Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dancing With Daffodils

Was reading an excerpt from Barack Obama's memoir "The Audacity of Hope" published in the latest Time. Obama makes the argument that the nation's divided not by gender or by party-affiliation, but "between those who attend church regularly and those who don't." I don't agree with him that Christianity's grown, but putting that aside for now, I found this part interesting:

"There are various explanations for this trend [growth of Christianity], from the skill of evangelicals in marketing religion to the charisma of their leaders. But their success also points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily rounds--dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office...--and coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness are not enough. They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives, something that will relieve a chronic loneliness or lift them above the exhausting, relentless toll of daily life. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them--that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway toward nothingness."

The husband and I were discussing religion just yesterday, and this is exactly what I was trying to say, though hardly so well. Religion fills a void in people's lives, a need for spirituality. Like Obama's mother told him, it's "an expression of human culture... just one of the many ways--and not necessarily the best way--that man attempted to control the unknowable."

To me, in the best sense, religion helps us feel our immortality. We are all immortal because the only life we'll ever know is this one. Religion helps some of us reach beyond ourselves to touch, be for a few wondrously transcendent moments at one, at peace with humans, the earth, moon and stars, the skies above, the whole world.

Me, I find religion in nature, the touch of the wind, the rustling of leaves, the magic of a snowflake, the crash of the waves. Then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils...

A Cat for Halloween

It's been one of those mornings when I wish I hadn't a cat. We send that excuse for a feline out to the backyard on a leash whenever we can so she can chew on some grass. (Seguing here: who knew cats enjoyed grazing like cows? Until five years ago, when we got that fussy needy four-legged meow, I didn't. But it could be just my cat who actually likes the cowlike variety instead of the "legal grass" aka catnip. It would be. She's the contrariest cat in all catkind.)

Anyhoo, we send The Black Monster out so she can bask in the sun and chew cud in peace. We have to use a leash because we have coyotes in the area who'd really savor a nice chunk of her. Plus, she's such a 'fraidy cat, she's sure to get lost and sit shivering under a bush meowing piteously for Mommy and Daddy to come get her. Now usually, post the cud-chewing, the cat throws up. It's a ritual, and she's usually good about throwing up outside on the grass who the heck cares where.

But it was one of those mornings. The cat came in, made some alarming meows that had me rushing to her side to grab her and dunk her on the kitchen floor -- far far away from my new carpet. Then while I held her, she puked a lot of greenish liquid and a few shards of grass. Then she moved away and puked again. (Like I always sneeze twice, she always pukes twice.)

That's not the end of this so-not-amusing story. A few minutes later, I happened to be showing Raina a statue of Ganpati that we have on our mantelpiece. Raina's rather fond of Ganpatis and Lord Krishnas and insisted on seeing that one upclose before heading for a nap. So I stand on my tippy-toes balancing Raina and myself so we can check out the Ganpati, when I see a lot of dried yucky green pap next to the statue with a few damning pieces of grass stuck on the goo. Gross! It was clean up time again.

Anyone want a dratted black green-eyed monster in time for Halloween?