By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Mon, December 01 2008 - 3:54 pm
December 30, 2008 Denver, CO
Yesterday was my last day in Corvallis. We went on another walk to the floodplain. On our way we saw ten wild turkeys, strutting brazenly across someone's front yard now that Christmas and Thanksgiving are safely past! Two of them were on the patio, one of them in full display with his tailfeathers spread. Now there's a smart male, already beginning his courtship ingratiations for the coming Spring!
I saw St. Mary's Peak for the first time since I got to Corvallis, it has been that overcast and cloudy for most of the past two weeks. I don't know when I'll get to Corvallis again, but if I can't travel there maybe I'll find a way to find out what is going on. Admittedly, these reports have been more natural-life oriented than anything else. Maybe my absence will result in subjects of more interest to a wider audience. But don't hold your breath!
Two other sources of green growing on trees in Corvallis that I forgot to mention the other day are ferns (yes ferns!) and ivy. All in all, the main winter color in Corvallis still might be green!
December 29, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Well, lately I have been trading reading for game-playing. I have had a crash course lately in video games. I confess to avoiding the ones that involve learning about a whole world in order to navigate through them.
Is that a function of my age, or just the knowledge that I am playing with trial freebies, which will surely bump me off before I have more than a taste of what they are like? Maybe it is just a function of laziness. I don't want to bother to learn so much about a mere game.
I have been enjoying the games, and I hope that playing them has been good exercise for my brain. There are even a couple that I might want to buy someday.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the ones I like were designed for small children!
December 28, 2008 Corvallis, OR
My friend has four birds. He says that he really understands the phrase "bird-brain" now.
They have the same fights every day. It is as if nothing had been settled from the day before.
Remind you of anyone you know?
December 27, 2008 Corvallis, OR
"I want peace and harmony."
"I want peace and counterpoint."
December 26, 2008 Corvallis, OR
This is the 2d day of Christmas, so I won't talk about Fahrenheit 9/11, which I finally saw for the first time today. See it if you haven't.
It is a good thing to know that within a month, the Bush occupation of the White House will be over. That is something to be thankful for.
We went on a long Christmas Day walk yesterday, which was peaceful except for the last leg, when we heard several loud bangs. They sounded like heavy machinery hitting empty metal containers some distance away.
Sounds sometimes fool me like that. My friend who lives in this neighborhood assures me that the noise is created by a neighbor who does it occasionally to annoy another neighbor. She often sleeps during the day, and he likes to bug her.
There's the spirit of Christmas for you!
December 24, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Left the house at what seemed like dawn today, it was so overcast. We took a looong walk to the Midge Cramer path leading to Bald Hill.
The walk reminded me of the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. All the way to the intersection of the path with 53rd street we saw geese flying South. There were more than I have seen flying around here at one time before - thousands of them.
Their formations are by no means always perfect Vees. The first flock (gaggle?) we saw looked like an etch-a-sketch drawing of a bird with a long tail - definitely not a goose! After that it was easy to see a cat (stalking that tempting bird) a dog, a human face (banal, sorry - that's what I saw!) the way you can see them in clouds drifting by in a blue summer sky.
The birds were numerous: we saw a western bluebird, a Stellar's jay, a scrub jay, a pair of towhees (spotted? No spots on the breasts of those birds - both male) hanging out by this huge structure made of twigs that looked like somebody's nest or mound. What kind of creature would make that 2.5 by 3 foot nest at eye-level and above? Not the towhees, I'll bet. I think they nest on the ground, anyway.
They were the least shy of the lot, those towhees - no, I take that back. When I walked toward the pond along the bike path to Philomath, a dozen ducks came towards me, hoping, I guess, for a little Christmas snack. White domestic ducks, mallards, and I think American wigeons.
A hawk I couldn't see well enough to even try to identify was spooked enough by us to keep ahead of us for a while. Of course there were sparrows of several sorts, chickadees, and what I think was a cedar waxwing. Not sure.
