Tag Archives: inspiration

Saturday Camus: Dedication to Life’s Sustaining Harvest

But, he who dedicates himself to the duration of his life, to the house he builds, to the dignity of mankind, dedicates himself to the earth and reaps from it the harvest that sows its seed and sustains the world again and again.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

 

Newburgh Lake, Michigan

Newburgh Lake, Michigan

A Success Unexpected in Common Hours

Before autumn’s inevitable retreat became a rout, I found this pine-fringed  pond glimmering in the sun, and it reminded me of Thoreau and his Walden pond.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau

matthaei gardens, michigan

near Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

Saturday Camus: Our First and Our Last Love

In the light, the earth remains our first and our last love.  Our brothers and sisters are breathing under the same sky as we; justice is a living thing.  Now is born that strange joy which helps one live and die, and which we shall never again postpone to a later time.
Albert Camus, The Rebel

Huron National Forest

Huron National Forest, Michigan

Photo Challenge, Cover Art: Fate, Triumph, and a Solicitous Piano

With the piano tapping out the familiar Beethoven theme of Fate knocking, his 4th piano concerto opens with a mood of expectancy.  Since this is Beethoven, the closing spirit is one of a hero’s triumph.  Between is the short, lyrical 2nd movement, which one reviewer described as the piano playing the solicitous
daughter to the orchestra’s troubled King Lear.

Photo Challenge:  Cover Art

Newburgh Lake, Michigan

A Michigan lake in summer

Shinrin-yoku among the Ancients of Michigan

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese word meaning, literally, forest bathing, and invokes the restorative effect of spending time in the stillness of the woods.  This photo shows a remarkable park, Hartwick Pines in Michigan.  By the  early 20th century, northern Michigan was essentially logged out, vast expanses of barren land looking like a monumental scythe had cut down the rich forests.  Fortuitously, this small woods escaped clear cutting.  The older trees  started their  lives in the 17th century, well before the French explorer, Cadillac, founded Detroit.  To immerse yourself here, if only for a couple hours, is to relive a bit of our planet’s history.  Truly, this forest bathing restores the spirit.

shinrin-yoku michigan

shinrin-yoku, Michigan style

Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone

let he who is without sin cast the first stone

Reclaiming the spirit of the law

(Repost)

A feverish look shines from the eyes of a young woman as three men in cloaks  of fine linen march her into the village square. Her skin is the color of olives; her long, dark hair is not plaited.  She wears a plain robe woven from wool and on her feet sandals of leather. Derisive catcalls and cries of “Adulterer!” “Harlot!” greet her from the gauntlet through which she is pushed and prodded. The white disk of the noonday sun allows no  forgiving shadows.

 The local Inquisitors are using the young  woman as bait, setting a trap to ensnare an itinerant rabbi from far-off Nazareth, who teaches in parables and dares to question their authority. They confront him as he stands near the well, observing the trial about to begin. The laws of Moses command that adulterers be stoned, they taunt him, what say you about this one?

Jesus knows his foes well, these thin-lipped dogmatists of the letter of the law. In all their studies of the prophets, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. He has foiled their stratagems before, and he regards them with an expressionless scorn. The crowd impatiently awaits his reply.  Stones in hand, they have their work to do. Jesus does not speak immediately, but instead writes on the ground as he composes an answer to reclaim the spirit of the law. Rising to his feet, he looks over the crowd and says in a voice that carries to the far side of the square:

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.”

Jesus fixes a steady gaze on the Inquisitors, as their smirk of arrogance fades. Those among the crowd who a minute ago were crying for the woman’s blood now have silent tongues. The faintest of breezes rustles the leaves on the sycamore trees. Somewhere in the distance, a child cries. The  Pharisees are reduced to shuffling away in silence; not a word of response have they spoken. They are convicted by their own consciences. The crowd disperses, pondering Jesus’ words. “What does it mean?” a voice asks. No one has a ready answer.

The young woman alone remains with Jesus. She stands silently, in a daze. The cold sweat trickles down her back. I do not condemn you, Jesus says, and she feels the strength returning to her legs. She begins to weep, as relief flows  through her like a river. But Jesus is not one for situational ethics.    He places a hand on her shoulder and says,  “Go, and sin no more.” Before leaving, the woman gets a cool cup of water from the well and offers it to Jesus. He smiles, but with sadness in his eyes, and thanks her.

For one sun bleached afternoon, the law tempered with mercy is redeemed from the ones with bloodless lips who would see it etched into stone. Jesus has spared a woman who broke one of Moses’ laws; in so doing, he has invited the wrath of the patriarchs.  Jesus knows that soon they will have their day.