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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

After The Storm

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"   
-Mark 4

For most of the world it goes unnoticed.  But for those at its center it is the world.  That's the way it is with storms of all kinds whether they be wind and waves, snow and sleet, water and mud, or words and emotions.  Storms consume those caught in their paths, mostly for hours or days but sometimes forever.  
Storms change coastlines, landscapes, skylines, neighborhoods, and lives.  Storms come and storms go but not without leaving awe in their wakes.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Melody and Harmony

Sometimes people use this very old expression, “unity in diversity.” I very much like the way Japanese speak—not about unity in diversity, but “harmony in diversity.”   There is this great diversity at every level—and diversity is part of the superabundance of life. Diversity is an absolute necessity for something to emerge and come into being.    
 - Ursula King

Melody is the single strand of music that is usually recognizable, familiar, and comfortable to our ears and voices.  Melody can be sung by one person, or by several in unison.  Melody is the story of life as we may imagine or wish it to have happened: simple, straight forward, independent, and tidy.   

Harmony derives from melody as different but related tones add depth and texture to the melody.  Harmony brings in the mysterious, the nearly recognizable, the not so familiar, and perhaps even the discordant.  Harmony requires more than one voice.  Harmony is the story of life as it most likely is: rich, layered, interconnected, and often messy.   

What are the songs of our lives, and are they mostly melody or harmony?   

If we are to truly embrace the wonder of life and the majesty of creation perhaps a beginning is learning to harmonize. 

"O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth."
- Psalm 96

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Holy Ground!

Since I've recently written about my time in New Mexico, I just had to share these photos with you.  They appear on Jeff Sockwell's blog, with whom, along with Bill Owens, I was together in NM.  


Photos of more holy ground!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"...the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing... and the Lord said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."
- Exodus 3

Recently when I was in New Mexico the high altitudes of the mountains were painted with the brilliant yellow of aspens in their glory, while far below lining stream beds was a different but equally beautiful yellow of the cottonwoods. Today when the first rays of morning sun touch the maple tree outside our front door it glows and shimmers in red hues.  This time of year, I have no trouble whatsoever believing in burning bushes. 

It's a good time of year to wear slippers.     

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

View From The Cheap Seats

How can I write about anything else today besides baseball?   Today, for the first time in forty-eleven years (Who knows how many? Every thing I read and see has a different number), a loooong time, there will be a post-season baseball game in Washington, DC.

Back in 2005 when the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals and season tickets went on sale I was among the first in line (my account # is in the low 400's).  I've been a baseball fan (and player in youth) my entire life then suddenly I lived close enough to the ballpark to walk to a major league game.  (As an aside, I attended the very first National League Championship Series game between the Braves and Mets in 1969, but that's another story).   How could I not have some kind of season ticket?  It was only a 20 game ticket for two seats in the "cheap seats", but it was baseball.   And as I learned to say in during some lean years as an Atlanta Braves fan, "Bad baseball is better than no baseball at all."

Then the Nats moved to the new ball park, and after one season there I upped my tickets to 40 games and split with a close friend who loves and enjoys the game as much as me.  Since then there have been times when neither of our wives could go so we ended up going to a lot of the games together.  So, suffice to say in the 8 seasons the Nationals have been playing, I've seen a lot of baseball, and been in the park for more then several crushing defeats as well as glorious walk off wins.

My friend and I will be in Nationals Park today.  It happens that both our wives are out of town with work.   And win or loose, we, along with thousands of others and the entire city of DC will be celebrating the long awaited fruit of the initial return of baseball to DC, of planning, persistence, patience, and above all hope.

We're still in the "cheap seats" but today every seat in the ballpark is a box seat!    GO NATS!

Thanks for indulging a little sentiment today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lessons From The Trail

OEP 10-3-12

When is the last time you learned something by getting it right? It happens occasionally but more often than not we learn from our mistakes, our failures.

Yesterday was a perfect example of this dynamic for two friends and me. The three of us were hiking at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico and had set out about 9:00 a.m. with plenty of food and water for the top of Mesa Montosa . My friends had made the hike before and had successfully come off the mesa down a dry stream bed, but didn't remember exactly where it was.

To make a long story (and long day) short, suffice to say we had numerous "learning experiences" as we searched for our way down, always keeping in mind to leave enough daylight to make our way back to the trail we had taken up.

At the end of the day even though we were tired and sore, and had not reached our intended destination, we considered the day a great success. We enjoyed the camarderie of the hike, saw spectacular vistas, re-discovered physical capabilities of younger days, and learned a great deal about Mesa Montosa that we hadn't know before. Most of all we learned that we're going to find the end of that elusive stream bed and make our way up it, so that next time we'll know our way down.

There is no such thing as failure as long as we are willing to learn from our mistakes.