Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More Irrational Exuberance

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

A glorious day here in Outer Podunk -- sunshine and 60 degrees; windbreaker weather. Oh, it wasn't all smiles and sunbeams. The drainage hose of our flowing well became blocked and the water backed up, spurting out of the wellhead and dribbling into our basement; but the well guys are working on it; it could be worse. (Like last winter, when the corroded main pipe sprung a major leak and I woke up one morning to find most of the basement ankle-deep in water.)

I went for a walk around the neighborhood tonight after work. Physical self-improvement is generally not a goal of Lenten discipline, but one of the lessons I came away with this year was a sense that I should not squander the good gift of life. (And, truth be told, I had a couple of Gregor Samsa moments staring at myself in the bathroom mirror...now, if this were the Paleolithic Age I'd be a babe, but we have to keep up with the times, and the Venus of Willendorf look is just so yesterday.) After several weeks of schlepping my avoirdupois up and down the stairs of our building at work, or around and around the basketball court down at the civic arena (scary flashbacks of junior high gym class strobing in my brain), it was wonderful to actually be able to walk outdoors in the fresh air, enjoying the springtime songbirds and newly budded pussy willows and indulging in a little nosy-neighbor rubbernecking.

I live on a lake, which is still partially frozen over, so every once in awhile I enjoyed a refreshing breeze coming off the receding ice as I made my way down our road and up a long, paved cul-de-sac. The open, backwater part of the lake was filled with Canada geese and passing migrants like buffleheads, little butterball-shaped black-and-white ducks that pop up and down like manic bobbers in the water, and sleek mergansers with rakish iridescent crests. I even saw a lone mute swan, enormous next to the other birds, floating like an elegant white sailboat in their midst.

Sometimes I have equivocal feelings, to say the least, about this midlife sojourn in my hometown. But -- it could be worse. And this evening, enjoying the "vesper light," it was a pretty good place to be.

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