Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Autumn Leaves Begin to Fall

It's my favorite season of the year, but it doesn't feel like it yet. Or look like it, ever, where I live. I live in a region where there are vague seasonal changes. No glorious shows of crimson and gold leaves, just leaves dropping off the trees as winter grows near. So there's no transition. I've mentioned to people it's like this area has two shows with nature: Leaves and no leaves. The leaves appear in the spring, grow through the summer, turn brown and drop. I miss those seasonal changes ablaze with colors and transitional temperatures, which I experienced living elsewhere, but personal commitments keep me here in this region of vague seasonal change. For now, I have to make do with photos of other areas with their glorious color changes. One day, perhaps like the colors change in the seasons, I too, will have a change of scene. It's just a waiting game: which reminds me of the classic standard "September Song."

Monday, September 29, 2008

It isn't an earthquake, but...

The wisdom of the town where I reside: do noisy road work at night on a street outside my residence because it has traffic (though not heavy) during the daytime. As I type this, my computer keyboard is shaking while a pneumatic drill vibrates everything in its vicinity. I wonder how people cope with this stuff in some large place like NYC? And where did I put my earplugs?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Those Blue Eyes Are Closed and I'm in Mourning: Paul Newman is Dead

I heard about it Friday and I'm trying to "get over it" even though I didn't know the man personally. Yet it's still painful to think about. Paul Newman is dead. Humanitarian. Actor. Icon. Fallible. Private person. Until his health issues were leaked to the media, Newman was obviously keeping his illness private, because he never mentioned it and instead mentioned he was "retiring" because his mind was not as sharp as it once was to memorize scripts. I'm not sure why his wishes for privacy weren't respected though it probably is related to his celebrity status. I'll always remember him as "Cool Hand Luke" where his antisocial character had some very Christ-like qualities onscreen.

What the heck is an "Anchoress" and who is this Dame,Julian of Norwich?

Curious as to what an Anchoress is (or was) and why I chose it as a name for my blog on the web site, Beliefnet? No, it isn't a person who handles an anchor. Here's a partial explanation from Wikipedia:

Anchorite (male)/anchoress (female), (adj. anchoritic; from the Greek ἀναχωρέω anachōreō, signifying "to withdraw", "to depart into the rural countryside"), denotes someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented, ascetic and, circumstances permitting, Eucharistic-focused life. As a result, anchorites are usually considered to be a type of religious hermit although there are distinctions in their historical development and theology. The anchoritic life is one of the earliest forms of Christian monastic living. Popularly it is perhaps best-known from the surviving archeological and literary evidence of its existence in medieval England.

The most famous Anglican Anchorite was Julian of Norwich, an image of her seen above (which may or may not be historically accurate, given the time in which she lived.) Part of an entry for her on Wikipedia is as follows:

Julian of Norwich (c. November 8,1342– c. 1416) is considered one of the greatest English mystics. Little is known of her life aside from her writings. Even her name is uncertain, the name "Julian" coming from the Church of St. Julian in Norwich, where she was an anchoress, meaning that she was walled into the church behind the altar during a mass for the dead. At the age of 30, suffering from a severe illness and believing she was on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ. (They ended by the time she overcame her illness, May 13, 1373) She recorded these visions soon after having them, and then again twenty years later in far more theological depth. They are the source of her major work, called Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love(circa 1393). This is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language Julian became well known throughout England as a spiritual authority: Margery Kempe mentions going to Norwich to speak with Julian.

Although she lived in a time of turmoil, Julian's theology was optimistic, speaking of God's love in terms of joy and compassion as opposed to law and duty. For Julian, suffering was not a punishment that God inflicted, as was the common understanding. She believed that God loved and saved everyone. Popular theology magnified by current events including the Black and a series of peasant revolts assumed that God was punishing the wicked. In response, Julian suggested a far more chimerical theology, universal salvation. Because she believed that beyond the reality of hell is yet a greater mystery of God's love, she has also been referred to in modern times as a proto-universalist. Even though her views were not typical, local authorities did not challenge either her theology or her authority to make such religious claims because of her status as an anchoress.

Woke Up, Got Out of Bed....

Woke up, fell out of bed /Dragged a comb across my head...(Lennon/McCartney, A Day in the Life)

Can't explain why the above lines (including that whole passage written by Paul McCartney) was going through my head when I woke up this morning. But I always seem to find a snippet of music and/or lyrics going through my head. Especially in the morning. When that song was written in the 1960s, (and yes, I'm THAT old,) I couldn't have told you who really wrote the lyrics. The Beatles to me were a talented group of guys and I couldn't distinguish between who wrote what until after they split up. Now I know the back story of how John Lennon started writing the lyrics to a very dark song ("I read the news today...") and couldn't seem to finish it. Likewise, McCartney had started a song with the lyrics quoted above. Creatively frustrated, they combined the two separate lyrics they'd written into the song it was to become.

But why that song was in my head this morning, I can't explain. I suppose worse things could be there.

By the way, there's a quiz where you can find out which of The Beatles you match. My result: John Lennon. I was initially surprised, but the more I thought about it, I wasn't.

Spiritually Speaking

What a journey my life has been, spiritually-speaking. I've been a member of three major religions, taken several courses related to religion and/or spirituality and still hunger for more. Sometimes I just get exhausted and pause. But after a while, I'm on my way again. My journey always makes me think of a song written by Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam,) On the Road to Find Out. It fits.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

So Many Blogs, So Little Time...

A decision just has to be made. I've got to quit having so many blogs in the "blogosphere." So, I'm gradually weeding out those I've tried to maintain but decided to end. One such now inactive blog I've had is on the website, Beliefnet. Those of you who read the blog of Anglican Anchoress, that was I. I also maintain another one called Writerleft (a pun, not necessarily a political statement) via a newspaper's sponsored blog site--most of the entries I've read there seem to address politcs, not something I'm overly comfortable in sharing to a large audience. I am a political activist, I am just selective about it: that is, I try to do something instead of just grumble about it in a blog (though, admittedly, I've done that too.) Lastly, I have had a long running blog (until about a month or so ago) which I wrote daily on the Windows Live blog site called Peace Seeker in a Chaotic World. I was thoroughly devoted to it, and found out that many were reading it. But a series of personal events caused me to eventually write there less and less. I decided to import the name to Blogger, because it was almost like I had a copyright on the name! I have no plans to import the previously published blog material, though.

So now, I wonder, should I maintain this blog here? Time and thought will tell.

I love to write, but I have a life outside of writing (dammit--if only there was more time to live as a writer!) and I just can't juggle all the different sites. I'm still contemplating my activity here.

Know this: I tend to keep an eclectic blog, so there's no "common theme" like politics, religion, etc. I've done separate blogs with that in mind, but as I said, it's just getting too hard. Feedback is welcomed. Anyone reading this?