jeudi, juillet 05, 2007

I love the spring-the lengthening days, new growth on the trees, flowers starting to poke their heads above ground-bunny rabbits hanging out in the garden that is my special project, trying to figure out what particular flower they will eat once they bud. But this spring was difficult, with my dad's decline and the now realized threat of illness facing another family member. In an email I sent out a couple of weeks ago I asked for prayer-but no phone calls. I am blessed to have a few friends with a genius for practical help-which is what is needed, and will be increasingly needed in our little family as time goes on. Having received my most recent email naming the illness and asking, again for prayer, a friend wrote back inquiring whether he should put our name son the prayer list at my old parish.

Yikes, please don't, I wrote him. Even after five years, the thought of having sympathy mixed with curiosity from parishioners who remember me is troublesome, like an unhealed wound. And yet...last night I dreamed I was invited back to work on the staff, reconciled with my boss, a welcome presence in pulpit and parish house. I felt such peace-and belonging. I haven't felt I have really had a church home since we left. Waking up and realizing nothing had changed was disappointing. But perhaps this is a taste of what it might be like in that other realm, where reconciliation is the only way in-or the only way one gets to stay.

Meanwhile, I posted our family member's name on a very neat website I found:

Read that chapter on the "Punk Monk"-guaranteed to at least get you thinking!

mercredi, juillet 04, 2007

The Scooter defense

Driving to pick up Sian from camp yesterday, I listened to someone on NPR (all I know was it wasn't infectiously enthusiastic Neal Conan) take calls about President Bush's choice to commute Scooter Libby's prison sentence.

Predictably enough, the calls ran the gamut, from those who thought it was a travesty, to those who felt Libby really hadn't done much, if anything, awful enough to be jailed, to callers who felt (a sentiment with which I agree) that Libby was a fall guy for VP Dick Cheney.

Because he was a fall guy (and because many of them don't feel what he did was a crime) conservatives would like a full pardon. Because they are furious at this Administration's notion of executive branch power, liberals want a full scale dissection.

Asked for his newspaper's opinion by the host, a gentleman from the Wall Street Journal editorial page staff opined as how the newspaper felt that the original punishment wasn't fair to begin with-because the crime wasn't that serious. After all, he argued, Libby hadn't outed Valerie Plame as a covert agent-and prosecutor Fitzgerald knew that from the get-go. Regardless of whether Plame was or wasn't, my beef with the WSJ guy is that the trial wasn't about the original leak-it was about the cover-up. Even if the prosecutor couldn't prove that a crime was committed, perjury is a serious enough offense to merit a serious punishment.

If members of the White House West Wing staff were on trial for trying to cover up the truth, most of them would be gone by now. This is one of the most secrecy-addicted administrations since that of Richard Nixon.

That being said, it may not be wise for former Prez Bill Clinton to be talking about this subject, given his own issues with lying to a grand jury-but that never stopped him before.

President Bush's commutation decision is apparently wonderful news for defense lawyers who want to argue about the draconian nature of federal sentencing guidelines. But it is also an indication that for George B., when loyalty and policy collide, loyalty wins-even at the sacrifice of his own principles.

lundi, juillet 02, 2007

Are men like plants?

I have developed the bad habit of forgetting to put on my gardening gloves when I go out to pick the beans or to survey, with wonder, the yellow squash that now threaten to take over my vegetable garden.

Inevitably I see a weed that must be pulled...and where there is one, there are 100, flaunting their skinny green bodies with the deep roots. Though I know I will never win this fight, I have succeeded in keeping the foreigners from choking my beans and carrots and whatever it is that I planted by the sides of the garden.

My only problem with the enigmatic visitors in the eastern and western walls? Figuring out when they are ripe and ready to be eaten.

Tonight I spent hours outside, mowing the lawn (another task never done) and turning up the dirt in my side garden. The former owners put down a weed barrier, which does nothing, in my opinion, but keep the perennials from rooting deeply.

As I pulled up yet more weeds in the front, night fell and the garden lights glowed in the back, yellow, green and pink.

For some reason, as I pulled weeds and replanted some of the annuals in other beds, I reflected with bemusement on the connection between gardening and my male pals.

I had written two of them and gently suggested that distance made a romantic relationship impossible. OK, they said, but can we keep writing you? Counselor, interrogator or simply friend, I seem to serve some purpose in their lives at the moment. As if to compensate for their temperance and general good citizenship, another, mostly in the spirit of mischevious fun, keeps trying to lure me into his arms. I'm not bored, for sure.

In these relationships, as in the ones I don't name here, willingness to weed, to fertilize with humor, and the skillful manipulation of good pruning shears to promote growth are all neccesary ingredients for healthy plants. When one blooms, whether the flowers are reliable everyday begonias or exotic orchids, it is wonderful. But the next day, the weeding, and fertilizing and pruning start-all over again.

Maybe tomorrow I will remember to put on gloves.

dimanche, juillet 01, 2007

The anguish of exercise

When I picked up the children at their dad's yesterday, I told them we were going on a hike. Sian wept. Colin felt her pain. Her dad and I exchanged knowing looks.

We had come to a sad pass when the children didn't expect to go on a hike every Saturday-we'd be ready, whether we had to take sneakers, skis, or a stick to scare away the bears. Actually, there don't seem to be any bears around the state park, so we didn't really have to frighten bears. But it always helps to be over prepared.

I should have told the kids that. Maybe they would have been more cheerful. There's probably a huge number of ferocious animals that we cannot find in the park.

As it happened, they had a fabulous time-getting covered with mud, exploring the ruins of a house, running along the old railroad track (very old-there are few tracks left) and climbing over the rocky hills. As they ran ahead of me, flying over rocks and clay without a glance downwards, I wondered which was more healthy-their lack of caution or my focused attention?

Sian, a the girl of extreme emotions, wanted to go much further than we had planned, doing her best to convince us that we really should go the extra half a mile or three down to Marsh Creek Lake.

I really do think she might have a future in acting. I don't think she appreciates her innate ability.

The prospect of dinner at Carmines lured Colin and Tyler and even Sian back to the car-and the pleasures of the world they usually inhabit. Next time, I told my bonnie pre-teen lass, we could go further. The hardest part for Sian is getting her out of the chair.