I know NaNoWriMo is about writing a novel, or story, or something with a story arc of some sort, but since I’m only sort of participating, I figure I’ll do it however I like. Today I’m not exactly bursting with fictional creativity – there’s something about spending all day around financial forms that seems to dry up that normally overflowing spring (are there springs that don’t overflow?) – but I can’t really blame it on anything other than myself, really. Lots of people have soul-sucking jobs that are far worse than mine, and they still have lots of creative juices. In fact, it seems like some people just burst with it in general, like being in a blank job just gives them time to come up with cool ideas.
Yesterday, Dad and I rode Mt. St. Helens. I last did this back in 2011, also, and I remembered beautiful views and difficult climbing, with stiff headwinds on the way back. The roads were nicely paved, though. Yesterday was similar but also very, very different.
So I’ve been thinking about how to approach talking about this ride, because it wasn’t quite the ride I planned on doing. As you know, I normally don’t even mention my rides unless they’re really exceptional. Our St. Helens ride certainly was noteworthy. Yesterday I was going to talk about what went wrong, but after sleeping on it, I’m going to talk about what went well first.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve been thinking about Christmas presents lately. Not what to get my family (although, of course, I’ve done that, too), but more the philosophy and theory of gift-giving, specifically: Why do we give gifts at all?
Now, birthday gift-giving seems somewhat logical, with friends giving the birthday-ee gifts to express their appreciation for the friend’s life. Perhaps we’re using presents to say, “You are a gift in my life. Let me give back to you a token to acknowledge all the joy you bring to me by being my friend.” That completely makes sense, although since having Benji I’ve thought that moms should really get the presents on the kid’s birthday, but that a different story.
Yesterday Benji and I went for a walk in the morning. On our way was the former site of a gigantic nursery, now (surprise!) being turned into a vast housing complex. While my enthusiasm for this project in general is minimal – I dread the added traffic congestion and increased student load on Benji’s future elementary school – at the moment I can’t imagine a project more thrilling to Benji.
We walked a little way along an offroad path that parallels this construction site and found a safe, quiet spot where Benji could get out of the stroller and see standing up by himself. (This didn’t, however, stop him from wanting to be held up the entire time. Isometric exercises?) Here’s what we saw.
there’s no time to lose.
Today spring came to Seattle.
We all spent the month of March (and the previous months from September onward) hunkered down, praying to simply survive the almost 8″ of rain that fell… and fell… and fell. The average temperature remained stubbornly a couple degrees below normal. It was, in a word, miserable, and I think everybody living here felt kind of miserable most of the month. I, at least, found it difficult to get much done; I only wanted to curl up under a blanket with a cup of something hot.
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, [Jesus] said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?”