Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Darting, Directionless Walk Through My Week

Several people have asked where I find the topics for my weekly posts. The answer is simple really, in that I do not generally find them, they find me. If an occurrence during the week has a particular element that gnaws at me for a few days, then it likely will be my topic of discussion here. I keep a list, you know, should any one week become overwhelmed with so many thoughts that I simply cannot address them all in one post. That is when the trusty notebook becomes a handy place to house those random thoughts to be used in the future. That notebook also comes in handy when a particularly dry week passes without one useful thought. 

Then there are weeks like this one.

This week was laden with dozens of random thoughts, though not one long enough for an essay. Normally, I start reflecting on Thursday, trying to hammer out what point I will try to make in my weekend post. This week, the only subject (and I use that loosely) is pure randomness. 

In the last couple weeks, American scientists and engineers saw the culmination of a 10-year effort to land a space probe on a comet. The probe, called Rosetta, was hurled through space on a calculated mission to land itself on a small moving target for the purpose of sending information back to its scientist-parents back home. The mission not only will result in never-before-known information but also gives us that collective adventurous sense again of exploring the unknown. At one time in our history, we gathered around our televisions to see a moon landing, watch a man walk on the moon's surface, or see the Space Shuttle return to Earth from a mission into space. We gathered to watch, and in our hearts, we smiled, expanded our chests, and stood a bit taller as we appreciated the hard work and intelligence to accomplish such a remarkable feat. We explored things, we discovered things, we learned things that would change the human existence forever. 

Yet, with Rosetta, we heard only a snippet on the evening news, a few moments of "by the way, this happened," delivered as though one were reading a shopping list or remarking on a funny internet video. The bigger story, the one that had more people talking, was the Twitter antics of a famous-for-being-famous attention seeker who rubbed oil on her south end and shared the picture with the world. [You will find no link to the ridiculousness here.] Her mission? To "break" the internet. 

I weep for our society.

Two weeks ago while in conversation with a colleague, we discussed an issue and how to ensure it did not occur in the future. In two sentences, I explained how at the age and expanse of our current business life, it was likely time to dedicate a person or persons to overseeing the task, which had really grown from a task to a project. As the words left my mouth, a thought in the back of my mind said, "I'd really like to be a part of that." It was a casual conversation, of which this was a minor topic, and we moved to other subjects.

Two days later an announcement was made which laid the groundwork for focusing on this project, and -- boom -- I was asked to be part of it. Who says you cannot send your wishes to the universe and the universe will not respond? Not this girl. 

Hello Universe, I have a few other things I'd like to discuss.

Currently, I am reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a memoir of her trek along the 1,000-mile Pacific Coast Trail. I read this not only because it 1.) is a memoir of finding ones path; and 2.) is a road-trip story (which I love), but I also read it in preparation for the upcoming movie by the same title, starring Reese Witherspoon. I love a good soul-searching story, especially coupled with a road trip story, and one look at my book shelf would clearly illustrate that. 

At the same time, I am closely following the story of Greg Hindy, who has been walking across the United States for over a year. I have written of Greg's journey before (in May 2014) because I am quite taken with anyone who pushes themselves beyond the edge of comfort in order to grow, experience, and pursue that which is beyond current understanding. Greg began his cross-country journey in the summer of 2013, walking from New Hampshire to California over the course of a year. If that were not challenge enough, he did this portion of his trip in silence. Silence. Not one word spoken for a year. Upon arrival in California, he resumed speaking and began the walk back east. He is currently about two-thirds of the way across the country and should be home by Christmas.

I am simultaneously reading Cheryl Strayed's 1995 trek and following Greg Hindy's 2013-2014 trek, both making me feel guilty for any complaints I have when I don't find a parking place close enough to the store.

Where are my hiking boots?

Winter arrives when the sweaters appear.
Last weekend, it snowed here. November 16, snow. That is quite early in the season for my area of the south central U.S.A. which normally sees its first measurable snowfall in January (though, flurries are often seen in December). This is the earliest snowfall I have seen in this area in my life. [I have witnessed snow as early as October 26, but that was when I visited 1,000 miles north, where such things are normal.] A short ruler could have been used to measure last week's snowfall here, which was more than a dusting but less than a half-inch. It formed a hardened shell across the grass quickly, so perhaps it could be called a crusting. Far be it from me to complain about our crusting when many in the northern reaches of my country are buried under six feet of snow. Six. Feet. Of. Snow. That is higher than most people's heads. 

I'll take my crusting.

This week in the U.S. brings Thanksgiving, a time where we are to reflect for what or whom we are thankful. My list is long, and I will spare you, I encourage readers to list in the comments their thoughts of thankfulness. Anything goes, from heartfelt to comical, just let those thankful thoughts flow.

I'll start: 1. I'm thankful you have read this far. 2. I am also thankful that the catch phrase "far out" from the 1970s never made a comeback.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Some trouble with comments posting, which is being addressed. Here is one received by email.

    From Xan in Australia:

    I'm a bit late with my comment and, like you, my list of gratitude is long. This week I am thankful for 1) the return of my good health 2) finishing an important project today and getting it sent off to the printers 3) YOU!! and your support, and one more... 4) that I NEVER have to dig myself out of six feet of snow. Strong imagination aside, that level of cold and that depth of snow is beyond my Aussie born and bred self. Although, a little visit to those parts one day would be fun.


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