Archive for February 2014

UP ON A HOUSETOP – RAKE RAKE RAKE

February 28, 2014

I think my Florida family has forgotten the “joys” of winter in the Far North.   So. . . . 

It was a rare sunny day up here in the Far North.   Shortly after noontime,  with the sun trying to be “high” in the sky,  the shadows of the trees stretched across the snow-buried lawn and across my driveway.

RR Driveway narrows

And then I noticed:  the way out of my driveway was narrowing with each passage of the snowplow.   If I didn’t do something, I’d be backing into the snowbanks.

 RR driveway lane

Once I got to the end of the driveway, I wasn’t sure why I bothered to shovel… RR road impassable anyway

Our streets were not going to be easy to drive on.

Neighbors were out, though,  taking snow-walks – carefully in the frozen ruts –  and they were all talkative, all with the same (justifiable) complaints about the long, severe winter we’re having.   I smiled and nodded in rather silent agreement, because I didn’t want to admit what a GREAT winter I think this is for skiing and ice skating and exercise and fresh air and the fireplace and. . . .    (Am I the only one having fun?)

No.  They saw difficulty.  Slipping and sliding,  shivering, shoveling and —  ice dams!   I asked a neighbor if he knew where I could buy a roof rake, which had become quite rare these days,  and he said I could borrow his!

And there started a new winter activity for me with a steep, steep learning curve. RR Roof problem

My little yellow house sure had a need.    And, yep – there are the ice dams forming: RR the roof problem

So now I had my neighbor’s roof rake with a thirty foot long aluminum pole to vault up onto the roof.   I thought about it for a while…thought about things like “technique”  and how can “aluminum”  be so heavy!

 RR  Rake siaze

I got it going, though.

 RR Rake at work

A long, long way up….  RR Pole extending

And if you back up holding the pole,  you inevitably back the bottom end of the pole up into something, and if you do it fast enough you  launch yourself upwards like an untrained pole vaulter.    Move slowly.

 RR Up there working

But I got the hang of it and was making progress.    But my front door was locked.    My side door was blocked.   And I had just closed the garage door so I wouldn’t be getting snow piles in the garage.   Smart.  Too smart.    I decided to keep working and not panic,  but there was that gnawing feeling about the back deck door…..Did I feed the birds that morning?  Had I re-locked the deck door?  Had I locked myself out – out in the cold?  

Ice dams on the back deck.

 RReight of deck dam

An hour more of doubt – an hour more of shoulder-breaking, upward-heaving pole-smacking roof work in the front…squinting against the only sun we had this month (!!)  and then I checked the back deck.

Yes, ice dams there too.  Somewhere between 20 and 30 inches of snow and snow drifts on the roof back there too.

And an unlocked door.

Altogether a good and interesting day.

 

FEVERED TELEVISION WATCHING

February 27, 2014

 (No photos again.   Just close your eyes when you read this and imagine the tallest, fastest, most beautiful rollercoaster that was ever built!!!!)

I’ve been “under the weather” for the past few days.   Nothing important,  but it sent me into Hubbie’s TV room for a while “to rest,” watching Hubbie’s ancient TV, which works just fine.   Fine enough.

Watching television is like riding a roller coaster –  an experience I love very much!    You click on the Power button and get on board.   There is the slow climb,  where you think you know what might be coming.   Further along the slow climb, there is some “realization” about your near future;  something is building up.

At the top….should you continue or not?   But it’s out of your hands!

And then, rounding the top of the hill, the tracks take you over into the inevitable confirmation…yes,  we really are going down.    There is that delicious little feeling that “this is going to be interesting” —  all the television channels give you that horrible, delicious little “feeling.”

Slowly the roller coaster train goes over the hill and picks up momentum.   As you watch television programs today (especially the entertainment-news)  you get that feeling of the inevitable plunge.   How can I be hurtling downwards towards the center of the earth?   How can this American nation be falling so fast?   Is it true?  Switch channels.  Oh, yes.   Is it really true?   Switch channels.   Oh, yes.     Faster and faster.

And the seat you’re riding in rushes downwards, taking you with it – not caring that your stomach is riding up into your throat and you are at the mercy of G forces that throw your body this way and that (if you’re on a really, really good rollercoaster!)  —  It will intensify;  it will give you the thrill of danger;  all may be lost.

