SEEKING WITH GROANS

“I condemn equally those who choose to praise men, those who choose to condemn him, and those who choose to divert themselves. And I can approve only those who seek with groans.”

–Blaise Pascal, “Pensées”


Welp, I have been privately praising certain men, condemning certain men, and choosing on many occasions to divert myself.

Then again, I have also been seeking, and definitely with groans.

Also, however, often with sardonic laughter, wonder, and joy.

I continue to settle into this new chapter of my life in Tucson.

Already the worst of the summer is over is my sense. The sun sets a little earlier, the mornings and evenings are generally a bit cooler, and even on 100-plus-degree days the harsh blistering edge of the June and early July heat has somehow softened.

In fact, the notoriously baking Arizona summer hasn’t been that hard to bear. This could be largely due to the fact that, as of three days ago, Tucson has received 11.86″ of rain this year. This ranks as the 3rd wettest monsoon ever recorded and puts the city in a legitimate position to take over the top spot before monsoon officially ends September 30th.

I dont’ want to say anything but–put it together. The state’s in a drought. I move to town. Wettest summer on record…You’re welcome!


The only bummer about the rain is…insects, specifically mosquitoes and flies. I have got me a giant spray bottle of Repel 100.

Other than that, I am pretty much so dazed by my good fortune that I stumble about my abode for much of the day murmuring, “I cannot BELIEVE I live here”…Almost every window gives onto a view of green–a huge agave, a mesquite tree, a stand of bamboo. The Mexican bird-of-paradise in the front yard, at least 8 feet tall, lends a protective, motherly air to the enclosure. There are birds galore, lizards scampering, and everything smells of a rich, deep desert humus.

I rise at 5, have my coffee with the birds, and pray. My walk usually comes late afternoon/early evening or if it’s really hot, more towards sunset. Any time of day, the smog-free sky, flora, shade trees, and light shimmering purple-blue over the mountains are all huge, unmerited gifts.

Today two University of Arizona museums re-open: The Center for Creative Photography and the Arizona State Musuem. The campus Newman Center, a 25-minute walk, switches also today from 11:30 to 5:15 Mass Tuesday-Friday.


A friend came over a couple of weeks ago and gave me a couple of used books, one a compilation of the writings of Christian mystics, one a dog-eared copy of a small volume called Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen.

From a passage entitled “Expectation as Patience”:

“The mother of expectation is patience. The French author Simone Weil writes in her notebooks: ‘Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.’ Without patience our expectation degenerates into wishful thinking. Patience comes from the word ‘patior’ which means to suffer. The first thing Jesus promises is suffering: ‘I tell you…you will be weeping and wailing…and you will be sorrowful.’ But he calls these pains birth pains. And so, what seems a hindrance becomes the way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door; what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone. Jesus changes our history from a random series of sad incidents and accidents into a constant opportunity for a change of heart.”

I, too, am waiting–I’m not sure for what, or whom.

MY BACK PORCH, DETAIL.
TO CONSERVE ENERGY, I OFTEN DRAPE MY CLOTHES OVER THAT TABLE
OR HANG THEM FROM THE WINDOW GRILLS TO DRY.

8 Replies to “SEEKING WITH GROANS”

  1. Thank you Heather for your words. Again, they seem perfectly timed…I seem to always be waiting and wondering and watching and all the while I’m being carried by God. Your new setting seems to suit you well. Peace be with you.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thank you so much, Laura…I don’t mean to give the impression that I’m calm every moment..far from it! But yes, Tucson is proving a good perch from which to watch, wonder and wait…as we all do. Peace be with you as well–

  2. Paradise found!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      If not for me in the midst of it!…thanks, dear Mel!!

  3. Monique Rivett-Carnac says: Reply

    Good day Heather
    Arizona is the perfect weather conditions for those who suffer rheumatism and arthritis.
    I love these little creatures call lizards… I bought one many moons ago from a pet store with the glass aquarium and the whole inside landscape that suited and comforted its needs
    It actually was a female lizard, one morning here was a family of little black crawlers. I wasn’t to sure what to do with them eventually I took them to the pet store.
    Feeling sorry for mama lizard I tide a sting around her leg and pinned it to my clothes when I went outside for walks. I loved it. We chatted telling her how pretty she was…she seems to like the free rides…
    On my way to the laundry mat she escape her poorly made prison knot. I looked inside our tiny mini minor car, no lizard to be seems. She had opted into the laundry basket and found her a few days later running around the old run down cottage we were renting.
    A few months later we relocated leaving my beloved lizard behind. I visited the land lord a year later they had a corner restaurant and I loved their home made pies. He asked me if I knew of this 12” long lizard that had escape his punches. He mentioned the only way to catch this lizard would be to take the flooring up.
    I don’t know much about lizards species all I know is that she give birth to tiny black lizards and became this huge unknown lizard specie that acclimatize herself to a British Columbia climate. Free at last she was able to fully embrace the blue print she had been created for
    Lizards have an incredible amount of patience, perseverance but you had prayers to the 3 great P’s and you-have the keys to live a virtuous life 😎

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Well that is a lizard adventure story, Monique! I don’t picture lizards in British Columbia, either…I have to say I’m glad the lizard broke free of its prison leash–as you say, leaving her free to embrace the blueprint she was born for–what I like about lizards among other things is that they’re quiet…
      Thank you for sharing!

  4. Karri Crabbe says: Reply

    A dear friend just shared your blog with me and first I must say, “Welcome to the Old Pueblo!” God moved us here 27 years ago from California and I came kicking and screaming but in His grace and timing has shown me the beauty of the desert. Thank you for moving here and bringing back the monsoons! 😘
    I too, look forward to seeing the precious gifts God will bring each day…some are packaged in sorrow or suffering and some pure joy but ALL good gifts from the Father of Lights.
    Karri

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Karri, thanks so much for the welcome! What a glorious monsoon rain this afternoon–I took a walk near sunset and everything was washed clean, and the sky!…Also saw a Cooper’s hawk in my back yard this morning…so yes, every day brings new discoveries. I’m still settling in, really, but my sense is that this move was the best thing in the world for me. You paved the way…and thanks to your friend as well for telling you about my blog–

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