Tuesday, November 16, 2004

we interupt this democracy for a message from our sponsors

One more reason I'm happy to live in Canda -- sounds like the boys down south have a new bill that would Wired News: Senate May Ram Copyright Bill: "make it illegal to skip commercials." As we say at the House of Mirth Excusey-what?? The Man gets to decide that I have to cash in valueable brain cells so that I can learn more about the life-changing world of diet pills, refinanced mortgages and fast food? Wow I could have sworn this was a democracy. My mistake. TV might not be worth the effort after all. I'm saying right now, if they ever try to print commercials every 20 pages or so in my books I'm going native.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

being quiet

I love this time of year. I am fortunate enough to live close to the ocean and this time of year all of the townies go home and I get the beach all to myself. I drink it up like water. This past Saturday I woke up really, really wanting to go for a nice long walk on the beach. When I looked out the window I saw that it was raining. Pouring really. This is the west coast so to notice that it's raining, maybe even raining so much that you need to stay inside requires a serious amount of water. I decided to go anyway.

I had a new pair of Saloman hiking shoes (yay for 50% off sales) and a Goretex jacket. It wasn't raining in my world.

I was just about the only person down on the beach and it was the kind of experience that literally stops you in your tracks and begs you to pay attention. At one point I stopped down by the water and took off my hood so I could hear better. It was incredible -- if I listened carefully I could actually hear the difference between the sound of the rain hitting the ocean and the sound of the rain hitting the rocks on the beach. I could hear the gulls calling out to each other and the lapping sound of the tide making its pilgrimage back to dry land. I remember just standing there and thinking "it's so quiet" and then laughing, because really, it wasn't quiet at all, there were sounds everywhere.

I stood there, just standing, just breathing, just listening and just loving it. And I thought "I need this". Thinking about it now it almost as if the silence and the sounds together and the peace of the place were like soul manna -- falling just when I needed it. Nourishing like food, replenishing like water.

I kept my hood off as I walked back to my car, smiling at the few others who dared not miss so lovely a day. I chuckled at the old man who smiled at me and said "I hope you don't catch a cold". I didn't realize what he was laughing at until I got in my car and saw how thoroughly soaked I was.

I hadn't even noticed I was wet.

Friday, November 05, 2004

dreams for our problems

Walter Mills is a writer of uncommon, quiet wisdom. He writes a column for the Center Daily News that also appears on Saturdays in an email list I subscribe to. Last week he was talking about what it was like to be alive, to be an American dreamer in the days when man first walked on the moon. He describes the wonder of it writing:

I cannot forget the awe we felt as the first man walked on the moon. Or how quickly we lost interest and abandoned the lunar missions. Instead we turned our attention to Vietnam and Watergate, the oil embargo - we gave up our dreams for our problems. ~ Walt Mills

Can't you picture the innocent joy of that moment, of literally walking "where no man had gone before"? How quickly it became common. And I think we do that in our own lives, how quickly well let wonder tarnish into ordinary. I love how Walt put it "we gave up our dreams for our problems". There is such truth in that. It's as if our dreams are something that we carry in our arms, cradled at first. But in time we lay them aside, we put them down, we trade them in for the problems of our day. That is what we carry with us to sleep at night and what we turn to in the morning. We give them up for "important things".

We willingly take on problems because they are common and predicatble and can be discussed over water coolers. Everyone understands a car that breaks down or a bill that is late. No everyone can understand a desire to ride your bike across the province or write a children's story or giving up your day job to run a drop in center. Maybe we give up our dreams because deep down we want to be ordinary, we want to fit in, we don't want to be extraordinary. So often we spend our days staring at the ground and get angry at God because we cannot see the sky.

I want to hold on to my dreams. I want to write that book. I want to give up my problems for my dreams.

You can read all of Walt's column here