And then it is (all lost)…because when you feel yourself slowing down enough to think,  then you are at the bottom,   standing,  re-orienting yourself into the bottom-world,  no longer able to see from the lofty heights where things looked so glorious – no longer being at the top of the world.   Now you are last in all the leading indicators like education and infant mortality and freedom – yes, freedoms!    Freedom to speak out (without reprisals),  freedom for religious expression,  freedom for our lawmakers to vote in certain ways without being bullied,  freedom to not buy what we don’t want,  freedom even of the press!      All gone.

You are now standing in the bottom-world.

The Fall of America is truly as breathtaking as the plunge down a 180-foot drop on a rollercoaster.

I may be wrong.

But something is planting these impressions through Hubbie’s old TV set.

 (You may open your eyes now.)

 

PINK LEMONADE

February 22, 2014

Almost a week since I last posted?     Here is my “explanation”  –

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There, in the jar I’m holding,  is lemonade.   Pink.   It turned out pink.

I was busy juicing there, as you can see, and then when I was done I thought how handy it would be to “pre-squeeze”  (pre-juice)  some lemons which I’m always adding into ice water.   I’d have a little jar of ready-made lemon juice. . . .

But I had already juiced a lot of fruit and I was getting tired and I had all that cleaning up to do. . . .   and so what if I just tossed the lemons in.   Well.   Of course.   I’m going to get some of the juice and pulp from the berries mixed in with the lemon juice.   A small miscalculation which I didn’t mind at all.  After all,  I like pink things sometimes.

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I making a pink sweater right now.

But here is why this has any importance at all to me.   The “mistake” of pinking my lemonade happened because  #1, I did things out of order and #2  not with sufficient attention to organizing tasks and #3  not the  least effort of tidying up between one activity and another.

Disorganized.  Disorderly.   Not detailed.   Not neat.

Fortunately, the consequences were just fine, no problem.

But maybe I’d better take those knitting needles off the couch where they’re lying in wait. . . .

Seriously,   I’m not nit-picking with myself.   I’m trying to figure out my duty in this world.    In a mild way I was thinking in a loose, flabby, undisciplined way, that day with the juicer.  I was thinking:  Do it the easy way.”

“Sow a thought, reap an action.

“Sow an action, reap a habit.

“Sow a habit,  reap a character.

“Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

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Oh, a little addendum:   Why did this delay this week’s postings?    I must have been entering a “zone” with that juicing activity.   There followed a whole week which just didn’t turn out right.   a little sense of  things not working well, of defeat, of difficulty, of feeling down.

But “feelings”  are within our control, and activity – of the right sort – gives us a whole new set of feelings.   I’m working a little “better” now.

SEPTUAGESIMA = THE BABY CAME TO DIE

February 17, 2014

(For my classes, and with thanks to the many artists who have shown us the Shadow of the Cross in their works)

In Christendom,  this time after the Christmas holidays is not without meaning and purpose.

We have just celebrated the birth of the Infant King, promised to us for millennia,  promised to us for our health and salvation,  and is the only remedy known to man for the sins that plague him at every turn.

shadow mother

“…And you shall call His name Jesus.”    “His name shall be Emmanuel,  which means God-With-Us.”   And the people rejoice and give thanks and give each other gifts and show each other love and bake cookies and decorate Christmas trees and, after it’s all over, look fondly at the photos that were taken and cherish precious memories.

We feel happy . . .  as long as we can. . . until our (fallen) world begins to reassert itself, making impossible, inhumane demands on our time.   And we put away our Christmas wrappings,  and all the charming traditions of Epiphany and Candlemas.  . . .

The Infant grows  into Child.

shadow of carpenter

It’s natural to have  a period of quietness, then, and this is the time when the Church presents us with thoughts of why that Infant was born – the Son of God –  He is named Jesus,  i.e.  God Saves.

We have before us in time that reason, and that reason is Calvary, because that is where the Redemptive Act of God did take place, the “saving” of the human race.    And our emotions change.

 “He came to seek and to save those who were lost. . . “shadow of preaching

This is the season of Septuagesima.  It’s the “70”  days before the Passion of Christ and that day commonly called “Easter.”    (Perhaps I’ll write about the naming of that day in a few weeks.)    Next Sunday will be Sexagesima,  which is counted as “60”  days before Easter….

This is Christendom.    The soul of society.    It gently and wisely shepherds us from one season to the next,  presenting to us Readings and teachings with deep and richly rewarding meanings for our personal lives.

Look forward, now,  to the next great event that is lifted up before our eyes:   This fallen world is Redeemed.   “Whosoever will. . . .”

A “BUSY” RANT

February 15, 2014

Busy.   Too busy.

