Archive for December 2009


December 31, 2009

Technically, we have a full moon up there.   Second one this month, so it is called a Blue Moon.   There are many explanations about that name, but it’s not going to be “blue.”

It’s not going to be very bright around here tonight either, given our wintry weather.    

But  I like walking outside in the dark winter nights.     In the winter it’s very, very quiet.  The snow soaks up all the sound;  everyone else seems to be indoors.   It’s a nice time to feel the awesomeness of nature and the  aloneness of  your thoughts.This was me last night, or at least where I was.    I took many photos without the flash, but the pictures show a lot less than what I saw.   

The light from the flash around me, though, reminds me of what we discovered  one night in our class on Elijah.   

Elijah:  taking refuge in a cave;  alone with his own thoughts and perplexities and real fears;  then comes a crashing earthquake to shake him up and things get worse.   Rocks tumble down and he can’t even trust the ground he stands on.     

Then comes a howling, overwhelming whirlwind to throw things around, hurling dust and grit, stones and broken rocks and dead, dry pieces of shrubs at him.   

Then comes a strange eerie fire, like a blowtorch, menacing as it grows closer to Elijah.

I know some of my people were experiencing difficult times, with no relief in sight.  I was going through some difficult times too.   I pointed out that just when Elijah pleaded for consolation – anything, just to “prove” that God is there, caring for him – just at that point –  things actually got worse.   And worse.  And worse.    Nothing in this great big, powerful, wonderful earth provided safety and consolation for Elijah.

But in God’s good time, He came to Elijah, quietly, softly, like a subsonic little whining, buzzing noise….filling Elijah with the sense of God’s reality.    

When Elijah had first entered that cave, God asked him a series of questions:  “What are you doing in here…?”   And now, after Elijah experiences God’s reality,  he is asked the same series of questions:  “Elijah, what are you doing in here…..”

Elijah was ready for  those questions the second time.   For us, for the readers of the Bible, Elijah was given knowledge of God’s plans, and how things were being worked out by the hand of God all along.

So that’s what I think of when I’m out at night and can’t hardly see where I’m going.   The moonlight (or the camera  flash)  lights up only the place where I’m standing.   I don’t get to see where my whole life is going, how all the things are being worked out by the hand of God, but I do get just a little light around me, just enough to take the next step confidently.

I do love walking in the moonlight.


December 30, 2009

Sunshine and shadow.    The two make beautiful patterns on our front lawn.    The two combine to make a complete picture.    This scene just wouldn’t be worth the time it takes to snap a picture with only sunshine, only shadow.

Sunshine and shadow.   It’s the contrast that makes you take a second look at the details.

Brightness and darkness.   Both make up our lives.    You’ve got to be able to stare into the darkness, see what’s there; and you’ve got to be able to look at the details of the brightness, see what’s true Light.     I think that’s how you gain proper persepctive;  it’s how you exercise  Discernment, the gift that is lovingly given to us to help us along the Way.

Whenever I look at a scene like those photos above,  I am taken back to my early days, sitting next to my Grandma at her old pump  organ.  My feet are pumping away, my hands are making the melody, and my Grandma, with her shrill, distinctive voice is happily singing out:       SUNNN-SHINE OR SHAAADOW – WHAT E’ER BEFALLLLL;  JESUS MY SAVIOR IS MY ALL IN ALLLLLL..!!….

What a privilege to learn your faith that way!

The sun sinks low on the horizon….

The day’s last sun ray rests on the pond.   Our neighbors have turned our pond into an ice rink – ready for activity.     Not everything is contemplation.   Like   sunshine comes with  shadows, contemplation is mixed in with activity.  

St. Benedict built a civilization with that thought.   Ora et labora.    Pray and work.  Balance.     Maybe that’s the balance that’s guides us through the sunshine and shadows of our lives. 


December 29, 2009

Lest those last two posts make you think I’m ready for a straightjacket, I’d like to show you my coach – in this Football Game of Life.     As part of the Communion of Saints, this man is more alive and fully human than any of us here remaining on Earth….and the Heavenly Love in his heart keeps him connected to us saints here.

