Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Being Here

 
      The existential 'nothing' might be called oblivion.  But oblivion is, I reckon, conceivable. So it cannot be nothing in the sense of 'nothing.'  I can easily see oblivion as a place, and sometimes I see it as a very happy place. 

     'Nothing,' on the other hand, is supposed to have no place at all.  And a person has to wonder if such a thing as 'nothing' exists, outside of something like an incredibly irritating response to the question, "What did you say?"  

     But I'd like to argue, the idea of "nothingness,"  is primarily to do with an "I" not being "here." Which is a something an "I" can never actually begin to realize without first constructing some kind of other place.


      Whether this makes sense or not, I suggest something like it has been central to thinking, back through the ages, all the way to the trees.  Beings just like you and I, constructing places that are 'not here.'  And if we ourselves are not constructing them, then odds are someone or something is attempting to do so for us.  

    Of course this other place does not have to be a thousand miles away, in a bar on a desert island. It can be as close to 'here' as tomorrow, or yesterday.

    Then the agile minded, who is also a smart ass, might point out that 'nothing' is actually more like 'here' because 'here' would not exist without both 'yesterday,' which can only ever be interpreted, and 'tomorrow,' which is only ever a mathematical possibility.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday


      There is something extra about having a 'Friday Feeling'  on the day before Monday. 
  
      And there is something extra, extra and about having four Saturdays in a row to look forward to.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

White Bread


       I should really devote April 28th to a bird. I know I have spent time with the Summer Tanager on an April 28th, and I on another April 28th I have attempted to justify shooting Cowbirds. And I have spent time with Wrens that call in the morning, just before the sun rises into the longer days all through April into May.  A shattering noise it can be.

       There are White Bread Sparrows in the car park and around those lunch tables at work. They like the white bread and probably they are one of the few birds in the world that pretend pickles have merit.  It's their diet coke with the French fries, I guess.  Pizza crust is a favorite.  They are not that fond of jams and jellies, but they'll quarrel over them, so long as the butter is real..


Friday, April 27, 2012

Magnets



      It's not so much whether migrating birds and other living things detect magnetic fields then react like magnets, it's more a question of how creatures experience their migration.  Which is a dilemma, because while by some wizardry of science I might be able to see through the eyes of  a docile Homing Pigeon, I can never actually be a Homing Pigeon or an Arctic Tern or a Walrus.  Nor will I ever know what it is to be a Tyrant Flycatcher, happy to be home and then chased by resident armies of  Mockingbird.  I can never actually be anything other than the rapidly ailing and tick ravaged thing which is me, and who should at this moment be outside euthanizing last year's Chard.  And, luckily for the Summer Tanager up there wondering what happened to his Sycamore Tree, he can never know what it is to be me.

      Of course pathways between magnet sensitive cells, emotion and behavior, in conjunction with seasonal changes will probably be mapped. Then, for a small monthly fee, this map can be prodded into the service of those of us who get depressed when the Swallows leave. Which means the science of migration can shout, "eureka, we can pay off the mortgage at last."  But more important than the facts of how and why something happens, is the fact that it does happen.  A conundrum which may or may not be solved by mathematics.  And this is a conundrum that I experience as cheerfulness conjoined with a certain contentment, that some might call smugness, but which is probably more like peeing off the front porch.  Which is a something I will go and do now, because for reasons totally beyond my comprehension, tomorrow I return to weekends of so called "gainful employment."



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring Mockingbirds

  
      Last Autumn one of the Southern Mockingbirds - I decided she was a girl - struggled with her molt.  There she was in Wisteria, featherless around the neck, and shy. Lice, I guessed. As well it was a raucous time in her community because territory  was scarce and Mockingbirds plentiful.  Fights and flying around, laying blame and yelling at each other.  That circus of bad temper and fearfulness that my own species in similar circumstances falls so easily into.

    It was around that time too, that Mockingbirds here forgot to sing.  There was an occasional vague attempt at an aria, but such was the stress, the storm and angst, that almost everybody came to the conclusion that singing beautiful and lonely from the top of a taller tree, was not the way to resolve the imperative of a territory upon which to feed through winter into spring.
 
