby in Books and Culture Review (: A Christian Review, that is). The writer internally quoted is Rosen.

Never have I better understood the meaning of Hegel's observation ["the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk"], which essentially means that insight arrives when the end is near, or that cultures peak when they are about to die, than when I started birding." Later, he [Rosen] writes poignantly, "If we don't shore up the earth, the skies will be empty." Birding has changed him for the better: "Dawn and dusk matter differently to me now, and the seasons, tied to the arrival of birds and the departure of birds, bind me to the earth in subtle and important ways."

"Dawn and dusk matter differently to me now, and the seasons, tied to the arrival of birds and the departure of birds, bind me to the earth in subtle and important ways."

I like that. It matters to me too.