A Fellow Conspirator!


Yes, I finally fell for that Google Arts & Culture app, the one where your own photographic image – man, I hate the word “selfie” – is compared to historical works of art to find a portrait match based upon some assumed percentage of similarity.

Well, after several attempts, angles, and misapplied strategies, the closest match for me – at 58% – was Valeriano Domínguez Bécquer’s The Carlist Conspirator.

A fellow “conspirator,” like myself (at TCC), so there’s that! But the facial match, not so much I don’t think – except maybe the rapidly receding hairline!

I mean, come on, compare it closely with my latest Facebook profile picture:


Well, okay, maybe it’s actually a bit closer than I might want to believe because I sometimes still see myself through the eyes of a 25-year-old. (And yes, I know where you’re going with that: maybe I should give them back to that young man, he may need them!)

Of course, since my knowledge of European history for this period remains quite sparse, the result compelled me to explore some about the Carlist Wars.

Interesting stuff. So, at least I learned a little something yesterday.

And that always makes it a good day for me.


Copyright 2018

Image Credit: Public Domain

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Teilhard de Chardin’s words help us to better understand that personal growth, almost always, requires great patience and trust.

Sometimes, we just need to take life one step at a time, to trust in the process, and to be open to all things that come our way. Change will come:


“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”


Image Credit: Pixabay

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I don’t think you’ll ever understand why I need, sometimes, to just sit here quietly (alone).

I certainly can’t explain it to you. And I haven’t the time nor the desire to.

But I do trust that you’ll act on what I’ve made known to you over the years. Made known, that is, by my responses, through my actions.

So I anxiously await your next move.

You know, I’m not much like you. (That’s obvious by now.)

Hell, I’m not always much like myself either. (That, too, is obvious.)

But I keep thinking that, sometimes, things are so simple that they’re actually rather complicated. And, sometimes, things are so complicated that they’re – no, not simple – just not worth trying to understand.

Does that make any sense? It really doesn’t matter.

So maybe it’s me who doesn’t understand.

Maybe I can’t explain it.

Maybe, I’ll just sit here quietly (alone).

Anxiously awaiting my next move.


Copyright 2018

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Seeing The *Social* In Social Media


Dictionary.com defines social as:

seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.

Many of us continue to use social media as anything but a gathering place to seek out or enjoy the companionship of others. More often, we enter into this virtual – if sometimes virtually anonymous – landscape with the explicit goal of rigorously challenging those with whom we politically or culturally disagree.

It is the 21st century’s equivalent of the ancient public square – but one where, at times, we seem ready to embrace (for our adversaries at least) the undertakings yet found at Deera Square.

Yet, I refuse, still, to discount or downplay the positive community side of social media. And yes, there remains a positive side not grounded in fantasy or ignorance or mindless memes.

One thing that I have been frequently exposed to over the past number of years is personal loss and pain expressed over social media, particularly Facebook.

What especially cuts me to the quick is the horrific pain expressed over the loss of a child – sometimes explicitly divulged only upon a difficult anniversary. Many of my Facebook friends, during any given year, will, for example, permit a small glimpse into their world of grief and hurt and anger. It is a world that I cannot fully imagine, yet it is one in which my own primal fears, worries, and pain as a parent easily surface when I read about theirs.

But that is a good thing (okay, stick with me here).

It is good because it connects the two of us on a level way beyond the virtual. It is a simple human reality and necessity.

And it is good because it is a needed reminder of our own vulnerability, of our finite existence, and of our shared humanity.

It is much too glib to say that it also reminds us of our temporal blessings – because there really is no underlying truth as to why we haven’t yet been touched by such losses. Still, we can’t help but be reminded of those things in our lives that remain, for the moment at least, good and beautiful and lovely.

It is a basic human connection with others, and it arises whether the other is down the street or thousands of miles away; whether we have shared a meal together, or whether we will never physically meet.

It is a connection that can be compassionate, and charitable, and all together human.

And it is one which exists even as we feel compelled to express our (sometimes extreme) political differences.


Copyright 2018

Image Credit: Pixabay


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Winter’s Silence, Spring’s Renewal


From where I write today, the weather is brutally cold and a blizzard warning is in effect.

So I am compelled to take some unexpected, but needed, time to rest.

I take comfort in the warm embrace of friends – even those whose presence is known only through the small glass screen of virtual reality.

I read. I sit. I think. I write.

I remain silent, muted as I let the stillness finally overtake.

And my thoughts, naturally, turn to the spring ahead – though still so distant – and to the cycle of renewal to be found waiting there.

The early buds. The return of song.

The scent of grass and trees and leaves and dirt.

I felt moved to record this moment in words.

But my own were inadequate, so I turned to another.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson here captures the mood and the images perfectly.

Read, enjoy, and share!

Early Spring

Once more the Heavenly Power
Makes all things new,
And domes the red-plow’d hills
With loving blue;
The blackbirds have their wills,
The throstles too.

Opens a door in heaven;
From skies of glass
A Jacob’s ladder falls
On greening grass,
And o’er the mountain-walls
Young angels pass.

Before them fleets the shower,
And burst the buds,
And shine the level lands,
And flash the floods;
The stars are from their hands
Flung thro’ the woods,

The woods with living airs
How softly fann’d,
Light airs from where the deep,
All down the sand,
Is breathing in his sleep,
Heard by the land.

O, follow, leaping blood,
The season’s lure!
O heart, look down and up
Serene, secure,
Warm as the crocus cup,
Like snowdrops, pure!

Past, Future glimpse and fade
Thro’ some slight spell,
A gleam from yonder vale,
Some far blue fell,
And sympathies, how frail,
In sound and smell!

Till at thy chuckled note,
Thou twinkling bird,
The fairy fancies range,
And, lightly stirr’d,
Ring little bells of change
From word to word.

For now the Heavenly Power
Makes all things new,
And thaws the cold, and fills
The flower with dew;
The blackbirds have their wills,
The poets too.


Image Credit: Pixabay

Poem Credit: Wikisource.org, Public Domain, 1883. Cited Source Disclaimer: This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the pubic domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago. Creative Commons License.

Originally Published (and Copyrighted) 2016 as SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER, AWAITING THE SPRING

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Final Moments


Our final moments together may be unknowable, but they are indeed appointed. Our last foray into the wilderness has (no doubt) already been ordained.

I dearly need to see you still, to warm you, to take my place next to you, even as our ancient bodies grow unwieldy and coarse.

And much like in those first few moments together (so many years on), we again find ourselves carried into a place both timeless and fleeting. Only this time, into a port, and for a season, where two are welcomed but only one will stay.

At least for now.


Copyright 2018

Image Credit: Pixabay

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