    Spring came a little early this year, and I guess Mockingbirds too were surprised by its suddenness.  As well, through a warm winter there had been considerable tension.  And this year Mockingbirds have been so busy with each other,  those moments of yearning and dreaming of others that might once have resulted in a song have all been lost to the fury of property. I can hear it, through morning and afternoon into the evening.  I'll call it rage and without happiness, and it's un-resigned, I have decided.

    There is one Mockingbird out there, and it's a girl I have decided, that's lost all of her tail feathers except one which is a white feather.  It makes her a little clumsy when time comes to land on the electric line.  Easy for me to also decide she's the Mockingbird that so struggled with her molt last year.  And already she has a child that can hop about and fly into Autumn Olive, where he can stare at me and I can wonder about him.  
 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Babesiosis

 
      So totally pompous I have become, so engrossed by the game of self, so happily inured to the thinking of others, the odds are I'd be assigned a private tunnel by the Community of Moles.  Unfortunately there are Ticks.  Those little creatures that creep around on their eight legs, then suddenly leap or somehow move great distances to grab hold of a trouser leg, or shirt sleeve, then search for blood to suck.  Which they do hungrily and in silence. And when they are gone they leave both puss and phantoms of themselves that also bite and tickle and itch and scratch and may explain why it is I am suddenly drawn to the shaved head, and why I am no longer amused by the word 'Babesiosis' and its familiar symptoms.  But which cannot possibly explain why I have also explored both the known and unknown facts about flesh eating Bacteria.


    Traditionally, it was always The Artist's role to manage the theatre of ticks and the consequence of their tricky nature.  And I realize how excellent she was in the choreography of her expression through movement, dance and word.  But I guess she has been tastier than I, or perhaps I should stop hogging the Strawberry.  In the good old days my own role was a simpler one. I'd comfort with proclamations about the dangers of  Tick deterring chemicals.  Occasionally suggest a visit to the hospital for a bite that was particularly unpleasant to look at.  I'd  hint at the possibility of Tickborne Fevers that decimate human populations, a most slow and agonizing end.  And in the good old days too, it was The Artist's role to describe minutely and in endless detail the qualities of the seven or eight varieties of other biting things that are sometimes mistaken for Ticks, and which might well have arrived from the Amazon Delta attached to the feet of creatures that migrate, and which also leave a person twitching, sleepless, bad-tempered and yearning for The Rapture.
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crackpots


      Despite the great sense it makes to me, I  have decided against defining "billionaire" as, "an accidental utterance from strands of DNA."  Such a definition could quickly misdirect the ambitious grandparent, send him trooping to the laboratory for more reasons to drink.  So I'll reluctantly agree that it's better for everybody to define the class of billionaire as, "crackpots who did well." 

    I had thought of putting a "very" in front of the words, "did well."  But the word "very" rattles my intended meaning of "well," because "very" seems to give "well" a place on a hierarchy of wellness.  Which would not only erroneously suggest that I intend "crackpot" and "wellness" to have some sort of a symbiotic relationship, but might also suggest I had a dogmatic grasp of what "well" might be.

    But I do know that once a crackpot enters the class of billionaire, they do not actually cease being crackpots.  Which is why I use the past tense "did" to imply that both "doing" and "well," in the defining of billionaire, was a something that happened yesterday, and which might not necessarily happen again.

   The happier fact is that most "crackpots"  fall to that flaw a cracked pot is better known for, which is why a majority of crackpots can be seen foddering around the edges of  balance. Perhaps even mumbling about space travel or mining gold or platinum from passing asteroids as they push the cart through a grocery aisle.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Accountants


     I briefly worked in an Accounting Office, and have felt deep sympathy for the office worker ever since.  In those days the double entry was done by pencil, the adding up and the taking away was done by a machine with buttons that made quite a loud noise as it spat out paper from a roll, which when the roll ran out, required the qualities of a Nun to replace..  It soon became clear that the newest and most junior clerk suffered from either a dyslexia or a Bolshevistic attitude toward concentration. Too often I was called to the head table, to hear the words, "Another Error of transposition."


