#VoteYes

What an inspiring outcome in the Marriage Referendum in Ireland yesterday! Love how so many people went #hometovote.  Love how politicians and companies stepped up and were supportive.

Glenisk

AirB&B

I’ve been off and on grinning and in tears since Friday night, and the final tally was a stunning commentary on change, on human decency, and on the loosening grip of the Church in Ireland.

You can click HERE for referendum results.  It’s too beautiful a morning to write more now – but Ireland certainly did itself proud on Friday, May 22nd, and I hope what goes around comes around!

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An Unhung Cutpurse

2015-05-09 12.47.13-2This is a passage that I was trying to remember while in Ireland recently. Or should I say, “whilst in Ireland”?

Yes, that sounds much better – plus I like it that I get to repeat the fact that I was in Ireland recently (something that never ceases to amaze me – on so many levels that you can’t even begin to imagine!)

So, back to the point, whilst in Ireland I was trying to remember these lines, from Look Homeward Angel:

Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.

The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.

One of the things that I loved from the start about Thomas Wolfe was the rhythm of his language. It hardly mattered what he was saying sometimes – just the lilt and sway of it was enough.

“…haunted by a Georgia slattern because a London cutpurse went unhung …” It just sounds so lyrical — and authoritative — and maybe a little bit dangerous. But checking out the meaning is interesting, too.

  • alexin =(biochemistry, dated) A protective substance that exists in the serum or other bodily fluid and is capable of killing microorganisms; complement.
  • slattern = a untidy, slovenly woman; Origin of SLATTERN probably from German schlottern to hang loosely, slouch; akin to Dutch slodderen to hang loosely, slodder slut
  • cutpurse = “one who steals by the method of cutting purses, a common practice when men wore their purses at their girdles” The word continued after the method switched to picking pockets.

Every moment is a window on all time. And happenstance is the warp and woof of our days, however much we try to protect ourselves from letting that in.

So what’s to be made of all that?

I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll go back to Ireland and see if I can find out whilst I’m there!

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Spring is come again …

Listening to peepers and birds not-quite-ready to let go of the day, I breathe in the soft scent of lilacs and crab apple blossoms as night settles into every nook and cranny of these hills. Spring is such a gentle season, and yet so powerful – tender shoots thrusting themselves through packed soil. Every year the same. A million tiny miracles.

Cong AbbyI’m reminded of one of my favorite Easter anthems – one that always seemed more grounded and sober than all the joyous hallelujahs that are ubiquitous at that time of year.  It’s the kind of Easter anthem one might sing in Cong Abbey … just sayin’!

The hallelujahs generally left me uninspired and a little out-of-sorts, honestly.  But this one song, sung slowly and in a minor key, I really liked.

It begins:

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been:
love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

It goes on, with more traditional religiosity than I believe readers of JordanCornblog are generally up for, so I’ll forego the rest of the lyrics. The main draw for me was that each stanza ended with “love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.”

I really liked that – a kind of hopefulness that was small enough to be possible. Not pie in the sky, but something I could wrap my head around.

And just like clockwork, again, this spring, the green blade riseth.  I like that!

Here’s a modernized version of the song – sounds different from the one I remember, but pretty close.

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So, I was Just Thinking …

JLC Contemplating the Future in 1956Yesterday I realized that I’ve now experienced 61 April 19ths in my life.

Thought of that way, it really doesn’t seem like that many, does it?  It certainly makes me want to live each one of these days as fully as possible.  No pressure … but today I find myself wanting to be more mindful … what am I doing with my 61st April 20th?  Definitely don’t want to fritter it away.

Thinking back and trying to remember, I can say the following about my April 19ths so far:

  • 6 of them were spent on East Benedict Avenue in Oakmont;
  • The next 12 I was living on East Park Road in Llanerch – both in Havertown, PA;
  • After that, came 4 April 19ths in Swarthmore, PA – bringing me up to age 22.
  • The next 2 years, I believe, were back at Park Road, after my mother died, although I lived in Philly for part of that time, too.
  • Next I lived my April 19ths in Ardmore, Rosemont, Ardmore again, Narberth, Manayunk and (briefly) Havertown;
  • In 1985 my April 19th was lived on West Road in Canterbury;
  • 1986 and 87 that day was lived on Wyven Road;
  • Then Abbott Road for 1988-90; and
  • From 1991 to today, my April 19ths have been lived here on Baptist Road.