 

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Well, what does your kitchen table look like at tax time?

So much of our activity has nothing to do with creating or producing our food, clothing, furniture,  material products that we need, life’s essentials and life’s little pleasures.     What are we doing?   We are keeping busy moving information from one place to another.     Whether we’re using paper or digital bits,  we are transferring information from one place that creates it, it passes through our hands, and on to another place that will use it….and transfer it on.   In the process the information gets manipulated, massaged,  organized,  categorized, stored and retrieved. . . .and kept on the move.  Busy work!

Once, several years ago,  a high school boy   (homeschooled) wrote a thought-provoking essay called  (I think):   “If We Were As Free As 1053.”   (Or 1063.  Or 1083)       He presented what historians have known for a long time,  that people (in Europe)  produced what they needed in far less time than we’d imagine,  and the people who lived then had far more leisure time than we do now.

The reason I’m not sure of the details about this essay is that I printed it out;  got too  busy, and lost it.   Printed it out again.  Got too busy, and lost it.   Then I downloaded it into a now aging computer….and I’m really too busy  to take the time to search for it. . . .    I promised one of my classes that I would show it to them some day, so perhaps when I find it I’ll post it here.

But right now I’m busy again finding, retrieving, organizing, categorizing information for my tax people.

And if I started to search for this missing essay,  I’d need another table for piles of paper with different kinds of information to sort through, find, retrieve. . . .

 

OLYMPIC WATCH – 2030 A.D.

February 12, 2014

Here’s the smile of a little boy who just skied with the big boys!   

 (L’apres ski d’un 3-yr.old):Ski SMILE

Oh, yes.  Somewhere near Squaw Valley.    If your back yard is the Sierra Nevadas,   you just might end up doing something in the Olympics some day.

(I beg your patience:       that’s a “grandma’s”  opinion.)

And that’s MY Olympic Watch.  

I just might be watching for the next 16 years!

COMING ICE AGE – A FARMING CLARIFICATION

February 12, 2014

It’s not often I get an immediate confirmation on something I’ve posted here,  but since weather is a topic of interest in the news today,  I turned on my television for a glimpse of my own local weather.   Yep.  4 degrees.  Sunny.   Snow all over the place.

Our local news people were asking our farmers what they thought of all the snow this winter.

john snow farm

They  all agreed it would probably be a good thing for getting moisture deep down into the hard soil, once the snow begins melting.    That would make for hardy crops with deep roots.johnn deere in snow fileds

However, one farmer explained that the deep snowpack and the prolonged single-digit temperatures have frozen the soil to greater depths than before.  And then he said:  “It will probably result in a later planting and a shorter growing season.”

Bingo!    As the planet cools,  our temperate climate regions will move a little bit southward, and those regions of the world which are vital for growing crops,  the U.S.,  Canada,  and western Russia,  will experience wetter conditions, slightly cooler temperatures, and shorter growing seasons.   The result is a lower crop yield.    Eventually.

My “Coming Ice Age Clarification”  is that this doesn’t happen all at once.   It may possibly take a couple of decades, but some early signs will become apparent before we know what’s hitting us.     Bigger storms.   More snow and rain.    And weather extremes as the planet’s atmosphere sorts itself out into a new configuration.

There are a few signs of change already.   I know the size of glaciers are  increasing throughout the world.    Let’s see if our local farmers  get another sign and  have to wait a few extra weeks before it’s safe to plant their crops.

Stay tuned!

THE WHEAT, THE TARES, & SNOWBOARDING SLOPESTYLE

February 9, 2014

Olympic values.

Arete:    Excellence.    The goal of a human being.    (Great advertising slogan:  Be all you can be!)   Excellence.

speed skating

As I watch the Olympic games I notice how often the winter sports present an image of unison.    Above are some speed skaters from some past year;  below are some Olympic Nordic skiers, practicing:

nordic practice

Today I watched the cross country competition  (Nordic skiing).   I had my favorites, but as an extremely amateur cross country leisurely skier,  my eyes were fixed on their form.   Perfect form gives the freedom and ease  that facilitates speed.

As I saw the first half hour of the race, there were dozens and dozens of skiers, all in rows,  all doing exactly the same thing.  Like clones.    As  much as they were individually able to,  they had all perfected the best form for achieving the highest possible speed.

Today, an American broke his ski pole.   That happens sometimes, but what followed is an unfortunate but not altogether unexpected result:  His skis got out of place slightly,  he knocked into another skier slightly,   he got an elbow in his face, lost his sunglasses….etc, etc….and lost too much time to hope to win a medal.    He had been distracted by the necessity of the new ski pole, which of course, ruined his perfect form.

