If a door could talk

“The door’, replied Maimie, ‘will always, always be open, and mother will always be waiting at it for me.”
― J.M. Barrie
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This photo is of the backdoor at my dad’s house in Atlanta. The backdoor to the home in which I grew up. The house was built in 1959 and we moved-in in 1962. The door you see today is not, however, the original door. The original door was a typical early 60’s glass louvered number. I was so glad when they replaced that door with the current door. I was probably 10 when they made the big switch.

I always hated the louvered door. Even as a young child, it was as if I was somewhat ashamed of that original door–the nicer houses had what I thought to be “real” doors. Not only was it rather unsightly, it was never very secure as you could easily pry open and lift up the louvres. Which was good if you locked yourself out, but we must remember that this was the early 60’s, no one locked their doors!

Of course there was a screen over the louvers as this was the pre air-condition era—allowing a supposed breeze to waft through the kitchen…but who were they kidding—this was Georgia—there are no breezes in August and very few in June and July! The door was just ugly and a pain to clean. I really felt as if mom and dad had finally entered into the 20th century with the change in doors. Perhaps even at the age of 10 I understood about taste.

That door has been slammed more times than I care to recall. And there was the time one of the panes broke. I can’t exactly recall how that happened but I remember mother having to get a glass-man to come out to the house in order to chip out the broken bits and add a replacement pane. I was so afraid they were going to have to buy an entire new door…I had no idea how someone would be able to replace one of the panes. Ode to the logic of a child.

Mother always knew when my friends had walked over to the house wanting me to come out to play because she would see the top of a small head just standing, obviously outside in front of the door, simply waiting to be let in the house. Somehow Mother always knew when they were there waiting. Once we all got a little older, my freinds would just open the door, letting themselves in. Suddenly, unbeknownst to anyone, there would be 3 more kids in the house wandering around looking for me.

How many times had a date walked me to the back door to either say good night, or hope for an invitation inside? I vividly remember one particularly cool December evening. The night sky bright and magical as the stars twinkled overhead with a few slowly moving clouds. It was a wonderful late Christmas Eve, or more accurately, the wee hours of Christmas morning. My boyfriend and I were coming home from Midnight Mass. It was indeed a magical night. He walked me to the back door as I looked up at the night sky wondering where that wonderfully bright star was that had once guided those three wise men to that tiny stable. And then there was a brief kiss……

I had long since graduated from having dates walk me to the front door. As I started college, the back door seemed a more mature choice of doors. I would always peer through the door with the angle being such, peering through the kitchen, directly into the den where I could just see mother who was usually perched on the far right side of the couch. If I didn’t see her, the coast was clear.

If I did see Mom, that most likely meant she was asleep—I’d have to go in, wake her up, tell her to go to bed and then ask my date in. So embarrassing! And God forbid my date would wander in aimlessly behind me as I attempted rousing Mother, who was like the walking dead, saying the dumbest things as she basically was sleep walking and not remembering any of it the following morning…so embarrassing!

How many times did I walk out that door wishing I never had to walk back in? Those years of my brother and his growing troubles–the mental illness consuming our family. My cousins, who were truly more like brothers to me, coming to my rescue taking me out for the night—just getting away. Returning hours later, slowly, quietly opening the door, praying everyone was in bed–often Mother, on the couch, having fallen asleep, crying.

Twenty-seven years ago Mother had walked out of that door, sickly, for a trip to the doctor, who in turn sent her to the hospital. She never walked back trough the door. The night Mother died, my husband and I walked in the door. It was very late that night–it was hours after the sadness, of our having left the hospital for the last time since her illness–in order to sit vigil with Dad. The day following Mother’s death, I can’t even begin to remember how many friends poured through that door–too many to recall.

How many little hands have opened that door? First there was me and then my brother and all of our little friends. Then it was my young son coming to visit his “Pops.” And how many old hands have turned that knob? My grandmother Mimi who always opened the door with her oh so familiar “Yoo-hoo.” Or my other grandmother, Nany, trying to push the door when she needed to be pulling the door.

