Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Evil Ice?

The morning light revealed an unusual world today. It is a world sealed by a thin layer of ice. It seems that the conditions were right last night for freezing rain, which differs significantly from snow.

New-fallen snow gives all things a look of being fresh. Ice does not camoflage as well. Instead, it transforms that which it covers, with no attempt to hide it. Such transformations can be beautiful, as in the tiny limbs of trees taking on added thickness and weight, causing them to form new patterns against the gray sky.

The transformation is sometimes subtle, and it is in these minimal distortions that the additional potential of this natural phenemon is revealed. The potential to function as the hidden trickster.

Snow announces her appearance boldly; ice collects in low spots and waits hidden for unsuspecting travelers to tread on her illusionary solidity. She can be a deadly adversary.

As with all tricksters, the way to avoid their game is to begin by recognizing that they are responding to their nature. There is no malicious intent. No inherent evil. No seeking of revenge. Simply a new manifestation, in this case, a new formation of water, that essential life-giving element. She remains worthy of our respect. In this form, she calls for us to focus on her; to not take her gift for granted. If we honor her with our attention, the ice becomes simply another wonder, not an adversary. And, as with all wondrous things, we approach her with a mix of awe and caution.

Declaring anything evil may be an easy way for our limited minds to categorize things. But often, I think it may rob us of an awareness of many facets of reality. Possibly, evil is nothing more than twisted good. To understand it, and respect it without being consumed by it, is to seek the good at its root.


Thursday, January 22, 2004

Wherever You Go, There You Are

I commute about 180 miles to my office each day. When not listening to NPR, it gives me the opportunity for a lot of reflection, prayer and silence. Usually, this is a good thing. Sometimes, I wonder how healthy it is, however.

Navel gazing can become an obsession. Traveling at 65 miles an hour encapsulated in a steel box can add to the illusion of being in a sterile environment without roots. Being propelled forward suggests that action is occurring as a result of all the rumination. It is a false sense of progress and security; of change without any risk. As long as the gaze is kept on self, I am in control. As long as the metal box insulates me from the external, it can be considered illusionary and inconsequential.

The other night, as I traveled the parkway, the trees on either side created a dark tunnel illuminated by a small ribbon of fading light from above. The image was invigorating, suggesting a journey, or even a birthing, into some future unknown reality. Was it? Not really.

The overuse of the image of a journey is somewhat self defeating, I think. It draws us into the facade of thinking the really important stuff is somewhere up ahead. The reality is that the future is an illusion. All we have is this present moment. And in this present moment, location is an insignificant factor.

If our goal is to arrive at some idealized destination, then we are being motivated by a longing for some absolute that may very well be a place that is stagnant and uchanging, a place in which we have become unteachable. If we hope that the journey will allow us some escape from our current sufferings, we place our hopes in yet another illusion; that we can somehow escape from ourselves. Wherever you go, there you are.


Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Return of the Prince!

If anyone is reading this, I apologize for my long absence. I've been reading other blogs, and I suppose I've become intimidated. There are so many good ones out there. But, since most likely I am really just talking to myself, I suppose intimidation is more a symptom of self esteem bs surfacing. Life's too short for that.

Saw the kids over Christmas. Was wonderful, but also painful. I miss them. They have moved on with their lives, and really don't need the old man any more. I suppose that is a good thing.

The youngest is somewhere in Mexico on an adventure. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, I suppose. Wish he would call. I worry about him.

Day to day life is quite pleasant. A quiet, orderly existence, with a wonderful companion whom I love quite dearly. Caring for the pets, reading, thinking...a nice life.

Continuing to engage in interim ministry. Working with a lively parish right now. We had a spaghetti dinner with a Cabaret the other night. I offered them my Arlo Guthrie routine; the Motorcycle Song, complete with wig, leathers (including chaps). They loved it. Pictures were taken, which causes me to worry about future blackmail attempts.

It is Sunday night. A low point in my week. I suppose it is now time to stop the world by entering a dream state.

I am a prince of perpetual peace
Playing in a drama of sad and happy dreams
On the stage of experience.

Good night.