Saturday, November 16, 2013

The World We're Building

I'm glad to be back in our house...glad to be back in Sonoma County.  Seven years is significant time to be away from an area that you've known for many years.  Out and about looking around I feel like the old aunt who comes to visit and says, "My, how you've changed."  

Impressions...sometimes they are good and sometimes they leave dents.

If only we would let creation impress more upon us, impress upon us the nature of beauty, the mandates of love, the limits of necessity and somehow too, the destructive nature of excess. 

I live in a morning house now.

Out on an errand recently, I saw in my rear view mirror the profile of a new casino built on a field that in its most fallow estate was yet a paradise.   I had heard the casino was big and I could see why it had generated great concern about accommodating  the traffic it would generate; the parking lot was enormous, and I could only see part of it. 

I myself was making my way back from a big box store having been told it was the only place those simple (old fashion) roll down shades would be offered.  Even then, the version I found was not all that much like what I remember.  I rarely frequent such stores, the sheer array of merchandise overwhelms me.  People need things, but not all we have glittered up has purpose, even if we grant a certain amount of whimsy just to delight.

I reminded myself to  watch my own purchases and decisions and participation and try to have a voice in the many decisions being made. I see that it is our land-rock, soil, water, and air, as well as our civic premises, our social framework, that we are changing.

What might be built here some day?

While I'd caught only a glimpse of this casino I'd  heard so much about;  fought over from its inception, built in the years I've been gone, a glimpse was enough. for me. I'd signed a petition questioning the wisdom of it way back when.  It was allowed because indigenous tribes have the authority to govern themselves under different guidelines as a "domestic dependent nation." I thought about how old a story land- and people- abuse is, and how wrongs, once done, are hard to right...generations later consequences continue to unfurl.

And aren't a lot of consequences unforeseen or unintended?  I felt a little blue. Casinos on farmland that had been protected by the Williamson Act in my rearview mirror and on the radio news of tyranny and tragedy in distant lands and closer to home health insurance confusion aplenty.

There are many strange edifices being built and modified on the fly these days. If we create edifices of concrete or edifices of law that fundamentally  change the landscape, later repair or remodeling is likely to be only cosmetic.  As I heard one man say on the radio, "the toothpaste is already out of the tube."   A simply analogy, but sometimes simple is really what we need to get us to stop and see if what we are creating is truly an asset, a worthy addition to things as they are because we may not ever be able to put it back as it once was.

Recently treated as guest in the Green Music Center, another large building also built during my absence from the northland, I watched the members of an orchestra, as their rendition of a composer's music filled the room.  I was reminded how much orchestral music depends on attention, on ready waiting, how essential timing is; you play your part in the given time.   When composers, and the musicians who keep their creations alive, reflect the impressions creation has had upon them, music can  stir those questions about God and man and this world we are rattling around in. 

If I want to see the sunset, I have to go looking, but for a sunrise, I just have to wake up.

What's a soul to do in this world?  I think of my life and the lives of family and friends, how many life decisions and choices and the difficulties they have created must be accepted as part of the landscape now. Regrets can't add much to the future, they aren't a pure fuel; the energy for the future needs both foundation and vision. 

What did I know in my wandering youth?  I set out searching...but what did I know to search for? Love, faceless and dimly defined, was the ready answer. I wasn't really anticipating the larger unfolding  picture. 

 When Jesus said his command was summed up in love he also told his friends that he had much to tell them that they were not yet ready to receive or bear. That often rings true for me,  but the  command to  "Love one another"   sounded  simple enough. Yet I find it is taking a life time to learn about love, and it's complicated by the fact that in the world, when it comes to love, there are many "lawless" amongst us.  And as one dear friend recently said, she is overwhelmed just hearing about everything that is going on.

I know, it's a lot of thoughts and impressions to toss your way,  from my driving around my old homeland, checking out the local stations on the radio, peeking in my rear view mirror and thinking about how to go forward... but it helps me to remember I would do well to simplify, and then ascertain and focus where I can have influence.  We've got the permit to build what we want, but not everything we can do is needed or beneficial.

If only we would let creation impress more upon us,
 impress upon us the nature of beauty, 
the mandates of love, 
the limits of necessity
 and somehow too, 
the distracting and destructive nature of excess. 

with love,