Today the door is locked tighter then the proverbial dick’s hat band. I have to knock and tap on the panes to get Dad or Gloria to the door. You may have noticed the doorbell having been painted over–that was years ago. I don’t even know if that thing still works. Today it was Dad who came to the door. Wow! Dad never comes to the door! I can’t tell you the last time Dad came to the door to let me in.

Today was truly a good day! “Do you think you can take Nany’s desk home today? What about the chairs to the dinning room table?” This is what greets me. They are having the hallway painted and a closet outfitted to accommodate a stackable washer / dryer so no one has to traipse up and down the perilous stairs to the basement.

And so went the afternoon. I brought up chair after chair from the depths of the basement, traversing through the back door, out to my poor unsuspecting car. Then with Dad and Gloria on one end and me on the other end, we gently maneuvered Nany’s desk out the back door, all keeping a watchful eye out for Sheba, Dad’s cat, so she wouldn’t try a quick escape.

I had an antique secretary desk, two of its drawers, four dinning room chairs and a banjo clock in my poor car. Each week I go visit Dad, I move more and more of my young world, or the worlds of both my grandmothers, out the back door– precariously transporting it all on the nerve-racking interstate drive back home, only to enter my current world through my current back door.

And so it goes—out the back of one door, into the back of another door.

Simply simple

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Confucius

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“Oh dear, she’s at it again”—and yes, I can hear you.
No this is not another batch of Cookie’s vanilla extract, but I must say that it has come to full maturation and I have been incorporating it into my baking—you may not realize it, but you are sorry you never made your own.

Today however we are looking at something so simple and yet so important that it’s almost frightening. And no, you are not beholding jars of moonshine. I know what you’re thinking, “She’s in the deep South isn’t she, don’t they all have a still or two out back?”

Lord no honey, the Revenue man came years ago and smashed that thing to bits.
You can trust me, I don’t know anything about moonshine which reminds me of Prissy in the movie Gone With The Wind when she lamented to Captain Butler “I don’t know nothing bout birthing no babies”. The rumor was, when I was a little girl, moonshine would make a person go blind because it was often distilled through an old car’s radiator. Who makes things that people consume from old rusty dirty car parts?? Those on a slippery slope I suppose. I did, however, once partake of a sip back in my college days.

Seems some stupid fraternity boy I was dating at the time thought it would be something to have a bottle of genuine Georgia Mountain mash. I have no idea how he came by this particular jar as moonshine was illegal to make and / or possess. It was indeed in a mason jar and it was clear and he seemed quite clandestine about the whole thing.

He screwed off the top and handed me the jar. It had a strange sterile aroma of rubbing alcohol and cherries. Now I have always been known to be adventurous when it has come to trying new things. I do draw the line however at the eating of scorpions on a stick or noshing on a handful grubs, or any other sort of insect… thank you very much Bear Grylls. Nor am I up for trying what my dad tells me his mother use to serve him as a young boy…eggs and brains. I suppose it is true what they say about eating all the parts of a pig, but I do have my limits and I am digressing.

I gingerly brought the jar to my lips, barely allowing the liquid to come into contact with my mouth or my very worried tastebuds. It was very stout I recall, as in very heavy on the alcohol end of things. I think it would probably have been a better antiseptic than a sipping cocktail. All I can say is that I tried it.

I found it not very different from the 190 proof bottles of golden grain alcohol the college boys would buy enmass, pouring into giant plastic trash cans, topping off with can after can of HI-C Hawaiian fruit punch…..dubbing the brew “hunch punch”—it was served at every fraternity’s “social”–aka, party. One’s date would go with cups in hand and dip cup after cup into the giant liquid filled trash cans. I now look back on those days with dismay and wonder how in the world I survived and give thanks that I am not blind, deaf or dead. What were we thinking!!?? Obviously we were not……

And at least moonshine is not bathtub gin—but then that sounds very similar to hunch punch…..oh the perilous concoctions Prohibition must have created…..

