Notes on Separation

Most often, we don’t know what we really have until it is gone.

I was reminded of that when my adoring wife left the Archipelago to visit her mom; who was recovering from dental surgery. We enjoy each other’s company and spend a lot of time together. If someone’s absence is going to leave an empty space in my life it would be her’s.

Texting and telephone calls can connect two people, but it is no replacement for being together in the same room.

When I was writing this, a similar situation came to mind. It is not on the same level as my sweet heart leaving town, but it did change my thinking about lose. A small change of thinking, but one that made a big difference.

One time I had dropped off my car for repairs at the mechanic’s garage, which is on the other end of the city from my house. I had to take the bus back home. A ten minute trip by car turned into a 40 minute trip by slow poke public transportation; with the added bonus of unwanted entertainment from a few ‘colorful’ passengers. On the ride, I realized a few items were needed from the grocery store for dinner. For that, a two minute car ride to the store would be a fifteen minute walk. As the bus lumbered along the emotional space of lose, created by not having my car, just got bigger and emptier.

For that entire day my life was defined by what I did not have. It had become the context for what was missing; which was not right. When I finally got home I was determined never to think that way again. I would never define myself exclusively in negative terms.

The root of my attitude change was not the lack of independent transportation, but a lack of appreciation. I lost sight of the fact that I had many other good aspects to my life beside my car, because I was focused on the aspect I lost. Consequently, I created that empty emotional space and put myself in it. It was unnecessary and I did not enjoy it either.

Being the practical sort, I made a mental list of all the positive aspects of my life. The next time I moved my thinking into that emotional space of lose, I would use it to remind myself of all the good things I had.

After I made this list I found that the most positive things on the list, and the ones that made the biggest difference for me, where the people I had relationships with.

Seeing that I had a good number of people who were a positive influence in my life I wanted to make sure they knew I appreciated them. I made it a point to show them that more often.

Over time I realized that showing appreciation was reaffirming my love for them. It acknowledged a positive bond between us which gave me joy in good times and strength in hard times.

Even after this emotional change, I still miss my wife when we are apart for a few days. But appreciating her every day, and all the other good people in my life, made that lonely space much smaller. A part of appreciating is focusing on the time I had with her and not pine over losing time with her.

Like anything you want to change in your behavior, it is a process of improvement. I have to work on it everyday to make that space as small as possible, and I don’t have to be an example of not really knowing what I have until it is gone.

After making that list I came up with a recitation; a point to focus on to keep me moving in the right direction. These kinds of reminders work well for me.

Improvement is the first step to perfection, as long as you keep walking.

Thoughts on Creating

In the past, when I wrote something that received compliments, that for me was a rare and beautiful creation, I felt really good about it. But that joy was mixed with feelings of anxiety too. Now that I had set the bar on a higher peg than usual, by working and achieving what I set out to do, I felt I had to continue that level of performance, or surpass it.

That anxiety arises from the fact that inspiration does not come along everyday. To consistently connect to the deepest, truest levels of imagination and creativity, and pour that out across the page, has a time table of completion I have little control over.

Lately, I have come to terms with this anxiety. I now see it as the natural state of the healthy, creative mind. It is constantly embroiled in the battle between mediocrity and perfection. The creative mind exists to dig into that deeper level, struggle to perfect the creation it makes from what it finds there, and put it out into the world for others to experience. That is the particular instrument God has made them to be.

To embraces this understanding, and fight that battle with gusto, is to live the creative life to the fullest.

A New Day

There was a glorious sunrise over the Archipelago on the seventh day of Christmas.

Vibrant shades of crimson colored the sky behind the branches of the leafless trees and the angles of the rooftops still filled with night and silence, the dreams of sleepers in their beds.

When I opened one of the small windows in the dining room to look at it, a lone crow was calling in the distance.

I watched it fly for a moment, a fragment of the fleeing night against the morning colors and the curling columns of woolly white chimney smoke.

Morning time, the deep time when the quietude of the world pours into the mind and the soul. It connects me with what is important in my life. What I often overlook in the busy day that follows.

That moment made me realize that I am blessed.

That all things in my world are in their right place.

That the start of that day, and every day, is another opportunity to improve, perfect, accept, forgive or achieve.

That I should be grateful for each day and take advantage of every minute.

Thoughts On Christmas Day

Two thousand and twenty years ago Christ was born during the era of the Roman Empire.

