Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

seeing rain and no fire





Friday I drove past a small Methodist church in semi-rural Lucas (home of Trinity Trail and adjacent to Southfork Ranch).
The little billboard in front of the church said simply "Pray for Rain". The Baptist Church across the street took life's lemons and instead tried to make pancakes, with a sign that said "We have the best men's prayer breakfast anywhere". I set great store in men's prayer breakfasts, as things that ought to exist, though I ought not have to attend any. I feel the same way about National Mule Conventions and hot air balloons.

Today at dawn the rains finally came. We needed a rich, drenching rainstorm in the worst way. We are but a hair from Stage 4 water restrictions, which are rather onerous. Lake Lavon is 14 feet down, and we need a dozen or two inches to begin to make a dent. I think we got an inch or so today.

Lake Lavon almost rhymes with Lake Sevan, the large lake in Armenia. I heard a travel program on public radio today
in which Rick Steves extolled the virtues of touring Armenia. I've always thought I'd love it there--history and chess,
mountains and stark landscapes, with interesting people. Tigran Petrosian and chicken cooked on spits. My favorite hole-in-the-strip-center cafe in La Crescenta, California, is called Sevan Chicken, where I dined happily many a Sunday afternoon on chicken which had been cooked over flame. I might, in the late afternoon, then head into the Angeles National Forest to the Pines hiking trail, where I walked among shoulder high chapparal trees (scrub oak and ceanothus) where birds sang out as clear as a pure sound in a chilled air envelope. The bracing feel of an October chill on a Sunday evening makes Monday not only bearable but fascinating.

Our Sunday school class watched a film of some church members going with their former minister to the Holy Land. The Holy Land fascinates me, for more reasons than current world news, or the picture postcard realities of the pilgrim world. Yet somehow the film strip, done with the same kind of impressive effects anyone can get with Windows Movie Maker, reminded me how middle-aged Americans look like, well, the innocents abroad in such settings. Imagine the one sheet: "See Golgotha as a tourist stand as you've never seen it before! Dozens of Texans in khakis and ball caps, lingering with digicams on the Mount of Olives!". I personally, I must admit, would buy pigeons in the temple market, which is why, I think, I'll take my pilgrimages in prairies, please. We have such nice people in our Sunday school, though, and I do not criticize anyone curious about the historical places of their faith.

Today we sang "How Firm a Foundation" in church. I am always struck by the exuberance and the boisterous reassurance in the 19th Century hymns:

"When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
my grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine"

I found that I lost four pounds in Weight Watchers, bringing me to within nine of my ultimate goal. I tended to yo-yo all Summer long, so Autumn may be my new leaf turning. The public radio program about spiritual music played the Nadia Boulanger as I drove to lunch, and the world seemed saved by rain and melody.

I went into a comic book store in Plano after a lunch of chicken and broccoli. I wanted something poignant and yet down to earth, like Concrete, but this store was more super in its heroics. It had only a Concrete collectible, and I feel constrained not to take anything that requires preservation. I am not good at archiving, though I make a solid down payment on pack-rat-ting.

I wrote a kind of offbeat autumn hymn of my own today, to mentally counteract the rather noisy drones I have done lately. I call it Prairie Lark Melancholy.

We had to go to the Verizon store at Circuit City because they have not properly implemented our phone account plan changover. I looked at mp3-ready car radios, and found that I could plug my mp3 player into a new radio costing less than 120 dollars. I am tempted to buy one. Ubid even had mp3 players on sale for 6 dollars today, which suggests to me that all this technology, like personal computers and digital watches, will soon be nearly free.

Tonight I watched the local team play football on television. At halftime I downloaded 4th Dimenion's ambient album, which I'll play tonight and during lunch tomorrow. This was a good weekend.

I love rain. I pray. I like pancakes.
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