Between 1964 and 1980, many of those April 19ths would have involved either a lacrosse game or lacrosse practice.  Down in Pennsylvania, the buds would all be bursting and spring would be in full sway!

Here in NH, between 2000 and 2010, it’s quite possible that April 19th could have involved attending a track meet.  (And in NH chances are it would be raw and wet … with the buds still making up their minds as they shivered through the latest brief snowfall.)

Easter fell on April 19th in 1981, 1987 and 1992 and 2011.  Interesting that, prior to those dates, it hit the 19th in 1908 – and that was it for the 20th century.

The first of many April 19th Boston Marathons was held on April 19, 1897 … but I have never spent one of my 61 April 19ths running in it.

Can I specifically recall anything that I have actually done on April 19th?  Hmmm … not without checking back to jog my memory, that’s for sure.  I’ve checked Wikipedia, and it appears that there’s been an awful lot going on on April 19th – much of which I’ve not been aware of … but some of which I (sadly) have – like the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Last April 19th was a Friday … and I went to watch Mo in action on the pitch in a match between KUA and Proctor in Lacrosse.  It was an outing with WeatherDewd on a brisk evening – and we had a very LONG wait at a funky little place on the way home for a late supper, as I recall!  (This, I gleaned by checking my calendar … although the slightly annoying dinner part is straight out of my memory.)

So, what’s my point?  That time is precious and limited, of course.  But also something about how the river of my life flows along through these days with billions of other lives – all particular and precious – all experiencing events large and small and remembering (or not).

So how many April 19ths have you had?  And what do you remember about them?

Yeah … and what will you remember about today?

PS  For your listening pleasure … Pink Floyd on Time (thanks for the suggestion, Bob)!

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Wow – Here It All Is, in a Frigging Nutshell!

Infuriating … so blood-boiling infuriating.  (This dude reminds me of my Uncle Malcolm – an entitled, condescending, alcoholic asshole whose dark secrets the family tried to keep hidden … and whose toxic presence we were subjected to … blessedly in only brief spurts … as kids.)

and heartening …

Thanks, Larry and WeatherDewd … you’ve started my day off with a little jolt of angry adrenalin followed by hope … and I needed both – but especially the adrenalin – after staying up listening to that Michigan State UVA game)!

Oh, and by the way … here’s last week’s (audio-challenged) WeatherDewd … while you wait for the next installment!

 

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Home Again

Irish Sea from Brittas Bay Beach

Irish Sea from Brittas Bay Beach

Lovely to be home and LOVED seeing RPE and her home in Ireland!

The weather was lovely the entire time we were there and the scenery was breathtaking!

Oh, and the food was excellent and the pubs friendly.  Walking, whether in the city or the countryside, offered endless delights!

Graves in the twilight at Glendalough

Graves in the twilight at Glendalough

I think that one of my favorite places, if I had to pick, was Glendalough.

St. Kevin went there seeking solitude to pray … but his apparently exceedingly charismatic spirituality led to the founding of a monastic settlement there, at the foot of two lakes in a spectacular valley.  It’s definitely a place to explore again sometime!  I highly recommend doing so when there’s a slant to the light!

Then there was Powerscourt … the hotel, the gardens, and the waterfall.  Spectacular, all!

Powerscourt Hotel - cloudy evening.

Powerscourt Hotel – cloudy evening.- taken from the helipad!

RPE on a Powerscourt Garden Path
RPE pausing on a Powerscourt Garden Path

RPE at the Powerscourt Falls
RPE at the Powerscourt Falls

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We’re Going Away to Ireland Soon!

Yikes – the Roches in 1983 – we were wee lasses then – all of 31!

Can’t wait to see Dublin, County Wicklow … and RPE!

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Snow, Sunshine, and Taxes

Taxes … … taking … ………. longer ………. ……………….. than anticipated! ……………….. But DONE now (sort of).  How’s your Sunday going? Morning LightIt’s a glorious winter’s day here in Canterbury.

Here’s the view from quite-a-few-hours ago (before taxes intruded).

