Sunday, September 30, 2007

Far-sighted Idiots

To be able to see evil before it begins to act takes clear distance vision. Most of us hardly see it after it has begun to have its effect. But to be able to stand against it before it acts, or before it has its effect requires a special commitment to that which is good and always has been good. It requires a resolve of character and life that knows no compromise, knows no dilution, brooks no counterfeits to what is timelessly right.

The one who lives by such resolve and acts upon such resolve is considered an idiot, a lunatic, a nuisance, a demon, until the real demons bare their teeth. And it isn’t until much later, when everyone’s hindsight has been clarified through suffering, that they feel comfortable enough to say that the lunatic was right after all.

The throngs are blind with pop culture, reveling in foolish ways, and taking up a foolish mantra. And they pretend to be wise afterward when they can see what eventually had to be explained to them and they should have seen earlier. And without the far-seeing idiot, they would have been turned into slaves or unwitting henchmen or fertilizer because of their tardy efforts at resistance.

I’m beginning to suspect we need a good lunatic right about now

Today’s Influences and Soundtrack:
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Stephen Mansfield, Never Give In
Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 3
Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 2
Mark Isham, Film Music
Pat Metheny, Still Life Talking

Monday, September 10, 2007


The larger portion of my life is a kind of whirlwind, often because I haven’t learned how to say, “No!” But mostly it’s just because there is so much to do and so little time by which to accomplish it. The nuance here is that the limitation of time is not the mere imposition of a deadline, rather it is the comprehension that our days are numbered, thus time is valuable and we are to maximize our positive impact. The story is related of Cotton Mather’s father that as he lay on his death bed, he reached up to his son to get his attention and said, “I can’t die yet. I have so many books to finish.” Yeah … it’s kind of like that.

Periodically, I get away, which happened within the last few weeks when I went fishing with my son and some friends. I escaped to the Ozark Plateau Province without my computer, day-planner, address book, and paperwork, meaning I had little intention of doing anything more than fish, sit in front of the campfire and stare into the starlit expanse. Actually, I was the cook for this little excursion (…… everyone survived.)

The best part was our evening fly-fishing in the headwaters of the Current River where people don’t usually go. Evening on the river away from the madding crowds is good for the soul. Especially when the river puts on its primeval mantle at day-end. The gentle conversation of bubbling water, the soft promenade of evening mist and the chance to be lost in thought while pretending to angle for trout has got to be one of life’s little therapies.

More than therapy, however, is an instructive whisper to the spirit that this is a token of what has been lost. There is something paradise-ish about riverfog in the early evening. A reminder of the pristine days of the world’s youth, when man was not so much an agent of consumption as a husbandman of beauty and order. Not like the new-agers might declare it, where the untouched places of the world send forth vibrations that allow us to contact the ancient and ubiquitous all-pervasive non-conscious spirit. Rather like an old love-letter saved and cherished and ever speaking of unswerving eternal devotion.

Today’s Influences and Soundtrack:
David, The Thirty-fifth Psalm
Kaki King, Legs To Make Us Longer
Leo Kottke, One Man, One Guitar, No Vocals
Chip Davis, Sunday Morning Coffee
Hubert Parry, Lady Radnor Suite