Sunday, January 27, 2008

Growing Healthy Roots

So my wife has left me.

Oooo, don't that get your attention. She left for a week in Anaheim for business. And she'll get to spend time with her sister and her family who lives down there. And some of her other sisters and her mom are going down to visit as well. So that will be fun. For them.

Me? I get a week of self-perpetuation. It's a struggle living with me. I don't know how Suzy does it. But she does it a whole lot better than I do.

Nonetheless. Life is good. Always remember that.

Had a nice weekend, as my parents came to visit, and they brought the latest addition to the family-- Blue, a Steffordshire Terrier that my dad adopted from the pound. She's a real sweetie. So well behaved, just wants to be loved... if you're sitting on the couch, she'll trot up and try to ease as close to you as possible, so that you will pet her. And if you pet her a few times and then stop, she raises a paw and places it on your lap, and gets this pleading look on her face like "C'mon, PLEASE! More petting!" She's very mellow, rarely barks, and is very loving. Nice dog.

Anyway, Mom and Dad came down Friday night and stayed with us-- we had dinner and then visited into the night. Saturday, after we went to breakfast, Mom and Suzy went to a Stampin' Up! event and Dad and Blue and I hung out at home. Had a really great discussion with Dad about permaculture and sustainability, inspired by the book we're reading together-- Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. Dad hasn't been one to get out and "mosh" with nature, but now that he's retired, and he has a large back yard to work with, he's been researching and planning just how best to interface with it all. I've always enjoyed "working in the yard" for some reason, and the opportunity to share my experiences and discoveries with him is exciting. Kudos to you, Poppy, for being willing to explore new terrain with me.

The book was recommended to me by a Grinnell colleague that I reconnected with last summer. Suzy and I had a wonderful conversation with some other Grinnellians, one of whom was recounting a conversation she had had with Mary Lou, the woman who ended up recommending the book to me. It reminds me-- going back to Grinnell and interacting with all of those wonderful, thoughtful, caring people really, really replenished me. Inspired me anew to have faith in the transformative power of wisdom and education. Even though we weren't able to find the time in those few days of Reunion '07 to "catch up" or fully discuss our common interests, we exchanged contact info and found a way to open the channels of communication. And now I've extended that opening to my Dad, and it's great to know that he's right there engaging in the benefits with me.

Gardening, Landscaping, working outside with the "natural elements"... I'm spiritually inspired by the act of engaging Nature... There just seems to be so much to be learned from observing the "primitive" life-forms that survive in such harsh conditions from day to day. From plants to insects to rodents and birds... the grand interaction of all creatures and organisms is an epic symphony of glorious, inspiring perfection. Whereas we humans struggle with what to do with our waste, there exists no such entity in nature-- detriment is recycled into nutrients for other organisms that convert "unusables" into "usables." There seems to exist a natural balance that the human race is in constant struggle with.

But so is all other life, I guess. Surely it's not easy marching through the environment as an ant, especially when a sudden down pour of rain erupts... However, although there follows some tense moments of frantic activity in dealing with the sudden onslaught of the forces of nature, stability seems to be approached and maintained in a much more efficient way by the "primitive" culture of the ant colony than by the more contentious human element in the throes of the same predicament. So much more drama, disdain, and suffering is calibrated in catastrophe on the human level.

And so, to this point in time, it seems to me that our capacities for judgement and calibration of the daily struggle to make sense of the natural progression of life are challenged at the very least; and to attempt to surmise a preliminary scenario that explains the variegated permutations that would purport to characterize a "meaning of life" or a grand theory of explanation would be not only under-representative and inherently limiting, but insufficient and wrong.

In my humble opinion.

Uh, I dozed off there-- what were we talking about?


David said...

It was, as always, a wonderful time I had with you and Suzy. You charge my batteries with energy. Mom and I wish we were all living a little closer together. Great writing job too. I do, though, have to go back over that last couple of paragrahs with a good dictionary.Dad.

Gerri said...

I, too, enjoyed spending time with you and Suzy. Keep do a wonderful job. Dad and I will share the dictionary!

Deb said...

I wasn't there, but I still enjoy reading your blogs. Good luck in nuturing what nature gave you. Love ya, buddy.