See … there’s the new morning light on the dormant garden, and the shed, and the picket fence around JBD’s cottage garden … and the railing of the deck … all covered in our most-recent bit of snow. Love it! Morning Light 2

And here’s the morning light on the inside of the house – glowing across the cabinet wood and the glasses and plates inside.

Small, everyday scraps of beauty (from before taxes intruded). But now the taxes are done so I’ve really nothing left to complain about.  (And even the process of doing them wasn’t that painful … just time-consuming on a beautiful day).

And then in the midst of it all, a quick Skype call from RPE about travel plans … and the day stretches and expands into all kinds of exciting new possibilities!  😉

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Lots and Lots of Moving

So, after we moved to Park Road I didn’t do much moving (except within the house) ’til it was time for college.  And there began a period of portability that continued pretty far into my adulthood.

Yup, bricks, boards, and wooden crates about summed up that period for me.  And truth be told, it’s a decor that I still kind of fancy, though I no longer have crates in my room.  Well, that’s not entirely true … but I think the fact that they are small … and painted … seriously diminishes their authentic crateness (or cratenicity).

CatboxWe do have a few crates in the basement, still … and some bricks, too.  And this past fall Ms. JBD and I had a seriously genius-like idea about how to create a cat box enclosure that our dogs couldn’t get into.

If you live with dogs and cats, you are probably aware of their rather disgusting symbiotic relationship. And while the dogs did save us the chore of bending over and scooping out the poops in the cat box, their hobby certainly made me disinclined to accept the dog kisses that they so enjoy doling out.

Catbox1So yes, those old crates continue to come in very handy.  As you can see, that cat box is now neatly locked away. (And I can only presume that the dogs have found other ways to assuage their appetites – ways that I don’t want to know anything about.)

PS  It’s a good idea to apply varnish to the bricks and at least the portion of the wood that is closest to the ground.  It was awhile before we realized that we needed a cat box with higher sides (the one pictured here is no longer in use).

So, if you’re using a regular box, be sure to seal up anything that’s porous … just sayin’!

I’ll get into more detail about moving in future posts.  For now I apologize for the highly misleading title.  I just didn’t realize I was going to get sidetracked so quickly.

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Another Moving Experience

So, I’ve been wrestling, for quite a few hours now, with trying to move a WordPress blog/website to a local host so I can do some testing.  In the process, I am discovering some things about myself:

  • I absolutely love it when things work (be they digital or otherwise).
  • I get a tad cranky when they don’t.
  • But I am persistent (some might say stubborn).
  • It’s good for me to step away for a bit before I break something.
  • Caffeine doesn’t help, after a point.
  • Food does help (see cranky above).
  • I am not very good at following directions!
  • When I get whatever-it-is working I move quickly from cranky to euphoric.
  • Right now I am still at the cranky stage …

I shall keep you posted!

😉

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A Moving Experience

Since helping move a friend to new digs this past Saturday, I’ve been musing a bit about moving. It’s been a long time since I moved (in more than a few senses of the word, unfortunately).  But what I’m musing about here is the kind of moving that involves transporting beloved objects, usually right along with objects we don’t-know-what-the-hell-to-do-with, from one place to another.

My very first move was from one part of my hometown (Havertown, PA) to another.  After 1st grade our family moved from Oakmont to Llanerch … and I made no decisions about objects or anything else having to do with that move, as I recall.

It was like magic; I went to our grandparents’ house in Ridley Park one day, and came home to a new house the next. Maybe it wasn’t actually the next day – but you get the picture.  (I think ChristopherCornblog went to a friend’s house … and maybe HollyCornblog was with me … really can’t remember a thing about it … and sure hope I wasn’t supposed to be responsible for her!)  It was June and it was Philly-hot, I DO know that much!

After that, there were no more moves, per se, ’til heading off to college.  But I engaged in a great deal of moving within and around the house – creating-little-spaces, creating nooks and crannies, re-arranging rooms, moving furniture, arranging shelves, etc.

In retrospect, it was very much an effort to wrest small islands of order out of the chaos of home life.  Making something orderly, or changing it around, allowed me to gain a sense of control … or agency, to borrow a sociological term that applies nicely here. Indeed, today, when I feel stressed and/or my life feels just-a-tad out of control, one of my immediate urges is to rearrange my room.  (And if my room offers no possibilities, others’ rooms are at some risk!)

