The Birth of Autumn

28 09 2005

It came almost overnight this year. Suddenly it’s chilly now in the morning. 45° F this morning. I even brought out the sweatshirt. The first day of both a sweatshirt and jeans is always kind of sudden.

The signs of fall have arrived. The acorns litter the sidewalk. I have some sort of preoccupation with stepping on them. I like the way the crack when you walk on them. There are some brown leaves skipping around. And the grass is being cut for perhaps the last time.

Some are sad that summer is over. Some are worried about the winter. Maybe we should just enjoy the fall.

The sun is still shining with a nice fall breeze. The wind is coming from the east. It’s a perfect day for apple picking. I remember climbing to the top of the hill with the apple picker and picking several bushels of apples. It’s odd, because those trees never seem to have apples on them any more. What’s different? Nothing, I suppose. Perhaps it’s just another part of my youth that has changed. But there was something nice about picking the rosy fruit of the tree and sinking your teeth into the cool tartness of the naturally chilled fruit.

The jackets will start coming out soon. In the pockets will be memories of last year. Old ticket stubs and maybe the chapstick you lost. Perhaps even a few dollars that you left there when you hung the coat up in your closet. It’s always interesting what you find.

Do you like the arrival of autumn? Can you revel in the colors around you? Or does the fear of winter strike you as if you were a squirrel storing up for a long, cold spell?





Preparation

22 09 2005

Does college really prepare us for a career? And can college graduates perform any better than someone without a degree?

Comment with your answers and also something for me to write about.





The Guatemalan Mountain

13 09 2005

It was early. So early, it was quiet. There were no birds, no bugs, just an utter, quiet darkness. I looked over at Dan waking up. No one else was moving. We thought about blowing the train whistle, but not everyone wanted to rise this early. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be up this early. In fact, I didn’t feel like I should be. I felt weak as I woke up the other guys in the room. They all began to ready themselves for the trek. I mentioned my doubts and gave into the peer pressure of going. I loaded my marral with my Nalgene and two cameras. It should be a good trip.

As we left the compound, there was nothing awake. There were a few lights on here and there in the village, but no movement. A few dogs slept on the side of the road as we slid softly over the cobbled road, watching that we didn’t step into yesterday’s melon rinds or anything an animal had left behind. The road was flat, but I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. We moved from the cobblestone to the dirt and descended to the bridge that crossed the small creek. As I started up the other side, I dropped to the back of the group. Sweat was pouring out of me. It didn’t seem that hot, the sun was not up! I opened my water and took a draught of the icy liquid. Wiping my mouth, I trudged up the road.

We stopped to watch the sun peek over the distant mountains. The cameras came out, they clicked, and smiles greeted the sun. We began to climb again. My shirt was soaked. It was a gray shirt, the third annual Adelphikos 3-on-3 shirt, and it was so wet it was black. I gulped some more water as I strained to keep up. I couldn’t really understand why I was having such a hard time keeping up. I had started working out before I came to Guatemala and was not in terrible shape. I had not had any problem playing soccer with the locals the day before.

Farther and farther up the mountain we went. I seemed to have to pause every few hundred yards. I finally got to a point where I could get no further. I caught up to the others who had paused to rest. I told them there was no more for me. I was heading back down. They looked at me in disbelief. But they bid farewell and continued their climb. I began my descent with a wistful look over my shoulder.

The trip down was worse. People were waking up and there was some foot traffic on the road. Mayan women would hide their children in the skirts and scurry past. I couldn’t even walk down the mountain at a reasonable rate. I was still pausing to catch my breath and take a sip of the dwindling water. It took the longest time to get to the bottom. I spent more time sitting on rocks than I did walking. I accidentally sat on an ant hill once too (well, on a rock on top of an ant hill) which added to the misery.

I made it back to the village and knocked on the metal door. One of the children opened the door with a smile and a shout of “Jaime!” I dragged myself across the courtyard and back to my room. My head was pounding and I felt so weak. It had been almost four hours since I got up. The others who had not ventured out looked at me strangely, “Are you all right?” I shook my head, walked to my room, and sprawled on my bed. I slept for over six hours, waking only to drink bottles of water. Dena thought I was dehydrated and kept me in bed for awhile longer.

____________________________________________________________________

What did I learn from this trip? That mountain climbing should be left to sheep? Well, perhaps. But what I did learn come in the form of an analogy.

The Bible talks about the hill of the Lord. Climbing this spiritual mountain requires one to be focused and ready for the challenge. I wasn’t ready for the challenge. I was weak and not ready for the stress of the journey.

We need to be ready to face the challenges of this world, the mountains. If not, you’ll be like me and have to stop before you reach the top.

I didn’t make it to the top of the mountain before, but I’m sure that I will now.





New Orleans

1 09 2005

::edited September 3, 2005, 10:16 AM::

I almost cannot believe what is happening in New Orleans. It has me on the verge of tears. I cannot believe this utter depravity. This disgusting animal instinct that is sweeping those people.

Where is the American spirit? Where are the people banding together for a common good? I read this article and I am just in shock. I then read 7 more articles and each one is the same. The looting, rioting, and crime is horrific.

Why isn’t the federal government there? Why is order not being restored? Why is there disorder to even deal with? Can these people not deal with a crisis? It has to be such a disaster there, but de Tocqueville spoke of Americans banding together in the face of adversity. Why are people shooting at helicopters and people attempting to evacuate hospitals?

I can’t comprehend it. People are being raped and beaten at the convention center where refugees are staying. Where is this animal like behavior coming from? Why is it necessary to send in 30,000 National Guardsmen to restore order and stop the carjackings, looting, and gunfire?

It’s really sickening. One other observation is that in all the pictures I have been looking at, I haven’t seen any white looters. Zero. No matter what though, it has to stop. President Bush has said he’s sending help. Where the hell is it? And why isn’t this situation being cleaned up? I support GW through a lot, but it doesn’t seem like a damn thing is being done to restore order. Start shooting anyone who is looting.

It has to be a scary place. I would be scared. I would also be holed up in my house with a gun ready to blow the brains off of anyone who tried to break in. The situation in Lousiana and Mississippi seems worse to me than September 11, 2001. It was terrorists who did that. This was a storm. And people are making it worse.

There’s nothing to do but pray. Those people need it. Especially the Christians who are in the middle of it. Pray that they will be protected.

::edit::
Randall Robinson is claiming the blacks in New Orleans have resorted to cannabalism because no one has brought them help, specifically food, in the aftermath of the hurricane. It’s been four (4) days. 4!! People are starving to death after four days? Give me a break. The human body can go weeks without any food. People are so desperate that they have resorted to eating corpses? That is prepostorous! Randall provide no evidence for his outrageous claim and there have been no corraborating reports from anyone as thousands of National Guardsman pour into the city today. However, if the reports are found to be true, I say abandon New Orleans and everyone there. I want nothing to do with people who will resort to eating corpses after four days of being without food. What type of person would stoop to this? This is not the Donner party. This is not being shipwrecked on an island. This is four days after a hurricane swept through. What kind of person would not be so repulsed that they would be able to consume human flesh so soon after such a tragedy?

I find this claim by Robinson to be totally out of line and most likely false. I find it disgusting that he would even attempt to draw media coverage and sympathy by such means. I cannot believe this is true. But as I said, if it is true, remove every bottle of water, National Guardsman, loaf of bread, and dollar of aid. Let these repulsive savages alone.








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