Even in the best of times, life for most was difficult beneath the crushing weight of tyrannical rulers who were to be revered as gods.

The state was the center of a citizen’s life and war was the ways and means of its’ prosperity.

But in the darkest hour of night is when the brightest light will shine.

On that day the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob had set His light in that darkest hour.

Now is the time to follow its brilliance, for the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, lays beneath it!

He is the one true God.

His word is the center of our lives

His love is our prosperity.

Rejoice, repent and follow Him, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Thoughts On The Shortest Day Of The Year

Since the longest day in summer, night has been reaching further and further into day as it makes itself longer and longer.

Until yesterday.

Now on the longest night of winter, day has it’s turn to reach further and further into night, making itself longer and longer.

Every year the same dance between day and night, light and dark, hope and despair. Lived out against a backdrop of clouds coming and going, leaves blooming and dying, the constellations rising and setting round and round the immobile star of the pole.

We grow and harvest our crops by this dance, set our clocks to it, measure the length of our lives with it. We are creatures of habit by design. Driven by cycles, some we know and some that remain hidden.

We stand at the center of turning cycles, concentric in design, ceaseless in motion. Some we dance with moment to moment, others turning so slowly that our time to dance will never arrive.

Big or small, fast or slow, known or hidden, these are the invisible gears that move our lives through time and space.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Texas Voter Freud Law Suit

John Roberts the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
― Edmund Burke

That is exactly what happened when seven out of nine members of our supreme court, including Justice Roberts, refused to hear the state of Texas’ voter fraud case.

Did each one of these justices swear on the bible that they would up hold the Constitution? Is it not the function of the Supreme Court to weight in on matters directly involving instructions, rights and procedures found in that document?

Yes, and that oath obligates them to defend it whenever the occasion presents itself.

The American Thinker wrote a summery of the Texas case, and the following except states why those seven justices, failed miserably in that obligation.

‘Further, according to the U.S. Constitution, the legislature (representing the citizens) of each state has absolute authority and responsibility for how presidential electors are chosen; the will of legislature being expressed through state law.

Texas claims that the violations of election law in these states created an environment where ballot fraud was enabled and likely to occur.  The lawsuit lists the violations of law in each of the defendant states and provides evidence of fraud (the number of ballots handled unconstitutionally) in each of the states sufficient to change the outcome of the ballot counts.’

I am no legal scholar and I can only look at it from a practical point of view. But if the state of Texas has evidence that Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia violated the constitution in choosing their electors, then maybe Texas’s complaint needs to be heard. After all Texas, and the rest of the states in the union, are being deprived of a fair election process due to the potential lawlessness of these other states.

What matters here is not which candidate gets into office but the integrity of the law that defines how they are put into office. With out that, dishonesty and tyranny will rule the day; not the will of the people.

Please read the entire article in The American Thinker. I am sure you will agree that the Texas lawsuit is more then a conspiracy theory based on hearsay, or an extravagant ploy to change the out come of an elections.

Copy and past the link below into your browser to get there.

Vatican Nativity 2020

As a life long catholic I have to post about this.

How can I not?

With all due reverence and respect to the Holy Father, this year’s nativity is not just, unattractive it is offensive. I have no idea what these figures represent. The whole thing looks like it was created by a class of second graders, along with their teacher, who had a woefully incorrect understanding of Catholicism.

Sorry, I would not want this out on my lawn.

However, the Vatican nativity of 2018 I would definitely want out on my lawn. There is no question as to what this scene depicts, which is how it should be.

Rejoice, the savior of the world is born!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7

A Day In St. Louis – Part 2

After the art museum we decided to have a late lunch and ended up in a calzone shop in the Tower Grove neighborhood; Sauce On The Side. Nothing like good food and good beer to keep a hungry tourist going! I will say this, I was not hungry after eating that calzone, it was big.

Next stop on our day trip was the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Since it was too cold to see the landscaping and the flower beds, it may not have been the best choice. Also, I was not sure if the varieties in the greenhouse were extensive enough to make the price of admission worth while. However, it was Rebecca’s idea so I did not share my thoughts. But on the ride over she talked about the full size tropical trees in the green house, which changed my mind.

