No Rope

Some of the “words of wisdom” one encounters along the way are thought-provoking in ways that challenge one’s own beliefs. A skeptic’s worldview, while often seen through a  scratched grey film, can offset the optimist’s outlook by causing us to think. One need not agree with the skeptic to learn from him.

There are slavish souls who carry their appreciation for favors done them so far that they strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~


The time has long since come and gone when humans should have abandoned their arguments about the causes of global climate change, instead directing their energies toward mitigating its effects. But we tend to get caught up in drawing useless lines in the sand as we engage in wasteful, argumentative, and utterly unproductive debates. In my opinion, we have waited far too long to be able to do anything of consequence to stop, slow, or reverse the effects of climate change. Yet to do nothing, assuming anything we try will be fruitless, is idiotic. Massive, enormously large-scale efforts should be tried. Before knee-jerk reactions that could have monstrously harmful unintended consequences, though, we should ask the best and brightest scientists to consider the ramifications of the various options. Banning the production and use of plastics, for instance, might dramatically reduce plastics pollution in our oceans, but it might also result in a large spike in unemployment, a dramatic cut in production of important materials and products, and various other impacts. We should quickly assess, to the best of our capabilities, the direct and indirect consequences of actions we take. Only then should we demand compliance with critical action. Despite my sense that such efforts ultimately will prove futile and pointless, I think it would be idiotic to give in without a fight. But we’ve allowed the situation to become both urgent and critical when we could have acted to address the matter without so many unintended consequences of action. Now, the unintended consequences of either action or inaction must be addressed. The longer we remain stupid, the harder it becomes to get smart.


Temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s make for an ideal deck-sitting situation. Consequently, I plan to do just that before I delve into the day. But, first, I will continue expressing my mind’s fragmented functioning.


I slept with Phaedra last night. Or, rather, she slept with me. She usually prefers sleeping in the tomato-bisque-colored chair, but last night the large expanse of a king-sized bed was more appealing. She was quiet and peaceful until 4:30, when she decided I should wake up and do her bidding. I dutifully complied. And then I washed dishes I should have washed last night. Later this morning, I will clean the smoker—which I should have done yesterday, as well—and will then clean myself. A shower sounds extremely appealing at the moment. And shaving will put icing on the cake. Then, I will get to work piddling around the house to do various tasks I’ve been putting off for months. Because I will no doubt sweat profusely in the process, I will shower again later in the day so the clean sheets are not sullied by my unclean body; but before bed, I will wash and dry the sheets. Housework is never completed.


Early yesterday morning, I smoked a batch of thick pork chops. A heavy overcast kept much of the normal morning light at bay, but even in semi-darkness I succeeded in filling the smoker with apple wood chips. Following a recipe I found online, I prepared a buttery, gingery brown-sugar rub and slathered it on the chops. I smoked them for a couple of hours until the internal temperature of the meat reached about 145°F. I then wrapped pairs of them in foil and put each pair in a zip bag. We now have the main courses for four meals; all that’s needed now is to thaw a pair of chops, sear and warm each pair briefly on a very hot grill, and plate them. Well, there’s more to it, actually. Before I sear them, I will prepare a peach-bourbon sauce (with a little dijon mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar) to complete the process. I can hardly wait to see how they turn out. First, I must buy peaches. Then, I must wait for mi novia to return home. I should have waited to begin the process. I now have to wait longer than I’d like to try them.


I probably did not adequately thank the two people who came to the rescue yesterday when an entry door of our church could not be locked. Both of them no doubt had more pressing personal matters to attend to, but instead they opted to give priority to the needs of the church. Their willingness to step in to help, interrupting their personal agendas,  illustrates of one of the attributes of members of the congregation that make the church so appealing to me.  By the time I learned of the uncooperative door, one of the rescuers had already disassembled a faulty lock and had called for a professional to come work on it. Later, when I sat waiting for the professional to arrive and discovered my phone was almost out of power, I asked a friend and fellow board member to come sit in for me while I ran home to get my charger. Fortunately, she also came with a willingness to jump in and do more than asked. Though both of them went “0ver and above” in service to the church, their efforts were not uncommon; many others in the church respond the same way when needs arise. There was a time I would not have felt comfortable asking people in my sphere for help, but since coming into this congregation, I have come to better understand the true meaning of community. The reality of people readily willing to give up their time and talents in support of friends and acquaintances in need remains almost magical to me. But I am gradually coming to realize that magic is a natural component of compassion.


More coffee half an hour of meditative relaxation on the deck will smooth the way for a good day, I hope. I wish. I think.




About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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