Good morning. Sunday, 69°F 96%, navigation lights flashing across the Bay and no fog, but a pleasant, Florida feeling of cool, damp closeness between haze and clear.
Been sitting here for a while now, studying first the lectionary Scripture for today, Epiphany6A, especially what the Jesus Seminar in The Five Gospels has to say about this morning’s gospel reading from Matthew (5:21-37) a little pink, some gray, mostly black, somewhat relieving if one is a sinner (as in "Go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner" BCP 448). But also especially the damning reading from Ecclesiasticus (or “Jesus Son of Sirach” more on this intriguing book of the Aprocrypha someday perhaps). And as I’ve sat here thinking and repenting — which means stop, think, think twice, think again, realize, turn around and go in the righteous direction — I’ve participated in the opening of the day as Sunday moves from dark to lightening to light with a black cloud in front of me, which moves along and leaves, now cloud, and foggy or rainy at Shell Island such that my view over, beyond and into the Gulf of Mexico is obscured as I glance
up from my chair. My chair is situated, anchored at 202° SW facing Courtney Point toward the Pass beyond, specifically for two objectives: (i) take in the view above and (ii) make gardenia sure the television is well and truly out of my vision, and where the tinnitus blessedly blurs my hearing it. Not anchored, it shifts ever so slightly over Time, doesn’t it. Like the state of mind. Time out of Mind.
As well. Life is multiple choice, and as well as multiple choice Answer 5, "All the above", the Ecclesiasticus 15:11-20 text set me back before the Wilderness, to my own wanderings, in an area named, to attract subdivision sales when new, though by my Time long grown up and into Old Established Neighborhoods, as I recall, Mantua Forest or Mantua Woods. Off the Capital Beltway take route 50 west one mile, turn left (south) onto Chichester Lane, and first left onto Amberley Lane. I don’t remember our house number but I see it on GoogleMap this morning, the long, narrow lot, our property stretching down a steep bank into tangled woods, huge old trees wound with poison ivy vine, trunk so thick it’s been winding there centuries (story for a different morning), to a little creek. I see now, didn’t know the name at the time, name of the creek is Long Branch. A “branch” being a creek or stream in The South. In Ordinary Time, Long Branch was just a trickle murmuring over sand and pebbles, that with heavy rainstorms became a rushing torrent where, once it calmed down again, one could sometimes pick up civil war bullets, but mind the poison ivy getting there. Seems to me I did research at the time and found the bullets were identifiable as Union or Confederate depending on the number of bands around the cylinder. This week Linda came across one that we still have, in a plastic bag, asked what we should do with it. I said offer it to Joe. He’s arriving Tuesday for a week, he’s been somewhat of a history buff, maybe he’d want it, maybe he’d even remember our time and place in life there 1974-1976. He was in middle school, Malinda in high school, Tass was daddy’s baby.
What useful did I do there? In the basement looking out on the swimming pool I had a little workshop, my only workshop of all Time. For Xmas 1975 I built Malinda a cedar chest, Joe a drafting table, Tass a dollhouse.
So, I go to GoogleMap and look. Saturdays and weekdays after arriving home from my 5th floor corner office in Crystal City (in WashingtonDC, commanders don’t get a corner office but I was an O5 in an O6 billet with a nice office and a lovely view, including daily watching Admiral Rickover emerge from his apartment building across the narrow street below; also including down the highway of Earl Scheib’s Paint Center, where I had two cars, 1959 VW in 1967 and 1970 Olds Cutlass in 1975, repainted yellow in my two tours there, both cars from pale green to yellow; et al) I’d walk. Away from. What? Work. Self. Hour, couple hours, four, six, maybe eight miles all round Mantua Woods, Forest, whatever it was called, from Route 50 to Route 236 and throughout. Down the street Joe had a friend, forget his name and parents’ first names, but his father was a Navy captain in the same branch I was, last name Hamilton, their house in a newer development than ours but we had the swimming pool and we had Long Branch. And bullets.
Where am I going with this widening ramble into the brambles. Time out of Mind. After that tour of duty I was sent to another O6 billet and retired, established and ran my defense-related business from WashDC, went to seminary, and am back to what Jediah was calling, with his Italian, mia terra. Not my land, not my nation, not my property, but mia terra. Translating, it seems to have a deeper than literal sense. Realizing. I cannot be elsewhere.
DThos+ in Stoppage Time
sky and sea on a grey morning