    An "Error of Transposition" is when two digits are reversed.  Twenty one is a far distance from twelve, ninety one much further from nineteen, and that's even before the multiplying and dividing functions exaggerate the confusion.  But it's good to know, after all this time, that The Great Oneness is also prone to "Error of Transposition." This year it seems, to at least one elderly and still junior clerk, that the Great One wrote April before March into the year, and his senior minions are clearly even more robotic in the literal nature of their obedience. And I bet the adding machine had no Nun in attendance, so there will be no paper trail for the persnickety out here in the hallways to puzzle over.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tick Bites


      Those with a potential to be obsessed by weather might call this yet another cooling trend and they might show signs of the emotional distress that culminates in outburst.  There have been so many times when under the stress of similar circumstances, I have looked at the calendar for next year and I have made notes on it that end with several exclamation marks.  An act of reasonableness which I believed would better serve a future me.

    This morning I greeted a mixed weather forecast with little more than a shrug of acceptance. I gave one of the tick bites a good scratch, and I think I might have sneezed a few times. The word "frost" did nothing to either effect or affect the balance of my keel.  Nor will I be looking for the ink pen, or pencil and pencil sharpener.  I'll not be making notes, I'll not be counting exclamation marks.  Because I am now convinced such present efforts at reasonableness have absolutely no effect or affect on a future me.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hoppy Bug


     I wonder if Hoppy Bug smelled the Lilac when it bloomed all those weeks ago, then they bounced around, and finding no Egg Plant wandered into the desert of other greens. I like to think they encamped this side of the river and while building rafts to cross to the other side, they all got eaten by tiny Frogs.  More likely their collective had the backup plan. Wiser Hoppy Bug chased the youth back to the lair, where they'll wait for the Privet to bloom and swap tales of  treachery in the scent of Lilac.

    Rust Galls made an attempt when it was warm and misty some weeks ago.  Out they came, that orange yellow in the Cedar.  Apples trembled, except for ours, which had already given buds to Goldfinch, I think.  But I don't see well, and rarely remember where last I left binoculars, so it could have been a travelling Waxwing horde, the Mockingbird certainly thought so.  And those buds Goldfinch or Waxwing thought too meager, I saw Towhee savoring.  But Rust Galls don't surrender, they don't leave it to another year.  There they are again today, like holiday decorations one day late, and still celebrating  because we've had a good rain and cloudy into tomorrow.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Esau



     There is a distinction between indoors and outdoors, between shelter and the total absence of shelter, and between Esau and Jacob.  Esau, the hairier of the twins, was probably an outdoor person, happy to emulate the elements, insects that hop and suck blood, the great panoply of disobedience and willfulness that exists beyond the porch.

     Jacob, the younger twin, managed to sire through his wives and their handmaidens twelve sons who went on to become the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel.  And I would argue that Jacob was an indoor person, he liked his Sheep skins hanging in a row, was good at putting up shelves, and insisted upon a well swept hearth.
 
     Fairly certain there are more learned  interpretations of this story of  jealousy that accrues to any assumption of birthright.  But my own preoccupation, has always been with Esau.  In the faraway, a gullible me, wanted Esau to bump off his sycophant brother, and this was especially the case when in the next chapter or two, Jacob gave just the one of his own twelve sons a fancy coat. 

    Then I have to wonder why it is that the room where I sleep is so disorderly, it's considered beyond redemption and should be condemned.  But those parts of the Vegetable Garden over which I am Tyrant, if given to the analyst would likely be described as coming from the mind of one who is overly controlling and very, very dull. 
 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rainless-ness

 

    Already there's been no good rain for at least four weeks.  Those rumbling showers have gone slightly north and east, and that rumbling shower which came from the south west, stopped because it knew I was staring at it.  And while May is often the rainiest month for us, May rain is not like March or April rain.

   May rain gets sucked away by long sun and rivers, and when it leaves, soil enters a period of ennui it calls summer.  Months of dreaming of the high wind which might blow it perhaps to Antarctica where it could sleep or maybe watch Penguins, while it waited out the assumption of agriculture that has placed so many demands upon it and rewarded it so little.


    But sometimes in May, rain can linger in the peaceful way, on into the night, then in the morning there it is, chilly cold and dripping from clogged gutters where Maples are sprouting.  Some still call this Blackberry Winter.  And sometimes too, a Blackberry Winter can include a frost, something Blackberry relish, because it brings on clouds of Blackberry bloom, but which can distract the Multiflora that Goats think so delicious.
 