The last mile or so of our walk was a little drizzly, but we arrived back at home only a little the worse for wear. I guess we'll spend the rest of the day in serious DVD movie-watching and game-playing.
Have a sweet Christmas Eve!
December 23, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Today, I admit, was a day I could have spent anywhere. It was dryer here today, but I spent the morning at the laundromat and the afternoon watching a DVD movie.
Driving between town and my host's place, however, really looked different from my home state. The deciduous trees did not look dark brown and black; they are covered with lichens, bright green mosses, and Spanish moss (whatever that is botanically!)
It makes for a softer look. Winter does not look so stark, and actually here it isn't. But that doesn't prevent the cloud cover from keeping the sky white, and woe betide him who fails to take the wet into account when he protects himself from the cold!
Another way to put it: Santa won't take off his fur suit when he comes here. He will probably top it with a parka!
December 22, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Well, no way to describe this weather except nasty. I apologize to those who grin inanely and say, "I like all weather."
Well. I don't. The only thing you can say for it is that it is not terribly cold. Mid-thirties, iced with snow and slush. Lots of nice, goopy, slush.
But I remembered to take my camera when we headed out today. Seeing a view of Mary's River I have never seen snow-splashed, I decided to take a photo, got out of the truck, and approached the bridge.
There I learned a photography lesson: when approaching a good location for a shot, turn your camera on before you get too close. Otherwise the wildlife which you unintentionally flush (in this case a Great Blue Heron) will become a mere speck in your picture before you manage to snap it. Well, maybe I'll be able to see it when it is up on the computer.
Not to worry, though. A walk along the Willamette River a short while later provided a viewing of not one but what seemed to be a dozen Great Blues! Is that possible? I had no binoculars, so I'm not sure. They were on the far side of the river. I have never seen so many together before. Can anybody tell me about that? If you happened by the Willamette River along the Corvallis River walk and know what we saw, write me!
Ha, ha, ha! Who what when where how? I dunno!
December 21, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Stayed in bed twelve hours last night. Who says humans don't hibernate when given the opportunity? (Especially when tempted to slumber by football on TV (oops, sorry, no offense intended! And from what I heard of the game, none offered by the home team, either!))
Today is the shortest day of the year. It looks as if the snow is gone. Yesterday during the daylight hours we went into The Golden Crane in downtown Corvallis, which has jewelry and clothing and art objects. The young woman minding the store was carrying a beautiful baby in front of her, wrapped in a rebozo (or a perhaps MidEastern equivalent?)
They were the perfect tableau for the Advent season! We bought a lovely piece of hand-crafted jewelry reflective of the natural world.
Unfortunately downtown was not teeming with customers. It makes me concerned for the heart of Corvallis, which has been lively ever since I first saw the town. Come downtown to do your Christmas shopping! My home town already has some empty storefronts on our main street right across from the Courthouse. Believe me, you don't want this to happen in your community!
Wherever you are, spend local if you can. One or two unique objects equals many junky and/or mass produced ones.
And if you honestly aren't hurting for money, maybe this is the year to spend more than usual as a gift to everyone else, instead of contracting financially along with all the folks who have real reason to fear!
Maybe that is the significance of Santa living at the North Pole. Where could there be less stuff than at the North Pole? Yet Santa gives and gives and gives!
December 20, 2008 Corvallis, OR
My friend has a bird cage with four finches: two strawberry and two society finches. He calls them his jailbirds.
He says they are where they belong - behind bars. They are, he believes, quintessential juvenile delinquents always engaging in the same silly spats and power plays.
When he opens the cage door wide, one of them might fly out a foot or so, then fly back in; but for the most part, they just ignore the gate to freedom.
Let him open the door just a little, though, to change the birdseed, and one of the birds will try to escape through the relatively narrow opening.
Are we people like that? Do we ignore the wide-open door and set ourselves up to try to squeak through a risky, narrow opening?
If we do, why do we do it? Lack of understanding and perception of our opportunities? Or the challenge and thrill of dangerous adventure?
