Friday, August 10, 2018

MY INNER QUIET

THE MIRACULOUS SHEPHERD
AUGUST NATTERER
natterer was a german outsider artist with schizophrenia

Yesterday someone asked for my take on the latest "priest scandals."

First of course, profound sorrow and deep mourning for all involved.

Second, given my own track record in the interpersonal/intimate human relationships department, I'm shocked the scandals aren't worse.

Every day I hear from at least one person, somewhere in the world, who is suffering: chronic pain, terminal illness, crippling obsessions, a relative undergoing a risky pregnancy, addictions of various kinds, family dysfunction, a child in prison for sexual abuse, existential torment.

So I've taken to saying a Rosary each day.

"My inner quiet--blessed by God--has never really isolated me. I feel all human-kind can enter, and I received them thus only at the threshold of my home. I feel they do come to me, in spite of themselves. Alas, mine is but a  very precarious shelter. But imagine the quiet of some souls is like a vast refuge. Sinners at the end of their tether can creep in and rest, and leave comforted, forgetting the great invisible temple where they lay down their burden for a while..

My sorrow is not unusual. This very day hundreds, thousands of us perhaps, all over the world, will be dazed by a similar sentence [a cancer diagnosis]. I am probably among the least able to control a first impulse--I know my weakness so well. But experience has also taught me that I have inherited from my mother,  and no doubt from other poor women of our kind, a sort of endurance, which is the long run is almost unlimited, because it doesn't attempt to vie with pain, but slips within, makes of it a habit in some way: that is our strength. Otherwise how can one explain the obstinate will to live in so may poor creatures, whose amazing patience finally wears down the callousness and cruelty of husband, children, relations...Mothers--Mothers of the Poor!"

--Georges Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest


THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MAGNOLIAS
HAVE NOT (YET) ENTIRELY SUCCUMBED TO THE RECORD-BREAKING HEAT



Monday, August 6, 2018

DREAMING THE UNIVERSE: SOUTHERN CAL'S RICH SCIENCE FICTION HISTORY

SUPERMAN WAS SHOT--OR KILLED HIMSELF--AT HIS HOUSE IN BENEDICT CANYON.
THE MYSTERY HAS NEVER BEEN SOLVED.

I've had a few scattered blessed weeks off from my arts and culture column.

This week's begins:

“In the beginning was a flash of lightning. Two centuries ago, it was that flash of lightning that brought a creature back to life, in the laboratory of Dr. Frankenstein. While there were other creations of the fantastic, Mary Shelley’s work differed, for it was all brought about by science, with no hint of the supernatural.”

So begins a current exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History. “Dreaming The Universe: The Intersection of Science, Fiction, & Southern California” runs through September 2.

By the early 20th century, science had advanced to the point that popular culture became inundated with stories of spaceships, robots and intergalactic explorers. Greater Los Angeles, with its aeronautics industry, film studios and creative zeitgeist, was a kind of epicenter for that culture.

The confluence of science and art met in such figures as mathematician-poet Eric Temple Bell and earthquake expert/sci-fi aficionado Charles Richter.

Pasadena’s Clare Winger Harris was credited as the first woman to publish under her own name in science fiction magazines. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most famous creation gave the San Fernando Valley city of Tarzana its name.

Tracing the history of science fiction in Southern California from the 1930s to the 1980s, the exhibit is chock-full of artifacts, toys, graphic art, movie posters and stills, and vintage comic, paperback and magazine covers.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.


Friday, August 3, 2018

A SHEPHERD'S LIFE



How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave theninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

--Matthew 18:12-14 King James Version


"A lamb has gone missing. Its mother is agitated. She runs up and down the fence. I left them, hours ago, safe and well, and well mothered, and now it is gone. There are no clues. I ride around the field, checking the other mothers haven't stolen it or taken it by mistake. They haven't. I check the becks in case it has fallen in and drowned. We try to keep ewes with young lambs away from the becks, but it isn't always possible. I hate losing a healthy lamb. I check the neighbouring fields. No sign. Then I see that it has gotten itself stuck between the trunks of an old thorn tree, about a foot off the ground. It is fine, just squashed and tired. I lift it out and it runs off to suckle its mother.

You can lose hours looking for a lamb."

----James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape (New York: Flatiron Books, 2015 ), 265.

You can read THIS WONDERFUL book online here.




LAMBS AND SHEEP AT ST. BENEDICT'S ACRES
MADONNA HOUSE, COMBERMERE, ONTARIO
FROM A VISIT SEVERAL SPRINGS AGO