    This year, both Blackberry and the Wild Asian Rose are already blooming.  I'd call it a good three weeks this side of two years ago, and I reckon, if we'd had the rain, instead of an antiseptic and frigid  hosepipe, Carrots might also think it way past the time to celebrate May the Fifth. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Apricots

     I am going to make an assumption that the dead or dying Apricot is grafted onto the root of Plum.  I am also going to make the assumption that when choosing Plum rootstock for the purpose of grafting Apricot, the variety of Plum is not chosen for the stature and succulence of its Plums. From these two assumptions I am going to put a 'therefore' onto the idea of a tree out there which, if it produces Plums, they will probably turn a mouth inside out.

   As well, I am going to say that given the nature of this part of Kentucky, there is an excellent chance that Squirrel, Chipmunk and their allies, also Raccoon and Possum, along with the Cloven Hoofed, and maybe Moles, will relieve me of ever having to concern myself with the taste of whatever Plum might arise from the embers of what could have been an Apricot tree.  But you never know it could be pretty enough to anchor a lonely corner.
 
    Saint Timothy, naturally remembers Apricots.  There were good trees and bad trees, he tells me, and all of them emerged from Apricot Pips, so there was never the problem of an opinionated Plum deciding to dominate.  Ancient Greeks, of course practiced graftage, as it's sometimes called. Today a Golden Delicious is always exactly a Golden Delicious a year after it is picked, and the same for Apricots.  And, as with so many things the practice amongst us people probably began when God decided to let the Buddha loose on the very far eastern territories.

     Then I made the mistake of saying, "It must have been nice in Eden." Saint Timothy laughed at me and said, "That's what I used to tell people, then Jesus started wearing shorts at the weekend, joined the NRA, and performed the odd miracle in the stock market."  Which was something I found hard to believe, and rather depressing. "It's perfectly all right," the Angel of Greed started to sob in that pathetic way, "It's all in the Bible and can fit through the eye of a needle."


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Angel of Greed as House Guest.



    I mentioned the word "nihilism." Saint Timothy stared at the cup of tea I had brought him. And told me he really preferred coffee in the morning. "Tea," he said. "Is a late afternoon drink."  Which is an off hand remark that can piss a mortal off.      

    "No it's not,"  I said.  He gave me the sad face and the shrug of a pauper.  Minds clashed briefly.  And for those who care, the Angel of Greed likes both sugar and cream in his coffee, which meant a trip into town.


Monday, April 16, 2012

An Anatomy of Greed 3

  
    I'll call him Saint Timothy. I'd bump into him behind the barn, where he likes to smoke a cigarette and stare at the Doodlebugs.  He looks old and frail, and he has the cough, and those wings of his appear always to be molting.  Which is very unattractive.

    Its been dry, so I exchange a greeting that verges on impolite. But mostly I prefer to avoid the Almighty and his Angels, which could be an error in my relationship with the mystery of being. An error which once might have reinvigorated Saint Timothy. Put spunk in his stem. Return him to preaching and healthier habits.

    Then yesterday afternoon Saint Timothy was in tears.  He was sobbing there by the rolls of maybe useful wire, beside the old red riding mower that one day might be fixed. And he was muttering on about being banished from his red bar stool in the recreation hall, where Angels are apparently permitted to drink beer and look at girls.  Which surprised me too.


    "I used to have meaning!," Saint Timothy told me.  "Now I might as well be a virtue."  I wanted to just get on about my business, and it's a pity angels do not photograph well, because when they cry a person really does feel sorry for them. 

     And certainly it's a mistake to ask an Angel what he's talking about, because they can ramble on in that round about and well modulated way.  But I try to live in hope, and there is always that chance Saint Timothy might do to Moles here in Kentucky what Saint Patrick did to Snakes in Ireland.