December 19, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Yesterday I was enthusing about the variety of plant life found in this part of the country, including Corvallis. Today these charms have been magnified by a four-inch snow.
So much snow my friend and I have not seen here, and he has lived here four years longer than I. On our walk we saw snow-covered trees with unusual stem and leaf configurations that made patterns of tracery I have never seen before anywhere.
A robin perches at the very top of a mature tree, as if to say, "Make no mistake - I am still King."
The nearby mountains look graceful snow-coated, and clumps of closely-planted pines in the distance stand out in high contrast. Big bunches of geese are flying in straggling Vees and I wonder if they are wondering whether to get the hell out of here.
Not me. I am delighted to be in Corvallis and looking forward to going downtown and soaking up all the Christmas cheer that seems to be abounding. Maybe Corvallis will even have a white Christmas this year! No wonder everyone seems so jolly!
December 18, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Took a three mile walk around the Southwest side of town today. Unlike the usual walk here, we had to watch out for slippery ice underfoot.
Come to Corvallis and you can see what can be done for winter plant ornamentation in your yard: lots of shrubs with red twigs and/or red berries; lots of apple trees still loaded with still-red apples; blooming heathers and even a faded rose or two.
Like the northern conifers? Come to Corvallis! Like the Spanish-moss decoration of the Far South? You might feel a little at home in Corvallis. The predominant colors on this coldish rainy day were brown and white (snow) and the colors we use to celebrate X-mas, only in off-traditional tones: dark russet reds, mossy greens.
Mary's Floodplain, which is a project to restore some native habitat, has a boardwalk which overlooks some colorful winter shrubbery. The burnt-off field which comprises part of the view hid a group of kill-deer that flew off keening when we walked by. I'm told this kind of burning was done by Native Americans centuries ago for hunting purposes.
Our walk took us through neighborhoods with old houses and new, sheltering folks who aren't afraid to share their small front yards with giant sequoias and people who are looking forward to what they can put into their own now-empty yards for the next twenty years. There can't be a region of the country with more varieties of growable shrubs and trees than the Northwest!
Just don't allow the visual riches of the place to distract you from what might be underfoot for the next few days!
December 17, 2008 Corvallis, OR
Flight into Portland, shuttle ride through some horizontal snowfall, then Corvallis!
But what a Corvallis! More snow than I have ever seen here, I think. I was here during an ice storm five or six years ago that broke a lot of trees. This is more just the kind of weather I thought I was leaving when I left Indiana.
I go to Denver and the temperature plummets fifty degrees.
I guess I must pack big weather power!
For the next two weeks or so I will be stumbling around the town to see what's new. Your Corvallis correspondant, long silent, has returned.
I want to get a good picture of the Benton County Courthouse decorated for Xmas.
December 16, 2008 Denver, CO
I must blush. I rephrased mid-sentence in yesterday's entry and said the exact opposite of what I meant!
In my own defense, I plead itchiness. A rash that turned up on me was spreading, causing me to make some of those small motions which I usually abhor - in this case scratching!
Ah, the perils of travel! Or maybe just going out into the world! I got a case of - oh, I won't bore you with details. But I'm not sure I am happy with a ten-day dose of antibiotics for Christmas! I wonder what kind of being bad rates that? (No, don't start snickering, I don't have a STD!)
My failure to edit well yesterday is especially disturbing because I got a relatively large number of hits on this article. Maybe it was just the same person going, "Huh? Huh? This doesn't make sense!
Ah well, why should I be so different from life of which I am a part? Sometimes it doesn't make much sense, either!
December 15, 2008 Denver, CO
My sister, Mom, and I are working on my Mom's Christmas card list. I tried to get four copies of her little poem to print out on one page via Word and only succeeded with teeny tiny print. Ended up just printing out four copies, cutting them out, and putting them on the copy machine. Total time? Way faster than hand typing or writing long-hand. Total elegance? Er....
