corn.jpgOur earth rotates on an axis that rests at a slight angle in the chasm of space, and as it spins and orbits the sun, we humans are audience to a spectacular change in climate, daylight, the migratory patterns of birds, the life cycles of plants, the color spectrums on the leaves of trees as they approach and succumb to an inevitable death. 

Autumn is the final, glorious chapter of the year, and truly puts on a show for us each October.  And the climax of October is Halloween.  It evokes memories of grease paint and spongy clown noses and the sing-song of little children calling "trick-or-treat" to generous, candy-giving strangers.  How lovely!  How precious! 

Unfortunately, between traveling and delving into upcoming election issues, I almost missed October!  Around my office, the trees are suddenly past their colorful autumn peak, and the majority of the remaining leaves are a regretful brown or beige.  There hasn't been time to walk down the street and slowly shuffle my shoes through the piles.  There hasn't been time to bask in the glow of an Indian Summer sun and gaze at the corn blue sky.


8ball_0.jpgLast Sunday, my friends, my husband, and I attended our home church. We arrived in time for the lesson being taught in our Sunday School class about Old Testament prophesy. Questions arose, but went unanswered. Problems were acknowledged, but went unresolved. Then, out of nowhere, the topic of gay marriage was introduced to the room of college-age students. This could have been an uncomfortable moment for some folks anyway, but the instructor then proceeded to call for a vote... "This is a safe place to give your opinion. How many of you do not consider homosexuality to be a sin?"
I found the teacher's lack of foresight in initiating that conversation to be appalling.  You don't just jump into a debate on gay marriage in a room where the average age is 19, and all are assumed to be Christians, without some preparation.  And you definitely don't put people on the spot the way the teacher did to my friend, Eric and, in a secondary capacity, to my husband, Jonathan.  Jon was outraged by the whole thing and raised his hand to support Eric on that issue. Whether Jon has his own doubts about the sinfulness of homosexuality is beside the point; he would have raised his hand at that moment in support of our friend, one who had just been publically isolated, regardless.  I was proud of both of them for sticking their necks out.
From there, the best case scenario would have been to launch an even-handed debate on the topic, complete with prepared remarks from Eric and Jonathan and their opponents, and rounded out by the instructor's Biblical insights on the topic. Unfortunately, no one was prepared for that scenario, and so the matter was tossed haphazard into the Sunday School ring to be kicked around by the students. Those who were brave enough to state their opinions did so half-heartedly. Nothing was resolved.  What's worse, the instructor continuously referred to homosexual persons as "them," including the air quotes. He may have been kidding, but that doesn't matter. More than 20 young people left the room after that lesson confused and irritated.
So, I'd like to take this chance to postulate on the sensitive issue of gay marriage. If I'd had any clue that the Sunday School instructor was planning to light this match last weekend, I would have come with all of this prepared.

IMG_6063.JPGContinuation of She Loves the Transportation in the Jungfrauregion...

In the little hamlets of Switzerland (like Interlaken and Murren), there is no sense of hostility towards the newcomer.  The locals are used to and take advantage of the tourist trade, and they are well aware that the value of their magnificent Alpine view does not depreciate.  In fact, if anything, it is a joy doubled when shared.  We were welcomed at every turn.

Later, at a picnic table owned by the hostel in Gimmelwald (one I'd seen advertised on the internet prior to our trip and would definitely find comfortable enough to use in the future... It has a hot tub outside in view of the mountains!), I peered into the giant canyon between us and the Alps. 

The grandeur of my surroundings inspired me to sit at a picnic table near a cliff and scribble the following on a piece of paper:

The tinkling of cowbells in a hundred different tones echoes along the rolling hillside.  Between the emerald green of the meadows and fields and the cheerful geraniums in all of the window boxes, this place feels alive.  A steady line of paragliders sweeps through the sky not so far above us, but the canyon is so vast, the valley so wide, the opposite cliff so high and sheer, that soon the colorful paraglider chutes are more like tiny, earnest blossoms against a mossy, gray backdrop.

IMG_6146.JPGOf course, the real flowers growing wild in the grass, have no equal.  Sweet and delicate, they defer to the immense landscape when cameras are clicking, but bow your head closer to the soil and you'll be dazzled by the intricacy of the butter yellow petals, the milk white stamens.

Breathe in the Alpine air, so cool and refreshing you'll wish it could be bottled to be taken home.  Unfortunately, only the real thing will do.  And besides, if you did take home a bottle, you'd be unable to escape the honest, brutal comparison it would require of your City air, the real life breaths you take and forget about every day.  It is better to have this phenomenon of recognizably perfect breathing air only on vacation - otherwise, it would interfere with your workday productivity.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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