His name is St. Francis de Sales.   Though he looks gentle,  he knows how to fight the good fight of faith.

“For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood;  but against principalities and power, against the rulers of  the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places.”   (Ephesians 6:12) 

I know, I know….that great “football game of life” is a spiritual battle.  St. Francis gently demonstrates and teaches spiritual virtues, and it’s these virtues that are the spiritual powers that enable one to overcome the bears that the Enemy sends.

Holding onto his hand in 2010 is first on my list of New Year’s resolutions.


December 29, 2009

Here he is again.   I can almost see him…rising up, snarling, so overpowering.It’s more than a photo.      I can smell him.    

I can see the slobber coming out of the sides of his mouth.   I can see his tongue moving.

I can hear his breath move in and out of his heavy body.  I can hear the deep rumbling from his throat.

I can feel the thuds of his heavy weight on the ground, through my own feet.

This is from an actual experience when I was twelve years old.    It wasn’t a grizzly, but it doesn’t matter.   That black bear of many years ago is gone now, but the image of  personal danger has not entirely gone. 

You’re supposed to stare the bear in the face.    Face your dangers.   Face the bad things.   Face the abyss.    Be assertive.   You have a job to do:There is a game to play.   And the Bears played tonight.    This is the Bear country I was raised in.

This is the man who uses all his skills and effort to direct the game.

This is the man who had to make it happen.

This is the man who had to carry out the plans.

Battered and bruised along the way.   Some of us get seriously  injured.   (In college I had a friend who was married to a football player.  She’d tell us about her husband’s body after a game.   You know…girl talk.)  Real injuries.Over three hours of intensive play but still, in the last 16 seconds, the opponent is very strong and comes back to tie the game,  30-30. 

When you think the struggle is over, it never is.

And that’s why I need football.  The struggle is never over.   You have to keep wanting to win.  You have to know the danger is always there.    You have to want to be a Bear rather than be eaten by the bear.   

Sometimes the quarterback connects with the receiver –  and you win that game – in some wild second-chance overtime:   36-30.


December 29, 2009

This post isn’t supposed to make any sense.     I’m getting too old for all this, so I’m just going to blather on my own blog for a minute.    This was a difficult day…of abandonment, of good-byes, of losses…

Mom and daughter.   I had to say good-bye to her tonight, and to her “tall, dark, and handsome” husband.   They are on their way home to San Francisco.    This good-bye was hard because Christmastime is too busy to say Hello and get reacquainted.   Good-bye before Hello.

“Good-bye” also means the end of the social part of the season.  Family duties are over, no more holiday distractions, no more meals-for-six-adults….

I must have been holding my breath and staying strong – for October parties and the end of classes, for Thanksgiving, for all the December parties and activities…I must have been, because now I’m not…and I no longer have the feline perspective to keep it all glued together.

So….it’s Monday night.    Football comes into the picture.   Football.   Football.   Everything in football has to hold together, for a purpose.    I’m inclined to find lessons anywhere….


December 27, 2009

I just read my Profile on this site.   It says I like cooking.  So that reminds me, I had a kind of Babette’s Feast too during this Christmas season.

We had two Christmas feasts, actually.    The first was a big ham dinner with plum-cherry sauce and all the trimmings.  The second was a turkey dinner – with all the trimmings.  It makes perfect sense, when you think of the book of Genesis:    “…and the evening and the morning were the (first) day….”    So on Christmas evening we had the ham dinner feast;  and the next day we had the turkey feast – a little after “morning.”

But that’s not the “feast” pictured above.  In that photo is our Christmas Eve  International Beer Feast…..courtesy of hubbie’s active imagination – carried out through my hands.   Note the beers:  from Mexico, Germany, China, and England….and America,  if you count my Ginger “Ale.”

Then each beer had its matching food samples:   The German beer had beef rouladen, German potato salad, and sweet and sour cabbage.   The English had mini Cornish meat pasties and  elegant  hazlenut-filled roll-up cookie sticks.     The Mexican had…uh…kind of crunchy enchiladas with a red sauce….and corn chips with frijoles paste dip….(words fail)….

