June 22, 2005

Attack of the Invisibles (Part Two)

The best-laid schemes o' mice and 'men Gang aft agley...

---Robert Burns


Laid low again by those small creatures that God in His wisdom saw fit to place upon the earth. In this case the culprit is a virus, the one that causes viral pneumonia. It started some weeks before I left Oklahoma City. I thought I had a cold, but the symptoms kept on. I loaded the Jeep nonetheless and headed out for parts yonder, but the coughing became an hourly event. By the time I hit northern Utah I knew something was dreadfully wrong in my lungs. I decided to simply drive straight to Portland, Oregon where I have family and could recover. 


So here I am with codeine, steroids and an inhaler trying to get over this illness and get on with my vacation. Problem is that my plans involved a great deal of physical activity---hiking, backpacking and such---and with my illness these are quite impossible. I sleep 14 hours a day, feel as weak as a kitten and have no desire whatsoever to do much of anything physical. Really, simply going upstairs is a challenge.


This is a condition foreign to me and my psyche since a bout with kidney disease 42 years ago. But every challenge is an opportunity, and in this case I have seized these days to read. Truth be told there is not much else I can do. Sure, I would love to be out in the wilds, but that is out of the question for now. So I vanish into books, a skill at which I am well versed. I read Theology, and I have found such fare increasing my Catholic faith.


Which leads me to the conclusion that this was God's plan all along. Clever Fellow, He!


So now there is no thought to wilderness journeys or 'wild weird climes.' The walks I take are interior, supernatural, private, with a Perfect Guide. He is also known as The Great Physician---quite aptly considering the virus even now working its way through my lungs.


June 9, 2005

Tempus Fugit

Of course it does, especially when one is having fun. And I have had fun for...oh, 30 years now non-stop. At work, at play, at study, at sleep, alone and wealthy or alone and broke it has been a fun three decades. Yeah, I know much of the fun was sinful, a fact both painful and revelatory when I returned to---or perhaps first visited---God in 1989.

Since then my fun has been more of the supernatural sort, even when I take into account the spiritual backsliding that always accompanies the Christian life. (Two steps forward, one step backward, one step forward three steps backward---and on and on until the Reaper pays a visit.) Perhaps this is the reason God and Company pushed me into the wilderness, into the forests and mountains and grasslands and jungles of Latin America. Out there---and most of those places are indeed out there---there is little occasion for sin. Time and energy was expended in just surviving---and that was a full-time job up until I last crawled out of the Honduran wilderness in April of 2004.

Since then The Best Job in the Universe has consumed my time. It has been more than one year since I went out there either here or parts south. And now The Best Job in the Universe is on vacation until August. Which translates into a nine-week Jeep trail, camping and backpacking 'walkabout' through New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Oregon---and my departure is nigh. That is, in a few hours. This is obviously quite cool. I go first to northern New Mexico, then to Utah---many 4 wheel drive routes there---then on to northern Nevada for backpacking around Elko. I should be in the People's Republic of Oregon around July something or other. And then...who knows?

So...I will write more while in Portland, though I have not written a word since May 11. Shocking! My excuse could be laziness or the end of the school year or fleeting muses. Choose one. I would very much enjoy being in the mood I was in during my 'Year of Living Dangerously' when I would go to the Internet after a backpacking trip and write for 8 hours a day three days in a row---or until the writing beast was slaked. It satisfied a need, and I wish that desire to return.

But first come the Jeep trails in Utah---and this quote from H. L. Mencken:

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

Poor Mencken! He was a fool, but a clever one. And he was a superb hater, name caller and pagan. The fellow needed a Jeep and a backpack. And the Bible.




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