On a whim…

Life without whimsy is not much of a life at all; without it, a walk in the dark is no laughing matter.

Archive for the ‘Who knows?’ Category

“Top This”

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Cars Buried By the Blizzard of 2003, Third Street, Park Slope, BrooklynThe Blizzard of 2003, Seventh Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn This week I contribute an article to our corporate newsletter. The feature is called “Top This” wherein we, the road savvy technology savants, relate our encounters with peril and pleasure of unexpected dimensions. Presumably each posting will be a challenge to our gaggle of consultants to out do the last contributor.

This reminds me of efforts to challenge my neighbor to a game of “HORSE” with a basketball in the side yard. I, the infallibly un-gifted player, would be assigned a letter from the word “horse” for each time I failed match a feat performed by my him with the ball and hoop. Once in a while I could pull off a three point shot from a distance roughly the same as center court to keep from falling farther behind but I consistently failed to achieve even a semblance of a layup. Consequently I became the first, and usually only, player to reach the humiliating rank of ‘hor…’ (a fate worse than simply losing) while my competitors toyed with ‘h….’ or no letter at all.

In this context I consider the challenge; Who can top the tornado filled twilight of Dave’s (the previous contributor) recent Memphis trip? To recount sufferings such as my series of sweltering sojourns on the unbiquitously unpleasnant United Airlines would hardly measure up!

So, rather than trivialize my misery, I offer my best adventure to date; A snowy trip to mid-town Manhattan . I flew in from New Hampshire on the Sunday night before classes were to start. As my cab crossed the Tri-Borough bridge from Queens a snow flake struck the wind shield. Considering my good fortune I commented to the driver that had I booked a later flight I probably would have been canceled.

By the time I reached my hotel a light but steady snow was falling and I enjoyed looking from my hotel room window. The room was, surprisingly, graced with a balcony and I stepped out to watch the snow. Beautiful.

After dinner I pulled the shades, read for a while, and eventually fell asleep. Near dawn I got up and prepared for the day. Only after I dressed and gathered my gear did I open the shades again. The balcony was buried in three feet of snow.

Standing on a chair to get a better view I could see Madison Avenue to my right  as empty as if it were an unplowed drive providing access to a remote vacation cabin in the Great North Woods. For some reason I had carried boots with me and changing into them I headed straight out to the streets. I made the hike to Time Square and stood at the center of that triangle looking more alone than a survivor of a post apocalyptic world. Nothing, no one moved. For an hour or so I traveled through various neighborhoods past city landmarks where even as late as 10 o’clock in the morning there were only a handful of pedestrians. The city was shut down.

A bagel vendor near the hotel walked across the Brooklyn bridge to get to his shop and were it not for him I would have been pretty hungry. The hotel lacked a restaurant and their delivery service didn’t deliver. By dinner I was on my third trip to the bagle shop and loving it.

I had no camera with me, a mistake I have not repeated, or I would have some relics of the trip. As it is, I have my memories… not bad fare at that.

Written by David Wilkerson

18 March 2008 at 3:11 pm

PalmSprings-Hotel

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PalmSprings-Hotel

Originally uploaded by gee David

On the road in Palm Springs. Warm, clear air, nice conference. Spent three pleasant days in spring weather just in time to return to cold, snow, and dark. Ah…. well I did say that I like winter. Now, I have been bitten and the ‘spring bug’ has left me itching for the vernal equinox! Soon!

Written by David Wilkerson

27 February 2008 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Who knows?

I Like Winter

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98303148_74d6e11455_mWhat’s not to like?

It is dark, cold, slippery. My fingers crack, the heating bill hurts, and my body itches from super dry air. But I like winter?

I like this proof that nature does not fully bend to my will. I like the ubiquitous blanket of snow. I love frost heaves in the yard. I am excited by the sight of cardinals flirting with the feeder against a tapestry of frosted evergreen boughs. It thrills me to hear folks on the distant end of the phone moan as I say, “I haven’t seen the lawn since November” and the date is Valentine’s Day.

I like the possibility that I will go back to the yard in my snow shoes one more time. I fantasize that this may be the year I finally build an igloo. I cherish the hope that before this winter is over my best buddy (the six year old) and I will build a radically large snow man.

Ok, I don’t like winter, I love it.

Written by David Wilkerson

14 February 2008 at 8:29 am

Posted in Who knows?

True North

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“North; Which way is north?” The imperative in her tone did not escape me.