I didn’t identify everything, but it sure was an interesting taste mixture….

Our thanks to the One Above who has bestowed such bounty!!!    


December 27, 2009

I had a most profund experience on  Christmas Day this year.It came through a wonderful movie called Babette’s Feast – and it profoundly deepened my understanding of things.   It takes place on a remote coastal village in Denmark, and I listened to it in Danish and French, with English subtitles.  I think that was the best way to retain the original intent and meaning of the author.

This small village had encapsulated itself in its own understanding of the world, but rather than being claustrophobic, it had the feel of being a microcosm of all the people that you would know in your own world. 

They were influenced  by important people in the government:  kings, bureaucrats, soldiers:They were duly impressed by the celebrities of their day – and celebrity gossip:And one day they were presented with a stranger in dire need;  a woman alone, a refugee from political turmoil in faraway Paris, a person with nothing, about to die.   In actuality, it was the people of this little village who had the greatest need:  the need to extend charity….And they did.   The villagers were good people of faith and love.  The aging sisters of their long-deceased and beloved leader took her in as an unpaid servant.   It was all she had asked for,  just the bare minimum.   It was all they gave her:  a bed, honorable work, and acceptance.

The stranger was Babette and for many years the village experienced the common “human condition”  –  daily needs, cares, interests, peevishness, likes and dislikes. 

 One day unexpected good fortune came to Babette, and she set about preparing a great gift for the people of the village.  It would be a great banquet, such as they had never before experienced nor allowed themselves to appreciate, nor would they trust it.Food from the finest, rarest, costliest ingredients –  unique creations.  It was magical and wondrous.    This was Babette’s secret talent from her former life:  rare and exquisite artistry with food.   This was her gift – the gift of her art to a people who had known only “eating” but never “dining.”The Feast taught the people  –  and the audience – more than just fine dining.   Before the Feast they had known only that they must extend love and kindness to strangers.   Because of the feasting, they learned to actually  love and  appreciate each other.  

They feared Babette would leave them now, but she didn’t.   She had given all her good fortune for the making of this feast – and it had made her happy.   The villagers learned that as long as an artist can do his art, there is happiness for the artist, without regard to fame or reward. 

But more importantly,  they learned that everyone has an art, a personal artful way to relate to the world and to each person in the world –  and happiness comes from living and loving with great artistry.


December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!



December 24, 2009

They went to work this night, as usual.    Checked the time of day.   Checked the weather.    Checked the gossip; nothing unusual happening.     Packed some food, a little to drink; and heavy blanket for a cloak.  

They locate the flocks in the dim twilight.   And they sat, and waited.   Waited for any sign of trouble, which rarely comes in the cold countryside.   Waited as the last traveler passes by, and the little town across the fields drifts into  silence.     The sheep calm down into drowsiness, and the night deepens into still darkness.

It was an ordinary night at work.  That’s all that was expected.

The sheep they were attending each night were destined for the big city nearby, where they would be brought to the Temple for religious sacrifices.  The rulers of the Temple would decide which sheep had value, which did not.   These shepherds who knew each of their sheep would have no say in their final destiny.   Shepherds had no status, no importance in the world around them.  

Only the sheep, and the little lambs, cared whether the shepherds showed up each night.

Then unexpectedly….suddenly….. . .It was to this countryside that the Lamb of God appeared, outside of Jerusalem, in nearby Bethlehem.  Luke tells the story:   And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock.  And, behold, the Angel of the LORD stood by them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them, saying….Fear not, I bring YOU tidings of great joy!   For this day is born to YOU a Savior which is Christ the LORD.

And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying:   Glory to God in the Highest!  Peace on Earth to men of good will!

Simple shepherds.   Simple work.    Simple men of good will.



December 23, 2009

It’s all downhill from here.  “Downhill”  as in easy sledding – the fun begins.