My sister is in the process of setting up the computer and printing out mailing labels. I was just speculating that it may have taken longer than handwriting them, when she said as much. Ultimately, of course it saves time because we can use the same (or slightly revised) list for next year. My sis says she would rather spend equal time futzing with the computer than hand-writing envelopes.
I, on the other hand, admit to hating futzing around with anything physical! be it packing or technological items or birthday cake icing or editing even. It is a necessary evil. And if I can escape the task, not even necessary.
I've noticed different people like different kinds of physical motions, too. Some people don't mind little physical chores. My mother does not seem to mind scrubbing burned stuff off the bottoms of pans. She burns one almost every day for her scouring pleasure. I myself prefer large sweeping activities and gestures. I would rather run than scrub. And I would run a long distance to avoid scrubbing!
In fact, I'm still running!
December 14, 2008 Denver, CO
Weird. Drove into a sunny dry warmish Denver and woke up to a white snowy 10 degree Denver! Hard to believe that last night we watched Christmas (!) fireworks from the back yard here in Thornton. That was a December first for me!
It was especially exciting because the shadows of the kids running around in the back yard next door made it look as if bears and buffalo were scurrying along the fence, panicked by the noise of the explosions. They were very blurry, amorphous shapes and kind of atavistically fear-arousing.
It is late in the day for me to remember the great ideas I had for my blahg this morning. A five mile walk bundled against the bitter winds has me pleasantly warm and mindless now that we are safe and warm at home. Maybe tomorrow morning I will remember that if I don't write them down the ideas go... where? Wonderland?
Oh, I have a question for you, though. Is an apostrophe the opposite of an aside? Sounds like it to me. What do you think?
December 13, 2008 Denver, CO
Two days of relatively uneventful driving, and here we are. I was impressed by the driving this time around - the only one behaving badly was me! (No, I won't tell all, but I'll give you a hint - if you only wake up twice while driving, that is still twice too often!) Luck was with us this time, and I promise never to lunch without coffee again while on the road!
I was still surprised by the large percentage of trucks vs. cars, but the overall traffic was lighter than usual, I guess. The wide open spaces were wide open and wonderful. The temperature hit 60 - a far cry from the single and low double-digits we experienced last year.
Yesterday we left Valparaiso under a beautiful full moon set off by black trees and scuddy clouds. We got to watch it ring itself through changes in size and color for ninety minutes before it set. Again this morning the moon looked full, creating an incredibly serene tableau with grassy western plains. I think I saw more full moon in two mornings than I have seen in the last twenty years. I recommend that awesome way to begin a day's drive.
One amusing sight I wish I could have photographed: in the distance I saw what looked like a huge metallic ducky. One second later I recognized it for what it was - a cement truck parked in front of an old-fashioned windmill. Sometimes I wish I could just blink and take a photo with my eyes. (There's a super power for you - do we already have a pop hero with that capability?) Although I must admit, going down the highway at 70 miles an hour, that poor ducky would probably have been decapitated before I could close my eyes. Some picture.
I expected to arrive in an overcast Denver in 20 degree weather. Instead it was still sunny (kinda!) and in the 50's! Trippy.
December 11, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
I need a vacation, and it looks as if I am going to get it, God willing! Yesterday an egg exploded in the kitchen. The sad thing is, I was able to identify the sound!
Tomorrow we hit the no-longer-so-open road, destination Denver. I'm in the mood to take some food - too bad it isn't picnic weather!
The second day of our trip should hold open roads and big skies - I can hardly wait. The recession may mean fewer trucks on the road, which is fine with me. May the usually overworked truckers enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holidays (to put a positive spin on the situation.)
I wonder how the Illinois governor is handling his situation! May he enjoy the break from all that mind-bending strategizing and scheming!
A vacation from blahging I do not want. Hopefully I will be able to log on and and tell you about some of my observations about our (with any luck) tame adventure!
Only ten days until the light begins to return! Yay!
December 10, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
The last time I bemoaned the fact that Jay Leno was leaving the Tonight Show, a friend informed me that Leno had given NBC notice 5 years ago.