When we pulled into the parking lot I saw that the new, ultra modern visitors’ center was still under construction. Judging by the architect’s renderings I saw online after our visit, we would walk though a small part of that new structure. Despite that area being simple in design, the interior was an interesting division of vertical and horizontal space. The first room evoked a sense of vertical spaciousness, with it’s tall walls, large windows and the light colored materials used in its building. The next room, where the ticket windows are, opens up horizontally and achieves that same open feeling but in opposite direction. I hope this engaging division of the interior space is used through out the entire building. If so, there might be another building in St. Louis to make my favorites list.

The old visitors’ center is next to this building and is slated for demolition. Currently, it houses a Dale Chihuly glass chandelier; which will be relocated in the central glass atrium of the new structure. If you are in the city when the new visitors’ center is completed, just seeing that chandelier is worth a trip over there. I have seen many of Chihuly’s glass sculptures and they never fail to impress and amaze.

The path we took to the indoor garden, or the Climatron, gave me an interesting view of the grounds exposing the layers of architecture that were added over the hundred a fifty eight year history of the institution.

When I left the new visitors’ center, a modern space designed with modern thinking and built with contemporary materials, I was confronted with the old greenhouse, a vintage structure built in the early 1900’s. Its tall windows with their multiple rows of small glass panes, and set in a rough exterior of dark red brick and white mortar, had a vivid contrast to the tall seamless expanses of glass set in the shiny metal walls of the visitors’ center. In one respect, the new visitors’ center was an updated version of the old greenhouse.

Then I approached the Climatron which was a short distance up the path.

When it was built, this structure was also ultra modern in every way. Now it looks dated and old fashioned in its own way.

It is a geodesic dome with a design sensibility straight out of the green movement of the 1960’s. To put it in a cultural context it has California commune and Bucky Fuller futurism written all over it. It reminds me of the biosphere space station from that forgotten 1972 Sci Fi film Silent Running.

Even its’ name, Climatron, has a 60’s sci-fi feel – Ultron, Atavachron, to mention a few others names from the distant past of my childhood.

Seeing the Climatron immediately after the old brick building was not just a vivid contrast but a jarring one. Unlike the first architectural contrast I encountered, the shape as well as the materials used to build this unique dome like structure, were completely different from the long brick green house of sixty years before.

One employed spherical proportions in its design and an intricate aluminum exo-skeleton framing triangular acrylic panels for its construction. The design and the materials developed in the 20th century.

The design of the other was based on square forms and constructed with small blocks of baked earth stacked up and held in place with mortar and supporting traditional steel roof beams and window frames. Everything that went into making this structure is has been used for centuries.

Probably the only architectural feature these two buildings have in common are the shape of their doors.

It was like looking at Abe Lincoln standing next to Captain James T Kirk. (!)

It also made me think that advancements in technology and engineering continually change the look of everything; just as much as the changing design sensibilities of the next generation of designers and architects do.

Stepping into the conservatory the dry, chilly air of late autumn was replaced with the heavy, moisture laden air of the tropics. We were shaded by full grown trees and surrounded with dense green foliage replete with strange and wonderful flowers, the likes we had never seen before. Flowing through this super sized terrarium was a stream with a waterfall as well as small pools supporting a variety of water plants. I even saw a big gecko clinking to the side of a tree like a garden decoration and heard a bird calling in the canopy above.

For the better part of an hour we walked the path at an unhurried pace and stopped frequently to take photos. Beside us, there was only four visitors roaming through the place, which made me feel like I was exploring and not just visiting.

After our visit to the botanical gardens we had some time before our dinner reservations at a sushi place named the Drunken Fish. It is near Forest Park, not far from the art museum. It is also near the De Baliviere, a neighborhood packed with lovely historic houses and majestic old trees. Several blocks of this area comprise a gated community and the streets are considers private property. It also has two private swimming pools and two private tennis courts exclusively for the use of its residences.

This area was made fashionable for residential living by the 1904 worlds fair; which was located in Forest Park.

When we were done driving around and had our fill soaking up the grand architecture of this charming community, we decided to skip dinner and head home. We were still full from lunch. We also had a three hour ride back and I did not want to do that after a long day of site seeing.

On the ride home the big city quickly gave way to a landscape of barren corn fields stretching out under a wide blue sky. We did not talk much but then we did not need to. We were still thinking about our urban adventure, the amazing art we saw, the jokes we laughed at and the good food we eat together.

It seemed we both wanted to make that time in St. Louis last as long as we could.

Everyday holds something incredible, we just have to look for it.