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Monthly Archives: May 2008

102_4366, originally uploaded by carlmc.

This morning I stood looking out the “fast-food pick up window” at the front of the house and noticed the light playing on the grass as the sun and clouds danced in the sky. Almost in a trance, I watched the grass fade back and forth from shaded dull green to the bright, almost neon green pulsing of the sunlight bouncing. And, I realized this is our existence…here where we are in this moment in time, in this place, and nowhere else can or should we be. If I were born on a farm in 1840 that would be my place, but I have instead been born to suburban America in 1966. Neither is better or worse than the other, but what I do with those circumstances does matter, and as I grow older I am beginning to realize that truth for me, my wife, my kids, and anybody else I interact. Most importantly, at least in this stage of life, I must impart to my children a view of the world that embraces contentment, and even joy at our circumstances, whatever those may be. I struggle to embrace this worldview, but at least I’ve not given up.

The significance–and ultimately the quality–of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part.

If we think of ourselves as merely biological creatures, whose story is determined by genetics or environment or history or economics or technology, then, however pleasant or painful the part we play, it cannot matter much. Its significance is that of mere self-concem. “It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing”–as Macbeth says it is, when he has “supped full with horrors” and is “aweary of the sun.”(n7)

If we think of ourselves as lofty souls entrapped temporarily in lowly bodies in a dispirited, desperate, unlovable world that we must despise for Heaven’s sake, then what have we done for this question of significance? Not much, I think. For we are still stuck, like Macbeth, in a condemnation of this life and this world, which were not made for our condemnation. If we divide reality into two parts, spiritual and material, and hold (as the Bible does not hold) that only the spiritual is good or desirable, then our relation to the material Creation becomes arbitrary, having only the quantitative or mercenary value that we have, in fact, and for this reason, assigned to it. Thus we become the judges, and thus inevitably the destroyers, of a world we did not make, and that we are bidden to understand as a divine gift.

It is impossible to see how good work might be accomplished by people who think that our life in this world either signifies nothing or has only a negative significance.

If, on the other hand, we believe that we are living souls, God’s dust and God’s breath, acting our parts among other creatures all made of the same dust and breath as ourselves; and if we understand that we are free, within the obvious limits of mortal human life, to do evil or good to ourselves and to the other creatures–then all our acts have a supreme significance. If it is true that we are living souls and morally free, then all of us are artists. All of us makers, within mortal terms and limits, of our lives, of one another’s lives, of things we need and use.

—Wendell Berry “Christianity and The Survival of Creation”

Ally’s first crash
Although she’s been riding balanced on two-wheels, she has up until today refused to take the training wheels off. Today was the day, Memorial Day 2008…Getting her driver’s license just flashed in my head, scary thought.

I had the pleasure of taking my kids to school today, and captured this moment before she entered. I will look back on these days years from now, and photos like this I will cherish those simple pleasures of childhood.

Allyson was learning to swim in this one.
I think this was Christmas 2005?
I think this was 2007?
Childhood at it’s finest…She was 3 when I recorded this.
at the pool with cousin Jake
This was filmed when we lived in Aspen. He had just turned 5 and we would go skiing on the weekends.