Saturday, May 18, 2013

new normal

Saturday of Easter 7 / Eve of the Day of Pentecost

Last month I attended the Print Week vendor trade show on Thursday morning 25 April, ArtWalk the afternoon of Easter 5—28 April. God commands Israel to re-member their history and re-assemble in a sense [past] events they've experienced, essentially to bring them into the present. God charges the people to recall both devastations and redemptions that have re-created them into the community – and the individuals – they've become.

As always, I rode the super-fast express bus 50 downtown to Print Week, which meant walking about .6 miles to the convention center; on my walk I re-imaged when I worked downtown in a former life. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' housing peeps were at Government Center, so that felt a little different from strolling through downtown San Diego, but the year I worked at the design studio was in the CBD and a blast of a location.

Recently this has been all over the 'net, so I'll simply quote to set the pace for the next section of this post:
The Italian immigrants of Roseto, Pennsylvania, ate meatballs fried in lard, gorged on pasta, and smoked, but they had half the risk of heart disease as the rest of the country. Why? Researchers concluded that it was because they lived communally, celebrated regularly, and had a huge network of friends. Dinner party, anyone?
Here's a scant handful of "what really was memorable."

• Prior to my move to Former City, being courted by Historic Inner City Church truly was exciting and kind of a mind-trip (they consider me qualified for this?!), but what were the details of that possible call? I don't recall. But I do remember potluck Thanksgiving Dinner at the HICC parsonage.

• From my last couple of years in Seafaring Town at the end of the last century, when I roomed with Heather, it was "do you want your pasta on a plate or in a bowl?" Aside from some gardening and drawing, sharing meals remains my main memory.

• Later with Nick in City of History, I'll never forget dinner together every evening—in fact, aside from starting to write some again by starting an urban page on the old MSN groups, that's the only thing I remember.

• About the church that since that summer disbanded and recently regathered as a mission in a different form? I enjoyed preparing and leading intercessions for Sunday liturgy, I liked playing organ/piano keyboards those Sundays, but more than anything, midweek evening Bible Study, dinner, and Eucharist humanized and fed me.

Week after week in this town, we have another military farewell, or homecoming, or sometimes one of each. Recently on the national news, we've seen families, friends, and communities literally "come together" from all corners and support each other, stand along side each other, and be there physically, emotionally, on every level for individuals and families who've experienced overwhelming losses and who need to grieve, who need help creating elusive "new normals."

In all this I still cannot shake the conviction individuals are supposed to be connected to other people. As Oprah said to the teenager, "You know you can't do life on your own." I remember waiting for a plane or car to pull up; sometimes I was in the car or plane, sometimes someone else was on their way to visit me at my place. Will that happen again? I'm too weary and actually have grown too smart to try to engineer that type of happening again, as I unsuccessfully tried to do for a few years.

Life is about seeking and finding a reasonably good fit amongst people, tasks, and goals. Barring a very cold climate (International Falls, Yukon Territory), I know I could be happy as long as I had human support, a few opportunities to contribute to the greater good. For me it's more about geography and weather and climate than about culture. Even so, how is it that I don't do concerts or museums? Why haven't I for a long time?

To start those activities in a new city or town, you need to connect with people; later you can do them by yourself. Education and skills usually literally "buy" (purchase) certain accoutrements and perks… but I'm well aware of the multitude of free and very-low cost high cultural (remember Edmund Sapir's Kultur?) and ethnic cultural opportunities around here. However, as I wrote at the top of this post, I did go to spring ArtWalk this year. It was fun, but nothing about booth browsing and people watching was enticing enough to convince to go again, unless someone will go with me.

For the past month I've loved listening to the vireos sing! Bird calls are innate; however, birds need to learn to sing from other birds. They begin with a sub song that's not quite singing, then go on to imitative (of other birds, of course) plastic song (interesting terminology), finally find their own crystallized songs. I'm yearning for a community that will teach me my own song, or help me relearn, or maybe that's remember my song, that will help me start composing new songs. A community of people who will raise me from this death?

telling the story

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