Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stir up

After weeks of no rain, we had a glorious thunderstorm Monday afternoon, such that darkness came on before three o’clock. I heard lots of thunder, meaning lots of lightning, don’t know if there was damage anywhere local. A ministry task I enjoy is drafting the ten-thirty worship bulletin for Sunday mornings, which was my work as the storm raged. Good collect for Sunday, Advent Three: 

Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come 
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, 
let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver 
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and 
the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end.

Advent Three is Gaudete Sunday for any who observe, we do somewhat as we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath and sing a Rejoice! hymn or two. Although I admit to knowing nothing, I have noticed that there are those even more ignorant than I, specifically who say the pink candle is for the BVM and call the day Mary Sunday. Wrong: if we insist on putting names on them, Mary Sunday is Advent Four when in the gospel the angel of the Lord appears to Mary (in Luke) or to Joseph (as this year in Matthew) to discuss the source of Mary’s pregnancy. The pink candle is because see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06394b.htm as I get tired of explaining it every year, though I never tire of pointing out that some think the pink candle is because Mary was hoping for a Girl. If so, Boy was mom surprised -- and a sword shall pierce your very soul -- Luke 2:35. Mary had several children, was He her favorite?

Lots of things stirring in my mind. Saturday morning dressing for Mike's ordination, I donned a black clergy shirt and reached into my ditty bag for the two collar buttons I'd carefully packed -- it takes two collar buttons to secure the round white clergy collar that is de rigueur for ecclesiastical events in the Episcopal Church. One. One collar button. The other missing. Searching at length yielded zilch, all I found was an unknown hole in the bottom of my ditty bag, so one was lost: no clericals. Taking off the black shirt, I put on a fresh white shirt w/o necktie, having brought no tie, we don't wear neckties. Not how a priest shows up, but nevertheless. Sunday no problem, as there are plenty of collar buttons at home. Monday as I dressed to go to the office, the missing collar button dropped from the extra underwear packed for the Mobile trip. I could see that it expected to be celebrated as the found lost coin (Luke 15:8f) or the found lost sheep (Luke 15:3f), but I simply dropped it back into the little green box where these things are kept. Having let me down when needed, it will be punished, not celebrated.  

More. As yesterday, sometimes I’m disturbed by dreams that seem clearly to have broken out of the right brain while the left brain had its guard down. Generally upon waking dreams evaporate, I reckon because the left brain comes stomping into my consciousness with heavy boots and crushes the night visitor so I can’t remember. However, some emotional but illogical dreams hang in there to haunt. Here's what I think. The real Bubba escapes in my dreams. If as a child I’d yielded to my nature of being left-handed, my life history would have been very, very different (and "very" is to me a greatly overused and therefore shunned four-letter word), I’m quite certain of that. My right-brain would have prevailed. More music, pianist, no naval or other military service and no Navy career, early on to seminary as my destiny began, all would have been well, and all would have been well, and all manner of things would have been well, and a nod to Julian of Norwich as in porridge.

+Time is not a “poor sick me” blog like some FB sludge along with folks announcing such realtime personal crises as an empty toilet paper roll; but I take all these alphabet pills, see, and don’t know what the nighttime half dozen or ten do to me while sleeping, but the morning four unfailingly drop my blood pressure forcing a lie-down until it passes! Often 70/40, but yesterday morning 57/36, bringing on a nonfunctioning zonk-out from eight-fifteen a.m. to twelve-fifteen afternoon. Earlier though, Robert and I had a great walk on a magnificently beautiful morning, including a brief sit-down on a bench along East Beach Drive to admire our Lonesome Pine as the yellow boat testing Mercury marine motors went roaring by -> 

Stirring up heavy -- my brother and sister can speak for themselves -- anticipating our first week of January trip to Louisiana to visit Walt, this has been on mind. My father and I never hit it off, never really got along together, with each other, the friction was thick — the word would be "palpable". Why? IDK, maybe being so different, opposite, was a reason, reasons, causes. I never understood. My father seemed to fight any expression of feelings in my direction and it became mutual. At a summer family camp in August 1951 a counselor cautioned my father, I've told this here before, that every word he spoke to me was sarcasm; which seldom changed in our fifty-seven years as father and son. My father has been dead nearly a quarter century now, and that the relationship still so saddens me tells that I'll take the distress into the sod. I hope -- my prayer -- is my children have not, do not, hold me similarly, in other than fond memory, as their years go on after mine.  