I was afraid he would go to some cable channel that I don't get, and he would be as inaccessible to my enjoyment as Bill Maher.
Now I hear NBC will have Jay Leno on earlier! Great! Now I can go to bed earlier, unless Conan O'Brien makes me laugh.
Gee, TV is giving a lot of laughs lately! I love the mix of comedy, politics, and passion.
Now my only quandry is, when will I watch Keith Olbermann? He is one of my favorites, but what about John Stewart, Steve Colbert, and now Jay? Every night I will have to make choices. It is just too much.
Did I hear you say I watch too much TV?
I read during ads, I quilt a good deal sometimes (when it is cold, especially) and I toggle back and forth and play computer games too.
Laughs are good for us, and besides, can you think of a more painless way to keep up with the news? I may actually learn the names of the people on the new Cabinet!
December 9, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
Anybody else feel as if Walmart is trying to become the company store for the whole US?
I guess it wasn't enough for them to have a lot of good stuff at low prices, make a lot of money and revolutionize the way business is done in the USA.
They had to add food, and started undercutting prices at local grocery stores. No way can those smaller local stores provide cheaper. Better quality, maybe, but not cheaper. This has always annoyed me. Months ago I expressed concern that someday Walmart would be our only choice (at which time, of course, prices would go up.) People pooh-poohed me.
Now I'm really getting worried. I hear people saying that they are doing more of their food shopping at Walmart. (I only buy food at Walmart if I can't get what I want elsewhere. It happens rarely.) Now Walmart is trying to undersell and undercut Starbucks! Starbucks!
I used to go to local coffeeshops. Then, years ago, I had to give up more than one cup of coffee a day and just grind my own in the mornings. But Walmart's trying to compete with Starbucks (and, incidentally, local shops) really does get my goat. I'm tempted to go plunk myself down at least once a week in the local Starbucks just to spite Walmart.
Why does Walmart's move annoy me so much? Because Starbucks has employee profit-sharing plans and is relatively good to its employees, that's why. Walmart has been sued for bad treatment of employees and is also known for an anti-gay bias.
And because I think Walmart has sinister motives. I think it is trying to become our only-choice company store and take over the world.
I am ashamed to admit that for years Walmart (a mere three blocks or so from my home in those days) got a pretty good hunk of my money every month.
Then it moved farther away. I had to drive to get there. What's more, my kids were older and really could find a lot of stuff to want there. I soon realized I was spending waaay more than if I just stayed closer to home and bought more urgent necessities even if I did pay slightly higher prices.
My kids got older yet and steered me away from Walmart for political reasons (some of which I have mentioned above.) I haven't shopped at Walmart much for years.
Now my kids are largely self-supporting. I call one on the phone, and it sounds noisy in the background.
"What are you doing?"
"Where are you?"
December 8, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
This morning I was lying in bed, for some reason not being inspired to rise by all the depressive negative fearful thoughts that I was having, and realized yet again how much of an emotional impact the loss of light this time of year has on me. And, I honestly believe, us.
Maybe that is why my dad died at this time of year... oh. That's right. My Dad died four years and a few days ago. The anniversary of my father's death is overshadowed every year (or should I say obliterated by the light of) two of my children's birthdays and preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But this is the time of year my Dad died.
Maybe the loss of light is what inspires the holiday suicides. Maybe it is not the stress of family get-togethers and expectations. Maybe it is the loss of light that inspires the religious holidays and not vice-versa.
Well, of course, you say.
But Saturnalia in Rome was not just a dinner. It was literally a nine-day festival of eating and drinking (for those who had the means.) That is one way to cope with the (probably even by then) unconscious fear of obliteration.
Party while you can!
Some primitives, perhaps, (and maybe some moderns, too) believed that the light would not come back without the concentrated attention and will of everyone in the culture - kind of like the impression you get on an airplane taking off or landing that a high percentage of the passengers feel they need to concentrate on the process for it to succeed.
Well, maybe they're right!
