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A Winter Night. December 26, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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It’s warm out, with a light rain falling on a durable snow pack.  Perhaps there will be fog tomorrow morning; I’ll have to get up early to see if it’s worth a photographic foray.

But for tonight, there’s just the darkness and lights at a church down in the valley:

Sorry, I don’t know the denomination; this shot was just an excuse to play with Elliot’s shift function.

So there.

Ruby Tuesday, Random Edition. September 1, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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A few things Ruby crossed my line of sight this week, and I bagged ’em.

Mind you, I don’t just go around shooting random things because they’re Ruby.  That seems somehow exploitative of an unearned attribute.

But I do shoot random things because they speak to me, and if they speak Ruby, you get to hear them here.

The Bardwell’s Ferry Bridge over the Deerfield, here photographed in a gentle rain:

Bardwell's Ferry  Bridge in the rain

A mushroom in evening light:

red shroom

I’m not sure what kind, I’m too hungry to look it up right now, it’s late and I haven’t made dinner yet.

A mailbox at the mouth of Potter’s Lane, where the mail truck doesn’t go:

ruby mailbox

And St. Luke’s Stone Church in Lanesborough:

St. Luke's in Lanesboro

A few things Ruboid in Western Massachusetts.

For more Rubiliciousness, visit Mary over at Work of the Poet.  She’s the reason I’m a Rubiphile.

The Church Of All That Exists November 22, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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22 comments

Those of you who’ve had the poor judgment to spend any amount of time here probably know that I’m a Recovering Catholic. I was reared in an over-the-top Catholic home, went to church and Sunday school, said my prayers before bed and Loved Jesus.

But a schism developed when I was a teenager. I had learned about too many Crusades, too many Inquisitions. I saw too much money flowing inexorably upward, from the frayed pockets of The Poor to the Gilded Basilicas of the Vatican. There was too much dogma, too much hypocrisy, too much disregard for Earthly suffering, too much finger-pointing, too many distortions.

There was too much othering.

Even back then, this was important to me, not as a concept with a word attached, but as a visceral feeling of something-not-quite-right.

So I left the Church and wandered in the wilderness, coming to rest before too long in the strong arms of Mother Earth and the warm light of Father Sky. I wrapped myself in Nature, and found it to be a tapestry woven of All That Exists, with nothing superfluous and nothing lacking.

And I saw that it was good.

I’m happy to say that I’m not alone, here in the Church of All That Exists. I’m rubbing elbows with all the good people who now live or ever have lived, and all the flawed people who ever strove to be good. People of peace and love and vices, people of empathy and compassion and countless human failings. The living and the dead, the children of the future, the Ancient Forgotten Ones.

The Peacemakers are here, not in perfection, but in intent. Siddhartha is here, teaching about letting go of the material world, and about having respect for all living things. Gandhi, with his bullet hole, is here; his wife has forgiven him. Dr. King is here, still advocating for social and racial justice, though it astounds him that so many still cannot see.

He’s listening intently, sadness in his eyes, to the contrite tales of nineteen young Muslims who learned to fly, but not to land, because they believed their God demanded that of them, that they give their lives for social justice, as had Martin two generations before. I feel them struggling beneath the weight of the innocent souls surrounding them, asking “Why? Why me?”

There is no right answer, at least not a clear one. The Church Of All That Exists ask only about intent.

“What were you thinking?

“Were you giving of yourself, or were you taking from those with less?”

The Lion is here, lying down with the Lamb in its jaws, doing only what it must to survive. There is no evil in its heart, no malice in its mission.

But not all who live, not all who do, not all who take will be welcome here. The Rumsfelds who sit at a safe distance as they send their neighbors’ children off to die for the profits of the already rich will not be here. The Hitlers who categorize and contain and exterminate for the attainment of their own goals will not be here. The Cheneys who sneer at the pitiful poor who are ground into dust by their For-Profit-War-Machines will not be here. The Phelpses who revel in the suffering and deaths of others who are not like them will not be here.

Nor is my tenure here certain, guaranteed, preordained. My love of All That Exists is not enough. To stay here, to live and die and remain in this place, I must own it, embrace it, commit to it, to the air and the water, the rocks and the trees, the lion and the lamb, and the people. Caring is a necessary first step, but it’s trying to make a difference that makes my bed here.

There are many different paths to this understanding. Some have frescoed ceilings and gilded statuary; others have the humble trappings of a neighbor’s house. Some have choirs and pipe organs; others have the deep stillness of the Silence of Friends.

Mine has a dome of stars, patient and serene, with thin clouds scuttling by, their edges back-lit by a waxing moon. Mine has the low moan of wind over the surrounding hills, and nearer, the rattle of beech leaves refusing to fall. Mine has the bracing cold of hoar-frosted moss, crisply crumbling beneath my knees, penetrating my jeans with an awareness of this world as I bow down to my Mother Earth, humbled beneath my Father Sky, asking for a way to make a difference.

I know it won’t be easy, but on this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m grateful to The Church Of All That Exists for teaching me that I must try.