   Any way, one thing led to another, he gave me a snoot full of feather dust when he hugged me, and long story short, the Angel of Greed now lives in the barn.  And he has promised not to throw stones at swallows or tease Doodlebugs.
 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

An Anatomy of Greed 2

 
    The word "pontificate" arrives via a Medieval Latin word meaning "act as an ecclesiastic."  Which itself was a reworking of the Latin word "Pontifex."  Which was the title of  "a man on the highest council of priests."  And more often, a conjunction of the words, "highest," "council" and "priest," implies a successful career in a profession which places value on interpreting the relationship between members of our species and what I will describe as "The Great Mystery of Being."

     "Pontificate," is to express opinions or judgments in a pompous or dogmatic way.  Safe to say,  I actually prefer the expression, "Laying down the law about the habits of Baboons and the number of quills a Porcupine has got."  A splendid annunciation of  meaning in the word pontificate that I first heard from a man in a wheel chair, or was it the tenor who played piano. I do remember one was called Flanders, the other called Swann.

    Either way,  for the next couple of days, I intend to pontificate. Achieve levels of self importance that go so far beyond pompous, they will mushroom into "megalomania," or even "smug."
 
    Some might ask the question, "Why forsake a perfectly reasonable expression like 'Laying down the law,' for a word which in our language has so long an association with Gods,  Godliness and their Priests?"   My answer has to do with the word "Greedy."  

    Greedy, comes to English from Anglo Saxon words that combined "hunger" with "covetousness."  And here I like one of the German words for "greedy" which is  "habsüchtig."  "Haben" means "have."  "Sücht"  has a meaning that lies somewhere in the words  "sickness" or "disease" or "obsession" or "addiction" or "fever."  And interesting to note that when attempting to divine the meaning of the word  "habsüchtig"  many favor the idea that "sickness" or "disease" is meant in the more respectable sense of  "passion for."  Rather than in the physiological sense of running a terminal fever then succumbing to disfiguring pox or incurable palsy.  

    So Yes, I would like to spend the next couple of days pontificating. Becoming a pulpiteer. Hanging out the bucket.  Thumping the drum on the corner of the street, as I have seen others do.  Poor, self righteous bastard. 


Saturday, April 14, 2012

An Anatomy of Greed 1

  
        The custom here dictates that a first ripe Strawberry must be divided equally and then shared between people  Usually there is oohing and ahhing and great praise for the stubbornness of a perennial crop that in the end consumes more time, takes up more space, causes more anxiety, rage and debate, than some of us reckon is worth it.

     This year there is a conundrum, because not only are there two first ripe Strawberry, but one of them is larger than the other.   My first instinct, was to leave one for the Mockingbird to share with the Garden Mouse.  But there is that old saying, "The Big Strawberry goes to the greediest."


Friday, April 13, 2012

Sunny and Bone Dry.



       Tea leaves have been cast upon the saucer, predictions have been issued.  Early next week there's a chance of rain, or maybe just lightning.  Otherwise, dawn will blink sleepily at the short trousers and say "No".  Definitely sun hat with winds gusting into the irritating range.  And definitely hosepipe mornings with watering can  late afternoons.  All the same I would like to know what it is that differentiates, "Partly Sunny" from "Mostly Sunny."  And "Partly Cloudy" from "Mostly Cloudy."

    "Partly Sunny" means more sun than cloud.  "Mostly Sunny" means less than 30 percent of the sky is covered by cloud.  "Partly Cloudy" means more cloud than sun. "Mostly Cloudy" means more than 70 percent of sky is covered by cloud  Simple enough, but for those of us not blessed with a mind like a steel trap, it's not as easy to remember as it might sound.   


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pendragon

  
       In 1603, or there about, James fifth of Scotland inherited England and Ireland.  A big moment for him, I guess.  Three years later, on April the Twelfth, a decision was finally taken to give his empire a red, white and blue flag.  Red for the cross of Saint Andrew, white for the cross of Saint George and Blue for the cross of Saint Patrick. This first Union Jack lasted until The Act of Union in 1800. A year later, to mark the occasion, the Union Jack was very slightly redesigned by a committee of imbeciles.  

    And I should add, for those curious about the fate of Wales,  that ever since Llywellyn was out castled by the first King Edward, seven hundred years ago, Wales has had the distinction of  belonging to the heir apparent of the reigning monarch of  the United Kingdom of Great Britain and parts of Ireland.  And, though I don't know quite why,  it's worth remembering the first Queen Elizabeth and several of the Henry's were Welsh.
 
