Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holiday 2007

Some of you, Dear Readers, will be shocked to know my reading list for the last couple weeks. I have read "The Universe in an Atom; the Convergence of Science and Spirituality" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I am reading "The Complete Idiots Guide to Zen Living" and rereading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig; a book that almost ruined my sophomore year at Michigan State.

Pirsig's book will make you think harder than you have in years. I did almost nothing else but read and talk about it in the Winter of 1983. I mentioned the Midnight Heathen Philosophes obliquely some time ago. My dorm friends and I stayed up to all hours saving the world many years ago. I miss that too. Pirsig has an interesting argument for a layer he calls "Quality" that comes before intellectual or scientific understanding. I've wanted to reread the book for some time.

I have long been a Scientific Materialist. If you couldn't touch it or smell it or prove that it was there, it didn't exist; an Atheist by default. This has not been completely satisfying for a number of months. I am not prepared to walk away from my previous sentiments, but I am exploring if they are enough. It seems a bit like cooking without salt or that blanket that is just a bit too small. My cold toes have been hanging out the bottom in recent months.

Last weekend, despite my earlier post, I ended up having a wonderful holiday in New Jersey with my cousin, Sherry and her family in their beautiful house. Thanks to my sister, Amy, for setting the plan in motion. Sherry's husband took me sailing through the magic of a beautiful radio controlled boat he made. Their son kept me jumping with Wii Video Games and Guitar Talk. Sherry's wonderful and delicious hospitality was only overshadowed by the joy of being able to just hang out with them for a while.

We were headed into town. Sherry was walking the dog when a old song that her Dad liked began running through her head. Ben had lost a video game disc behind the entertainment center and was fishing around for it. He found a CD and set it on a shelf by the TV. As I pulled on my coat, I saw the CD laying there; Neck and Neck by Mark Knoeffler, x-Dire Straits, and Chet Atkins, country music guitar legend. I said something like "Hey there's some good music." The song that Sherry had been humming to herself just minutes before, was from that CD!

We took the CD with us and listened to it on the way into town. Sherry said her Dad must have wanted me to have the CD and gave it to me. Even just weeks ago, I would have gently scoffed at the concept, but I felt immediately that she was right. And I was comfortable with that. I even felt some relief, as if I was a little less unforgiven for what I described in a post last year.

Thanks again, Sherry, Ed and Ben. It was a great weekend!

I have been in flux for some time. My reading is way out in left field for me. There are many things I am thinking about in new ways. Stay tuned, this fertile ground for blog posts.


  1. When we talked about Unlce Bob and the CD after Christmas the magnitude of it all didn't hit me until I re-read your earlier "Uncle Bob" post. That is truly spine-tingly wonderful.

  2. "Em" expresses exactly what I just felt, Todd! I had read "Holiday 2007" yesterday, but I didn't catch the link until I was re-reading it this evening. The earlier story about my Dad makes the CD experience really hit home! I'm very touched by both posts, and I'm enjoying all of your great stories which are written so well.


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