Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

When I'm riding the most wonderful things come to mind. I compose amazing and possibly insightful prose, but then I get home. My "Riding Mind" becomes Cinderella  and the marvelous spell cast by two wheels unravels. By the time I can sit myself down at the computer I'm lucky to have one slipper. It is much like trying to remember a dream. I can almost, but not quite. It is very frustrating.

Today I saw a couple of those "Happy Birthday, Jesus," signs planted in folk's yards. I cannot tell you how much I dislike those signs. Hello! We don't know when Jesus was born. Christians didn't really need to celebrate his birthday until it became important to confirm his humanity after much time emphasizing his divinity. "Yes," Christmas says, "Rejoice, Jesus was born. He is truly human." And what better time to affirm this great joy then when the light is once more overcoming the darkness.

As I was pondering this, my "Riding Mind" was remembering the Jerusalem Talmud saying the Messiah would be born on Tisha B'Av, the Ninth Day of the Jewish month of Av, which usually falls sometime between late July and early August. On Tisha B'Av both the First Temple and the Second Temple were destroyed. On Tisha B'Av, in 1290, the Jews were expelled from England. On Tisha B'Av in 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. Tisha B'Av has become the day when all the tragedies experienced by the Jewish People coalesce into a profound sadness. Here the Messiah doesn't come bringing light into the darkness, but rather hope into the sadness.

During the past week a friend died. It was the end of a long and truly heroic struggle against the darkness of a number of ailments. Another friend's mother suffered a stroke. Another friend is in the midst of a long standing custody battle which once again turned for the worse. Another friend's sister chose to end her life. Darkness and sadness.

My "Riding Mind" embraced all this, knew all this, and could explain how both Christmas and Tisha B'Av point us to the really big truth: The two times we are most profoundly open to the Holy are at times of great joy and at times of deep sadness. Of the two, sadness seems the more well worn path. Personally, I'm not sure joy has every opened me up to experience Life at its most profoundest. I know sadness has. The Holy has entered my life on the wings of healing. I'm still waiting to encounter the Whirling Wonder through joy.

My "Riding Mind" was overflowing with wonderful things to say to support my friends in their struggles and griefs. Then the ride ended and clarity slipped away. It always seems to.

Friday, December 20, 2013

For the Birds

Isabelle, my Kymco People 250S, hadn't been out of the garage since before Thanksgiving Day. That is too long. I took a vacation day from work and the weather was incredible. I wrote some about the ride over at Did He Ride Today?

There was a definite bird theme happening on my ride.

First I spied this beauty.

Then later,

there was this really neat wind vane.

And last, but not least...

Have a Holly Jolly Flamingo-mas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It Snowed

It snowed.

To my Michigan sensibilities where I'm located it didn't snow much , only 3in/7.5cm or so. Some areas recorded 5in/13cm or more. It was a wet snow. All during the snowfall the temperature hovered just above freezing. As I walked I could hear the sound of the snow packing underfoot. Snowball weather!

Many events were canceled today. There seemed no reason. Even the side roads were no more slippery than if it had rained, but probably better safe than sorry.

No one home in this nest.

As we walked over to the cafe the biggest danger we encountered was the nasty spray, a combination of de-icing chemicals, road grim, and slush. We survived.

It is said colder temperatures are on the way, but only for a couple of days then we will have a warm up. This was a perfect snowfall for an area still recovering from drought, a blanket of wet soaking into the thirsty grateful soil.