And yes, it was quite a lot like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  But it served me well at the time.  That and AM radio saw me through!  (And, if I wanted to use it, it’s a  pretty marketable skill that I developed all those years ago, compulsively organizing shit.)

I remember creating a study space in the basement of our house in Llanerch.  Another spot a remember fondly was a ‘reading place’ out in our sun porch … basically a sleeping bag on the floor.  It was cold out there and so there were very few interruptions.  We had a fireplace out there and I remember reading The Count of Monte Cristo with coals glowing in the grate … a pretty fond memory among other late elementary and early junior high school reading adventures in the sun porch.

You see, it was hard doing much of anything uninterrupted at our house, so I liked finding places where I was more or less inaccessible – at least temporarily.  I seem to recall reading Louisa May Alcott up in our magnolia tree.  (Am guessing I wasn’t perched up there too long – can’t have been comfortable!)

My spaces were always makeshift and created out of whatever was at hand. ChristopherCornblog would sometimes come along afterward and take it to a whole new level.  He made the sun porch into something that would qualify as a real, additional room – whereas my creations were more like a bedouin’s temporary digs – slipshod and portable.

So anyway – I haven’t gotten too far into my history of moving. In fact, I haven’t left the house yet.  So, to be continued … sooner rather than later, I hope!

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Brrrrrr …

BrrrrrrIt’s just not right.
Too cold tonight.
So being brief
I’ll say, “Good Grief …
“It’s just not right;
“Too cold tonight!”

How’s that for breaking the blogging ice, as it were?

Last time I posted I was feeling a tad grandiose … thinking … and probably proclaiming … that I was going to post at least every Sunday.  (It’s on my weekly schedule and everything – has been since whenever I made that oh-so-public promise to the 7 of you who saw that post.)

But then you know what I think happened?  The Eagles started doing well … and my sister, HollyCornblog sent me this silly hat that I proceeded to wear during Eagles’ games … and they continued to do well, so of course I couldn’t change anything I was doing.  And it was a pretty complex ritual.

What was amazing was that it all kept working, right up until the first game of the play-offs.  And for reasons that I’ll never ever understand, I confess that I changed things just a wee bit for that game.  Horror of horrors … I watched it downstairs (NOT on the upstairs TV where I had witnessed all those wonderfully unexpected victories).

Yes, I screwed up everything and watched the most important game of the season on the wrong TV!  And of course we all saw what happened.  Shady never got going.  DJack hardly caught a pass … Foles looked human … and this is a burden I will carry to my grave.  (I was too young to have caused the Phillies ’64 meltdown … pretty sure about that.)

I sincerely apologize to the City of Brotherly Love and to HollyCornblog … and to all readers of JordanCornblog who probably felt abandoned after I made that heartfelt (at the time) promise about posting every week. See, I am letting everyone down.

So about this blog post … you definitely shouldn’t trust me yet.  This could just be another tease – another flash in the pan – to be followed by another 3-month silence.

Don’t get your hopes up … it only makes me feel that much more despicable when I let you down.

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Not Posting Today

I am writing this post to say that I won’t be posting today.

Thought I’d come up with something, but there are simply no original thoughts to be had in JordanCornblog-land on this October Sunday.  So I am not going to pretend or dress up something old as if it were new.

I hope to become a deeper person, but in lieu of that, I hope you’ll accept the confession of an honest person … 😉

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Just Another Sunday

Ready for the gameNot a lot to say … except that Daddy Cornblog, wherever he is, is enjoying his anticipation of the Eagles’ victory over the Gnats today!

This photo, was taken in 1980 – the first time (at least in my lifetime) that the Eagles made the Superbowl.

I have some regret about not watching the game with him, in retrospect – though it totally made sense for me to be watching with my friends. (And in reality, we were all bummed and cranky by the end … so it wouldn’t exactly have been a good memory.)

He sure did love his Eagles, though … and his football in general.  It’s mostly Saturday football that I remember with him.  Saturday afternoons of raking leaves with him and then watching college football (as I madly made potholders to give to relatives for Christmas).

