2/10/2016

The Aging Process

It's bad when your portal amnesia extends to the opening of a notebook so I can write down something lest I forget.

Um, what was I going to write down?  I forget.

2/04/2016

Well, this is a switch.



Something for work, but it turned out sort of artsy.  Please note the soft blue accent from LED flashlight.  Taken with my tiny CyberShot and touched up a bit with Fotor.

2/02/2016

Feast of the Presentation of Jesus

For the past year or so when I think about the Feast of the Presentation -- a recurring theme while meditating on the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary -- the character that calls out to me is the prophetess Anna.

Anna was a constant presence in the temple, and served God with fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37). By grace coming to the place where Simeon was speaking to the Holy Family, Anna was also led to recognize the Savior.

And what does Anna then do?

Anna becomes a kind of new Isaiah, speaking comfortingly to Jerusalem (Isaiah 40:1-2) about the Christ child.

Having maintained a kind of static watchfulness for so many years, Anna is rewarded with the One she has sought and hoped for.  The Presentation of the Lord moves her to great change. Think of this old lady, probably considered pitiful by most who see her, suddenly filled with great joy.  Think of this old lady, always locked in silence of prayer and mortification, now suddenly bubbling over with a spirit of thanks and praise.

There is no Canticle of Anna.  Yet Anna's witness is antiphon to Simeon's song.

Yes, our God is True!  This baby!  This one here!  He is the One!

For Simeon, it is "now let your servant depart in peace" -- depart into the sleep of death peacefully, having seen the coming of the glory of the Lord.  For Anna, the move is to depart not immediately to death but to depart from the temple, into the neighborhoods and dining rooms of all who look in hope for the coming of the Savior of Israel.

I can almost hear her:  "Yes! The prophecies are true!  Look for Him, all of you.  When the boy grows up -- oh, look for Him!  It will be after I am gone, but look for Him!"

1/20/2016

Something old

It can't be more than ten years ago that we lost him. But it is. I wrote this just after Charles died but also just after we got a definite diagnosis of cancer for my dad, who died later that same year.  Anyway, I'm choked with nostalgia this winter afternoon, so I might as well re-post something that chokes me even more...

* * *

07/08/2005 
Charles
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Now the hill is flattened
where the farm house stood
where you built the breezeway window
at an angle to let you see
when we were coming up the drive 
Now some minor subdivision
junk bunkers
townies playing country
they love barn siding
tear down the barns
and put it over the bar
they love their cheese
just hate the smell of farms 
Now (too soon)
even your ashes
where are they
where are you
just when I need you
need your laugh
your great big hug
all the orchard trees you tended
with an eye toward future fruit
loved and tended
yes and shared
the apples
oh the apples 
Even now
you and I
there on the hillside
where today there is no hill
September sun warms the fruit
and the wine sweet air
we cut them open first --
you laugh
"The worms only eat the sweet ones!"
we sample this year's fruit
as though it will last 
Then your hand on my shoulder
for just a moment
you steady yourself on me
that pain in your hip
the doctor only tells you to lose weight
you tried all the alternatives
nothing seems to help 
Then it turned out
they had missed the cancer in your bones
until the tumors spread
And then
it was too late 
Even then (too soon)
your smile
a good-bye hug
some tears
and you were gone 
just when I need you

* * *

9/23/2015

Equi-Nox means [Day] Equals Night -- Right?

Wrap this around your mental astronomical-phenomena spindle and see if you can make of it more of a skein than a snarl:

Where I live on the west coast of the U.S.A., astronomical equinox is at 1:20AM Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday 23 September 2015.  The time from sunrise to sunset should be equal to the time from sunset to sunrise, right?

Doesn't work that way.

Wednesday actually has six more minutes of daylight than Friday.  On Friday 25 September we actually get 12 hours zero minutes between sunrise and sunset.

Why?

First, the astronomical definition of equinox is at the moment the earth in its orbit around the sun crosses a particular point in reference to what astronomers call the fixed stars.  We know that point wanders with respect to the earth's axis-wobble and the earth's elliptical orbit (precession of the equinox) -- ve-e-e-r-r-y s-slo-o-o-owly!  But can it make a difference of a day or two?

Second, there's the spin of the earth.  Does the spin, added to the round-the-sun motion, make a difference?

I admit I haven't done the research.  But hey, give me some credit for finding the conundrum.

9/22/2015

Papa Francisco's Optics

No, I am not interested in the Pope's eyeglasses.  I do find it distressing, however, that the Holy Father does not seem concerned with the optics surrounding his visit to North America.  Specifically, doesn't it look like he is offering comfort and appeasement to Obama and Castro?

I firmly believe the pope is not intending to aid democrats and communists in a direct political way. But it is too easy to believe that the good Pope Francis is just to naive for the world scene.

Who won the fight over anti-Catholic guests at the scheduled White House meeting?  We'll see how that whole thing plays out.  And why offer the appearance of legitimacy to the murderous tyranny that is Cuba?

Don't hold your breath waiting for world-shaking words of courage from the pope. I will be happily surprised if he has a Brandenburg Gate moment while visiting down where the bananas grow: "Mr. Castro, tear down this police state!"

9/14/2015

Words Mean Things - And Opposite Things

In Charles Dickens' The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Chapter VI), Mr. Tupman is wounded by a small bore "rook rifle" shotgun, when Mr. Winkle demonstrates what happens when you ignore three or four of the rules of gun safety. Pickwick, Snodgrass, and Winkle then depart to enjoy a local cricket match with their host Mr. Wardle, leaving Tupman "in charge of" the ladies of the household. Dickens is not saying that Tupman has been vested with authority to police the ladies' behavior. Quite the opposite. The ladies are to see to the well-being of Tupman.

When did the change in meaning occur? How is it that words can flip meanings?

Then there's Subject and Object. Some time between the 12th and the 21st centuries, Subject and Object passed each other going in opposite directions on the towpath of language, and as they passed they traded meanings. "Subjective" used to mean, "of or pertaining to the subject," where "subject" meant the thing being "subjected" to scrutiny.  Now, of course, the subject of scrutiny is called the "object", and if you object to that, you will be subjected to the ignominy of being misunderstood.  What you study is the "object", unless you're talking about your school schedule -- in which case you still study the "subjects" on the list. The final lens on a microscope or telescope is the "objective" lens.  But how handy to introverts it could be when attending a social function, to be able to pull out a little lorgnette or pince-nez or opera glasses holding high-quality subjective lenses!  Perhaps then the (unspoken) object of the person talking to you would be magnified, their point revealed. All the feels they subjectively hold, all the bias they subjectively project, would be visible in shifting pleochroic auras under an optical-quality subjective lens!

And if I were to look at myself in a mirror through the subjective lenses of my hypothetical binoculars, would I stumble across the threshold of some kind of Burnsian satori?
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
On second thought, I will pass on the subjective lenses and go on seeing myself as richer, younger, healthier, and handsomer than I may look to "ithers."