Saturday, August 30, 2003

And in other news...

I didn't want to say anything because I feared the neighbors, but as it turns out the transportation administration just keeps getting sillier. About two months ago the road crews came through Potlatch and dumped gravel and tar all over the roads and left, apparently in search of other perfectly good roads to ruin. I was a bit dismayed at the time and had certain choice questions for the joe who decided to mess with our humble Highway 8. At the time I also had my doubts about being in Potlatch. What kind of people pave over perfectly good asphalt with gravel and tar? When I lived in Alaska, it was a prized position to live on or near a paved roadway. It was like the second or third question anyone asked in normal polite conversation, "So you all live on a paved road?" "No." "Yeah, me neither." Every year, the paved roads would extend a few more hundred feet inching their way into the wilderness like glaciers in reverse. What a shame for Alaska when they find out that the trends have changed. It's no longer the 'in' thing to pave roads. Now we gravel and tar. Well, as it turns out the marauding has continued. Just this last week, the same paving prefects made their way up and down the main drag of Moscow. As annoying as it was, I was a bit relieved to be surrounded by other towns doing silly things to their roadways. Being no 'public transportation guru' myself, there may be absolute genius behind these recent moves. I'm just a little puzzled though. Now instead of smooth riding black top, I drive the eternally grizzled face of an old man. And on top of that, the chances of getting rocks in the windshield are probably tripled. Golly, what a deal. On the brighter side, I guess the roadways may offer a bit more traction in the cool and snowy months. But wouldn't Alaskans know something about that?


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Body Language

Language is in our bodies. Our hands and feet and lips know words. The brain is not a computer full of data that happens to need a few attachments. Our mouths are no mere speakers. In this sense there is no such thing as 'rote memory' as though it is possible to simply download something staight to the grey matter in the noggin. The sci-fi dream of a brain in a bottle is bosh. English is learned through an intricate dance of rhythm and rhyme and melody. All of which require hands, mouths, ears, tongues, eyes, and far more: All language is body language.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Just call me Uncle

In God's kindness, my niece was born this morning around 7:30am. Madeline Lois James has added another (much needed) James to the world's population and another descendant of Abraham. Praise God for his mercies to Deacon and Amy. I'm sure Deacon will have more to add in the next day or so.


Friday, August 08, 2003

Answering Pain

I will not deny it. I am a clutz. If there are miscellaneous sharp or blunt objects with any possibility of finding contact with my body all barriers will be overcome. Are there slippery floors? No sign will warn me. Low ceilings? My forehead will find them. Extension chords, puppies, and small children will not be excepted. I will search it out, and I will find pain.

I managed to burn my forearm once again about a week ago. The baker jaket I wear has sleeves that are slightly shorter than my arms, and the mitts only come up so far such that when I reach into ovens or over hot pans there is always a conspicuous display of forearm skin waving about flamboyantly in the bakery world. So over the course of the last few months I have repeatedly burned myself in the same place dozens of times. Ok maybe it was only three times. Seems like more.

But this story is about pain.

I managed to scrape, tear, lacerate, and with all diligence rupture the tender scab that was seeking to work the magic of healing on my arm over the last week or so. On one such occasion I was moving a matress from one room to another and the matress slipped and chewed its way down my arm, not neglecting the burn recovery center midway down. The thing that struck me (right after the grimace and clenched teeth) was the inherent nature of pain as received. It's difficult to separate the phenomenon of pain from its causes, but pain, particularly the physical kind, once occuring is an overwhelming sensation that we receive. We are completely powerless when it comes to pain. We have some influence over the means of pain. But we cannot actually stop pain--apart from various drugs-- but even those take time to do their work and they serve to sever nerve firings and such. We cannot actually touch the pain and yet it is touching us. Like hot, cold, and joy we seek the means to them, but they are bestowed upon us, we cannot take and hold them. Pain too is bestowed in the mysterious packages of blood and tears. The point being, as with all gifts, the only response is thanksgiving. The car door slams, and the finger is throbbing. There is of course the natural removal of the finger from the jaws that bit. But what then? There we stand, a tiny speck in the whirling galaxies, and we have the gift of pain burning like a million stars in our index finger. Unbelief calls it a curse, but faith is the insanity to say Thank You.