    I prefer the first Union Jack, because there was no way a person could fly the first Union Jack upside down.  The second Union Jack is an appalling complexity of geometry, obviously designed by nit-pickers and grammarians, about whom I cannot say any more, without further advancing into that part of frustration over which I have absolutely no control, and which has already been cruelly tested today by frost and foul thoughts from imagination.. 

     But for those who might still be curious about what happened to the Welsh flag when James inherited both the English and the Irish, I believe it enough to suggest the Welsh flag has contained a dragon since the last great Pen Draig sent cavalry to terrify the Saxons, around five hundred AD.  An event from the Arthurian Legend which we here in Kentucky often find ourselves celebrating in a sometimes widespread and spontaneous manner.
 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Demonic Being


       To sum a culture, a person has to be remarkably arrogant.  And it is useful to remember that mathematics is what I guess can be called, abstract. Which is to say, mathematics has no experience of being mathematics and is therefore the obvious answer. But I will say that most decisions are made in spaces that are increasingly abstract, until something infuriating happens and a mind is persuaded to think, "This is nuts!"  An opinion I voice rather too often.


    In looking for words to describe the powerful, I suspect it's better to think of the powerful as - tending to be the last to conclude, "This is nuts."  Which is why last night's patchy frost can too easily be handed over to the abstract of mathematics, a calculation of air movement,  the Kyoto Butterfly flapping it's wings and the physics of radiational cooling.  Me, I'm determined to think of it as a demonic being plotting to kill off  Asparagus, decimate the Strawberry.  This way I can at least pretend to belong to the earth.
 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rainless-ness


        North wind is plotting.  There must be an air mass up there somewhere that has not yet signed this year's surrender and has no intention of doing so.  Once more into the breach, and frost is forecast.  Then, if not tonight, then tomorrow night it could well freeze. And even the older Walnuts have a suggestion of leaf. 

     I think it was a British Prime Minister who tried to give credence to stubbornness by reducing it to TINA. "There Is No Alternative."  She also used the word "wobbly" to describe any of her supporters whom she suspected of thinking otherwise.  Sometimes I just wish it would rain. 


Monday, April 9, 2012

2012

  
       When television news announces that the first three months of this year have been the warmest on record here in the Kentucky, a person should remember that according to the word of Mayan thinkers the world comes to an end on December twenty first 2012.   

     Absolutely I take Martin Reese and other equally well adjusted thinkers seriously, when they suggest that our species has a fifty-fifty chance of making it as we are now to the end of the twenty first century. And absolutely, it's not just about selling books and pictures that move.

      Isaac Newton, for whom Physics was more of a hobby, used most of his brain to think about future events and the nature of  time. He reckoned the world would end in the year 2060. Sadly this more endearing side of Isaac Newton, remained less relevant,  until the nineteen thirties when economic misfortune persuaded what remained of Isaac Newton's family to auction off whatever other bits and pieces from his mind they could still find.

    Then there is the Prophet Hen of Leeds. The unfortunate creature would lay an egg every time someone said "Jesus is coming."  Which quite obviously meant an imminent end to the Human experiment.  


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Two Saint Augustine's



       Toward the end of the sixth century Pope Gregory of Rome sent missionaries to Britain.  A place Gregory considered the "ends of the earth."   Just awful, and there was probably some doubt as to whether the mission would ever be seen again.  Yet, Popes never do become Popes because they are innocent.  

    Two hundred years previously, under the occupation of Roman Legions, Britain had, for a while at least, been declared a Christian land.  As well,  when Gregory sent his missionaries to Briton, the English King of Kent, the most powerful pagan south of Scotland and east of Wales, was already married to a Christian woman.  He had the wonderful name of Ethelbert, and she had the wonderful name of Bertha.  She came from just across the English Channel, where French or Franks lived and still do.  But I guess the "ends of the earth" meant cold and wet, and lacking in couth.

     There have been two Saint Augustine's.  The first from North Africa.  A great mind and passionate theorist, as great minds tend to be when the world is a settled place.  The second Saint Augustine was the first Arch Bishop of Canterbury, which is in Kent, and has the cathedral, and pilgrim tales.  This second 
Augustine was an adventurous politician with a duty to his Pope, souls to save and a career to consider.  

