Friday, February 08, 2013

A Thought on the Church

A fair bit of observation, a good chunk of listening, and a lot of thought birthed this little piece. If you have responses, I'd be glad to hear them.

~ emrys

Monday, February 04, 2013

Shoveling in the Dark

One evening in December Sara got stuck in the snow on the way home from Norwich. I called friends (who were coming over for supper anyway) to rescue her, since they had snow tires and I didn't. With a prayer for their safety, I trusted that Sara would be delivered home soon.

However, the situation left me tending the kids solo with a driveway that needed shoveling quick. So I put Micah down for his evening nap, bundled up Gwendolyn, and We Two Elder Ones went out to shovel the driveway. I set the baby monitor next to the front door and looked around for the requisite equipment.

"This is my snow shovel," says Gwendolyn, picking up her green plastic beach shovel.

"Yes, it is," say I, going for the steel-handled adult-sized one.

"I also use it for sand and dirt," she says.

"Yes, you do," I say, meditating on the completeness of my daughter's observation. That shovel has dug up earthworms in the garden and poured foundations for sand castles at the beach.

I start hoisting lumps of snow and tossing them off the driveway. Gwendolyn trundles out to the middle of the drive and starts flinging bits of snow into the yard. About three minutes pass.

"Daddy, this is my snow shovel," says Gwendolyn, pausing in her labors. It's dark, and she is illuminated by the outdoor flood lights glowing on the snow.

"Yes, it is," I say, reminding myself that deja vu is common for parents of pre-schoolers.

"I also use it for dirt and sand," she says.

Usually the deja vu is not this precise. "Yes, you do, my lovely."

She returns to her labors. I make another ten feet or so of progress.

"Daddy," says Gwendolyn in mid-toss, "I use this shovel for sand, snow, and dirt."

"Yep," I reply, wondering if she's working on linguistic permutation.

Ten more feet and the same exchange happens. Then again. Six times she informs me, simply and clearly, of all the purposes to which her green shovel may be put. As if making a sales pitch to an amnesiac. And shoveling all the time.

We got the driveway shoveled enough for safe entry and exit. Sara made it home safely with our friends (thanks, Jaindls, for the rescue!). That night it kept snowing, so the next day would mean more shoveling. But no worries: as my daughter made perfectly clear, we had fitting and versatile equipment. Not to mention hard-working and observant help.

~ emrys

Above the Books

While hunting Christmas gifts for my brother and his wife last year, I came upon the following sign while perusing River Read, a wonderful independent bookstore in Binghamton:

Philosophy, Gender, Sports. I know that it is unfair to expect a logical sequence in book categories. But seeing those three words up against each other made me wonder about the connection between them. And then I got to wondering about the possibility of cross-category genres: I almost began searching the shelves for the book(s?) that fit into all three categories. There's one I'd like to read.

Metacategorical analyses: just another reason to visit your local independent bookstore.

~ emrys tyler

Eat First!

"Help yourselves to food, and welcome! Once you've dined, we'll ask you who you are."

Spoken by King Menelaus to Pisistratus and Telemachus in The Odyssey (Fagles translation, p126, lines 68-69).

When was the last time you had occasion to say, "Eat first, then we'll find out who you are"?

~ emrys