Peaceful islands of time in what was otherwise a pretty loud and chaotic place.

So yes, I associate football, oddly enough, with peacefulness.  Guess I always will.  And as an Eagles fan, I also associate football with wrenching roller-coaster rides of hope and disappointment … so I am prepared for the worst today, even as I hope for the best.

Being an Eagles fan builds character … 😉

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Excruciating Beauty

Beauty1The past string of days have been so beautiful that I hardly know what to do with myself.

So that got me thinking, because there is a certain discomfort that comes, for me, with wondrous beauty. I think I feel unworthy of it – like it’s not possible to appreciate it enough.

Add to that the fact that it is fleeting, and a beautiful day can almost put me into a panic.  A small panic, mind you, but I am definitely challenged by all of this.

Can I simply relax and appreciate beauty? Now there’s a good question for JordanCornblog!

Beauty2I think my problem is that I approach beauty as a consumer – as if it is a thing that I somehow need to take in.  But there is far too much of it on days like we’ve recently had … and I don’t know where to put it.

I race around, taking photos as the light moves and changes.  I look and look and look.

It’s disappearing, even as I try to capture it.

And I absolutely know that this isn’t really capturing anything … and in fact, I am missing the beauty, peeking at it through a camera lens.

It brings to mind Martin Buber – and I think I should probably read I and Thou again (but I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t … unless it’s available for Kindle … ;-))

Beauty3Consuming beauty makes it into an “It” in Buber’s terms … I am the subject and beauty is the object.  It is not satisfying. And it is the way of the world.

The other way – the more satisfactory and meaningful way (IMHO) that Buber proposes is to relate to the world as a “Thou.”  I am the subject (I) and beauty is also the subject (Thou) – and that changes the interaction entirely.

Beauty isn’t something that I use or consume … it stands on its own and I stand in relation to it.

Beauty isn’t an object of my personal experience – it is separate and complete. It doesn’t need me to see and appreciate it.  It just is.

I can’t quite wrap my head around this, but it feels important to me. I interact with beauty.  I accept it gratefully and am not responsible for it and can’t hold it or let it go.  I open to it and it gives itself to me, somehow.  The more permeable I let myself be the more I can feel it.

Excruciating beauty, terrifying beauty.  To fully experience the I and Thou-ness of life it seems we have to let ourselves be open and permeable while also letting in the bottom-line separateness of everything and the kind-of-ultimately-challenging fact that we are not the center of the universe.

Doing all of that … I think … somehow opens the door to a level of relatedness and connection that is the stuff of mystical ecstasy.

So that’s what I think today … that and the fact that the Eagles are going to shock the Broncos this afternoon!

Oh … and I and Thou actually is available for the Kindle.

Hmmmmm.

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Drumbeats, Heartbeats

The September nights shorten as the twilight slips down the western sky, coating trunk, branch, leaf and frond with liquid gold. Darkness falls to the crazed yips and yowls of coyotes just one hill over. Sylus, my new best friend, stirs on the bed … I’m glad she is indoors.

These days I am reading a biography of Karen Carpenter.  She was one of those guilty, secret pleasures that I indulged but never told friends about in the ’70’s.  White bread.  I wasn’t about to admit to liking anything so mainstream … not with Tricia Nixon still living with her father in the White House.

But from the first, something about her compelled me. (Karen, I mean … not Tricia!)  Of course, there was that amazing, clear and melancholy voice.  Then there was how awkward she looked in the dresses that someone was dressing her in (Richard, I suspected). I could so totally relate. It was painful to see – endearingly so.

But the icing on the cake came when I learned she was a drummer, and a damn good one at that.  It was soooo out of character with what was being presented. I was fascinated and felt absolutely confirmed in my suspicion that there was much more to Karen than the white bread persona we saw.

So, accompanying my bio reading has been a bit of YouTube exploring.  There are some amazing videos out there.  Here, for example, is a melange of some of her drum performances. The sound and video quality is quite variable, but what comes through is her skill (starting at @ age 16) along with her palpable joy and comfort behind the drum kit. (And if you’re reading this via the e-mail feed, you’ll have to click the link at the end of the e-mail to be able to see the videos.  Sorry – and lesson learned!)