“Which north do you mean, dear: magnetic or true?” 
“Oh good grief, don’t be so complicated. Just tell me which way is north.”

The other day I learned that at various times in earth’s history the magnetic poles have been reversed. Does that mean that ‘down under’ becomes ‘up yonder’? I can hear folks in New England struggle with the notion of going up to Georgia and down to Canada. Don’t even ask me what we would do about ‘Down-east Maine’.

It seems there is a crisis of direction these days. Where are we going in Iraq? Why, when the economy is growing, are the “real” dollars that Americans earn less now than they were in 2000? What is the “real” definition of marriage? What is really right and really wrong?

Once, I took a trip to the mountains with a friend, Stan. Stan drove his 1963 Impala along an unpaved Forest Service road cruising uncomfortably close to the edge. As you visualize what I mean by “uncomfortably” remember we were in the mountains. I warned Stan that we were a little too close to the edge. To this he replied by veering farther to the right saying, “You mean like this?” To his amazement and to my sorrow I was vindicated. The soft soil of the shoulder yielded to the weight of the car. We began a slow roll that was, temporarily, halted by some small trees. The view from the passenger window was mud, stone, and naked roots. The view from the driver’s side was an azure sky framed by the forest canopy.

We crawled out Stan’s window to escape in case the roots lost their hold on the car. We stood on the roadway. I glared, Stan shrugged, the bugs bit. Stan pondered, aloud, whether one of us should walk out, a mere twelve miles, to get help. I glared some more. As he continued pondering “things” a man, on foot, rounded the curve and sized up the situation right quick.

“You boys lost?”

I could think of many things that could describe our state. Words like, injured, in shock, waiting for rescue, came to mind. “Lost” was not in the lexicon I was using as I glared at Stan.

“No sir, we were driving up to the Blood Mountain area and thinking of doing some fishing on the way.” I replied.

“That’s not what I meant. I mean are you ‘lost’ or are you ‘saved’. In those days I was pretty slow to pick up on the theological nuances of the English language and so I naively replied that we had ‘saved’ ourselves by climbing out of the car window.

The patient evangelist persisted, “Yes, I can see how that could be true but you could still be on your way to hell.”

I thought of Stan glaring, “The only hell that matters to me is sitting in the passenger seat with him.”

Perhaps the fellow concluded I was included in the category of fools and children after whom the almighty watches in spite of themselves. In any case he charged ahead, “I mean are you a Christian?” 

My single worded response, “Yes” was hardly convincing. And the fellow surrendered the road to us and trudged on leaving us in silent bewilderment. No offer to make a call, no information as to where we might find a phone, seek shelter, or set up a beggars’ camp for the duration of our wait. He just left us.

I’m quite sure that he asked a fundamentally important question but the depth of his rhetoric was superficial. Am I saved? Am I lost? Am I a Christian? Could I be a ‘lost’ Christian or are they mutually exclusive? And, besides all that, which way is north.

Hypothetically I could tie a piece of string to the bed post and head in the general direction I believe is north and, when I can measure the sun’s position relative to the horizon in such a way that I can “prove” my location, I could pull the string taught, signal my dear wife and indicate which way is north.

Regrettably, I could not similarly satisfy our evangelist but I have a hunch. I suspect that I could choose to accept the possibility that the life Jesus called disciples to is a true one. Further, I could choose to follow that same ‘way’ of living, not out of hope for a reward but out of the hope that it is the ‘right’ way. Something tells me that I would be less concerned with questions such as “Are you saved?” and more concerned with “Are you hurt? Are you hungry? Do you need help?”

By the way, I don’t have enough string. I tried it this morning. Now the shoes have no laces, the dog has lost his leash, and the cord to the vacuum cleaner is missing. If my dear wife is looking for me, tell her I am probably lost but I don’t think I am headed for hell.

Oh yes, one more thing, which way is north?

Written by David Wilkerson

28 January 2008 at 1:13 pm

Mount Major, Lake Winnipesaukee

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Mount Major, Lake Winnipesaukee

Originally uploaded by gee David

Early, this fall, we went to Mount Major. It was probably the clearest view of Lake Winnipesaukee that I have seen since I first visited the region in 1975.

We had a great hike. Translation: I made it to the top after a modest climb. I was surprised by two things, how out of shape I am and that I made it to the top at all.

Rebecca seemed to tolerate baby sitting pretty well.

Written by David Wilkerson

7 January 2008 at 10:29 pm

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