Today is the last day of November. The 30th. It seems like the year has gone by so fast, and yet perilously slow as caution and quarantine take priority.
The weather has finally turned. What was a comfortable temperature in the low to mid fifties, is now in the mid to low thirties, raining and forecasts of the first snow that will slow down traffic and cause a little havoc on the roads and highways.
For the most part, the flowerbeds have been cleaned. The hydrangea have been cut back and hostas trimmed of their wilting leaves. It is hibernation time for the plants, and feels the same within the house.
It is a curious time going into winter. Outside activities are being replaced with indoors. Daylight is dwindling still, and yet only three weeks remain before this globe of ours starts its path around the sun to a place when a minute here and there of daylight will be added to our days. I am already anxious for that.
What would we do without notebooks—the kind you actually write in?
I often wonder if they are becoming obsolete. Everything is digital today or soon will be, and that is a detriment of our society, our culture.
The latest book I am reading is Digital Storytelling. It’s about “capturing lives and creating community.” Thousands of years ago, before there was a written language, we had oral storytelling. Even our religious books—the Bible, the Quran, etc., began as oral histories. Even what is considered the oldest story in the world, the story of Gilgamesh, from between the land of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a thousand years older than the bible, was an oral story before it was recorded on baked clay tablets in cuneiform characters—a very ancient “notebook.”
And now? We have digital storytelling. Digital cameras. Digital audio recorders. Computers, laptops and iPads. What has happened to the good old pencil and paper?
Here’s what a notebook does for me. It slows me down to gather my thoughts, and then to put them on paper. Impulsive thoughts may come and go, but they are always self critiqued. That’s when a good eraser comes in or lining out that sentence or paragraph.
There is a drawback, a negative to good old fashioned pen and paper. The difficulty is coming back to something I wrote sometime ago and trying to decipher my hand writing! When it’s no longer fresh in my mind, that scribbling can be terribly hard to read. Maybe I should have paid more attention to penmanship in grade school.
On the other hand, the benefits of a notebook are portability and reliability. It takes up very little space. A notebook operates consistently even if the user does not. It can be easily carried in a pocket, purse camera gear bag, briefcase or backpack. It requires no electricity nor a wireless connection. And perhaps the most profound use of a pen and notebook is that it is capable or recording the deepest thoughts of the user, if the user is willing to reveal themselves.
So, how did this post come to be? I wrote it in a notebook, and then transcribed it on the computer. The notebook came first. The computer allowed me to publish it.
A good old-fashioned notebook! Don’t leave home without it.
See you on the highway.
End note: If you have never read the story of Gilgamesh, do yourself a favor and visit your library. It is a wonderful piece of ancient literature, full of friendship, love and tragedy. Enough so that one episode of Star Trek Next Generation was wrapped around this ancient story, “Darmok” Season 5, Episode 2. It first aired September 28, 1991.
I have done many things in the course of my 65 years, and I hope to do a lot more. There have been many journeys, like my solo motorcycle rides on the Pony Express Trail or the Oregon Trail, but none as good or as long as this one.
Today, May 23rd, 2016, is the 30-year anniversary of marriage to my best friend, my companion, my confidant, my lover, my wife, Lin.
When you are dating, and trying to decide what your relationship is going to be with this other person, it’s not unusual to have doubts. Maybe that’s youth, or maybe it’s the fear of making a mistake. With Lin, I came to realize that this is the person I am supposed to be with. She is my soul mate. Maybe we were together in a previous life or will be again, but I know, that I know, that I know she is the one.
From the moment I met her, I knew she was unique, perhaps the most interesting and unique woman I ever met. While we were dating, she had a hand in the decision for me to enter the ministry. And even more so, she married me while I was pastoring a small rural church in Illinois. Not many women take on the role of Pastor’s Wife, but she did. She was a great PW and the congregation loved her. We left the formal ministry when decisions needed to be made and opportunities arose. We faced that together, and it gave our young marriage strength.
I am not sure if it is our love that creates the respect for each other, or the respect that strengthens our love. But, I do know this, respect is vital to a relationship and it carries over into friendships and business associations. Having respect for others is vital to building relationships, trust and community. And it is respect that motivates us to serve our family, friends and others.
We have had some wonderful travels and adventures, like our first trip to Florida together, spending some time in a condo overlooking the beach at Panama City Beach. Eating great food. Walking the beach during the day, and listening to the waves crash on shore at night with the patio doors wide open all night long.
Our travels in 2004 and 2005 took us along the Lewis and Clark Trail for the L&C Bicentennial. With our birthdays in November, two days apart, we went to Oregon to celebrate the Lewis and Clark event at the Pacific, “Oh the Joy. Pacific in view.” William Clark wrote that in his diary on November 7, 1805. My birthday, November 7. What an incredible adventure.
Then, for our 25th, we had to do some creative planning because Lin was attending a conference in Reno. So, I flew to Reno at the end of her conference to meet her. The next day, we boarded Amtrak for an 8-hour ride to San Francisco where we stayed for several nights in a motel in the Fisherman’s Wharf district.
Great food, cable cars, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge and ferries. We enjoyed it all. Then we boarded a shuttle bus to the airport, and flew home. Our 25th was truly a journey of planes, trains and automobiles.
Years ago, there was that camping trip to Colorado where the nights were quite cold. There were the birthday and anniversary weekends to see art, musicians, theatrical performances and weekends away in a cabin in the woods. The journey has been a good one, a blessed one.
When we married, I remember sitting at breakfast the morning after our ceremony. I think we were still on a cloud, and of course, we still tell this story as we did the other night when we had dinner with friends. Lin said, “I have three rules for you. No beating. No cheating. No butt crack.” It’s good to have rules.
I don’t know where the time went. It doesn’t feel like 30 years. It has not been about the destinations in our travels. Destinations like Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville and more were wonderful travels and getaways. But it has been the every day routines of getting up, going to work, cooking and cleaning, building homes, taking walks while holding hands, and making a life together that has been the greatest journey. It has been the best journey of my life.