Fall has been and is still beautiful around here. This is the best place for seasons that I've ever lived. Each one is of roughly equal length, and none so severe as to impose serious hardship. The length allows us to truly savor each one fully, and anticipate the coming of the next. The colors are just about at full height right now; last week I had occasion to drive down off the mountain to Knoxville twice, and the brilliance of the leaves took my breath away. There's simply no more beautiful place to live.
Now the bad news. I have photos -- any number of photos. I have a couple of autumn shots, and several of our first snow two nights ago. But for some reason, Typepad is refusing to upload my photos tonight. I've noticed that since their "new improved" format, my photos take a long time -- but tonight I gave two different ones over a half-hour, and they still didn't upload. Maybe tomorrow. Or something. Or maybe I'll have to try another server. I've certainly seen good results on the free blog servers. I pay good money to get frustrated. Sigh.
Anyway -- there are other things to say. I've been thinking about lots and lots of things, and life has been good here in my little corner of Tennessee. We've had a couple of nights of hard freeze, but temperatures are moderating, so I may still get some glorious time in the garden, preparing it for winter. I've got volunteer lettuce coming up! I've covered it with a row cover, so we'll see if it survived. You know how I love gardening: it truly grounds me, both literally and metaphorically. I think it's good to counter time spent in the lofty, heavenly reaches, with a bit of time shoveling manure onto vegetable beds. It's the nature of us humans to reach toward heaven, but to also need to ground ourselves to our mother earth.
I had a root canal today, and feel pretty good (Tylenol is my friend). It wasn't really painful, thank God. I had one years ago that was excruciating -- but not today. I'll tell you, though, it's not comforting to hear one's dentist say, "Uh-oh. I don't like the look of that." There I was, helpless, with my mouth gaping open, full of sharp tools. When I told her that, though, she said that a worse thing to hear the dentist say is, "Oops." I had to agree. Now there's just the matter of paying her for the work, and the crown I'll receive next month. Isn't it funny that they call that appointment "the delivery?" I told them it sounds like childbirth, but they said it was a little like that, only they "don't go there" to that other end of the body, where childbirth happens.
I had an argument (yep, a real argument) with a parishioner a couple of weeks ago, and this person told me, "You just don't listen to us!" Well, as someone who was a professional listener for 18 years, you can imagine that I was quite taken aback! Then I realized that we English speakers tend to use "listen to" in a couple of different ways. One is a simple attending to, receiving, and acknowledging information. That's how I listen. But there's another way we use it: "listen to" can mean to obey. Remember how we sometimes say to our kids, "Listen to me!" We mean, "Do what I say!" "You should have listened to me!" means "You should have done what I advised you to." And in that sense, no, I often do not "listen" to my parishioners. When I make a change in the way we do things at church, it is usually a well-thought out one, with due consideration given to pros, cons, and dissenting opinions. Sometimes I act anyway, despite dissenting opinions. This was one of those times -- but at least I understand the accusation a little better now. No, I'm not the obedient "little woman" or "hired hand" that some may have imagined I would be.
I've been feeling a kind of restlessness. Time is flying by. As I said, two nights ago we had our first snow, and most of us missed it, because it fell overnight, as we slept. Sometimes I feel as though I'm sleeping my way through the "first snows" of life a lot of the time. On Monday a parishioner described the passing of time as though driving down the road with the telephone poles seeming to whizz past the windows -- that's how the days and weeks and months, and yes, even the years are whizzing by me -- sometimes I can almost hear them blowing past my ears like a strong wind. It is three years now since I was in Italy; it's six years since I came here. Just about this time of year I interviewed for this position, and it was the first week in November when they called me to be their Rector, and the second week in December when I finally arrived here, lock, stock, and barrel. Where has the time gone? My life keeps slipping away, and there is so much I want to do. There are books to write, and countries to see -- whole chunks of the world that I haven't yet experienced. There are all those black madonnas in Europe that I still haven't seen. Yes, I've been to Costa Rica and the Caribbean since I was in Italy -- but I haven't been back to Europe, and I'm desperate to go. And I just keep getting older.
Maybe this is how it feels sometimes as another year draws to a close. Maybe this is how it feels to be getting older. Maybe the time is coming for me to put on my traveling shoes once again. Who knows?
But it amazes me that life can be so rich, and at the same time feel so elusive, so slippery.
I finished Joyce Rockwell Hudson's "Natural Spirituality: Recovering the Wisdom Tradition in Christianity." I highly recommend it for those who want to pursue a Christian spirituality that allows for the teachings of Carl Jung, for listening to dreams (an old and esteemed biblical tradition), and for listening to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that we sometimes carry within us. It's a refreshing and stimulating breath of fresh air when you life in the land of fundamentalism. Keep in mind that I only live 50 miles or so from Dayton, Tennessee, home of the Scopes Trial, and where opposition to the theory of evolution is alive and well in the churches.
I'm having a suit made -- knit gaucho pants and a jacket. I know gauchos went out of style a couple of years ago, but I've got one pair that I wear to death because they're adaptable, flattering to my less-than-perfect body, and so very easy to wear. I want them in every color, so I can wake up in the morning and dress like a guy -- gauchos, a top, a jacket, and look presentable to go wherever I need to. If this suit (in a dark blue, not quite navy) is a success, I may have others made in different colors. I used to sew -- I think I'd try it myself, but knit fabric is crucial, and I never learned to sew with knits -- it's a real art.
I've been developing another idea for a book. This is the third idea that seems really, truly viable. Now if I could just finish one of them.
These are some of the many things that seem to keep me away from this blog -- these things and also the frustration of not being able to post pictures. Yep, I just tried again. No go. Typepad, please get it together, OK?