Saturday, November 13, 2010

You know to not stay at this hotel when:

It has been a while since I've written something that accentuated anything except how characteristically dark my personality is, so here goes nothing.
This post is a bit of an ode to travel sites that don't give you quite the whole story about that hotel you just booked. You see, My family took a trip to Virginia for the weekend and needed someplace to stay. The logical 21st century progression of events ensued and my dear mother booked a room on travelocity, or expedia, or some other wittily named website that is supposed to save you money and make everyone happy. The problem with this scenario is that (insert name of witty website here) lied. (Disclaimer*** this entire situation could have been user error but I'm trying to give my flesh and blood mother the benefit of the doubt.) This hotel is not a 4 star beauty with all the modern amenities a girl could need. (Again, I have no idea if that's what the description for this hotel said, and I haven't been able to check for reasons I will expound upon later,  but again, I'm giving my mother the benefit of the doubt that the description was something marketable and charming.) Here is a list that we composed of five things (all of which have happened to us within the last 48.5 hours) that may make you desire to move your reservation elsewhere.

1. You pull into the parking lot and see no other vehicles in sight. This is fine for midafternoon, since people are checking out and checking in and, well you get my point. This is not fine, however, for the late evening/night. If no one else is staying at this hotel, it is probably a pretty good sign you shouldn't either.
2.  There are people painting the trim of the building purple and orange as you pull up to check in. I don't care what anybody says, purple and orange look ridiculous by themselves and tripley ridiculous together.
3.  You have to ask for help getting your door open every time you "come home" because there seems to be some trick to getting the card and the machine aligned just perfectly.
4. The Internet is perpetually down. (this is the reason I still do not know what the description on the website said, though making this list has made me even more curious.)
5. There are NO other cars in the entire parking lot. I just felt the need to reiterate that because it is KEY to how totally sketchy this place actually is.

Ok, I am finished now.  I had quite an urge to let the darkness within out and rant a little about American expectations, but I contained that monster. (You're welcome)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two in one day... Wow

I stumbled upon this whilst working on a paper and felt a desperate need to share:

10 Resolutions: 

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: "There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing."
3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.
5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.
7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."
8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.
9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.
10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.
- Clyde Kilby

A hundred Million Pounds

In my short lifetime I've not dealt too extensively with tragedy, and that with which I have dealt now resides in the portion of my mind dedicated solely to memories that feel as though they never happened.  In the midst of the most real tragedy I've faced to date, I am struck by my backwards thinking.
I feel so weighed down.  Tied around my wrists are balloons made of all the shock, confusion, horror, sadness, anger, hatred, pride, hopelessness, and general depravity I am battling.  My heart weighs a hundred million pounds, and my ribs are shrinking over my lungs.  The waves of turmoil have carried me out to the depths of the darkest sea and I flail about, trying to rid myself of all of my lead balloons.  My chest keeps growing smaller and smaller, and as I gasp for breath only water fills my lungs.  I tell myself that if I could just get loose of these balloons, I could float back up to the surface where my lungs can become drunk on oxygen again. The more I fight against my bonds, the faster I sink into the darkness of despair.  "I can kick back up to the surface," I tell myself again and again. "My savior is waiting there for me."  It is to no avail.  The sunlight has disappeared behind the murk of the leagues of ocean.  Darkness envelopes my already hazy consciousness and my last glimmers of hope fade to black.  That's where I found him.  When I was beyond life and beyond death, buried in the deepest and darkest of oceans, sinking against my will, he drew me towards him and breathed new life into me.  My waterlogged lungs were made to breathe again and my bonds held new meaning as the mechanisms that brought me into the arms of my savior.  He's never untied them- these lead balloons- but they are no longer a bondage to me, for he has picked me up and carries me in the palm of his hand, that I may never grow weary in this world but look to the hope of spending eternity looking upon his face.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God  with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
                                   -Psalm 42

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Sign of the Beaver

I love to write. I love to take photos. I love to go back and read what I have written and stare contemplatively at the photos I have taken.  There is an ethereal romanticism that comes from reminiscing.

I had coffee with a good friend this morning (grande Americano with a pump of pumpkin spice)  and though we talked about many incredible things, (he is one of my favorite conversationalists) I probably won't actually remember much of the conversation. I am positive though, that I will remember the color of the orange leaves against the perfectly crisp blue sky, and the way he squinted when the sun finally came up over the building behind me.  I'll remember the shoes we wore and the glee I felt as we looked at the time and two hours had passed without us even realizing it.  The taste of my next Americano will certainly elicit a similar emotional reaction.

Right now I am sitting next to a sunny window in the perfectly 1970's library, and my heart is so full of fondness that it will probably explode.  I am a tiny bit afraid that if I get up from this chair, where all seems right with the world, that this moment will be over and lost forever.  Then in a few months I will stumble across this post again, and the happiness and contentedness will flood back over me and I will be transported to that ethereal place of reminiscence.

(In case you were wondering what me sitting contentedly in the library looks like, here it is:
And yes, I do have a lion's mane even though I am a girl.)

*Addendum: I am actually posting this 5 days later, after a whole lot has happened and changed, and as I go back over and look at it, I do get to revel in the nostalgia that comes from $10 Chaco flip-flops and ugly black sneakers.