Yet, still, on the other hand: in response to constant begging, my father taught me to drive before any of my friends, beginning the Sunday afternoon after my 12th birthday, September 1947 all the family out in the woods and trails of western Bay County in our 1942 Chevrolet and my mother panicked, gasping, grabbing the arm-rest, scared half to death by the leaping, lurching car as I learned to balance left foot clutch pedal, right foot accelerator pedal while jerkily shifting and grinding gears. My father let me drive and trusted me with our cars long years before any of my friends. This time of year, December 1991, twenty-five years ago, my father, with the same heart issues that his mother had and now me, had the same open heart surgery as mine exactly twenty years on. And I have an old Florida drivers license that I literally and with some distress cannot tell whether the picture is me or my father, TCW Sr or TCW Jr. And Carroll, the shared name of A Boy Named Sue. So there are things in common and there are good memories; but they are not what my conscious holds as the day-to-day growing up dread for eighteen years till I broke free by offing to university. 

What stirs all this? Perhaps again seeing the annual words “Stir up” in the collect for Advent Three. Perhaps the time of year when memory stirs of my father’s heart surgery and his death nineteen months later. Perhaps strain between my daughter and daughter-granddaughter and recalling similar strain between that daughter and her mother, and wondering if it's natural, strain between same-sex child and parent. Perhaps … IDK, I don't understand. But that's okay: I once had a priest, my rector in the 1980s, say of a severing strain between us, "I don't understand what happened, but then I don't have to understand." 

At any event, +Time is my mental exercise, a release of sorts from Time to Time: lying here stretched out on my psychic introspection couch, I may jot what the right brain blurts, then immediately press Delete as the left brain says it's illogical to share. Sometimes without examining, maybe while the left brain goes to the bathroom or to get another cup of coffee or some such, the right brain presses Publish anyway and it gets out, as unrecallable as the spoken word, into the ether. Sometimes I regret, more often not. 

DThos+ in +Time+

Monday, December 5, 2016

turn me loose

wondering, wondering … 
if you're wondering too

six-seven (as without the electronic ears the residual natural ears no longer can distinguish between “fifty-seven” and “sixty-seven”, I plea for patience) and ninety-four percent on 7H porch, windy up here above the clouds looking up, across and down upon earth, sky and sea, and Monday seems cleared now, evidence of blowing rain through the night judging that the porch rail is wet and, from the rail, standing water on the floor two or three feet back. Appears a day to walk, a morning for the walk. Between my away schedule and Robert’s exhausting worknights, at least couple weeks have elapsed since our last walk in the Cove. 

Speaking of, a long and longing one, part of that dream seems to have been in the front yard of the house where I grew up in the Cove, and on the boundary between my front yard and the one next door. There’s no touching in these dreams, close but distance, no touching: recently I read, maybe while on the cruise last week, that if the right brain and the left brain are surgically separated, each brain continues its own individual functioning such that one might be two distinctive beings, and I wonder if they would struggle, fight, and drive each other insane? 

Sitting here typing with the right hand and therefore left brain in control, I’m curious, almost anxious about, and certainly quite suspicious about, what’s lurking up there in the right brain and being suppressed during my waking hours. 