Oh, yes   The sermon.   Once again I didn’t anticipate the new twist today’s sermon presented for us.    It was a familiar passage:  The parable of the Wheat and the Tares (cockles)  (weeds).

wheat and tares

In the parable,  the agricultural foreman reports to the landowner that there are too many weeds growing in the field of wheat.    After some discussion,  the landowner tells the workers to leave them be,  wait until harvest, and when everything is ripe,  He. the Owner,   will send in the experts to judge what is good wheat and what is just cockle and weeds,  to be thrown out and burned.

Take a look at today’s Church.   According to what we read in the news,  the harvest must be very, very close now, because we see such an abundance of “weeds” in the Church.   You can hardly see the good wheat.

But the twist in the sermon today was to turn this field into – not the world (the field)  with wheat and weeds  –  but turn this parable into a kind of self-examination.   You are the field.    Within you you have the good (wheat)  but also, if you’re not careful, you will have some weeds growing:  erroneous thinking,  errors in doctrine,  faulty actions,  bad deeds, lazy attitudes,  etc.

snowboarding

Well, I get a little distracted nowadays.  My thoughts went to this young man,  one of the world’s finest slopestyle athlete/artist on snowboards.    It is excellence in motion.

Just how many times do you think he had to do this maneuver to get it perfect?   As we visualize him practicing, in all ways possible, during all seasons,  for many years,  what was he doing with all these repetitions?   He was learning the good.   He was recognizing the errors and eliminating the imperfections in his form.

He was nourishing the wheat.   He was eliminating the weeds.   Now.      This is what we can do now,  before the Creator of all things decides it’s Harvest Time, and begins eliminating the weeds for us.

This is indeed our time of Mercy.confession

Enjoy the Olympics!   May they inspire us to Excellence!

OLYMPIC WATCH

February 7, 2014

Yes, I’m watching the Olympics.   It’s important.

The Olympic spirit uplifts us all.

Three thousand years ago the Greeks had a name for this:  (using the Latin alphabet) arete –  Excellence.

Excellence is for all of us.   We can all endeavor to be the excellent person we were created to be.    We are all called to Goodness and Perfection.

The hard work of the Olympic athletes is our inspiration.    We can admire those who have shown us their examples, and thank them.

THE COMING ICE AGE – TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES

February 7, 2014

Still thinking about Cold  —    and our sunspot cycles that cause our planet to have cold cycles and warm cycles.

I shouldn’t have gone outdoors with my sore ear yesterday . . .

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. . . but the ski trails near the Spruce Tunnel just called to me.     The trail led past the evergreens.   These dark green beauties caused me stop  for a while and stare …  and take photos.   So deep and rich and mysterious.

Meanwhile  I was realizing it was a lot colder out there than I had expected.   I was thinking about what I had written here yesterday, about the inevitability of a prolonged cold period – several generations long at least.    The scientist I’ve listened to most recently said we will have a better idea of just how severe these coming years will be when we get to Sunspot Cycles #25 and #26.

Driving smaller and more dangerous little cars will not affect the sunspot count in the next few years.   Dialing down our thermostats cannot increase the number of sunspots which would give us a milder Cooling Cycle.

Outside, in The Spruce Tunnel yesterday,  I can easily imagine a cooler earth.    I am hearing the cold winds and feeling the icy air during  my cross country skiing.

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I reach the part of the trail that approaches the Tunnel, hoping that I’d be sheltered from the wind.

Our world is in need of shelter for the coming Cooling Period.   We need to prepare for the changes it will bring.

More fuel sources, more fuel storage and better delivery will be needed.   This week in the news, a woman  in North Dakota was found dead in her home. . .  with an empty propane tank.   The cost to fill  tanks with propane that will heat  homes has risen to unaffordable levels for many people –  but  propane deliveries are curtailed anyway.   Their new policy is to deliver only 25% or 30% – or if you are lucky 50% of your tank’s capacity because  supplies are low.   We, as a nation, are selling our propane to Mexico and to China, and to other places.

More food sources and better food storage and delivery will be needed.      America,  The Bread Basket of the World will have a much diminished Growing Zone.   Wheat.   Corn.  Sorghum.   Sugar Beets.   Hay to feed our cattle.    There will be less of all of this.

