Romanian Grace

The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon. -- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

10 December, 2007

Thine advent here VII

Or try this one out.  It is from Luci Shaw's introduction to her book of poems, The Green Earth.  

We tend to think of the Creator in terms of the infinitely huge -- mountains, continents, oceans, galaxies, universes, light years.  As the Almighty is beyond gender and time, so is he beyond size, glimpsed, if we open our eyes, in minor, unpretentious phenomena -- the helical unfolding of a shell, the lace of veins in a leaf with sunshine behind it, or, as we penetrate deeper into physical realities, in the structures of subatomic particles and in the endless unfolding of fractal patterns.  We see this concentration of limitlessness within limitation in the Incarnation, in Almighty God clothed in a human body, a human life.

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And then there are those of you who liked my blog better the way it used to be, a way to keep up with my life.  I confess, it has not been much good for that lately.  But I hope you have enjoyed the advent stuff, all the same.  What does my life look like right now?  Well.

We are in the thick of exams at Kingstone Academy.  Two more to go, then we will be done for the holidays for about three weeks.  The holidays hold mostly just free time for me, some travel, perhaps to Budapest (which I have heard rhymed with "ruder pest" in a musical... stupendous!)  That would be by train and likely with my friend and teammate, Darin.  We have a good time together.  The train is an overnight deal, which could be good if I can sleep on it, which I ought to be able to do.  I have learned that I am a remarkably talented sleeper.  Almost any time, almost anywhere, with the exception of a little insomnia about once a month, which reminds me of this wonderfully accurate and hilarious Billy Collins poem:


Even though the house is deeply silent
and the room, with no moon,
is perfectly dark,
even though the body is a sack of exhaustion
inert on the bed,

someone inside me will not 
get off his tricycle,
will not stop tracing the same tight circle
on the same green threadbare carpet.

It makes no difference whether I lie
staring at the ceiling
or pace the living-room floor,
he keeps on making his furious rounds,
little pedaler in his frenzy,
my own worst enemy, my oldest friend.

What is there to do but close my eyes
and watch him circling the night,
schoolboy in an ill-fitting jacket,
leaning forward, his cap on backwards,
wringing the handlebars,
maintaining a certain speed?

Does anything exist at this hour
in this nest of dark rooms
but the spectacle of him
and the hope that before dawn

I can lift out some curious detail
that will carry me off to sleep--
the watch that encircles his pale wrist,
the expandable band,
the tiny hands that keep pointing this way and that.

So.  Other than that, like I said, sleeping on trains is no big deal.  I actually like train travel, and I will send you now to a link of excellent photography from Romanian trains taken by Caleb Chancey, a Birmingham photographer.  Actually, I can't find the train pictures, so you can just go to his (better than my) blog site.

But I like trains when I'm not sleeping on them, also.  I have found that they are great opportunities to practice language.  People just seem to be chattier on trains.  Conversation comes a little easier.  I once talked to a girl on a train who was beautiful and told me that there are no problems, only different stages in evolution.  She applied this to societies, as in, "I don't think Romania actually has any problems (e.g. poverty, abortion, greed, racism), they are just differently evolved."  Then she said that the universe is a wish-fulfilling machine, and if we just know how to operate it we can get whatever we want.  Actually, most of this was in English, which she spoke with a delightful British accent she learned from watching cartoons.  But there have been other little chats as well, often with people slightly intoxicated.  I guess they are the most chatty of all, the most willing to endure a conversation in Romanian with me.  Probably helps to have a little something to take the edge off.  

I will have to continue this later.  I have a science exam to write.  


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