Here’s the thing: when I started first grade at Cove School, and we were learning to write, practicing handwriting with chalk on the blackboard, I wrote with my left hand then switched to my right hand as the writing passed in front of me. Apparently, based on the fact that the first day in school when our teacher had held up a yardstick and told me to kick at it I had kicked with my right foot, Ms. Violet Hayward had decided I was right-handed (I actually remember the moment of the kick seventy-five years ago), the teacher made me stop writing with my left hand and stick to the right hand. In later years, learning a bit about right-brain left-brain differences, traits, and functions, I’ve wondered who and what I would, might, have been had I been allowed to be left-handed as at times has seemed more natural for me; i.e., what’s  up there that is still longing to be free, and is it possible or likely that the real Bubba escapes in dreams while the left brain is asleep. Paul in prison when the earthquake swings the doors open, his chains fall off; and waking, the guard panics. There’s a hymn isn’t there, Charles Wesley, the fourth stanza, 
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, 
fast bound in sin and nature's night; 
thine eye diffused a quickening ray; 
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; 
my chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth …” 

... maybe Wesley wrote that puzzling bit of verse in frustration and protest of the left brain’s tyranny. 

Anyway, here am I -- Brer Rabbit fighting to get free of the TarBaby and screaming "turn me loose" while Brer Fox laughs -- send me.



images pinched online

Sunday, December 4, 2016

sushi and the epiclesis

Up at wee hours for Father Nature, back to bed a few minutes as mind fills with plan for Sunday School time this morning, which will be our concluding confirmation class for anyone not involved with Santa Sunday and the children, and who may wish to come. 

Up again, my intent involves our Eucharistic Prayer, which, in the liturgies that have grown during my lifetime, we have nine possibilities for Sunday mornings. In The Book of Common Prayer we have two Eucharistic Prayers in Rite One and four in Rite Two. We have three more in the supplemental liturgical material authorized by General Convention as the little red book Enriching Our Worship 1. What interests me? Identifying/recognizing common theological elements:

> opening dialogue
> rehearsal of salvation history
> words of institution
> oblation
> anamnesis
> epiclesis

While up those early wee hours, I remembered and began salivating: in the refrigerator, a box of sushi purchased at Fresh Market on the way home from Mike’s ordination yesterday, fetched it and the soy sauce and enjoyed six pieces, first time in memory eating sushi at one-thirty a.m. Sushi and furoforty. Back to bed as the wee hours faded and sleep summoned. Now four-forty-eight, up again with Linda, black coffee, two squares dark chocolate.

Tantalizing breakfast menu choices:

> other half of the sushi from Fresh Market


> fried mullet in go-box from our lunch stop at Marina Oyster Barn on Bayou Texar in Pensacola

Welcome to our world, Rev. Mike!!!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

making me awesome

A fun spot, interesting, busy port, our room. Below, a divided six-lane highway marking I10 East to Pensacola and West to Pascagoula. Wide expanse of Mobile Bay. Tugs pushing barges in each direction, ships in port, battleship USS ALABAMA directly in my vision, I love battleships, my favorite warship, long, gray, sleek, beautiful; and bow-on, deadly ominous. 

A railroad track down and across, and Friday evening a train with diesel engines pulling and a diesel engine pushing a string of well over a hundred cars. Nearly a perfect room. I’ve stayed higher here in this hotel, but near enough to perfect. Don't know what that is, looks like a floating school bus - -

When I come to Mobile I like to stay here at the Renaissance Hotel, as now, and always make my reservation specifically requesting a high room, waterfront, view of the battleship. When we checked in Friday afternoon about three o’clock, the nice desk clerk assured me water view. We came up to room 1214: no battleship in sight, hidden behind a building. I am eighty-gardenia-one years old, and when I say I want to see the battleship I want to see the gardenia battleship, don't alphabet with me, so back down to the front desk and stand there not smiling until they hear me say it: 

“I'm Tom Weller. I asked for a room where I can see the battleship, but you put me in 1214. I want to see the battleship.” But, sir, there are ships in view from your room. “I am a Navy commander, and I want to look at the battleship. Every time I’ve stayed here over the years I’ve had a room looking out on the battleship, the first time February 1985, and several times since. When I booked my room a week or ten days ago I paid extra for a high room and requested a view of the battleship, and you put me in 1214, with no view of the battleship, and I want to see the battleship.” So, fiddle, fiddle, fuss, type, type, scan rooms on screen, fiddle, type and here we are room 2506 where now I am happy because I can see the battleship and you should either pardon my French or lump it, das Gleiche für mich.