There will be food shortages for the world – and for the food-growing United States.

cocoa

There was less wind inside the spruce forest, and I took many photos and some really good videos.   But my fingers were aching from the bitterly cold air, and on the way home I was shivering.    A cup of cocoa helped, but I felt a lingering sense that this might be, more and more often, a common experience for us all.   Staying warm and well fed will be expensive, and a severe trial for many people in the decades ahead.

This coming Sunday some of you will hear in your churches the words of Isaiah, the great Jewish prophet, read to you.     God suggests a “better idea”  for us:

* Is this not a better way to do your religious duty (to fast) ?     to loose the bonds of injustice,     to let the oppressed go free,     Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,     and bring the homeless poor into your house;     when you see the naked, to cover them,     and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,     then your light shall rise in the darkness     and your gloom be like the noonday.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

I think these words  from God are needed for our times.     I think our character will be judged by our actions towards those who are in more need than we are.     Sunspot cycles are bigger than we are.   Cooling cycles that bring danger are bigger than we are.

We can only do what we can do.    

The danger is that we will do less.

* (Isaiah 58:6-10)

The “scientist’s” name is Dr. John L. Casey, formerly with NASA;   white house science adviser;  pace and Science Research adviser.    Author of  Cold Sun.

THE COMING ICE AGE – THE COLD TRUTH

February 6, 2014

MoonI got up in the middle of the night last night, as I usually do.  I stood by a big window, looking outside in admiration, amazed admiration.

(No photo possible!)   (I need My-Friend-With-The-Camera’s camera.)

There, behind my house, I could see my snow-covered back yard, pond, and all the way into the hills beyond the creek.   The surface was soft and gently undulating and bathed in a beautiful blue-white light shining down on the scene.

It was a time for poetry and oil paints.    It was a time for the human spirit to “take time” to respond.

Well, I did eventually go back to bed.   I’m currently experiencing the second round of the second bout of shingles in my “other” ear.   It occurred to me recently that every time I go out skiing or skating,  I spend the next few days with increased ear pain.   Since there “might be” a connection,  I’ve confined myself to indoors for a while.   Maybe.

But I’m still thinking of ice and snow, so I’ll use this post to convey some information.    True stuff, not political stuff.

True:   There was a period of time called the “Maunder Minimum”  in about the 1600s – a time of severe cold, lasting for a couple generations.   It affected people’s lives ;  it killed people and changed history a bit.

True:  There was another period of time called the “Dalton Minimum” which also brought a significant period of cooling lasting from in the 1700s to about the  1820s.

Ice Standing

One could walk across the Mississippi River,  or the Thames River,  or the Hudson river during this time.   That’s the Mackinac Straits in the photo…   Sometimes they freeze over and My-Friend-With-The-Camera who is also a runner loves to run across the Straits.   He’s not from 1820, he’s from now, but his photos make a good illustration of a large body of water that seems so unusual in a frozen state.

My Friend has special shoe attachments for this purpose:

Ice Grip

He finds his way across the frozen Straits by means of  markers:  used Christmas trees placed strategically by local authorities to mark out safe pathways across the ice.

Ice tree markings see

But back to some geological truths.

Also true:   These “minimums”  I listed are part of larger cycles, two which concern us most directly today.  There is a 206-year period of cooling and a 90-100-year period of cooling.   Both cycles are converging –  NOW.

“Now”  means based upon our current, observable,  undeniable solar cycles which directly affect (cause)  these cooling cycles.   And our current solar sunspot cycle indicates a lack of expected sunspots, an undeniable “minimum” of sunspots.

Trekking across the frozen water:Ice all alone out there

That will result in noticeably colder weather, especially in the temperate latitudes, more snow, more icing events . . .Many more places will be covered in ice and snow during longer winters.

Ice climbing up

Growing seasons will become shortened enough so that the world’s food supply is reduced.    Crops can’t be planted early enough in the Springs, growing seasons are shortened, and Winters come earlier.   Too much rain in some places, too little rain in other places.   That’s historical truth.

Here was that day’s goal for my Friend’s run across the frozen Straits:

Ice climbing goal

It’s the world-famous Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island.   A place where you have to be pretty well-to-do in order to afford the entrance fee just to look around.   A place where the rich can afford a night’s stay.

A 206-year cycle plus a 90-100-year cycle, both converging now on the world.    This will be hard on so many people.

I will have to think about this more.

I think I’ll go back out to the Spruce Tunnel for some skiing and thinking. . . .   My ear is going to be fine, compared to what’s coming.

“SUPER” BOWL COMMINGLEMENT

February 4, 2014

“Comminglement.”    Well,  the commingling of two sports in Super Bowl 2014.

