Lessons from Vern this morning

•March 30, 2011 • 2 Comments

This morning I had to go get some hay.  The past couple of days i have had my camper shell off of my truck for cleaning and so i can open the back window and get goo wind on these amazing spring days.  I got my keys and Vern (my dog) waited in eager anticipation for me to open the tailgate.  As I did and he jumped in, he was faced with a his car with no walls.  It is the first that Vern has ridden in a truck without a camper shell.

We pulled away down Mountain View Ave. and onto Arrowhead St., Vern was elated.  The wind was everywhere, the smells flooded him, the sights we no longer thwarted by stupid walls and he was still safely in the truck (not running loose).  He was a dog.

Vern has had a life of identity crisis.  Lived like a coyote on the reservation,  raised by a Calvinist feline,  tries to be human whenever possible.  Yet he realized in this moment what he was created for.  He was created to be a dog in the back of an open truck driving through Sunnyside .  suddenly all the details and minutia fit into a bigger picture that was complete.  He is a dog.

This is not an argument for existentialism.  But there are moments in life where we see who we are more clearly than ever before.  In that moment we must not think that it is the experience  or the environment that has shown us our identity.  It is grace poured on us in a flood that we suddenly see what we are created for.  Even when we learn these lessons while watching a dog learn his lessons.



Quiet Desperation

•March 25, 2011 • 4 Comments

We are both desperately seeking, and repulsed by the idea of an absolute authority by which we are held accountable.

One night recently i lie awake in bed thinking this thought.  Two quotes, bookends if you will, came to mind that frame this thought.  First is Socrates when he charged “the unexamined life is a life not worth living.”  The second is from Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.” I would like to purpose that we could widen that to “mankind” rather than just a particular nationality.  Throughout history these thoughts are echoed, but i am struck by these two quotes because the sample two specific and widely different culture (high philosophy and pop culture) that both are wrestling with the the thought of being both repulsed and drawn to the idea of an absolute authority by which we are held accountable.

Some throughout history have sought to place their own thoughts as the standard.  Most them went mad along the way.  One man who finally succeeded was Rene Descartes who was finaly able to make his own thoughts his standard, but only by locking himself in a oven for a few days.  Yet we still seek to elevate our own thoughts to being the standard, the absolute.  The folly of that idea is apparent to even ourselves so we, in our wisdom construct an “oven” of our chosen community to shelter us from the reality around us.  We gather those who are different enough to label as diverse, but at the core share the same feeble idea of absoluteness of our own thoughts.  This shelter provides us with bubble wrap community – unobtrusive, shallow, hanging on in quiet desperation.
We have raised community up to be a hero to fulfill our need for a hero and for community.  Yet we create a hero fashioned after ourselves with no authority to question thoughts conceived in an oven.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)
The reality is that there is an authority by which we can speak.  It is not from our own thoughts, but from the power that allows to take those thoughts captive. It is the standard by which we can look, we can weight and we can see what is left wanting.  It is what our ovens fear and our souls crave.  It is our hero that we can form communities around.
It is often stated that this standard is no longer relevant.  This is true.  It is no longer relevant as long as we remove it authority as that absolute in our lives.  It is no longer relevant as long as our communities sit silent in it’s own thoughts and hold no standard.
It is true, we have no authority in ourselves to approach another.  We are neither judge nor jury.  Let us never seek those seats in our hearts, words or actions.   But the authority is there, and we are not community outside of that authority.
Meanwhile my brothers and sisters sit in quiet desperation




•October 20, 2009 • 3 Comments

some new images

•September 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hopi Farming

•September 16, 2009 • 1 Comment

My Previous Life

•August 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

If i believed in previous lives.  I think I have found my previous life.  Yet as it stands i don’t, so all of this is nothing more that a ramble of sorts.

Constante Girardengo (1893-1978)


I would have raced a steel frame across more finish lines than there are borders.

I would have been a racer that men and boys lifted mugs of beer to in pubs.

When Hemingway was at the velodrome, his teeth would have been clenched watching me.

I would have ridden like the wind across rough wood tracks.

My legs would have been strong. My lungs would have been deep.

I would have amazed.

Tonight, i put some track drop bars on my bike.  Down Linda Vista Blvd I raced.  My head tucked low, and my knees in near perfect vertical form.  The pavement hissed by me and the street lamps thumped as i passed them.  For a moment I was Constante.

I ride a 1987 Peugeot Bordeux. A bike i have had for many years.  She has only recently been reborn as a track bike.  Her back-end been re-aligned to tuck the rear wheel in close,  the clunky 10-speeds removed, the brakes traded for a track wheel and and signs that there were at one time cables on this bike have been surgically removed.

