What's It All About?

It's all too easy for days to pass without reflection. It's my hope that through a greater active awareness on each day, that I will be able to consider God's presence in my life and in the world around me. Writing has always been a way for me to round up my thoughts. This blog seems like a good place to park those thoughts for my own benefit as well as the benefit of others. Please take a moment to read what I have written, to offer comments, and to share the ideas with others.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Conceal and Reveal

New Melones Dam, Old Parrotts Ferry Bridge Now Revealed Due to Drought
Earlier this month my SIL, BIL and I took a trip to visit the site of the New Melones Reservoir. The old bridge is now exposed due to a severe reduction in the level of the reservoir. The photo above shows an area that was once completely submerged under water. That bridge was covered for many, many years until now. To say that it was an awesome sight, something incredible to actually be a witness to, is a real understatement. Words don't begin to describe things. I will say however that I felt a certain "accidental privilege" in being able to witness something that otherwise would not be visible. This area was covered before I moved to the area and in fact, before I was born if I am not mistaken. I tried to keep these things in mind as I walked down into the reservoir. I felt that I should somehow be careful and I felt that my vocabulary was really inadequate to describe how I was feeling. It was as if the earth itself was being exposed to me somehow. 

This morning I came across an article that somewhat underscores what I am getting at above. The article can be found here. It's a short read and a good way of looking at just how vulnerable we all are when we open ourselves up to others. In this age of being able to readily share any and all information, I suspect many of us forget just how important that information really is; how we are changed when we reveal things. And conversely, how we change others at the same time when we open up to them.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

All Parts Together!

Rain over our hillside-photo by Libby Fife

There is in all visible things … a hidden wholeness. —Thomas Merton

It's always amazing to me when things seem to coincide with one another. Somehow it seems to suggest that underneath a world that sometimes looks like it is in chaos, there is actually an order of sorts that isn't always apparent. My personal beliefs tend to point towards the presence of something unseen, maybe not guiding events exactly, but certainly a driving force in the universe.

Just recently, Jews all over the world completed the yearly Torah reading cycle. It's part of tradition to read the Torah from beginning to end each year. Though I have never done it, I did follow along this year thanks to weekly updates via the Internet. The regular events of the Torah give structure to the year and provide a sense of continuity.

And just as the Torah gives structure to the year, so do the seasons in their own way. They have their own regularity too of course. Summer leads to Autumn which leads to winter, etc. Yesterday we experienced some actual rainfall for the first time in months. After such a long and hot and dry summer I almost forgot that rain and cooler weather were possible. It felt like a miracle of some sort. It also helped me to remember that no matter what happens the seasons will continue to progress and cycle regardless of what I do and whether or not I am here. I may become discouraged by such dry weather but eventually, at least for now, some rainfall will eventually occur.

All of it makes me feel comforted, knowing that no matter what, things will continue to go on. All of the disparate parts, both the ones that I can see and the ones that I can't see, will be gathered together to create a whole. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Light of Life and Blessings

Big Trees Park-North Grove

Big Trees Park-Stanislaus River

Lake Hogan-Fiddleneck Boat Launch

Lake Hogan-Inspiration Point/Old Dam

In the past, when I have heard people say that they are blessed, I have always been a little reluctant to embrace both the term and the sentiment. To me, that word implies that the person has something that someone else doesn't have. Or that they somehow were given more than the next person. Then there is the quandary of who gave them that extra bit in the first place? So, it's a limited and childish view I know but I offer it up as food for thought.

Today I did two things worth mentioning. I visited my friend in San Andreas whose house burned down in the fire. In telling her that I didn't know what to say or do, she said that she had our friendship. That was a blessing to me. 

The second thing was that I went to Big Trees State Park for my walk. I love the drive to the park. It takes me through such diverse countryside all in the space of about an hour. It occurred to me as I was driving home that I was blessed to live in such a place as this, Calaveras County, where I could see so much with just a short drive. These views and experiences in my landscape are a blessing to me.

If those things are blessings, which I believe they are, then how do I square that with the experiences of others who maybe don't have the same things or opportunities? I came to the conclusion that it wasn't what you had or what you did that was the blessing. It is the awareness of those things and not the things themselves per se. It just can't be about material objects or monetary advantage or good health or whatever. It has to be about an awareness of what is making you happy-what is there in the everyday even if it doesn't seem like much.

I am including two links below. Take a minute to read and listen. Sissel, a Norwegian soprano, sings like an angel. Her voice has been described as having a "crystalline" quality and that is an apt image of what she sounds like singing this song below. Read the lyrics too which at first seem hard but can actually be seen as positive, perhaps even a blessing.

link-lyrics: Vitae Lux (Light of Life)-Sissel
link-Video-Sissel singing Vitae Lux (well worth it!)