She started playing the drums in high school – so that would have been @1964. Very unusual stuff for a girl. Her singing was really an afterthought. The drumming was her passion.

This next video shows her in the studio performing “Close to You” – at about age 20. Watching this, I wonder about being thrust into fame at such a young age.  What were you doing at 20?

This next is a performance from The Tonight Show in 1973 – so now she’s @ 23. (Hmmmm what was I doing at 23?). The tempo changes in this piece seem complex and difficult to navigate (to my uneducated ear) … and she looks like she is having a great time with it all!

I just wish she’d lived long enough to ditch the weird dresses!  Or get back to where she wanted to be … like in this video from a 1970 performance on The David Frost Show …

I’m at the point in the bio where fame has arrived and, along with it, lots of pressure. Apparently the audience doesn’t know where to focus during a Carpenter’s performance, so Karen is being asked to step out from behind her drum kit, stand out front and just sing. She hates the idea … feels awkward and afraid … but does it.

And if it hadn’t already started, this must have been the beginning of the end. Too much exposure.  Too many eyes with no buffer. No longer doing the really heartfelt, joyful thing. Standing front and center singing … sacrificed to success.

Ultimately unbearable. That’s how I see it. No more drum kit or drumbeat – except as a funny novelty on TV specials.

But this is the terribly sad, weirdly predictable, haunting part – the part that I keep coming back to.  In the report from the Los Angeles coroner, while anorexia nervosa was the clear underlying cause of her demise, the proximate cause of Karen Carpenter’s death was listed as “heartbeat irregularities.”

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Girl Interrupted

SylusThe other evening our cat Sylus decided that she needed some pats just as I was finishing up some intricate budgeting work on my computer. (Okay, maybe I was fiddling with one of my Fantasy Football Teams … the main point is, she interrupted me.)

I was immediately annoyed and shooed her away.  She came back, I felt more annoyed, and shooed her away a bit more emphatically.  Then I sighed, expelling the frustration and making space for guilt to flow in and pool in the empty spot.  So then I reached down, scooped Sylus up, and gave her the pats she was craving.

There was a very familiar rhythm to that interchange.  And so, that small episode got me thinking and remembering. Those knee-jerk reactions don’t come from nowhere. And for me they usually come from the same place … my growing up years.  The deeper I go into those years, the more amazed I am at the terrible and tender complexity of human growth!

1953 MeSo … remembering now I go back further than I used to.  It takes practice, faith, and courage. I know I won’t see or experience anything I’m not ready for, yet still, the journey inward always feels a tad perilous. And these days, to get to where I want, I need to shed words along the way. It’s the wordless that I’m after … the memories that are hardly memories, yet that are as foundational as cement and re-bar when it comes to how I live my life.

It reminds me of a poem by Wendell Berry that I think I’ve shared here before …

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

So here’s to the dark, the wordless, the foundational moments that, no matter how old I get, remain to the mined for information and insight.

Oh, and here’s to win #2 for the Iggles!  (Daddy Cornog, are you watching?)

 

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Honoring the Dead

Beth's Grave

Beth’s Grave – in East Stroudsburg, PA.

Today is the 35th anniversary of my friend Beth Allen’s death by suicide.  June 20, 1978.  I was 25 years old and living in Ardmore, PA when I learned of her death.

She was 25 years old, too.  We were both November babies, born @ 3 weeks apart in 1952.  She was way too young to die by her own hand on June 20, 1978.  Indeed, she should be alive today, but she didn’t make it through this day in 1978 … and so, I think of her on June 20, 2013.

Beth 1970

Beth (on the left) in 1970 – senior year at Haverford High School

We were classmates, starting in second grade, all the way through high school.  Beth was an amazing athlete and an especially wonderful lacrosse player, swift and graceful, with seemingly endless stamina.  Her lacrosse skills eventually took her to the US National Lacrosse Team … not as sexy in those days (or now) as the US Soccer Team … but an amazing accomplishment.  We’d occasionally cross paths at lacrosse tournaments in college and after … but for the most part I had lost touch with her.

I majored in Religion in college … and was decidedly less religious when I graduated than I had been when I started.  Beth, as I remember, was more so … moving deeper into a strain of Christianity that I was moving far, far away from.  That certainly contributed to our losing touch.