Hubbie has just left the house.   He and son are on their way to the big airport at the edge of our state, where they will pick up the daughter.    Then they’ll hang around for a couple hours and pick up the son-in-law.     (Yes, those two are coming from two different locations;  from two different countries really.   Life can be a juggling match for young married couples these days, each of whom work for different coporations.)

I would just like to provide a peaceful quiet refuge, filled with a selection of all the “favorite things” they remember.    That’s my job:  to prepare and present;  and then sit back and let them choose and enjoy.     Somehow that’s a mutually satisfying arrangement.  

So on this “night before the night before Christmas” I move around the house with reference to the Christmas tree.    A few more presents to put under it.   A few more treats to bake for the snacking table next to  it.   A few more cleaning and arranging things  so we can spend more time in front of it, later.

Philosophically speaking,  our Christmas tree is a symbol of the End  which inspires all this preparation.   That End point for me is an  interior  re-creation of the events in Bethlehem so long ago; welcoming the Baby Jesus, the Christ, into our world  and rejoicing that He’s come.

So Advent ends and we coast on into Christmas.


December 23, 2009

This is “our” sun – my husband and I.   We were married on Dec. 21st, “the longest night of the year.”    That picture was taken today about 3:00 in the afternoon;   just about the time of day we were being pronounced “husband and wife”   a few years ago.    (A lot of few years ago.)   

I’ve always loved a soft sun like that.  

I zoomed in on it so it looks a little brigher.

I used to do water colors, and this would be a perfect “water color sky,”  but today I prefer photography.  My Mom was the painter in our family.  She studied at the Chicago Institute of Art for a while, and when I was growing up I used her leftover water colors and oil paints.     I liked what I did, but I recognized I didn’t have any great talent.   It was just satisfying to make an image in paint.

I like science too.   We had a wonderful set of astronomy books at home;  really “grown-up” science books and I was allowed to look at them anytime I wanted to.    I think  children should be given adult type books whenever possible; history, travel, biography – and science.    The pictures and the writing in them  makes children feel they are being taken seriously.       Early on I enjoyed learning what makes solstices and equinoxes.  

Perhaps this is a more “modern” explanation:Well, maybe not.  

The earth has circled the sun many times since we were first married, if that’s the paradigm that matches your scientific belief system.     But we feel young and just as ‘modern” as we always were.    



December 21, 2009

I missed all the activity last night:There were at least six “thoroughfares” across our yard last night, four were deer trails.  Sometimes I see them in the middle of the night, close to the house, looking much larger in the night;  huge,  strong, silent  animals, freely moving about in “their” time, when we are in our beds.

Their tracks are easy for this city girl to recognize.  Cloven hoofs.And they drag their feet.

They come right up close to the houses here. Sometimes I do get them with my camera.   This is the house across the street, last winter. They grow yummy green things by their porch.

And one time I got one close to our window!

I’ll remember these deer at night.  In a few days it will be Christmas…Christmas Eve and then the silent powerful  majesty of The Son of God, moving down from Heaven into our world.  So many sleep through it all,  except for those who are up, watching.


December 20, 2009

Now that we’ve arrived at the last Sunday of Advent, it’s time to check how much you know about the first Coming of Christ.    I gave my Advent Class this morning a series of “Why?” questions, just to get them thinking.  Here are those questions –  but I didn’t let them off with “easy” answers!

1.  Why did the first Christmas occur 2,000 years ago?    

Why not 3,000 or 4,000, or even 500 years ago, for that matter?    (Oh, I know the Bible says Jesus was born “in the fullness of time.”  But why was somewhere around 4 B.C. the “fullness of time” ?      What all  was ready by then?)

2.  Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th?   

The angels announced the Birth to the shepherds who were tending their flocks, at night – outdoors.    That suggests sometime in the Fall, or perhaps the Spring.   And, yes, I know,  the myth about Constantine becoming a Christian and blending the pagan practices of the people in with Christian practices; and pagans celebrate the return of the sun at the Winter Solstice.   (They still do.)   But the Winter Solstice is Dec. 21-22, not the 25th.    And the Saturnalia lasted almost two weeks, pick any one of those December days.    Why Christmas on the 25th?

