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Showing posts from 2011

Owl Prowl

Last Friday evening should have been perfect for spotting owls (either visually or aurally): owl courting season, nearly cloudless sky, 3/4 of a waxing moon, and a windless night.  Unfortunately, for the fifteen or so of us, led by the incomparable naturalist Dorothy McCleer, we came up owl-less.
     It was a cold, late fall evening, the brief snowfall from Thursday evening was all but vanished except for the white shellacking on the fallen trees.  We met inside U of M-Dearborn's Environmental Interpretive Center for a briefing of the species we might encounter--the great-horned owl, the screech owl, and possibly a barred owl, one of which had been hanging out in the basement of a Presbyterian church on the other side of the Rouge River.  We headed out into the cold dark and stopped by some oaks near the entrance.  Ms. McCleer quieted us down and whistled the smooth sliding call of the screech owl.  We scanned the dark cracks in the sky that were the bare tree branches for …

Phobiaphobic

When asked "what is your greatest fear?" most people respond with concrete fears: snakes, rats, heights, closed spaces, clowns, etc.  Not me, sure being high in the air with little to no protection causes interesting physiological reactions in me, but really that isn't what truly shakes me.  What I'm afraid of is cowardice.  I'm afraid that in some extreme situation, which most people don't experience anyway, I'll respond in some George Costanza-like manner, panic and run.
     Courage is a virtue, after all.  Not only for Christians, but for the ancient Pagans as well.  Courage is acting in spite of the fear that might make one weep, cringe, collapse, or run.  Courage is accepting martyrdom, running into a burning building, standing for the right in the midst of relativism.
      I suppose I have been tested a few times in this.  In high school I stood up to a bully hassling a girl (granted the bully was a girl too, but still...no one else in the c…

Worth Quoting

Cooking is one of the most important health consequences of buying food from local farmers; for one thing, when you cook at home you seldom find yourself reaching for the ethoxylated diglycerides or high-fructose corn syrup.                                                                      --Michael Pollan from In Defense of Food

Worth Quoting

To conquer oneself is the first and best of all victories.
                                                                    --Plato

The Generation Gap

This should have been obvious, but I realized tonight that not only were my children born in a different century from me, but they were also born in a different millenium.  Call it epochal parenting.

H2Oh!

What is it about water that draws us to it?  Obviously, there is our biological need, but I'm thinking beyond thirst and cellular replenishment.  I've heard that fire and flowing water are mesmerizing to humans like few other phenomena.  Think of how one stares into the dancing red and orange of a campfire or in a fireplace on a cold evening in midwinter.  Remember the breathy sound of surf, the constant roar of a whitewater river, or even the arrhythmic patter of rainfall on a roof.  Then there's the sight of water: foamy, white highlights on a blustery day, tranquil hues of blue, coffee rivers, black ponds.  Ripples, waves, riffles, the motion of water, its (usually) fresh odor, and the variety of life it attracts; bodies of water supply a nearly inexhaustible supply of beauty and fascination.      Water is not only necessary to sustain life, but is used in healing rituals around the world and has been since probably religion started.  Think of baptism and its symb…

Worth Quoting

From Wendell Berry's 1993 Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community:
On the problem of current economic system--  But we must begin by giving up any idea that we can bring about these healings without fundamental changes in the way we think and live.  We face a choice that is starkly simple: we must change or be changed.  If we fail to change for the better, then we will be changed for the worse.  We cannot blunder our way into health by the same sad and foolish hopes by which we have blundered into disease.  We must see that the standardless aims of industrial communism and industrial capitalism equally have failed.  The aims of productivity, profitability, efficiency, limitless growth, limitless wealth, limitless power, limitless mechanization and automation can enrich and empower the few (for a while), but they will sooner or later ruin us all.  The gross national product and the corporate bottom line are utterly meaningless as measures of the prosperity or health of the country.--&…