I had embraced feminism and was grappling with my sexuality.  And back then Beth was involved with a fairly conservative, fundamentalist strain of Christianity, and was teaching at a Christian School – Delaware County Christian School to be precise.

I don’t really know why she felt that she needed to take her own life, but I have my suspicions. And I often wonder why she could find no help or support at her place of work or within her community.  Did the brand of Christianity that she called home back then offer solace or push her toward despair? I’ll never know but, as I said, I have my suspicions.

So here I am in 2013.  It was an excruciatingly beautiful day here in New Hampshire yesterday.  The sky was blue, the sun warm, the air clear … with the smell of just-mown grass, Sweet William and new budding Roses on the June breeze.

I took my 60-year old legs for a long walk through the Canterbury afternoon and thought about Beth, whose walk ended so long ago.

Beth's Obituary.

Beth’s Obituary.

What loss.  What waste. What a sad, sad, sad thing.  June 20, 1978.

I remember sitting at the dining room table in the house I was living in on Church Road in Ardmore.  Beth was dead.  I was alive.

It didn’t make sense then – and it still doesn’t.

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Acceptance

Acceptance

JordanCornblog circa 1954 or 5 Drinking orange juice on a sunny summer morning at the lake. I can just feel the warmth of that rock I am sitting on … and how the summer day stretched endlessly!

Okay, so here’s what I am thinking this morning, as the first Monday of March dawns on a sequestered nation. (And no, these aren’t political musings … tho’, unfortunately, the recent destructively stubborn, ideological and bone-headed misbehavior of Congress was the first thing that came to mind as I thought about the new week.)

I was thinking about acceptance as I was looking out the window at the bare trees and snowy landscape.  Something got me thinking about what strikes me as a deep irony about the concept of acceptance.

Ready?  Building the suspense – here goes:

Acceptance is the only solid basis there is for real change. 

  • This is because you have to know where you are in order to make changes.  
  • But then you have to accept where you are before you can really know where you are.  

And by accepting where you are I mean an open-hearted, compassionate, unconditional acceptance.  Give it to yourself fully, without knowing all the details up front.  (It’s the “mere” fact of acceptance that is so opening.  It allows you to disclose information about yourself to yourself that your inclination might be to keep hidden. It frees you from that burdensome and blinding self-criticism and opens you to clarity.)

I think it’s at once ironic and absolutely true:  The only thing that opens the door to what can be is the full and compassionate acceptance of what is.

Oh, and while I think that this applies to human beings, I do not believe that it applies to legislative bodies (even if they are made up of human beings).  Just sayin’

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Best Friend

Being/becoming my own best friend and accepting every single molecule of who I am is at the heart of this journey.

It sounds so simple. It is so powerful.

Relaxing the shoulders, exhaling, and accepting opens up possibilities that striving can’t even imagine.

So that’s what I think this snowy morning.

Addendum:  Obviously it’s been awhile since I visited here.  Hope to be more regular (ah, we’ve heard THAT before)!  Anyway, I was surprised to see an ad pop up in this post, so clicked the link for more info and here’s what I found:

About These Ads

The site you just visited is part of WordPress.com. There are two reasons why you might see ads on a WordPress.com site:

  1. The site is part of the WordAds program and has elected to show ads to earn money from their site.
  2. The site is one of the sites hosted on WordPress.com that has not purchased the No Ads upgrade, and we are running ads to cover the costs of operating the site for the user. We run these types of ads sparingly in an attempt to interfere as little as possible with the experience of reading a site and for logged in users we don’t show ads at all. There’s more info about our approach to ad serving in this blog post.

In both of the above cases, the ad you saw could be coming from a number of ad partners including SharethroughFederated Media, orAdSense. The ads change depending on factors like your location and the type of site you are visiting.

If you are a WordPress.com user and you would like to permanently remove all ads from your site, please take a look at our No Ads upgrade.

If you saw an inappropriate ad, please report it to support@wordpress.com.

I sure don’t begrudge WordPress the revenue for such a great product.  And if I begin to feel that I can trust myself to come back here more often, maybe I’ll upgrade.

In the meantime … sorry about the ads!

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