My list of things I am grateful for, living in Minnesota. The Mall of America is on there. This place is such a blast. I enjoy looking for things I might like to buy or be given should I be fortunate enough. There is also the opportunity to buy presents for those I care about. There is also a place at the center of it all, created for children of all ages. That being Nicolodeon Universe, a full-sized amusement park.
Here are just a few places I like to shop for myself and others. I’ll leave it up to you to ponder, which are for who.
I was here over the weekend and wanted to express my gratitude for being close to the wonderful place. I know that the time to be here is when most are still getting up. Of course, there are many other places of interest and utility, too many to list in my brief post. It’s just fun for me.
Or perhaps, for you, not so much. Today or I should say. Beginning late last night I went to Christmas midnight Mass. I felt led to participate in this blessed tradition and am not sure of why. I went embracing the mystery of it all.
I am not Catholic and am still mystified by all the gestures and rituals. I have found great value, though, in ritual. It has become the foundation for improving my life, from my however flawed, perspective. I did feel a bit out of place but welcome none the less.
I attended the celebration at The Cathedral of Saint Paul. What a magnificent place! I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1915 when the first liturgy was held on Palm Sunday, March 14th of that year. This is the biggest Church I have ever been in.
Nothing out of the expected occurred. There were carrols, prayers, readings from scripture, a homily by The Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Arch Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. A profession of faith. The offering, and of course Communion. I did not take communion as I am not, or do not consider myself Catholic. I did, however, go up for a blessing Arms crossed over my chest.
I am still processing the occasion and take away these
All are invited
I am flawed and in need of forgiveness
I am forgiven in Christ’s Life, death, and Resurrection
His Spirit as God Lives in me
I am to give as I have been so graciously been given
Merry Christmas until then enjoy divinely inspired Rock Guitar
It was a lovely late summer afternoon. The sun was shining brightly the breeze was light and constant. There couldn’t be a more perfect day for me to be working and enjoying this glorious early Autumn weather. I’m doing my thing, earbuds blasting from my playlist. When suddenly I brush up against the fence. Ouch! I have been pierced by a splinter. No time to deal with it now so I keep going.
Upon completion, I load up my equipment and get into the truck. I grab a cold water out of the ice chest and check the site of the injury. It is on my left forearm on the pinkey side. There is a trickle of blood. I attempt to find if any of it is protruding from the wound. No such luck. It’s lodged in there.
I got home and washed it off properly and used a mirror to try to get a better look. I could tell that I was going to have to leave it alone to make its own way out. You see I have some experience with first-aid. My general quarter’s assignment in the Navy was triage and firefighter. Everybody on board is a firefighter. I knew that my body would reject the foreign object and it would come out eventually.
On a side note. Do people, things situations, get under your skin? You cannot be free unless you allow others to be free to be who and what they are without your ideas about what you think is right for them.
It has emerged! 3/4″ long and a sharp little devil.
Allow me to introduce you to the Yellow Jacket Wasp.
These little bastards are fucking mean! They are considered to be beneficial because they eat other insects like mosquitoes, apids and the like. I have become acquainted with them, quite painfully 6 times in the past week.
They will defend the colony very aggressively. A giant, pushing/chasing a lawnmower over the nest is to be attacked mercilessly. The sting is painful initially leaving a sharp ache the rest of the day.
When the ache subsides, what you are left with is not unlike a large mosquito bite that itches for a week or more. I am amazed at the tenacity and courage of these little fuckers. Imagine giving your life trying to kill a creature several thousand times your size to defend the queen and her brood.
What I have learned.
They only nest annually
Only the inseminated queen survives the cold winters (not sure how I don’t care)
She starts a new colony in spring
Late summer the nest is at its highest density (ah now I am beginning to understand)
Upon discovery stay away, let them settle down and take another pass if necessary.
The Takeaway. I have a profound curiosity for all of God’s creatures. There is something to be learned from nature that I can apply to the miracle of life and existence.
Courage, what are you willing to give your life for? Survival of a representative republic?(that’s a worthy blog post by itself) Tenacity, How adamant are you about your faith? I feel I could be better. Defense of your family. I know I can be hard on them, but I only want what’s best and will expect the same in return.
God bless all of you and thank you for reading to the end.
I notice this on my way home this afternoon. The evidence of the Saint Paul Police Mounted Patrol is in the neighborhood. This actually brings a smile. I love horses and I enjoy seeing them on their companions patrolling events, like today’s historic homes tour.
In other news, I am embarking on a pilgrimage of sorts. It has become painfully apparent the I have no idea, what I want to do. I know I want to help. There is a problem though. I seem to lack passion for anything. I am just finishing No Man is an Island – Thomas Merton and next in the queue is The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho I am praying and meditating on my contribution and the fears I have that interfere with me making a bold move for my own benefit. I will be making updates along the way sharing and soliciting for suggestions and experience from all who care to contribute.
“You can call it fall if that’s what you please…” Barney Song
I’ll leave you all with that for now except for my musical thought for this post.
I posted this as a reflection to my Instagram a year ago. I have migrated to this delightful world called WordPress. This is an excerpt from Thomas Merton’s autobiography Seven Storey Mountain.
“Indeed, the truth that many people never understand,
until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid
suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and
more insignificant things begin to torture you, in
proportion to your fear of being hurt.
The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the
end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering
comes to him from things so little and so trivial that
one can say it is no longer objective at all.
It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once
the subject and the source of his pain, and his very
existence and consciousness are his greatest torture.
This is another of the great perversions by which the
devil (Ego) uses our philosophies to turn our whole nature
inside out, and eviscerate all our capacities for good,
turning them against ourselves.”
I feel blessed to have been guided by Grace to endeavor to acknowledge and embrace my discomfort and “suffering” and have emerged on the other side the better for it.
“And now for something completely different” listen and be with whatever arises
The sun beating down brightly, as I am focused on the task at hand. Earbuds blasting from the playlist. The hum of the mower’s engine is evident through my body. And yet I remain aware of my surroundings. Yesterday I was working and an unusually large and overgrown lawn when I sensed something. I turned, and there she was scouting what I think is the location of her den.
She was trotting through where I had previously worked stopped looked at me then carried on. I guess I have adapted to my loss of hearing sense (earbuds) and pick up on other queues. I am glad I was able to capture the moment. The toad population is great this year.
I don’t even want to think of what happens to these creatures if pass over them.
I observe all kinds of things and I saw the first snake I have ever witnessed in Minnesota. Scared the crap out of me at first, then I tried to take a picture but it found cover quickly. It was a gartter snake. Do you find thistles as beautiful as I do?
These and so much more to fill my being with wonder at how much life there is beyond our immediate perception.