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Saturday, July 7, 2012

A box full of memories or the "Thin Places".

A small box containing 1.5 cubic feet of space, filled with everything imaginable. Defined as a heavy duty box for such items as canisters, linens, and clothing, but really more suitable for personal items like tree cones, a rust colored bird candle holder, photographs of nephews, family, and old friends. There’s room for picture calendars of Mary, a crucifix, Howlin Wolf records, St. Jude candles, maps of Germany, and a postcard of autumn. There’s a corner section proudly reserved for poetry by William Stafford and the fictional book Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen. In the opposite corner are small paintings and clippings from that semester when Art History 101 seemed to matter the most.  But in the center, neatly framed, are a lifetime’s worth of memories. 

A story.

              A past and a future.  

                                            The “thin places”. 





Ms. Schoemperlen provides a nice summer reflection below concerning the inherent challenge of knowing ourselves along with an insightful meditation on the human constructs “either/or” versus “both/and.”  It’s taken from the Chapter entitled Grace.

["It was not until I told my story to Mary that I understood that the hardest person in the world to forgive is yourself. And that the hardest person in the world to have faith in is also yourself. I am still trying to reconcile who I am now with who I was then. I know my former self is still there, waving to me through time just a like a phantom limb. I am still trying to figure out how I both am and am not the person I was then, the person I appear to be now, the person I think I am; how I both am and am not the person that I think I am; how I both am and am not the person I will eventually become. If who I am now is the ‘real’ me, then who was the person I used to be: an imposter, a fugitive in disguise, the out-of-focus shadow of my future self? If who I am now is the ‘real’ me, then who is the person I will be twenty or thirty years from now? 
My own penchant for order and clarity does not happily or easily admit the contradictions and the opposites within me. I have problems with paradox. If I am this, then how can I be that? When I was younger, I thought I could be only one or the other.  I did not understand how I could be both.

From a very early age, we are indoctrinated into seeing the world in pairs of opposites. Think of all those children’s books in which the world is so clearly and cleverly laid out in two by two: big and little, boy and girl, stop and go, up and down, happy and sad. Perhaps it is some unconscious atavistic longing for the simplicity of the old mechanistic  universe (where there were no contradictions and all mysteries could be solved) that keeps clinging to these tidy constructs: yes and no, weak and strong, give and take, love and hate, heaven and earth. Perhaps it is some subliminal collective nostalgia for the good old days of Plato and Heraclitus (before Einstein and relativity, Heisenberg and uncertainty, quantum physics and chaos theory) that keeps us stuck in the resolute land of opposites: body and soul, lost and found, life and death, good and evil, truth and lies.

Fact and fiction.
Victim and villain.
Alpha and omega.
Beginning and ending.
Virgin and mother.
Human and divine.
It is time now to venture out of the comforting land of either/or opposites and travel into the uncertain territory of both/and. Time to realize that irony is not cynicism, paradox is not chaos, and prayer is not wishful thinking. Time to accept the possibility that these, irony, paradox, and prayer are still points, the thin places, the perfect quantum qualities. It is time now to admit that reality is not simple as we would like it to be and that, given half the chance, it will indeed expand to fill the space available."] pgs, 262-263.



Upon first reading, I struggled with the book Our Lady of the Lost and Found. What’s it really about? Fact versus fiction? An essay or stage play? A singular example of true friendship? Anything? 

I put it back on the lower bookshelf rack last year mildly disappointed with what I interpreted to be a distinctive lack of flow between chapters.  Resolved to the “fact” that the book was less story and more history.  I let it bake in the oven so to speak - allowing significant time to process the “art of novel” approach. I did some research, read some reviews. Slowly, sloooowly began to understand context and juxtaposition - the relationship between history and fiction.

I revisited the book in May of this year. Mary’s month. This time around things clicked. By reading a chapter or two at a time, I ignored my perceived need for continuity simply absorbing the themes and the clever dialogue. All in all, a unique reading experience. Try it out, little by little. Anticipate the joy in your encounter with Mary.  For lovers of lists and philosophical musings as well.  


Resources



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Prayer

" Independence Flag on the shores of Lake Superior. "

Prayer with Our Lady... 

Instead of the growing number of political signs mushroom sprouting throughout the state, perhaps what we  need are prayer signs. Sacred lawn art if you will. Maybe folks would pause, if only for a moment.  A brief respite from the endless banter of the season. Maybe. I can't think of a better image than Our Lady of Guadalupe. Try planting that on the busy boulevard of life. Just sayin.


"No Slogan Needed."
It's 6 pm now


Happy 4th of July! 


Resources
Painting Survives Fire

Just a Few Duluth Flood Resources


General

MPR- Duluth 4th of July... Open for Business!

Northland Flood 2012

Lake Voice News- Last Chance Liquor Owner Recalls 1972 Floods.



Video & Photos



Miracle (Prayer)

MPR- Duluth Flood Photos Pt. 1.

MPR- Duluth Flood Photos Pt. 2.

City Pages- Ten Jaw Dropping Photos.

PDD- Flooding in Duluth & North Shore.


Weather & Climate


Definitions

MPR- Scientists will learn from Duluth Flooding

 
Climate Central- A Warming Climate?

 MPR- Climate Change & Rebuilding Plans

Climate Crocks-Duluth Storm: Yet Another Postcard from the Future 






City of Duluth

City of Duluth- Flood Information

Parks and Recreation- Parks and trails in the area will be relying partly on volunteers to clean up after the flooding. To help clean up Duluth city parks and trails, contact Cheryl Skafte at 218-730-4334 or cskafte@duluthmn.gov


How You Can Help

Contact list.

United Way of Greater Duluth.

Red Cross- The city of Duluth is directing donations to the Red Cross at 800-733-2767. Donors also can text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or send checks to the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross at 2524 Maple Grove Road, Duluth, MN 55811.


Tiny Wilco, opening set @ Bayfront Park
City Pages- Wilco Lend Helping Hand to Duluth Flood Victims.

TwinPorts Bridge Festival feat. The Jawhawks & Trampled by Turtles, plus many more!

30 Days Foundation Facebook.

Donate through your local church or Parish.






Natural Resources




Cyclists of the Gitchee Gumee Shores- Bike trail cleanup.

Superior Hiking Trail- Volunteers will be needed to assess trail conditions and help replace bridges. To volunteer, call 218-834-2700 or email volunteer@shta.org

City Pages- Lake Superior Run-Off.


Funding Available

Springboard for the Arts has made emergency funds available for artists affected by the flooding in Duluth and northeast Minnesota. Springboard’s Emergency Relief Fund will help pay up to $500 of an unpaid bill that has directly resulted from the flooding – for example, professional cleaning or replacement of damaged items. How to apply.