But my jars here are not mixtures of home-brewed spirits but rather a mix of mere water, sugar and, on this occasion, cinnamon sticks.

Behold, the simple syrup!

Simple syrup is just that, simple. But why bother to write about and / or share a recipe for something seemingly so simple you ask…..because it is a blank canvas waiting for you to get creative.

Over the weekend I was privileged to host a bit of a retirement shindig for one of my dearest friends. As this is the Fall of the year, it just seemed fitting to offer some sort of Fall inspired libation. What comes to mind when you think of Fall? Apples that’s what!! Of course…Apples. I made a pitcher of what I christened Cookie’s Apple Heart Warmer and boy were they good. A lovely smooth amalgamation of Apple cider, cinnamon, Amaretto, Bourbon, lemon and cherries. One of my friends took one sip and sweetly cooed “oooo, this tastes just like Fall!!”

My concoction required that I fist make a simple syrup. The easiest ratio for this is to use one cup water and one cup sugar—or in my case I used 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Put water and sugar in a pot or deep sauce pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir as it comes to a boil, making certain all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar dissolves, remove the pot from the stove. Here is were I added my cinnamon sticks. You could add a vanilla pod, star anise, whole cloves, sliced ginger, a couple of chili peppers, thyme sprigs, basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, cardamon pods (not all together mind you)—whatever your heart desires depending on the flavor you’re going for and what you want to mix it with later.

As I was making an apple concoction, I wanted a cinnamon flavor, hence the brown sticks you see above. Once the liquid is cool you may transfer it to a glass jar or bottle. You must keep it in the refrigerator. It will last a couple of weeks. If it should start to turn cloudy, it’s time to throw it out.

Simple syrup may be added to ice tea. I made a large pitcher of tea, added sliced lemons, oranges and a handful of fresh mint and enough cinnamon simple syrup to taste. I’m not one to measure, just pour and taste until the ratio seems just right. I also tend to not like my drinks overtly sweet so I tend to be a bit conservative with my pouring. Perfect for a warm summer evening out on the veranda—as everyone thinks all southerners all have verandas.

The apple beverage consisted of 20 oz of apple cider (Simply Apple from the grocery store’s juice section is perfect) 16 oz bourbon (Bulleit or Makers Mark is nice), 4 oz of Amaretto (you could just use 20 oz of bourbon if you prefer but I think the Amaretto helped to produce that oh so smooth taste), 4 oz of fresh lemon juice (I used the bottled Key West All Natural Lemon juice which is pretty stout but if using real lemons, you may need to adjust the amount), 4 oz cinnamon simple syrup, and an entire bottle of all natural, no dye, Maraschino cherries with the juice, plus a handful of cinnamon sticks. Here is were you need to taste and adjust. If it’s not sweet enough, more simple syrup–I also threw in some more Amaretto and a little more cider.

I served it in sugared rimmed flutes. To sugar the rims pour a little lemon juice in a shallow saucer and then a mix of sugar and cinnamon in another saucer. Carefully turning your glass upside down, dip the rim of the glass in the lemon juice, let the drips fall back into the saucer, then dip into the cinnamon sugar, allow to dry. Garnish with dried apples chips. I did dry my own apples but you can easily buy a bag of dried apple chips at the store.

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I think this beverage would be even better heated as a heart warming hot toddy savored by a crackling fire. I just hope you enjoy—my little gathering of friends surly enjoyed as they polished off 3 pitchers…hummm, must have been the cherries. And speaking of, one of my friends even carried home the cherries that had been at the bottom of the pitcher…hummmm

Color

We never really perceive what color is physically.
Josef Albers
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A beautifully colored pansy in a pot by my front door.

