Sunday, November 29, 2009

A kind of Knowing

Forcing bulbs—a deception, I should think. Making a plant think (if plants can indeed think) summer is back.

But who can resist hovering over brillant red red red at the far end of the produce department? Uh-huh, they are in the basket and home. Let's call forcing a small luxury.

Forcing. Nothing more than a little manipulation, perhaps.

What is it in a plant that knows the way the world turns, its face always following the sun? Not exactly sentience. Definitely alive. But not smart.

I put them in a bright indirect light—south facing sun. The winter sun is low enough to fill the room. Still, I've never seen a tulip open that wide, wide, wider, as if by doing so there could be enough light in November for a tulip to survive. The petals dropped after two days in exhaustion.

We are currently on the wrong side of the solar sytem for tulips. They knew.

No wonder you cannot force a bulb two years in a row.


Sunday, November 15, 2009


Happy Birthday--it's the most universally known song in the world.

When we arrived in Kenyna two years ago, finally lying in bed after an exhausting couple of days of flying, wafting through the open window came Happy Birthday being sung in three part harmony. Indeed this Kenya was a strange place--everything from mosquitos that can kill you to roadside stops by the military. But my welcome was Happy Birthday. Universal thankfulness for the miracle of being alive.

This past week was the birthday of Augustine. Augustine thought great thoughts that we hand to each other without ever knowing or really caring where that particular wisdom came from.

"Love is the beauty of the soul."

Today I'd like to stand on the shoulders of Augustine and sing Happy Birthday and give you another little gift from him:

"God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist."

Think on that for a lifetime or two.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Religion and Politics

I've heard it said that if you mix religion and politics—
you get politics.
True? Why is that?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stillnesss. Glory.

Not just amazement at the everyday eye of a poppy, or the flash of glass-green as a wave breaks; not merely saluting blue—the infinite cover over us—but the power of beauty to arrest even the most important activity.  Like no other, beauty forces us to stop.
A lovely woman.
Water falling.
A perfect baby.
There is stillness and inevitable staring.

A blind woman’s hand feels the words, and then pauses...
Oh, the perfect irony that the blind can see beauty
or that stillness can shout the glory of creation.
What kind of God creates a curiosity like beauty—ineffable, untouchable, unaffected by us and yet, at times, made by us and then destroyed by us?
Can beauty be so fragile as to be destroyed? Or does it merely slip from view?

Try to imagine a world without it. Ahh. Beauty: our greatest comfort.