    I mention all this, because I am firmly of the opinion that Politics and Religion are precisely  the same thing, and have been since our species left the trees to run around as frightened beings in the wide open spaces that make up the curse of imagination.  And those who call for the abstract of reason, have no understanding of what it is we are, which is why too often the first Saint Augustine, the one from Hippo, with his insistence that "We Are All Sinners" often makes more sense than mathematics.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mystery Day

  
      A tradition has it that today is Mystery Day.  

     Otherwise I can see no possible reason for hiding chocolate eggs around the place and sending the young and their parents off to quarrel at a chance to find the most eggs and maybe end their Mystery Day with a visit to a magistrate. And Mystery Day is well named, because in the next few hours, some years ago, the Son of God, rises from the dead.  He then hangs around for forty days so he might say goodbye to those who loved him, share a few opinions, and then he's off into the sunset, and is never heard from again, except in the whispers of the fearful, and maybe in the wishes of the self important. 

    If a person believes the tomb was empty, it's entrance undisturbed, he can call himself a Christian. And certainly those who call themselves Christian must grasp the Paschal Mystery, or at least make some attempt to challenge it, and by so doing define their faith and better understand what it is they claim.  But mostly, it is an answer to the question what happens to me when I am alone, because my body has failed.  Where do I go, and why do I go there, and wouldn't it be nice if I never saw my next door neighbor again.
  
     "You don't necessarily have to wear the hat in church, or wave the bloody flag, you just have to be there."  The Protestant understanding is a more empirical understanding, I'd like to think. Words reflect, they do not actually exist and are not real, but spelling and grammar and theory and routine, are like whips. Or else it's anarchy and we all go to hell. Which is why I hope God too thinks Protestants are graceless, plodding and very proud to be dull. 

     So whose fault was it.  And oddly, while debating with Saint Augustine, it was a fourth century Briton claimed that a person was free to obey or disobey and therefore able to make his own laws.  But Augustine, who was from a North African port town called Hippo, stuck to his book. "We are all sinners," he assured, and he pointed to the antics of teenagers back when it was Eden here on earth. "Pater Noster," Augustine added with that passion of the born again. "Que es in caelis."  The Lord's Prayer.

    More recently, bureaucratic wrangling has been blamed. I read a claim somewhere, probably in the literature of the maladjusted, that Pontius Pilate had a political ambition that included the overthrow of the Emperor Tiberius, and to satisfy that ambition he had to control the unruly Province of Judea, which meant Gentle Jesus had to go, along with two thieves.  One of whom was penitent.  The other not so.

    And what an incredible day this must be for the faithful.


Friday, April 6, 2012

An Abundance of Turkey


      The argument that Feudalism never really went away is a temptation.  Try being late for work without proper credentials followed by that sort of groveling that defines obedience.  It's indentured we are to the powerful, of whom there are fewer and fewer thank goodness. Theirs is a long tradition of killing off their peers, while we cheer, so long as it's all done fashionably.  And yes, "verily.... before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Which is honest Mathew, King James Edition, and which is why today is Good Friday and temptation indeed to make the analogy, because the Carrots are showing and it will most likely frost tonight. So perhaps I should sleep outside in just the cotton nightie. Which either contributes to The Passion or is madness. Either way, I'll have Asparagus for supper tonight.

     What is cruel or unusual, are of course figments of culture.  Up there with the idea of Freedom, Equality and the American Dream.  All the same I have come to think we are each of us, better off when the powerful truly believe the nicer figments are god given rather than products of reason, because it means the powerful expect less from us, or they go to hell.  Then the time comes when a person has to ask whether the Disciples saw Jesus as a career opportunity which included loose fitting shoes, and which practiced the intimacy of  foot washing.  Which is why I could never be an Anabaptist or a Leveler.  I am  particularly ticklish around the distant peripheries and probably would have been two thousand forty odd years ago when a cross meant crucifixion, so probably there were fewer of them back then.  It's as well though, it all happened so long ago, saving future generations from hanging an electric chair or a whole death chamber around their necks.