Josef Albers, the German artist and educator, is considered the father of modern color theory. He was a leading professor at the cutting edge and prestigious Weimer Bauhaus which was both located in Weimer, later moving to Dreasau, Germany. Albers started working with stained glass, architecture, design and what we refer to today as the Arts and Crafts movement.

When I was in college, oh so many moons ago, I had to take a course in color theory. It was the work of Josef Albers that laid the foundation for the course. However it was his time at the Bauhaus that most intrigued me.

At the time, I was spending my summers in Black Mt, North Carolina as a camp counselor at Camp Merri Mac for girls. One day I will write a post about my time at Merri Mac. I’ve touched on Merri Mac and its importance in my life before when I wrote the post based on what lead me to want to teach. I am grateful for the summers I spent at Merri Mac as my time there helped to mould me, in part, into the person I am today.

The importance today, however, is not my time spent as a camp counselor at Merri-Mac but rather more importantly for the location of the camp, Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Throughout the 1920’s the German Bauhaus was considered a prestigious trade or vocational school. It was what we today refer to as a cutting edge or leading institution in the field of the education for the Arts. The ideas that were being generated at the Bauhaus helped to usher in the modernity of Architecture, Printmaking, Design and much of today’s Arts and Crafts movement. It was this emerging modern take on design which put all these German artists and the Bauhaus on a deadly collision course with Nazi Germany— which in turn would help changed the future of the Arts in the 20th century.

In 1933 Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. He was now on a rapid trajectory to take complete control over the physically and ego damaged nation of Germany. The current President of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg, an old feeble war hero, had unwisely thought that by appointing Adolph Hitler Chancellor– he’d be able to keep his thumb on this young charismatic hot head.

Hindenburg was physically and intellectually incapable of aiding his hurting nation. Germany was in the throws of a severe depression and was still licking its self esteem wounds from the fallout of WWI. Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party, which morphed into what we all know as the NAZI party, skyrocketed to power along with Hitler. Their thuggish behavior of intimidation and violence, the Nazis were quick to cull any opposition, real or imagined, to its skewed belief system.

Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus had already left the school and fleed to the United States. Many of the remaining artists were forced to flee or face extreme repercussions / persecution as the Nazis came to power. Artwork, the life’s work of many of these artists were either confiscated or destroyed. Those who did not flee, or could not flee, were either imprisoned or sadly no other options but to take their own lives—the tragic fallout form the “State” deeming the art work obscene, grotesque, or in direct opposition to the new direction of Germany. Self expression was no longer acceptable.

Many of those artists and educators, who fled Germany, found their way to many prestigious Universities here in the Untied States such as Yale and Harvard. And yet there existed a vacuum that was to be filled by still many more of the Bauhaus faculty and alumni. The birth of the Black Mountain College, in tiny Black Mt, North Carolina, was a result from the fallout of the stifled art world in Nazi Germany.

It was during my time as a counselor at Merri Mac that I learned of the existence of the defunct Black Mt. College. It had long shuttered its doors by the time I found my way to Black Mt. The grounds of the school were now incorporated into our sister camp for boys, Camp Rockmont.

The following fall term of my senior year, I found myself having to write a paper for a senior level art ed course. I chose as my topic the birth and death of the Black Mountain College. It was a forgotten tale of war, loss, death, art and refuge. The shadows remained hidden in tiny Black Mountain. The quest for information was more rewarding than the paper itself.

Unfortunately this post does not have the capacity for me to explore and expound upon the sinister topic of the art world during Nazi Germany nor of the emergence of such artists here in the US as a direct result of the Nazi occupation of Germany. Names such as Albers, Gropius, Kandinsky, and Klee, to name but a few, became household names during the growing Modern and Post Modern art movements—with a small rural town in the mountains of southern Appalachia playing a key role. Perhaps this post is but to whet your appetite to delve further into this tiny forgotten piece of the history of art here in the United States.