At any rate, may you get through this yearly Valley-of-the-Shadow-of-Death darkening with as much faith in Spring as possible. In fact, try to have a good time with your families rather than blaming them for your malaisi and/or taking it out on them.
If you are alone, religion and science are both on the side of optimism about the return of the light. Console yourself with the knowledge that both science and religion blame humans for the most of the evil threatening the world and our existence in it today. Sufficient to the day is the evil of - only yourself! You don't have to complicate the emotional mix by dealing with anyone else. Celebrate! Have your favorite meal and be Santa Claus to yourself, if no one else.
Be of good cheer! The return of the light is near.
(And if you don't know what on earth I'm talking about - Congratulations! You must live on the equator!)
December 7, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
This morning I wanted to grind my coffee. When I know my mom is asleep I try to grind my coffee when a train is going by (or failing a train, a real noisy truck!) I realized I hadn't heard a train all night.
I shrugged. That does not mean there were no noisy trains going by - the kind that used to wake me up two or three times a night when I first came back here. It just meant that I had stopped noticing them.
Had the snow stopped the trains? Who knows? It was after seven in the morning; I ground my coffee.
Since it is Sunday and I am free to follow my own bent (evidently this morning a philosophical one) I continued to reflect on how we get used to stuff. Bad stuff and good stuff. I live in a neighborhood with noisy trains - bad. After a while you stop noticing them (good).
The other day when I was shoveling snow it was light and fluffy and I felt energetic so I went a little beyond the call of duty on both sides of our property. This morning I expected to have to shovel snow. It seems that someone else has gone beyond the call of duty! What a nice surprise! Thank you.
I am always nonplussed by people who say they don't like surprises. What about good surprises? Does such a thing not exist for these folks?
Are their lives so good and comfortable and under their own control that the slightest deviation from their norm comes as an (always bad) surprise?
A week or two ago I saw a newscast that covered a Chicago family who went to Africa at the urging of a friend who had a charitable project there. On their return the children of the family talked about the African children, "They were so happy!" presumably at least partly because of the visit of the Americans and the celebration of something different and novel in their lives. Strangers! More food than usual! What a very pleasant surprise! The American kid, blessed every day with a thousand times more material possessions and opportunities than their more deprived counterparts, marvelled at their joy.
I personally like surprises. Bad ones are unfortunate - of course I don't like those. But I don't like the expected bad, either. Several decades on the planet will, I hope, help me both avert some of the bad "surprises" and deal with the ones I can't prevent.
But many surprises are good ones! They add punctuation to our days and a new perspective to our experience: Oh! Here is something new! Here is something I hadn't thought about or expected! How wonderful!
A train just went by from the west. No surprise. This time most of the snow fell to the east of here.
Hmmm... it is snowing again. No surprise.
My mom is still asleep. Kind of a surprise, but a good one!
Don't want to wake anyone up from sweet sleep with a bad noisy surprise!
December 5, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
Yesterday I read that climatic temperatures are supposed to get a lot hotter in the Midwest. Maybe I should stay where I am and let the warmer weather come to me!
Last night I dreamt about a vest that keeps you cool in the manner of those bands you put around your forehead and neck. In addition to keeping you cool, carrying the weight would add to load-bearing exercise good for your bones. This would help people who are less heavy keep their bones healthy.
The garment in my dream was transparent and contoured to add curves and/or augment their appearance by the refraction of light. In my dream, someone wearing one of these transparent things over a skimpy bikini looked really sexy!
Am I dreaming?
December 4, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
Yesterday I woke up from a dream in which I saw fireflies swooping around (but gently!) like flocks of birds in the lower branches of a stand of trees.
I was holding my phone absentmindedly in my hand and it started to ring. Wild!
Do people who are in a coma snore? If they don't, why not?
Maybe someday a Bush will come along who dreams he is a tree. Instead of a burning bush that draws oil out of the ground and burns it up, he/she might be a tree that shelters the land from the burning sun.