Velodrome racing has been lost to technology, like most great sports.  Those who know me, know that sports is not a topic that i talk about ever.  But deep within me is a love for the days of Girardengo racing.  The bicycle is noblest invention.  An invention that should resist the attack of the “newer and better” mentality.  Two triangles and two circles.

There is beauty in the bicycle.  I have always love riding bikes, but not until i stripped away all the modern clutter, did i realize how beautiful this machine truly is.  How beautiful it is to sit in the saddle and have your feet rest of the teeth of the pedals, your hands in the soft curve of the handle bars.  The rushing wind on your face, the silent glide of the wheel.

Why do we think we can complicate simplicity and in doing so, improve on it?  Is there a point where the machinery we make will only make us idlers?  Is there a point where we no longer build, but we allow the machines to build us?

I say all of this typing away at a laptop, and creating a blog on the Internet – some forum for questioning technology.  But I’m concerned.  I’m concerned that technology is leading to more than the death of velodrome racing – but it is in fact leading us to the death of beauty.  Even my simple track bike is technology, but i think the key is using only as much as is necessary.  For me – two triangles and two circles is beauty.

a grief subversed

•August 11, 2009 • 3 Comments

I’m pathetic.  I think that’s all that’s all there is to it.  It’s been two months and i still grieve.  But today i was faced with the fact, that my dog, Vern, is not coming home.  That is a great loss to me.  Enough of a loss that it has kept me from my sleep tonight. 

           I think of the times i loss my temper at him, them immediately was overrun by guilt as he looked at me with such sorrow for disappointing me.  I regret ever getting frustrated when i was trying to find a place for him to stay when i wanted to go out of town.  I wish that i had enjoyed my morning walks with him more, and not done them out of a sense of duty.  I wish i had taken him on more adventures.    He truely loved a good adventure.  I regret the times i thought that it would be convenient to not have a dog.  This is not convenient – this is pain.

        Those who knew Vern, I’m sure have experienced their fair share of frustrations and joys.  My former roommates endured him with great Patience.  Vern loved to eat loaves of bread, remove check books from secure locations, eat whatever was at nose height (or even a bit higher if he was sure a clear get-away), pooped on Kris’ shirt, disassembled a doorway, and dug holes.  This list is far from complete of Vern’s troubling behavior.  The stories go on and on of his transgressions. 

           But there was the other side to Vern that not many people could resist.  He was the most loyal creature with four legs.   he would lay by your side no matter what happened.  He had a heart that makes mine seem hard a shriveled.  He could love any person and any creature.  He could wrestle with pups and even get arthritis stricken mature dogs to get up and dance a bit.  He was always happy to see whoever came home. Vern gave some of the greatest hugs known to man. But most of all Vernon was a friend.

         Just a dog i tell my self  – he’s just a dog.  Vern and i spent about three years as roommates – and bed mates.  He slept on my bed every night, or he cried all night.  i would spend long periods of time at night talking to him, and he listened faithfully and stayed awake till i had said my last word.  He loved to watch Seinfeld in bed with me – as soon as the theme music would start he would rush to the bed and settle himself into the blankets and nothing could distract him from the screen. 

              Vern loved the car, no matter where it was going he loved to go.  Standing in the center divider staring out the windshield and checking the side-view mirrors occasionally.  Vern loved to go to NAU and into IHD.  Vern loved to go to Downy Park and knew the moment i turned off Route 66 that we were going to my parents house and was filled with energy that was unexplainable.  Vern loved his cousin Abby in Phoenix, they could play and swim until they were both to tiered to stand up. 

          I miss him so much.  I wish he were laying next to me with his head on my lap as i know he would be doing right now.  I wish i had to feed him tonight.  I wish i had to kick him off the bed tonight.  I wish he could go camping with me this weekend.  I wish he would chew my blinds.  I wish he would steal my muffins.  I wish his snot was on my car window.  i wish i could see him jump and play in the tall grass, and show off his speed.

        Loss is something i don’t handle well when it comes to friends.  I hide my grief and try and pretend it’s ok.  But then there are nights like tonight that i just am filled with pain.  He’s just a dog-i know.  But is it wrong to grieve the loss of a dog?  am i just to sensitive?  Am i a baby?  He’s not human – i know.  But he was God’s creation.  And i know God brought him to me at a time i needed him most, and now he’s gone and i don’t know how to handle that. 

I miss Vernon Jackson Bauerle….and he was just a dog