“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.