Maybe someday a Bush will dream about his own hands creating something. Maybe he will dream his fingers flower and turn into apples.
All you who do not introspect, if you would learn to live in the USA on $20,000 a year and be happy, look within!
For the past few days I have been reading Rumi over my meals. That is enough to awaken your inner life!
Feed your inner self! The only part I don't like is when Rumi tells me not to eat. I'm afraid I am so unholy that when I don't eat instead of being possessed by holy fervor I am possessed by the spirit of Kali the goddess of destruction!
I wonder really what good advice fasting is. It seems to me that some of the hungriest among us supply the ranks of the disaffected and the terrorists.
What do you think?
December 3, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
Keith Olbermann mentioned last night that The Bushes disapprove of introspection - consider it a weakness. Well, no wonder George W. rubbed me the wrong way! How can anyone in a position of power be any good at all if he doesn't search his soul?
As the Queen of Introspection, I decree that after he gets out of office, President Bush begin his new responsibilities in the life of the inner world! Olbermann cracked re Bush, If there is nothing in there, why would you want to look in? Cruel, and ha, ha!
President Bush and all others who do not believe they have an inner world, your Queen is very angry. (Not to mention your King, whatever he may be!) What would your spiritual ministers say?
Surely you all dream! What do you dream? How can you function without some contact with your inner world?
How does anyone deal with the potential corruptive aspect of power if he does not examine his otherwise unconscious motives?
December 2, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
Now that there is snow on the roads again here in the Midwest, the trucks are out sprinkling salt.
A year or two ago I saw a mound of salt in the road where a truck, having finished its rounds, dumped it. It was enough salt to supply several households with the salt they would need for several years, if they don't use it excessively. Actually, if people use the amount we use (not much) it probably would have lasted for decades! As it is, I can't help but wonder if dumping it damaged the flora and fauna of a park nearby.
Keep an eye out for such dumps or smaller (double-fist size) chunks that escape the trucks. I picked up some from the street last year and don't think I will have to buy salt for years .
We citizens can be especially helpful in this regard if the cities run out of salt and are unable to obtain more. (I believe in using other forms of ice control like stones, but if the city is using salt, we might as well help conserve it.) If the city runs out of salt and you have a particularly icy patch near your house, you can use what you have rescued to make the streets safer. It will be kind of like the loaves and fishes! ( I love that "miracle!")
Hmmm... I wonder what other ways the citizenry can use the loaves and fishes principle to help themselves and their communities. Got any good ideas?
Dec. 1, 2008 Valparaiso, IN
Why do so many Christians hate and despise and fear agnostics and atheists so much?
It's very un-Christian! Reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the two sons. One son said he would do his father's bidding, then didn't. The other son said he would not, then did the requested work. Jesus asked, "Which is the good son?"
Well, of course, being me, I think that question could have several answers. Maybe neither of them is a good son, because neither both showed respect and did what his father requested. Maybe both of them were good sons. One said no, but then relented. The other meant well, but forgot to do what he had said he would do, putting a low priority on his father's work.
The answer Jesus was trying to elicit, I bet, was that the son who said no but did the work was the good son. Actions speak louder than words, and all that.
So why do most Christian churches put so much emphasis on faith and not so much on behaving well? Why do so many Christians dismiss the non- or irreligious so readily?
I have noticed in myself that I am more likely to get an unwanted chore done by planning not to do it - yet. Giving myself permission not to do it often opens the way to doing it almost immediately.
Sounds like immaturity, huh? Maybe Jesus' question should have been, "Which son is more the child?" I say the one who said yes like a good little kid, but then, not understanding the importance of the chore (I think it was harvesting) did not follow through. The other son, sounding like a rebellious teen-ager, was grown up enough to realize the importance of what his father asked and ultimately helped out. After he established his independence, of course!
What good is saying, "I believe" if you can't act as if you do? It might have a high value to the churches because they keep you in the fold (positive thinking) and/or have you under their control. (The latter only in the worst, coldest cases, of course.)
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