3.  Why do we say that Jesus was born in the dark of night, at midnight?    Is it because some people have Midnight Mass – and not Dawn Mass?   Does the Sun of  Righteousness arise…at midnight?      There are at least three good answers to that, two are Biblical, one is analogical (symbolic).    Why midnight?

This will be a busy week for all of us.   Little Truths and delightful meanings can easily get lost.   I’ll check my Comment box if you need clarification…or have some answers.

Meanwhile, we’re having “company” staying with us for a week –  I’ve got to prepare for that too!



December 19, 2009

The words written inside a Christmas card provide my Saturday meditation:

Saturday, once, long ago.   The day after the crucifixion.    The Body of Jesus, away in its tomb;  the Mother of Jesus and a few disciples of Jesus, gathered together, each alone in grief.   Waves of sorrow and loss, which they understand, mingle with strands of hope, which they do not understand. 

They loved Him;  they love Him.    Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….(I Corinthians 13)

We know what happens the next day.  The Sun of Justice rises and we begin a whole new life with Him.   It’s a new life that was taught the day before:  Love of Him, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all thing, enduring all things.  He loves us best and knows what’s good for us.

And one more thing:  While He is away, we bring His  love to others, to help them love, to bear, to believe, to hope, to endure.

Inside that Christmas card was written these words:     “I’M 89; LIVE ALONE; TAKE CARE OF MYSELF (AFTER A FASHION) BUT I HAVE SOME TROUBLE WALKING.   MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

Jesus is calling me to duty.


December 18, 2009

“Christmas”  just seems far away this year.  

Oh, that’s a Christmas tree in a window.   Right across the street from where I live.   I could walk there in…15 seconds.

But things wouldn’t seem any closer.

“Yeats at Christmastime.”     Yeats.    Always a bad sign.    

Here’s my book of Yeats, his best-known poems.  450 pages, excluding the annotations, the index, and the music.    His dark Irish take on the world calls to me sometimes, because he is someone who has ‘been there” and who knows what it’s really like, and so, therefore, he can face reality and say, “Hit me;  hit me with the worst you’ve got.  I can deal with it.  I can deal with things I know…I’ve seen inexplicable darkness.”

Sometimes the glue that holds our illusions together dissolves when other forces become insistent; and then you need two things to deal with reality:   One is courage.  

Yeats again.     “The Second Coming”   

Turning and turning in the widening gyre/   the falcon cannot hear the falconer/   Things fall apart/  the center cannot hold….

….Darkness drops again but now I know/ That twenty centuries of stony sleep/ were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle/   And what rough beast/ its hour come round at last/ slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

All right.   That’s sort of an anti-Christmas.    But surely the easy Joy and Ho-Ho-Ho  arouses an acknowledgement  that there is some major important undeniable reason that The Son of God had to come  –   Only He can destroy the Dark Dragon;  and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His Kingdom.

Some can feel the reality of the Dark Dragon – that’s the courage that we need.    And the second thing we need?    It’s Faith.   Some can feel the Dark Dragon and rejoice that he has been defeated by the Savior who came to lie in a manger, like us, weak, vulnerable, too small to hold it all together by ourselves – but experiencing all those things we experience.

“Jesus wept. ”    He knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead in a few minutes;  he knew that in a few short years Lazarus and Mary and Martha would all be reunited in Heaven forever.       But He wept anyway, for sorrow and for loss.   

I know why.I am  stalked.     It can hit anytime.   When that glue dissolves and things fall apart,  it can hit  from any angle, for any reason, or for no reason, unexpectedly, and cause us sorrow, loss, and grief.   

I’m okay really, and a little grateful.   When I do come unglued like this, I can see more clearly and more acutely  the Reason for our Hope and how our salvation is worked out.    Jesus wept.   He was born so that He could feel what we feel, understand what we experience, and truly be Emmanuel, God With Us.   

