in other words

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“In other words, in the deepest heart of man, the motive for art and the motive for worship are bound together.  That is not accidental.  In both art and worship, the heart seeks out something beyond itself–a beauty or power that is not its own.  That seeking involves a great deal of what can best be called ‘play’.  Why, if the painting of the deer is only a practical superstition meant to help catch another deer, is the deer the artist paints so deer-like–not photographically true to life, but lovingly true to what it must be like to be a deer?  Why lavish so much care upon a caveman’s version of bookkeeping, if that’s all it is?

But that is not all it is.  The play of the artists hand is one with the praise of the artist’s heart.  He cramps his knuckles and strains his eyes in the poor light to reproduce in the cave a hint of the wonder in his life: that there is a god who gives him and his people the deer, for their feasts, their clothing, and for their enjoyment of their odd and familiar ways.  The painting bears the style of his hand, yet he does not at all mean to express himself in it;  rather it allows him to pass beyond himself, to the animals he knows in part, and to the mysterious forces that govern his life and the life of his people, forces that he hardly knows at all.”

~Anthony Esolen

 

 

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a longing fulfilled

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Fall is in the air here, and I’m glad.  The boys and I went for a beautiful walk yesterday evening.  It takes me longer to move on from bigger events, so I strolled along behind them enjoying their playful and energetic boyhood, snapping pictures here and there, with my head in the clouds still thinking about the eclipse.

The boys wasted no time running up and down the hills, back and forth on the dam, out to the fishing dock to see if there was any new discarded fisherman’s garbage to discover.  One of my boys has been collecting random fishing pole parts in hopes of making his own pole, and yesterday, he finally found a reel.

We start school next week, and this morning, my husband woke the boys up early.  It’s time to get back into the morning routine.  We’re doing things slightly different this year.  We’re moving everything back a half-hour, so the plan is getting the kids up at 6:30 every morning.  They’ll build some strength and burn some energy.

Then they’ll have their chores, and something new, making breakfast.  Each child will have a day to make breakfast during the week.  They’ve already been cleaning up most of the meals during the week, so this will give them the added responsibility and experience in meal preparation as well.  We’ll start school at 8:30 instead of 9:00.

The morning shadows wave their signal on the walls.

7:01 AM they tell me–time to wrap things up.

Time for the next new beautiful thing.

 

 

close ups

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This was the view of the sky during the total eclipse.  It wasn’t totally dark outside.   It looked like the evening sky, when the moon lights up and the stars just starting to come out.  Silhouette’s are some of my favorite kinds of pictures.  I love the contrasts of darkness and light, which is exactly what the sun and moon looked like.  To me it was another example of God’s inspiring glory, how movingly humble God is.  It was beautiful.

What wasn’t so beautiful was my rant from before we left, when I was frustrated with all the naysayers.  There was no need to worry about what everyone else was saying.  I wasn’t going with everyone else, I was going with my husband and children, and they were excited and glad to go.  My in-laws came too and were glad to get to see it. The traffic as bad as predicted, but we made it there and back, and had a beautiful day.

 

 

 

path of totality

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Let me explain something.

I once had a six-year old son who was obsessed with outer space.  I bought him books about space.  My mother-in-law bought him books about space.  The school librarian cleaned out the library one time and gave him all the school’s old books about space.

One of his books had an eclipse calendar that laid out the world’s eclipse schedule for the next however many years. There was going to be a total eclipse visible in North American in August of 2017, the same year of the 5ooth anniversary of the Reformation.

Needless to say, I was a little excited. I’ve been waiting for this eclipse for almost seven years.  Everyone keeps telling me they’re staying inside, that they’re not going anywhere near it, that schools cancelled field trips at the last minute so kids don’t hurt their eyes.

To each his own.  The traffic is going to be horrendous, or so I’ve been told.  On the way home this afternoon (we had a lovely visit), the southbound interstate traffic was packed, not quite bumper to bumper.  They were still creeping along just enough to keep going.

We don’t want to be fools.  If the roads are too bad, fine.  If we can’t make it all the way down to our destination, maybe we can pull off on the side of the road.  I understand fear, I really do, so I’m not holding it against anyone. The eclipse isn’t everyone’s thing.

But people, come on.  Where are the lovers of hope and adventure?  Where is the chasing of beauty and sky?  Where is the sixth sense of power and wonder?  Where will you stand when the sun blinds the eye?  Is there anyone else who’s excited or cares?

I’m not giving up.  I can see them.

They’re all on the other side of the road.

 

 

 

quite the ordeal

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We’re two days away from the day with two dawns.   A few days ago my mom called to remind me to make sure the kids do not look directly at the sun, and to make sure adults are helping them with their glasses at all times.

A couple weeks ago, a woman from our former congregation texted me to see if we’d ordered glasses.  I told her I hadn’t bothered to order any, and that I just figured we’d wait until total coverage for a quick look.

She said she thought we’d better get some, just in case.  You never know with kids, she said.  A few days later our pastor asked us if we needed any glasses.  He had ordered a ten-pack, and would only need two pairs.

They were legit, he said.  I asked him where he got them from and he said he ordered them from Amazon. I told him I hadn’t ordered any, so if he had some extras and wanted to give them to us, that would be great.

Then I found out my mother-in-law had already ordered a ten pack of eclipse glasses for us.  She’d ordered a pack online from somewhere, and then saw a Facebook article with a list of legit eclipse glasses companies.

The company she’d ordered from first wasn’t on the list.  So she cancelled the first order, and ordered instead from one of the companies she’d seen in the article.  They came, and we tested them out in the kitchen.

You couldn’t see the light.  They were smaller than I expected, and I wasn’t expecting them to be so dark.  If you think about it though, it makes sense.  If you’re going to look at the sun with them on, they’d have to be dark.

We went shopping this afternoon to buy stuff for a picnic lunch.  When we got home the two older boys wanted to go out to the pine forest with Arik.  I didn’t want them to go.  We’ve got plans to go see the eclipse in two days.

In the opening pages of Anthony Esolen’s book, How to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, he wrote, “For my mother, Jane Esolen, who let me have a boy’s life.”  I clung to those words as the boys ran off to the pine forest.

We’ve got our glasses squared away.  We’ve got food and water for the car ride down.  We’ve got thirty acres of private farm land for our family to come to thanks to a couple my husband married when we still lived farther south.

Lord willing, that’s where we’re headed tomorrow.  He’s preaching for one of our former congregation’s 150th anniversary year services.  I didn’t want to go.  I still kind of don’t.  I get really bad travel anxiety in the days before a trip.

That’s not why I didn’t want to go.  It’s just hard to go back there.  I can’t explain why, it just is.  All these weird feelings get stirred up inside me, and yet, every time we’ve left, I find myself thankful for the time, and blessed for having gone.