Which all brings me back to the very beginning of this post and of the simple thought of color or colour. Josef Albers tells us that we never perceive what color is physically. Albers’ is an intellectual approach to color and the study of color. The play and pairing of various colors and intensities and what the eye perceives with often optical illusions coming to play. It is a fascinating study and Albers’ books are as popular as ever, even transcending to the new technological world with his work being transformed into cutting edge color Apps.

And yet I must take issue with Mr.Albers’ claim to a lack physical perception of color—my perception of color is much more simplistic than that of Mr Albers. I tend to be very literal in my perceptions of most of life. I look at the pansy in today’s post and I see an explosion of color. A play of violets, yellows, pinks and reds. I look at a pumpkin and I am engulfed with what I know to be pure orange. But what is orange but an equal mix of true red and true yellow. Two primary colors combining to form a secondary color, but to me, it is simply orange.

A granny smith apple is a color all its own. When I say Granny Smith, you visualize a yellow green apple. When I say pumpkin, you visualize orange. When I say brown, you visualize a leaf, dirt, the fur of an animal. When I say purple you visualize a grape….and so it goes. We associate color with physical objects.

So during this time of changing colors, otherwise known as Fall or Autumn, as you marvel in the turning of a green leaf to that of crimson, golden yellow, brilliant orange then to brown–or as you partake in the seasonal ritual of carving an overtly orange pumpkin–think of Josef Albers, the father of modern color theory, think of a tiny town in the mountains of North Carolina that took in the refugees of a tormented nation gone mad, and think of what the world of color brings to your daily world.

As we gaze on the Autumn landscape awash in its seasonal splendor, may we be mindful that perhaps there is more to this color business, we so relish, than we had ever imagined.

Patient Update

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The journey up the hill in Cortona, Itlay to the snactuary of Santa Margherita

And speaking of journeys and gratitude, as in the main posting for today, I want to offer thanksgiving as well as thanks—-my aunt, my partner in crime, is now home from the hospital. Many of you may remember last week my request for prayers as Martha was having to undergo a very serious surgery to remove her left kidney. A mass had been detected within the left kidney. This had all come about very suddenly as there had been no symptoms…just the result of a routine visit to her doctor—which in turn set in motion a chain of sudden life altering events.

I am happy to report that the patient is indeed now home, hurting, but resting and recovering. The surgeon reports that it appears all that was bad is now gone and life should resume as normally as possible just as soon as the healing takes its course.

So on this Monday morning, I exhale a loud sigh of relief and offer my gratitude to you who offered prayers, words of support and strength for my aunt and my tiny family. May the healing begin so the new adventures may be plotted………..

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(Martha in Vienna, Austria 2012–Hotel König Von Ungarn)

Here’s to prayer , here’s to gratitude, here’s to Martha…..

Gratitude

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

― Thomas Merton
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Isn’t this a wonderful photograph? A beautiful flower shop in Vienna, Austria, in the shadows of Saint Stephansdom Cathedral–there in what is known as St Stephansplatz—the plaza area surrounding the ancient massive gothic marvel. It is a beautiful image in order to introduce today’s post on gratitude.

I took the photograph at the flower shop this same time last year during a most special trip that was the culmination of gratitude…it was based in having spent a life-time of doing a job that meant so much but had run its course. To celebrate an ending there was the trip, with dear companions sharing in the joy, of a new journey.

But before I ramble on too much longer, there is however, an issue I wish to address on a slightly more personal concept of gratitude as a bit of a side note— as I wish to thank Prasad over on hisinception.wordpress.com blog for nominating me for the Reader’s Appreciation award.
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And as one act of gratitude in turn should give way to another, I would like to pass this award on to Rita over on thebravetraveler.com— As I am a person who truly enjoys travel and all that entails, I have greatly enjoyed reading Rita’s blog of the bravetraverler. Rita’s stories are real life and practical. There is advice and wisdom for us all whether it’s a weekend adventure to the mountains or a trip of a life time across a vast ocean–there is comfort knowing you are not alone in your concern, angst, fear, dread, anticipation, joy, exhilaration and sheer sense of adventure.