I like that shot out across Mobile industrial waterfront at dusk or a bit later, and reflecting back into our hotel room.

Crossing the Pensacola Bay Bridge yesterday on the way over, Linda wanted to stop in Pensacola at Celebration, a shop at Cervantes and 12th Avenue, to begin Christmas shopping. Works for me, lovely old buildings, with a large greenhouse, one was once a florist shop. And an elegant old private home with an elevator. My mother grew up on East Strong Street just a couple blocks away, and every time we come here I wonder if she knew the family who lived here back in the 1920s and 1930s. And I wonder what cars the residents drove and rode in. I'm thinking Packard or Pierce Arrow, maybe had a chauffeur. And there's a tiny servant's house outside just off the back steps. Out front a beautiful plant is blooming, pink flowers, I think a sasanqua.

Celebration must be for ladies, because to me it's second only to spending the afternoon in a fabric store shopping for cloth. Though they did have a bar towel I appreciated:

Saturday morning: couple hours we're going across the street to Christ Church Cathedral where we will present Mike Dickey to +Russell, our diocesan bishop, for ordination as a deacon today and a priest later. I don't know any rules, so by noon tomorrow he should be able to sign it Mike+ and before you can whistle "DIxie" he will be Father Mike.

Friday evening, an unending line of car lights heading over Linda's right shoulder into and out of the I10 Tunnel under Mobile River. Am I reading this map right? Because if I'm reading the map right, that's George C. Wallace Tunnel, twin tunnels for I10 traffic. George Wallace, seriously? The uglily segregationist governor who served his own two terms then ran his wife, who was elected and Gov. Wallace continued governing through her; all going to show that we can fool ourselves into believing we've fooled our own constitution. But seriously, a tunnel system named for George Wallace, so what time are services at St. Judas Iscariot Church - -   

And yep, that's my head and my right ear in the reflection.


Friday, December 2, 2016

anxiety dream: neither, either/or reality or/nor nightmare

Aboard the ship yesterday morning, I was reading this article https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/the-illusion-of-reality/479559/ when called away for debarkation, then forgot it until this morning, called up and read while wondering about the reality of the alligator and other crawling creatures just outside the window in the parishioner's game room of my anxiety dream; why the alligator, why the constantly changing neighborhood we were visiting, why I’d borrowed a friend’s Lincoln car to get there between services to visit a parishioner’s new home, then parked the car where I couldn’t find it to get back to church in time to preach at the main service my sermon that I’d preached at the early service, why I kept thinking "well, no matter, the rector will know my sermon notes are in the pulpit drawer and he can just use that," why I’d left my cell phone on a chair inside the house we were visiting, and when Linda went inside to get it for me while I kept looking for the Lincoln, and came back and found me and handed me the phone it was in pieces and wouldn’t stay together so I could call the rector and tell him why I wasn’t there, why my watch (I’ve not worn a watch or carried a calendar in years) kept showing the time as 10:45 exactly when I should be stepping into the pulpit, who the suggestive and flirty blond woman was at the parishioner’s house that I kept anxiously trying to keep Linda from noticing, wondering in the dream why I had gone to make this visit and parish call between services instead of having sense to realize there wasn’t time to do that. Lincoln coupes and Lincoln convertibles kept coming into view and I’d head for one to get in and hurry back to church only to realize that the car I’d borrowed was a Lincoln sedan, so kept looking, searching, futilely walking, searching. 

Wonder if the right brain breaks free while I’m sleeping. I’m right-handed, which is left-brain controlled, I don’t think I really even have any idea of the alt-reality that’s hiding, lurking, shadowing up there in the right-brain, shaking, rattling its bars to get free. I’ll try that left-handed writing again, pandora’s box: who besides me remembers that story, all the frightening creatures that, when the box was opened, escaped and could not be caught and stuffed back into the box. Like the ungodly creatures called forth and set loose by Jadis to fight Aslan. In the fiction, of course, just as in John's fiery and imaginative Revelation, Aslan has the victory; but what a scenario.

