Monday, April 30, 2007


The day dawned sweet and fair. I awoke with my tummy in a knot which refused to budge all day. Fortunately I had plenty of nifty items in my day to divert my attention from that sad truth. I did, however, have to pass up my usual Sunday morning treat of doughnuts.

The service at St. Luke's today was a bit challenging, as I needed to leave the chancel for an emergency run to the bathroom in the midst of Holy Eucharist, and the anthem we sang today, Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem, was pitched high for this newly assigned soprano. However the sermon, on how we hide from the Creator, was just excellent and I was glad I was there.

Jim and I had decided to go up to Avalon right after church and it was a spectacular drive. The whole area’s new leaves had been bitten with frost, and so most of the leaves are just fledglings, some barely able to be seen yet even at this late date. The oaks especially were all pink and blushing. The access road was banked with fire pinks, a stiffly stemmed yellow flower, a much smaller, drooping and multi-blossomed yellow flower, a lovely frail lavender flower and a royal purple flower that looked a bit like a hyacinth. I have never seen such a good year for wildflowers on Avalon. And the hoary mountain mint was out! Yum! It makes great tea.

Jim has done wonders on Avalon. All the debris is gone from the meadow. All the stones which had been strewn around here and there to no obvious purpose have been gathered up by him on previous trips and used to strengthen and improve the outdoor fire pit. There is still a massive amount of scrub to burn, as a big area of serviceberry bushes and many trees had been downed by Bruce and Vara and then left on the ground as they were.

And I have to say that, if the volunteers there thought these bushes and trees were somehow holding negative energy, which was the myth bruited about at the time, I am very puzzled to know why they did not feel it necessary to burn the offending bushes and trees. Removing evil spirits or whatever they thought was occurring is done by burning them to ashes, not by leaving the downed material to rot in place.

Jim is healing all those scars, little by little, and he worked again today to better the meadow and near forest. But before he did anything else, he showed me how to herd cattle with a pickup truck, which I had not seen before. When we drove into the meadow, it was liberally dotted with cows. Before I even had a chance to react further than to register surprise and note the charm of the scene, Jim had started tooting his horn, gently, while driving slowly at the nearest cattle. They knew their part and headed towards their home pasture, belonging to our neighbor, Brett. For a while the kine clustered at the fence, but Jim kept tooting the truck's horn and, sure enough, they showed us where the hole in the fence was by going back through to their rightful place. Mick mended the fence on the spot.

Jim’s truck has front seats which he had installed just for me when he bought it. They are very comfortable bucket seats, which recline a bit to ease my back and which are equipped with good chair arms, so I opened the truck to the meadow air and the sound of the creek and read my book. Once in a while I would stop and just sit and drink in the moment. I had some good prayer time, asking Jesus to come into my life more and more - no hiding from the Creator here! I LOVED that sermon! And every once in a while I would watch Jim at work for a while. It was a most lovely and peaceful sojourn.

We came home to settle down and watch a film which Mick had rented, Blood Diamond. It was a tough movie to watch, with its utterly ceaseless violence, and I believe perhaps four or five of the dozens of violent scenes could have been cut to good effect to tighten the film from 2:20 down to perhaps 1:45. None of the impact of the truth of the film would have been lost. Even violence palls if it is unremitting.

The resolution of the sad tale reminded me of the end of an Ingmar Bergman film, The Seventh Seal, where the innocent young family manages to steal away from Death while the anti-hero is distracting death by engaging him in a game of tennis.

I did not previously know anything at all about the illicit diamond trade which is tearing up Africa as smugglers take diamonds across the border where they may sell the stones which are gotten at the expense of much slaughter, for they are mined in the midst of various small wars. Among many other horrors, these countries have the habit of taking young boys from their families and making them boy soldiers.

I have never purchased a diamond. I had some inherited from my mother’s side of the family and my present wedding and engagement rings use stones taken from them. Were I ever to contemplate buying such a gem, I would definitely insist on seeing the proof that the diamond I bought had a conflict-free provenance.

Another thing I had never realized was the extent to which the price of diamonds is artificially driven up by the industry, which hoards millions and millions of stones, letting them become available only a trickle at a time to keep them being perceived as rare.

I was deeply impressed by the production, which was lucid and tight; by the marvelous cinematography and by the excellent ensemble acting of the able cast, mostly unknown to me. Leonardo DiCaprio’s screen presence reminds me of a young Michael Caine in this film. The film was intense enough that I asked to take a break in the middle, just to decompress from the constant on-screen violence. We had a whirlpool and I restored my nerves!

Gary came home from a day of serving at Cracker Barrel just as the film ended and we shared a good supper and conversation. Gary promised me to get together a blog for Avalon Journal entries, just like my Camelot Journal blog. I am looking forward to making entries in it each time I visit Avalon from now on.

Gary also brought good news from Romi, who told him that Traveller Too, my new ThinkPad laptop, is now predicted to arrive May 4th. Ah! The joy of getting back to work on creative things! I hope I can make it through the rest of this catch-up list before it comes. It looks possible!

As is our habit, after watching Planet Earth on TV and offering the Gaia Meditation, with Gary praying at the end, we called Jim’s Mom and then came upstairs for our bedtime snuggle with the cats.