Rita helps to make this bigger than life world a little friendlier and more manageable. Kudos to both Prasad and Rita for sharing themselves and their passions which in turn help to make us all a little wiser and a little happier. Gratitude.

I’m not good with these sorts of things as I certainly feel undeserving and rather eschew the attention. I did add an additional page on the About Me page to display those awards that have been bestowed upon this humble blog by some rather amazing bloggers, as I am truly appreciative. I am most grateful, I just tend to take the more quiet route regarding such….but there is indeed gratitude.

Now let me return to the true issue of today’s post—that being the concept of gratitude (not necessarily mine)—which is the ability of being thankful, a quality or feeling of thankfulness. The 13th century German theologian Meister Eckhart tells us that if the only prayer we were to ever say was “thank you”– then that would be enough.

It’s one of the first things we attempt to teach our children—that being the art of saying please and thank you. Here in the South one was always chided by ones’ grandmother if a thank-you note was not written and delivered within the said appropriate window of respectable time….I never really knew what that time frame really was but that I was to start writing immediately upon receiving said kindness, never allowing the dust to even settle.

Every young southern girl worth her salts had a set of note cards— along with a mother who would constantly inquire if the notes of thanks were written by the unknown magic time frame… be it for ones’ christmas gifts or the invitation to dinner by the parents of the boyfriend….If there was a gift or a kindness, there was a note of thanks expected to be written. Which does give way to an entirely different discussion on decorum but we will save that for another day Scarlet.

In the Christian faith there are a handful of types of prayer that are indicative to our faith. Prayers of supplication, adoration, intercession, petitions and of course, thanksgiving. As human beings, we tend to pray those intercession prayers fast and furious. The “please oh please” prayers…the “help, please help, I need you God” type of prayers, the “I desperately need you” prayers. Those are the types of prayer that usually top our list and sneak into our prayer time at the front of the line.

It is, however, the prayers of praise and thanksgiving that are truly more important than probably any other prayer we utter. God knows our needs before we even know our needs but the questions begs…does He know our gratitude? The answer being that since He is an omnipotent God, than yes, He knows all…. but hearing his children offering adoration and thankfulness—that is His music.

Don’t we, as parents, love and even yearn to hear our children offer us genuine thanks? Of course we shrug it all off as if we were simply doing our duty, but inwardly we glow as we now have confirmation that they, our children, really do care about the sacrifices and struggles we make or have taken in order to make certain that they, our children, are happy, ok, and more comfortable than ever we were ourselves. Ode to parenthood and of being a parent—a thankless job that does have it’s glowing moments.

So is God not our Father? He is not a parent who longs as well for the confirmation from the children He loves and adores? Any parent, worth being a parent, does what they do because they are a parent and it is the right thing to do by their children–regardless of thanks or praise. But when there is that small recognition, that little hug, that little uttered “thanks”, hearts then soar and with that magical warm feeling as “job well done” resonates deep within.

So on this new day to this new week, make the effort to express your gratitude….be it for a small kind gesture offered by a stranger, the small acts of subtle love given by a parent or child which are offered your way… or merely for the simple gift of just getting up and breathing freely each and every morning….there is gratitude to offer and express—

No matter how grim life may be, there is always a kindness which is offered–which in turn means there is always something in which to offer thanksgiving. Be grateful for this new day and for all of its possibilities.

The courage to continue….

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

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Beautiful Stain Glass Rose window from Sainte Chapelle / Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2011

Merriam-Webster defines courage as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Courage is not what we see depicted from Hollywood. Courage is not the professional athletes we laud over on the playing field. Courage is not physical prowess. Courage is not bravado. Courage is not belittling. Courage is not loud. Courage is not easy. Courage is not glamorous.

Courage is silence when others scream. Courage is for the tears shed alone. Courage is a smile when one is overcome by despair. Courage is going forward when others turn away. Courage is standing when sitting feels better. Courage is letting go when holding on is all one yearns to do. Courage teaches. Courage is quiet. Courage is lonely.

