11 August 2007

There's got to be a word for this

Well, the last time I wrote -- some time ago I'm sorry to admit, I used a number of words to describe my current state. Most of them had to do with the seeming effects of summer weather, which by the way have only become more pronounced the past few days. It's really hot -- record breaking, in fact -- and dry.

In this languid state I'm still enjoying reading. Sleep is less predictable, staying up to read having become something of a trend. And, did I mention the heat?

I've finished Assembling California and am now being charmed by John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra. I didn't think it could get much better, the first two assigned books having been such good reading. My expectations have been exceeded marvelously. Long descriptions of the terrain, birds, animals, plants, trees sparkle with Muir's tremulous joy. My dear Tal continues to bear up well in face of my reading passages aloud to him. This morning we laughed our way through Muir's long description of trying to get sheep to ford Yosemite Creek. Muir's opinion of sheep descends with every turn of the page.

But, back to the title of today's post. I have every intention of writing every day with an occasional lapse. The reality is quite another thing. What's occasional is the writing! Is the word I'm looking for 'sporadic' -- meaning infrequent, coming in random bursts? How about 'episodic'? That one carries with it a hint of something akin to passion, perhaps. Ah well, whichever. Such is the tenor of these days. A little fractured. Fractured by what?

There, I think, is the answer. And, an out if I choose to take it. As careful as I am with the schedule, I don't actually have much control. In order to do the work I've been given to do I have to be available and that availability brings with it interruption and distraction. Then, there is the fact of many interests, photography to piano to yard work. My being as focused on a blog, for example, as John Muir was on keeping a journal during the summer of 1869, while not an impossibility, would cost me, certainly one or more of those interests, probably many of the relationships I enjoy, most likely my job. Pretty pricey.

Sporadic may be the best I can be, at least in this venue. I know the pay off writing can provide: honing of clarity, observing emerging themes. I also know the moment I begin gritting my teeth and "making" myself write I will turn the whole process into a chore. That would destroy the haven writing can be, and is. Given that most of the things with which I fill my days already have the feel of chore, I think I'll give the writing an much protection as I can.

So, until next time, I remain, happily, even episodically sporadic!

02 August 2007

Dog days

Languid. Stagnent. Droopy. These hot, sultry August days are my current inspiration! As of today I have come to the point that I can scarcely make myself do anything. Every activity requires some sort of hardwon, internal deal. Make the bed and then ... Take the car in for service and then ... Answer that page of e-mails and then ... Write that letter and then ... Dial the telephone and then ... Complete that form and then ... Think through that class and then ...

It's still; it won't rain. The air-conditioning runs most of the time; all the windows and blinds are closed. Listless seems such a good word. So perfectly descriptive.

So, what am I doing? Well, I'm doing my work. But, not with my whole heart. What do I want to do? Sleep and read. And, within reason, I'm giving myself that.

Even with an onoging Bible study and weekly sermon preparation, for a change the reading I'm enjoying isn't theology. Well, at least not overtly. As many have heard me say, it's ALL theology. In preparation for a continuing education experience -- Elderhostel's Ansel Adams, Yosemite and Mono Lake: A Photo Expedition -- I am delving into the suggested reading. It's fascinating stuff so far, focused on the natural and geological history of California. Having finished Verna R Johnson's Sierra Nevada: The Naturalist's Companion, I'm almost halfway through John McPhee's Assembling California. Waiting in the wings are John's Muir's notebooks and Ansel Adams' autobiograhy.

Now, I know I'm not going to remember the order in which various pines appear on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and heaven forbid I'm asked to explain the palate of plate tectonics along the Pacific coast! Let's just say I have the general idea. While I cannot help but notice the negative stressed by both writers: the consequences to the earth of humanity's insatiable greed, I am most struck by their passion.

No, these volumes are not theology. But, they are overflowing with the complexity of creation, with the stuggle we all have with being human, with the fascinating story of California and with, I used the word in the previous paragraph, with a grand passion. The writers exude energy and commitment and hope with their every word.

Verna Johnston is using the gifts given her. John McPhee is doing what he was born to do. What could be more theological than that?

I'm going to go read now. The dog days, no doubt about it, couldn't have come at a better time.