The article about Hoffman concludes with an observation about the taste of chocolate as the ultimate nature of reality. Which with two cups black coffee I’ve over-consumed this Friday morning before embarking on another long drive, this time westward today and eastward tomorrow, instead of east and south then north and west. The book I took along and read aboard ship, borrowed from another friend, not the friend with the Lincoln (that friend really does have a Lincoln Town Car but why I borrowed his car in the dream beats the hell out of me) essays about a different perspective and perception of reality by a man who is concerned about what we are doing to our world. My truth: our greedy, selfish consumption of the earth may not matter, provided sometime within the next millennium or two a moon-size asteroid heads to earth, קֹהֶ֣לֶת has his way with us after-all -- and the universe continues oblivious that we ever were, a la Thomas Hardy: “By the Earth’s Corpse.” 

Donald Hoffman’s quest and observations are interesting and perhaps right on, but no more original nor profound than Plato’s much earlier, much much simpler, and more graphic Allegory of the Cave.

Friday morning insanity, but at least I’m back in the illusional reality of 7H.

DThos+ fighting the quicksand of life and watching a flock of white egrets in the surf at my very feet

Thursday, December 1, 2016

one way

Ship twisting and turning into port this predawn Thursday morning. Maybe others also have noticed, life keeps going by, Time that is, and only goes in one direction. A shame, what if we could wake up any morning and decide to go either way, continue forward at earth’s pace — or go backward and instantly be wherever for the day: where to go, behave and carefully make my way back to go at day's end so as not to wake up tomorrow morning somewhere else and wonder how I got there. Ever enchanted with Frost’s road not taken and Harry Potter's time-turner.

On my computer desktop are some songs from whenever, not things to evoke sadness or the wistful, but a song from here and there. Songs from my life were understandable, Very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson? where songs from today have to be figured out. Either that or have another beer. 

Got some cloud shots at sea but this Joni Mitchell song is on my desktop for some reason. Living in 7H where -- after this pleasant cruise ends and one god-awful drive home, I expect to live again later today -- it’s easy to be a cloud person. Or a life person. Or a song person. No poet, I like the dreamy poetry of this song.

Both Sides, Now
by Joni Mitchell

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now 
From win and lose and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now 
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I remember the song, hearing it, 1967, Joni singing it. Made me melancholy fifty years ago, same now. Here’s a picture of Joni and Leonard, both Canadians. Our songs were better than yours. Still are.


For anyone wondering, that's a 1966 Ford Thunderbird in the background under Joni's left arm.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

25.52.41N 77.39.05W

Early morning, 5:31, still dark and cruising along heading 270° so due west. The ship may be sailing a big rectangle in order to fabricate the “Fun Day at Sea” that they call Wednesday before arriving back at Canaveral early Thursday morning. Thinking this as our fourth and last cruise, Linda and I splurged for a suite about the space of the living room in 7H, plus entryway, dressing room, large bathroom, double-size balcony. Not like the squeeze spaces our last three. 

Interesting primary news coverage on the ship’s television yesterday, POOTUS wanting Americans who burn or trample the flag to be deprived of their citizenship or sent to prison. Free speech includes all kinds of protest possibilities, all effectively meant to anger someone who will be outraged, and abusing the flag to get attention and anger somebody is as much an exercise of free speech as sitting or kneeling during the national anthem or defacing the pictures of The Leader that soon will be required in every home, and in every school room to replace the portrait of George Washington. At any event, one is thankful that humanity, the nation, and world have so few problems that punishing people for burning the flag can be priority for a rational thinking man, the people’s choice.

Ship heading 281° now according to my iPhone, 6:00 and a tray of coffee and tomato juice just arrived at the door. WTH, we’re at sea, oh-six-hundred hours and counting.

Latitude 25.52.41N Longitude 77.39.05W