Courage is rooted in a mental decision to make a choice—it’s an either or with no time provided to weigh ones’ options. It’s a just do it mentality without the Nike swoosh. No glitz, no glamour, no pats on the back. It’s hard, difficult, dirty and even painful. But it’s the right thing–not the popular thing. It’s a moral thing not a trendy thing.

Our world needs more who are willing to act, to live, to choose courage.
It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
Your choice.

Transition

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The hauntingly beautiful sanctuary of Saint Sulpice, Paris, France / Julie Cook/ 2011

When I first took on this adventure of writing a blog several months ago, my life was in the midst of transition as I was navigating from a lifetime in the classroom to a new life sans my kids, my school, my 31 year routine….and so it was with that whole balancing of life, otherwise known as transition, that this little blog of cookiecrumbs was born.

One notion which has continually presented itself, as I have written and addressed a myriad of topics from my life’s adventure, is that of life’s balancing act. The seminal passing to and from one shade to the next, or simply put, transition. I had started all of this business thinking that transition was a singular momentary event..something that happened and then was, most thankfully, over.

I am one who likes my world steady, my ducks in their nice neat orderly rows, “my people” (family and friends) happy and content and perched where they normally perch on my tree of life….I can handle the transitions of life but that’s not to say they’ve not torn me up on the inside. It’s what people can’t see. My insides seem to rise to some invisible crescendo of nerves with the inevitable crashing down chorus…all hidden from observations but known only to me and my nervous system.

But who likes that sort business anyway?…no one I suppose. The one glaring epiphany I seem to have been enlightened by during the course of my little blog, is that life is but one big transition. It is as if we float throughout our lives form one transition to the next–never really stopping at any one spot for any particular length of time..be that a blessing or a curse.

I was struck by the image I chose for today’s post due in part based on an unspoken sense of determination and power which the image seems to invoke. At first glance the average viewer may not pick up on anything other than a dark image of what appears to be some church with someone walking up the aisle.

The average viewer most likely sees a dark, overwhelming and intimidating ancient interior of what must be the image to an unknown cathedral located who knows where. But fortunately you have me to tell you that this is the interior of the Cathedral of Saint Sulpice in Paris. A very ancient church indeed.

I visited this magnificent marvel of human ingenuity and deep spiritual thirst on a work day which equated to very little traffic to and within this cavernous Cathedral of the Rive Gauche. There is indeed something akin to transcendence when one enters such a vast solemn capacious sanctuary.

Sounds echo and are greatly amplified reverberating deep within one’s entire body. The air is cool yet heavy with the years of burnt incense and dust. The lighting terribly subdued– given this being an early Thursday Morning. There is an overwhelming sense of feeling “less than” and of being swallowed alive.

Intimidating….and yet inviting.
This space evokes a humbling sense of awe—that I am quite insignificant. It is a similar feeling that I have experienced when standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon or in the middle of the wilds of Alaska.

Witnessing this lone individual walking boldly forward towards the altar with such determination and purpose—no fear, no cowering, but rather walking towards an unseen entity which is obviously beckoning—the path of two entities on a direct course of collision meeting head on with a world altering impact.

Finally, the tie to transition. First there is a lone individual. There is also something unseen calling. There will be a collision. Two entities, one seen, one unseen, will collide. There will be a change in energy. I think science refers to the meeting of two bodies as… elastic and inelastic collisions— one producing no loss of kinetic energy and the other in which the kinetic energy is transformed into some other form. The transition of two energies.

It is this energy altering event that is the result of our seeking, walking towards and in turn meeting our Creator, our God. Our eyes cannot see the collision. But there is indeed a world altering impact.

This individual walked directly toward the great high altar, alone yet purposeful and determined. God was there. He was waiting. This person knew that God was there and waiting. The need to go forward was greater than the inevitable meeting and collision. The transition, then the change.

Nothing is ever the same.