Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Morning shadows, mist and cloud.

We get up early out here and, as the days get shorter, easily beat the sunrise. Here is another of Susan's pictures looking from our house over across the fields last friday as the first light comes through the morning mist.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Lines in the landscape. (Picture taken one morning this week by Susan)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A llama comes calling.

Crossing Lines

Up sleepless a few nights back, I pulled a book by my friend Jonathan Chaves out of the bedside stack and read this translation of a poem by the Sung Dynasty poet Yang Wan-Li:

Crossing Jun-p'o Bridge

I started to walk over Jun-p'o Bridge,
wondering when I will reach Chiang-tung.
Suddenly I notice a marker in the middle of the bridge
and realize that half my foot is already there.

I have always loved boundaries and that odd feeling of accomplishment that comes from crossing a state or even a county line. It is a kind of game we humans play with ourselves: Draw an imaginary line across a piece of the world and live as if it were as real as the landscape. But nonetheless, I never tire of the idea that, with the first step you are one place, with the second you are someplace else entirely. In the poem cited above, a twelfth-century Chinese scholar-bureaucrat amuses himself with the same thought, showing that my observation is neither new nor original.

It brings to mind an old joke about a man in his late 90's who has lived all his life on what he thought was the Canadian side of the U.S./Canadian border. As the joke goes, a survey crew stops by and tells him that, with their new instruments, they have determined that he is actually an American citizen and ask how he feels about it all. The old man considers it for a moment and says he is greatly relieved, because he really didn't think he could survive another Canadian winter. I know; it is not that funny, but it's always been a favorite of mine and seems to capture exactly the oddness of our habit of drawing lines on maps.

A friend told me that once, at Four Corners New Mexico, starting at the point where the map lines came together, she danced through Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and back.

Friday, September 02, 2005

It seems that I am not quite back to daily updates yet. The lawyer part of my life has been demanding more time lately, and like everyone else, I have been glued to computer and tv screens following the events in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The hierarchs of the different Orthodox jurisdictions in America have called for the faithful to give sacrificially to the relief effort. You can donate on-line to the Greek Archdiocese Hurricane Relief Fund by going here. The Orthodox Church in America is requesting that money be funneled through International Orthodox Christian Charities. Online donations to the IOCC are being accepted here. The Antiochian Archdiocese is taking special collections the next two Sundays in all their parishes for Katrina relief.

The appeal from Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese can be read here. Metropolitan Herman of the Orthodox Church in America writes here and the encyclical sent to his parishes by Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese can be read here.

Update: Metropolitan Nicholas of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese has called for a collection from his parishes. The text of his appeal can be found here.