O Adonai….veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento…         Where  would I be without  our  Faith  to give us this  wonderful     “O Antiphon” today?    He comes, “in brachio extento” – with arms outstretched.

. . .

Oh, for goodness sakes.    Leave it to a 2,000-year-old Faith to dissolve a dark mood!


December 17, 2009

There are several “gatherings” of friends at my house in December, and last night’s Book Club Christmas meeting was the last one for 2009.  

Hilda inspires:  

When I ask for stories about my great-grandmother, Hilda, pictured in the column to the right, no matter where the stories start, they always end up in her kitchen.     Here is a little photo of a coffee grinder, wall-mounted, like she had  in her kitchen.  People still remember it.

She certainly did her share of farm work, housework, and raising children, but it’s her food and many guests that she is known for.

I have a coffee grinder too; it’s a bland-looking short plastic cylinder thing – but it does the job.   I do have some favorite kitchen things, though.

The most elegant object for my kitchen:

That was a gift from my daughter.  I just love the idea of a glass ladle!

The most fun objects for my kitchen:They are little bear napkin rings;  hard to see, but two little bears for each ring.    (Yes, it’s “bear” – it’s called “riding the dragon….)    They were also a gift from my daughter!   My guests generally end up playing with them.

The busiest “kitchen”  object in December:It’s that punch bowl.      I don’t even put the punch bowl away during much of December.    I managed to make a pretty healthful punch last night, that was also pretty delicious.   Sparkling pomegranate/cranberry/lime….mmmm.

A tiny little photo of half our Book Club:   

Our book was March by Geraldine Brooks. …not so good, really.   Revisionist history concerning the classic Little Women.   The author is very skilled in evoking an era;  she gives you a sense of “being there” in a certain time and place.   Unfortunately, she follows the agenda of any 20th century socialist:   freedom from rational, logical thinking;  men versus women, rich versus poor;  black versus white;  amorality;  salvation through “enlightened” education;  a purposeless individualism; detachment from one’s past….

But next month we all voted to read another book from this same author!    The topic sounds interesting, the saving of a rare illuminated Haggadah throughout history.   Apparently, one can be illuminated in spite of the Biblical injunction against creating “images”  in the Commandments.

After the book discussion during which our leader more or less has kept us on task, it is time for “dessert.”I was ready for them:   Sugar Plum Cake!     It was a round, spicy plum cake with a topping of Swedish Fruit Soup (see the glass ladle in use?), and a dish of crushed pecans to top it all.   Then there is a large bowl of homemade hot chocolate mix.  Turned out really good this year.     My guests claimed to be well-fed.  

So thus ends the “public”  festivities this year;  now comes the “private” activities with family and family friends.


December 16, 2009

….If you’re lucky enough to have one:When you absolutely, positively have to eat that bird food on a cold winter day,  you just flip your tail up over your back — it makes a wonderful blanket.   Pretty too.

It must feel cozy.

13TH DAY – Not Your Average Party Movie

December 15, 2009

Here is a big picture of the cover of the DVD that we saw recently.  

It was the annual Christmas-Movie-Pizza-Party for my Bible studies.    They like to have “group” parties, the annual Summer Back Deck BBQ and this Christmas one, so that they can meet the people in the other Bible studies.    As hostess, I generally introduce people who remember each other from previous parties and ignore those who don’t know hardly any others.    They usually straighten things out by themselves.

Front Room, Before the Party

This year one class split off to have an Oktoberfest, so they weren’t here.   In addition, instead of pizza, these  classes elected to have a potluck.    Always interesting results – but plenty of food!

Drinks way over to the left, food in the middle, and desserts way off to the right, where the movie will be shown.

We have a nice selection of movies to choose from, but this year I offered one that no one had yet seen; just released on December 1.   It’s called The Thirteenth Day and it’s a serious, faithful account of the events at Fatima, Portugal, 1917, and told through the eyes and memory of Sister Lucy, one of the three children who were able to see Our Lady.

High praise to the casting director who chose  actors who did not look like “actors.” 

High praise to the actors who presented “real people” we could understand.

