carpe diem

Bloged in life, metaphor, time by rod Friday May 18, 2007

decay

Time takes its toll
and the past is a tolling bell, “come and remember.”
The future whispers, “enter cautiously,
for you can never go back.”

I stand and grieve for the rotting timbers,
and ask why I didn’t listen to the subtle voice of tomorrow
before plunging headlong into the whitewater rapids
and racing from the past.

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new moon shine

Bloged in easter, luna see, metaphor, seasons, time by rod Sunday April 15, 2007

The Paschal moon waned to darkness tonight to make way for the new flower moon. This is momentous for calendrical beings such as myself. I have been suspended in holy week a week longer and my blog has stood empty like the void of the tomb I’ve been contemplating since last Sunday morning. I behaved in much the same way last year until the last morning I saw the crescent rising before it went dark and the lunar symbol of life after death set late in the evening a day later as a waxing promise of growth and life.
I know, I’m so predictable. Not a soul at church seemed surprised on Palm Sunday morning when I waxed on from the platform about Palm Sunday falling on April Fool’s day.
Last month I rambled about the new Paschal moon on the first day of Spring. It grew with the flowers, bloomed full in holy week and waned as life went on, reborn.
Things like that have meaning to me. I immerse myself in the times of the year, the church calendar. I ramble on about time and my fear of it, my inability to understand it.
I read in Genesis that God put the moon and stars in the sky to mark seasons and days and years. So here I am staring up from the deck deep in the night. Wondering at it all. It’s time to turn in.

Good night deck, good night chair.
Good night Yahweh, everywhere.
Goodnight Paschal moon.

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growing young

Bloged in life, love and marriage, metaphor, time by rod Monday March 19, 2007

So Allison turned 43 today.
Rounded off to the nearest year, we’re the same age again. I really don’t enjoy those 37 days during which she is a year younger than I am. I’m always afraid she’ll think I’m too old for her and run off with a younger man. But, now I’m safe for another year, we’re the same age again.
Allison worked last night. In fact, she worked an extra 12-hour night shift this weekend. So on the morning of her birthday, she could have done what you and I would have done after a night’s work. Instead, she came home, changed shoes and ran 50 miles. Well, somewhere between 5 and 50. But still. Right? After a night shift, and at 43? Sheesh.

I’m really proud to be able to say I’m married to a 43 year-old woman because in all honesty, no one believes it. In some ways, she is like my own mom, whose age peaked at some point, and she has since been getting younger. Allison’s age peaked a couple years ago, and while I believe she has grown more in these two years than perhaps all of life before, she has grown younger at an equal rate.
Her increasing youth is manifest in growing dependence on all those around us. She is becoming less afraid to need and is regaining the ability to be vulnerable – a trait that is stolen away as we age and lose innocence and naiveté.
It seems like a paradox that the more we grow, the younger we get. A mystery. But it’s real. We’re told that unless we come as children, we won’t get it. The whole world pressures us to grow up, be rational, reason and understand. But they don’t get. Children can imagine what doesn’t seem possible and believe what can’t be explained. Once we convince ourselves to do what we desperately want to do, to believe what we desperately want to believe, we begin to grow younger. What is too good to be real becomes commonplace.
Rich Mullins wrote, “we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old, but our Father still waits and he watches down the road… growing young…”

Of course, those of you who have seen her lately know that not all her increasing youth is in the form of heart and spirit. There are physical manifestations too, if I may say so.
I’ve known her since we were 18, and in my heart of hearts, I’d choose body, soul, and spirit, March 19, 2007’s Allison over any other day’s Allison since August 1982.
I know that the normal gender expression of aging is that women fight it and men seem not to care (as long as they get a sports car in their early 50s). But we are definitely reversed, Allison and I. She beautifully and gracefully gathers the days and months and years. She joyfully grasps the wisdom those years are bringing. She smiles at the sprigs of gray sprouting in both our manes.
I’m learning from her that there may be some possibility that the results of these dog years are not all decay. I look at the beautiful laugh lines forming at the corner of her eyes and I realize that the older you get the less effective the façade at covering the spirit that lies within.
I too want to learn to carry myself in such a way that the wind and the years form a surface that is indicative of what lies beneath. I want to grow on the inside so that the patina reflects the wisdom and experience found within.
Thank you, Allison, for being pro-aging. Thank you for growing. I pray that we continue to learn to nourish and tend to one another through the rest of our growing season.