It’s called  Bronco Busting Football.

Bronco bustedThat blurry brown thing  thrashing around down on the field is a bronco.

Just got my latest issue of Cowboy Magazine in the mail…..

SAMSUNGThey’re big on bronco busting too.

That takes nothing away from the enormous talent of Peyton Manning – and his whole team.  And the Broncos played a worthy opponent.   The Seahawks were a pleasure to watch.   Russell Wilson has a lot of good words to offer young men.

I don’t think anyone has an adequate explanation for the Game,  but that’s all right.   I’m already looking forward to the next season.

I just may not watch the next “super”  Bowl.    This American was mightily offended by the half-time show and by most of the ads.

I actually didn’t watch much of either….  Just thumbed through my Cowboy magazines while I was waiting for the game to resume.

 

 

FEBRUARY 2nd – A NEW SEASON BEGINS

February 3, 2014

We celebrate a very special event today on our calendar:  and with this day we leave the season of Christmas.  We do our best to offer our prayers today with as much beauty as we can.

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Beauty and order is a physical extension of our desire to offer our very best.

PRESENTATION

This “event” today is called either The Purification of Mary or The Presentation of the Child Jesus.   It is a ritual which affirms that the firstborn son of any Jewish mother belongs to God and must be presented to the Temple.   This two-fold ceremony requires a sacrifice for the ending of the new mother’s ritual and temporary separation from Religious activity;  and it requires a small (token) price to be paid to (buy back), in a sense,  the firstborn son from the Temple.

(For those who know the ceremony of  Pidyon  HaBen):

Pidyon HaBen

In summary:  the mother brings her firstborn son to the Temple and presents him to God.  

The meanings of these rituals are rich and deep, and we must take care not to reject their significance because the “language” of ritual purification and sacrifice is strange to us.  Christianity fulfills the  meaning of these rituals.   We don’t make the rules and we cannot arrogate to ourselves the right to reject them.

Madonna

We know in this case the mother is Mary and she is the Mother of God, which is the same as saying “the Mother of the Son of God.”   And this Son, of God we know, has taken on our human nature.

Therefore, one of the deep mysteries of this day’s celebration is that because this Son,  Jesus, shares our human nature,  we ourselves are spiritually included in this ritual of being formally presented to God.

Are we worthy to stand in the presence of a Holy God, Good and Pure?   Not at all.

So we begin now a new and necessary portion of our calendar.  It will be time of learning from our newborn Teacher, of following and imitating our Good Shepherd, all the way through Calvary; and this can be a time of our increasing sanctification, making us ready for when we actually stand before the Holy God.

We will hear the constant invitation of Jesus to “Come.”

“Whosoever will, let him come.”

A new season begins!   This is our chance!

A KINDLY DISTANCE IN THE SPRUCE TUNNEL

February 2, 2014

There really is a Spruce Tunnel.

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It’s spectacular in the winter.  I decided to “warm up” for the Super Bowl with a little cross country skiing.

Two power outages ago,  two ice storms ago,  and three snowstorms ago  I had put out my ski poles in anticipation of some cross-country skiing in the Spruce Tunnel.

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But after all that time,   all we’ve been through,  the poles were stuck tight and had to be shoveled out.

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But, eventually I got going, on the trail, with a ski pole pointing the way.

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I wondered why I was out here at first.    At any given time one of these long slats strapped to my feet would slip far to the right or far to the left, at the slightest little bump.    Sometimes they would take me for an unexpected ride down a little slope.

It took a little effort to get skis, scarf, and poles organized – while hanging on to keys and camera.

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But then I got my ski legs.   I felt the joy of swishing along, breathing in the cool fresh air,  enjoying the glittering white snow and the fresh green pines.

Everything looked picture-ready.  The dark evergreen boughs contrasted with their snow covering.

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Patterns of snow caught my attention –

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As I glided along with soft sounds and fresh scents and peace and quiet all around me,  my mind was busy with the thoughts about this day:  a very high and lovely holy day;   Groundhog Day;  and the Super Bowl coming up soon;  and class prep for tomorrow. . . .

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That should be a lot for any given day.  A busy day.   But out here in the Tunnel,  there was a little distance from these things.   It was a kindly distance, one that gives perspective and helps you sort things out.

SAMSUNG

I shouldn’t have had time for skiing today in the Spruce Tunnel,  but I’m glad I went out anyway because it feels like I’ve gained. . . time. . . . and a bright path to the days ahead.