Maybe Mondays are For the Birds (sorry)
There’s something I’ve always liked about this poster, which I photographed in the summer of 2011 (which I know, because it says so in the picture). Of course there’s always much to like in sight of muscular young man looking enthusiastic, but it’s more than that. It’s partly because they are so clearly playing up. And then, it’s partly because Virginia wrestling is what we’re all doing here in Virginia, eh? I don’t mean, necessarily more than one would be doing anywhere else (New York wrestling, anyone?) but particular to its own particularities. One is always wrestling with something…
It’s high summer here in Charlottesville and time for geese. Anywhere there’s a decent body of water, Canada geese abound. Babies and all. Is this something about picking rosebuds? Maybe everything is about picking rosebuds. Geese are a nice example of nature taking its way. The crowds of geese get pretty full. Some people love to see them. Some people hate it — ugh, goose poop. Oh well.
Speaking of gathering rosebuds, there’s nothing like a garden. The one is the picture here is not my garden (I lack the talent), but I get to visit it a lot. It doesn’t have actual roses in it currently, but there’s plenty of life to be gathered, if only with the eye.
The thing about gardens is they are at one and the same time, nature encouraged and nature controlled. Some people let their gardens get more out of control than others. But what a sad site — to see a garden left to run completely out of control. Nature continues to thrive, but it’s not the samples we desire. It’s weeds. Well, we call them weeds. Some gardens can be very small, maybe a single kind of flower. Yeah, roses here.Some, in their insistence on thriving, show what human endeavor can be. It also helps, as the young woman who planted this last garden told me, to have a boy friend to construct the planters.
This past Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a birthday party for the honorableand excellent Dali Lama, who had turned 79 on July 3. This party was held at a local Tibetan Buddhist temple and I was lucky to be invited. Actually, the person invited was a friend of mine. She was able to extend the invite to me as well and I was happy to go along. It was a real treat to see people in the town where I lived celebrating so venerable a person. The experience made me very aware of how many things spiritual and social rites have in common — even when they look a little exotic.
I wouldn’t normally be writing on a Saturday, but I missed a day this week, so this is for the continuity. That seems appropriate since the whole post itself is going to be about difficulty. The July – August issue of Hearing Loss Magazine has a front cover picture which I can’t reproduce, since it’s copyrighted — and i have no money for permissions. But try this: http://www.hearingloss.org/membership/hearing-loss-magazine/current-issue
Timothy Chambers, featured on the cover is a man who has Usher Syndrome. That is, he is not only deaf and getting deafer (like myself), but also losing his eyesight. This would be difficulty enough, one might think, but then there’s Timothy Chamber’s profession. He is a portrait painter. The rosebuds he has been gathering are graduallybecoming invisible. I can tell from the article about him — and I recommend reading it — that Timothy Chambers is a large-hearted individual. He is not just living with his difficulty. He is continuing to pursue his vocation. For as long as he can. As best as he can. And cheerfully, full of the faith that informs his particular life. That’s what it comes down to, for all of us, any of us. Life is full of losses and substitutions. From Anne Landers to Job, people have spoken of it more eloquently than I can. But i do want to notice it. It may be the essence of what I’m trying to frame this blog around. First there’s what we’re born with. Then, there’s what we keep on having. And then there’s what we do with it. It’s always a dance, no matter how you do it.