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kingdom 2.0

Bloged in apprenticeship, church, community, culture, metaphor by rod Friday March 16, 2007

A year and a half or so ago, I made a mirror site for my blog because Wordpress was so much more tweakable and I really wanted “categories” to help me organize my thoughts. I realized that I’d need to post simultaneously to both locations, so I bought the blog editing software, Ecto to do so. It was $18, and I’d never have to login to either blogsite to post. Woot.
A few months ago, Blogger began moving folks to their new version. Mine, being quite large was one of the last to go, but even before I went, the tweaks in the blogger system had rendered ecto suddenly inoperable, intermittently at first, then totally. Since then, I’ve had to post to blogger manually. Gee whiz.
That is until today. I got tired of copying and pasting and writing extra code, so I began to dig around blogger looking for a more accurate API access point. Eventually, I found a tweak of Ecto itself that fixed the blogger-caused blogger problem.
The guy who wrote Ecto also has a day job. He wrote Ecto for fun. He’s busy now writing a new version, Ecto 3.0, but he still took the time to write a fix to a problem that was caused by someone else’s software and that had rendered his already-paid-for product useless to all us who had spent the $18. Wasn’t that sweet?
But all of that is just back-story.
The front story is that it seems like this kind of business - community, and development for the sake of advancement rather than commerce only happens on the interwebs. Furthermore, it usually has to do with product that you can’t see, hold in your hand, or show to the manufacturer so that they can see what’s broken. In real life, it seems that once a product is out the door, it’s your problem. Inadequacies, flaws, and blemishes are cleverly hidden or downplayed until they are taken home. Can you imagine buying a car just before a road is repaved, and then having the dealership give you new tires that will work better on the new surface? That’s what happens everyday on the internets. It’s more of a web than ever before with every aspect so closely connected and dependent on others. In interweb land, what has long been forgotten in the real world is blatantly obvious daily, we are all dependent on one another. If there’s a problem with one element, we all suffer. Development forces development so that one doesn’t become the weak link.
When my blog is visited, nearly every piece of content on the page is gathered from different servers. The text is stored at google, the photos in the text body are stored in my server space at gracemonkey.com, the hit counter is loaded from sitemeter, the flickr badge comes from Yahoo, the moon phase calculator is drawn from elsewhere, and on and on. Right now, sitemeter is working to correct a data problem that has messed up my stat updates. They are reading code and deleting corrupted lines so that my FREE stat counter will be accurate. Each time something becomes incompatible with another element, work is done to upgrade the other element to insure that they keep working in tandem.

I live in a physical society that has seen parts of it upgraded over and over, while other parts have been ignored, and rendered incompatible and inoperable. As time goes by, upgrades to the upgraded parts become more and more advanced and frequent, while the neglected parts become further outdated and forgotten. Furthermore, certain features of the upgraded parts at various times have been designated less important than others and so they too have ceased to be upgraded and thus, become incompatible with the more newly upgraded parts. All effort is put into a smaller and smaller segment while the quickly receding obsolete parts grow bigger and bigger.
Ironically though, many of the writers for the increasingly narrowed upgrades, eventually begin to notice that much of the content needed to load the index page is found on the servers they’ve neglected and abandoned as obsolete. When needed, the content is unavailable – outdated, obsolete. Of what importance is a Commodore 64 in Web 2.0?
Apparently, a lot, and if some of the upgraded power is not used to update the neglected, the entire physical interweb suffers.

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the most beautiful thing

Bloged in community, friends, luna see, metaphor by rod Thursday March 8, 2007

Last night when I started home from the gym, the moon was just rising. It occurred to me at first glance that the moon is the most beautiful thing. I had to ponder for the rest of the evening whether it was actually a beauty that it contained in itself. After all, it’s just a big round rock in space. It gives off no light of its own, it has no colorful atmosphere, and its complexion is quite pockmarked and scarred. To call it “crater-face” would be no cruel exaggeration.

So how is it that a round, gray rock is the most beautiful thing?
moon of winds
The whole “most beautiful thing” thought occurred to me because at that moment of first sighting, it was the only thing I could see, save the roof of the Piggly Wiggly that was serving as a flat, tar-covered horizon out of which the moon was emerging. So it’s just the moon, no terrestrial accessories to spice of the beauty. No, come to think of it there is a diffuse mist causing a soft, out-of-focus glow around the moon that even spills onto the tar horizon of the PW.
When I drove down our own street, it had risen above the mist, and shone clear and brightly and unobstructed. Still beautiful, alone in the sky. But wait, by herself, I’d not see her at all. There’s that sunlight splashing off her face at such an angle as to shadow her top, right corner, and cast shades of designs across her scarred face.
When I reached home, she was shining through the trees in the back yard and was more beautiful than before. I realized that she truly is dependent for her beauty. Her beauty is found in her interaction with an infinite array of other beautiful things.
It’s a give and take relationship. She causes the tree limbs to shimmer light and cast streams of shadow on the ground. The tree limbs playfully obstruct her visage and create a flirty glance as she peers down. She perches atop a mountain peak, spills reflected sunlight on a lake that illuminates the undersides of trees on the bank, peers between two buildings, shines upon the soft face of beautiful girl illuminating a cheekbone, and shadowing a slender neck.
Perhaps she’s the most beautiful thing because she’s the common denominator among so many beautiful things. Back home in the mountains, by the river, a Caribbean beach, in the Grand Canyon, the Arizona desert, my backyard – she’s the common beauty. Stealing beauty, adding beauty, interacting with beauty. Reflecting the light of another, and spreading it all around.