High praise to the camera and lighting people whose work was a considerable part of the story-telling, and who produced one of the most impressive accounts of the Miracle.   They must have taken their instructions from any of the 70,000 people who actually witnessed  it.

If you would like to learn about Fatima, as close to the truth as  a movie can get, this is a great movie!    

But – Beware!    If you are angered/annoyed/confused by the erroneous modern interpretation of the teachings of Fatima, then I would urge you to avoid watching the several “teaching” segments that follow the credits of the movie.

Fatima was meant to warn us:   If this, then that will come;  if you do or don’t do this, then that will happen.    So far it has been 100% accurate.   But there are those who don’t want to be warned.   And they don’t want anyone to know about the warnings.  So they have chosen a personable, celebrity-type  (many lectures and books), robed priest-with-gravitas to mix good information with confusion and error in a series of short, ten-minute talks after the movie.     (Surely this nice man would not like to hear these words!)

Front Room After the Party

But, all in all, for  those who knew a lot about Fatima and those who didn’t know anything at all about it, the movie gave us all much to think about.   It felt like a renewal of the seriousness of our Faith.


December 14, 2009

I’m not certain of the legalities, but if I give credit for the following photo to the Website it came from, I think it’s all right to show it to you.It’s from SpaceWeather, and you can click here.   I also have a link to it in my  right-hand column.    The people in Norway on the 13th of December got to see the meteors through the Northern Lights.

It was the Geminid Meteor Shower last night.   Sometimes my son and I watch the various meteor showers “together” – on opposite sides of town, but linked with our cell phones.     (Two neighborhoods get to hear “voices outdoors in the night.”)

But we didn’t see anything last night.   We have entered the season where our skies are nearly always darkly overcast with thick clouds.   It doesn’t get very bright in the daytime, and it’s twilight by midafternoon.  Sunsets can be colorful, if somewhat unspecific.   The moon is indicated by a soft glow in the night clouds. 

Occasionally, the night sky is clear, though, as it was a few days ago.  It was 2:00 in the morning and I was out on my deck turning off our Christmas lights.   Everything was dark and quiet and very, very still.   I glanced up – and gasped and nearly ducked!  There in the sky was a blanket of the brightest stars I had seen in a long time!    They were twice as bright as in the summer and so very close.   Maybe I did duck.

We have no streeet lights here and most people are sleeping after midnight.    If you go outside then, you are very, very alone.    Just you and a few little forest noises – and the sense of a strange other world, all around.     

Nature is a mystery to us now.    A mystery that pulls you into a deeper Mystery.   You cannot keep from asking :   Who is on the other side of all this Mystery?    

I like to think of the old Francis Schaeffer book:  “He Is There And He Is Not Silent.”     That’s a great title for a book.      Every time you ask the question, that is the answer you will get.  

I will keep asking in the middle of the night, as wise men have done long before me.    For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course…”    (Wisdom 18:14)   —  See?   Many others have been outside, looking up to the dark, silent sky in the “midst” of the night.  

Wisdom 18:14, 15 – For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, (then!)  thy Almighty Word leapt down from heaven from Thy royal throne….”

Down to Bethlehem….

Oh, I might miss the Geminids, but I don’t have to miss the Mystery.


December 14, 2009

December 13, Sunday this year, was St. Lucia Day – a nice, fun holiday for Scandinavians.    I didn’t exactly celebrate it this year…. not like before.   No sun-colored saffron Lucia buns….

December 13 is also the birthday of my Grandma, my father’s mother this time, not the grandmother I wrote about on Veteran’s Day.

Here is my favorite picture of me and my Grandma:She was a “tomboy” like me.      I can still climb trees….good, easy climbing trees.   I just don’t have any grandchildren to climb with. 

No matter how long a person lives….Well,  St. Lucia was just barely into her teens;  my Grandma was just about 90….no matter how long your life is, you have a definite life span.   It’s not yours to choose, not for yourself, not for your loved ones. 

“It’s a Wonderful Life”   is a great movie.   But it’s not the point.

Kronos  eats all his children…but the Lord God saves….