Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

not in word but in deed

"Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above".--old hymn

Today I worked on editing the text for our firm website.
Because our clientele proved a different mix than we originally projected, I edit the somewhat folksy entries drafted in 2000 for somewhat more spare entries now. One imagines one is one thing, but then time proves one is something else again.

I'm thinking about singing Sacred Harp.

Sacred Harp refers to a hymnbook printed in the 19th Century. Its musical notation differs from that used today. Its purpose was not to make for elaborate arrangements for an organ or musical instruments. Its purpose was to permit throngs of people to sing well together. They used to have some cool snippets at, as I'm sure I've posted before in this journal.

Sacred Harp was always more a southern thing than a universal thing, and it endures as yet as a kind of hymning hobby practiced by a few. I've always wanted to attend a Sacred Harp singing, but, like so many things, I want to go, but I don't get there.

Today I sent off an e mail to the kind paralegal who assigns cases for the local pro bono attorney program, telling her I am "on board" to take on a pro bono case from her organization. Within moments, she had sent back an e mail saying "bless you!" and five potentials from which to choose one. I'll choose one I think I can handle without risking going outside my skill set for the type of law involved. I wonder where the other folks will go for help.

In our state bar association, much attention goes towards meeting unmet legal needs of the poor. Dallas organizes itself well to do so. But thousands of people even in this well-run pro bono community need a divorce or a restraining order or a will or sometimes just a simple deed, and their needs are unmet.

I heard once again the interview on the Motley Fool radio program with the president of the Petsmart chain.
Petsmart follows two policies of which I completely approve.

One policy is that they sell only freshwater tropical fish, recognizing the simple truth that as saltwater fish do not breed well in captivity, the result ends up that fish are vacuumed from the ocean, plopped into tanks in which they ordinarily do not live well, and then they die and more fish are vacuumed.

The second policy they follow is not to sell cats or dogs. This is an "enlightened" self-interest, of course, as cats and dogs pose profitability issues. But they instead work to ensure animal adoptions.

The Petsmart guy noted that ear-catching statistic, that two million shelter pets are euthanized each year. That's a stark and gripping figure, and one that makes me wonder about all the words that people use that folks are "compassionate". There are always unmet needs, and there are more who need help than helpers.

Numbers fascinate me generally. Lately I'm struck by how many thousands of traditional songs there are, before we even reach the age of pop and rock. So many books, so many plays, so many musical renditions, before the mass technology even existed to produce so many.

I turn on the jazz station, and hear dozens upon dozens of recordings I know nothing about. I drive down familiar roads, and a single turn-off takes me to strange territory. Even familiar old eBay is a frontier of hundreds of thousands of products. But it can also be banal. The woman on public radio, tonight, who briefly years ago served as my nemesis, who just now observed that she had "discovered" the fun of shopping at the Goodwill the rest of us "discovered" decades ago.

It's like being in a sea of data and things and ideas.
But all I can do is choose the one case I will handle for free. I can modify my website to appeal to the clients we actually attract, rather than the client we thought we would attract.

Perhaps I can also write the stories I can tell, rather than the great stories I wish I could tell. I once realized that I write poetry because I can write a poem that people will read. There's no harm in that.

I love the pulpit function of LiveJournal. It's not that I have anything to tell the world, but it's fun to have a Speaker's Corner to tell it. The reading of the journals is also fascinating. I am intrigued when odd synchronicities arise, as when nearly every woman's journal I read lately features an instance of a condition nearly unfamiliar to me, affecting various health and reproductive things. I'm amazed at how people buy houses, have children, mourn loved ones, endure illness, and change jobs.

I think that's what stands out for me. Life moves on, even if one resolutely tries to stop it. Lately I count months or weeks, with an inevitability. I'm not into dread or depression. But I know that it all moves onward, to ends I'd not choose for people I care about.

I think that this is the protection against paralysis, this movement toward infinity. The words fail, but the ability to do and to try is a staff to help one make the path more comfortable.

I thought about Monday promises today, after reading a friend's journals. You know, the promises one makes on Monday about the next weekend. I'm in the mood to make fewer promises, but to keep the ones I make. The words are all well and good, but the secret is in the doing of it.

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