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obstacles 2.0

Bloged in apprenticeship, life, metaphor by rod Tuesday March 6, 2007

During our flight from Atlanta to Phoenix, I read a few short, silly articles in one of those magazines found in the back of the seat in front of me. One article was a review/advertisement for a book by Daniel Gilbert called, Stumbling on Happiness. His thesis is that people don’t really know what makes them happy. We have dreams and ambitions and plans and desires, but so often when reached or realized, one finds that they tarnish quickly. Apparently, Gilbert believes that regardless of their plans and dreams, people are basically happy with the way things turn out. I’ve thought a lot about that for the past few days, and believe that the real purpose of books that make these claims is to encourage people to be content with the hand they are dealt. A quick scan of those around us doesn’t often reveal people who are happy with the hand they’re dealt. It seems to me that these claims are made to cause unhappy, unfulfilled people to believe that their situation is the same as everyone else’s, and everyone else is perfectly fine with it. Get with the program. Be happy like the rest of the world.
I don’t buy it. You can’t fool me. Ain’t many people any more happy than I am with the surprises, obstacles, unmet dreams, broken hearts, bad decisions, mistakes, and accidents. Why are emo workouts more common than bodypump? Why are therapists more in-demand than personal trainers? It seems closer to reality to state that few people are fulfilled though their dreams are realized, and fewer still when their dreams are dashed or things don’t go as planned
What I think I might agree with though, is that it is possible to be content with the hand we are dealt. In fact, I believe that quite often the hand we are dealt is far better than the hand we wished for. I just don’t think many of us have the ability to see that, at least not in time to enjoy the way things are – when they are.

Will and I arrived in Flagstaff just before midnight on Friday night. The temperature was 18 degrees Fahrenheit, and the sides of the road were quite snowy. When we got off the exit, my anti-lock brakes immediately began to pump, but still weren’t enough to stop me on the correct side of the stop sign. We drove through town looking for an open convenience store and slid and skidded all the way. I found one and asked the guy at the register if there was any way we could make it to the canyon alive that night. He sent us 30 extra miles through the desert saying there shouldn’t be any snow out there. He was right, no more snow until we reached the park.
Rite of Passage travel is supposed to be tough because it is a symbol of the larger journey on which we’ve already embarked, and just like the larger journey, there is a joy in overcoming and a beauty to be seen when one relaxes and realizes that his journey is not only a means to an end, but an end in itself. The journey is a major part of the destination.
We had no more than rolled our tires onto desert roads before the desert darkness surrounded. The horizon that we’re used to seeing glowing, was black. The only light was from the car, pointing directly ahead, and the moon and myriad stars above. The moon had nothing to hide behind and so hovered larger than life on what seemed like the horizon for the entirety of the trip. When we crossed over mountains, and when we were around the canyon, we could look down at what seemed like far beneath us, and see the moon and stars. It was a very surreal experience. We even encountered two Elk much more suddenly, surprisingly and closely than we might have wished for.
Once we’d entered the Park, we still had 28 miles to our spot on the rim to pack it in for the night. Immediately after passing through the gate, the roads turned white with about 2 inches of snow with no tire tracks and we drove through dense Piñon forest at 15 miles per hour creating our own path for the rest of the trip. My lunar love affair is public knowledge, so you can imagine how thrilled I was at this hours-long trek directly toward the sinking moon. I was given the gift of traveling through the high desert, in the black of night, east to west, with the constant guidance of the setting desert moon.

No matter how many times it happens to me, travel that doesn’t proceed as planned, is terribly frustrating as it is happening. But apparently just as often, the obstacles that are thrown in our path seem to cause us to be in just the right place at just the right time. I’ve written about crawling traffic for 200 miles in the pouring rain that caused me to be atop Fancy Gap in Virginia precisely at the right time to the most spectacular sunset, and a double rainbow set against the permeating orange atmosphere. I wrote about sitting still in rush hour traffic to get a good laugh at seeing a perfect, mint condition Bundt® cake sitting on the white line at the edge of I-20. There are dozens of stories in which our momentum has been governed to put us where we needed to be when we needed to be there, or even to keep us from someplace when we’re not supposed to be there.

I constantly strive to learn more clearly how important the journey is. It’s my desire to be traveler whose journey is the destination and whose final rest is simply a reward for the journey. Teach me to become attached and rooted only to people and to burn with the desire for their company on the metaphorical journey.
The 40-year journey that the Hebrews took was not reflective of the distance to the destination. My life journey is not to get me to the other side. In fact, I could be there in a matter of minutes. The journey itself is included in the destination, the goal. The kingdom is at hand - within and among us.
We journey through it to arrive in it.

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saturday sky

Bloged in life, metaphor by rod Saturday January 13, 2007

How is it that you wear that face,
but never shed a tear?
Dark, gloomy, foreboding, withdrawn.
Darkclouds
Sullen sadness and sorrow are
written thick upon your countenance,
But no tears fall.

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full

Bloged in luna see, metaphor, seasons by rod Monday October 9, 2006

Here she is kiddos. Full Harvest Moon 2006. The weather held out until she was full and then promptly clouded over and began raining.
She’s still up there though, above the clouds, shining on.


Harv06

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promise

Bloged in luna see, metaphor by rod Monday September 25, 2006


Harvwax

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she’s my friend

Bloged in luna see, metaphor by rod Monday September 4, 2006


Sept3

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