2010

Expect Delight!

Given the fiscal inanities and violent insanities of the last decade, it is best to begin this second decade of the Third Millenium filled with hope. One does not want to start this new decade hopeless.

So choose hope, in spite of the lack of supporting evidence!  Better yet, go beyond hope to expectation!

After all, looking with loathing upon a worm busily and efficiently decimating the leaves on your growing vegetables, could you guess that the butterfly it becomes in just a little while will delight those very same loath-filled eyes?  

Expect to be delighted in 2010!  

(It will only cost you a few vegetables)

1.  Impressions on reading Forbidden Religion, Suppressed Heresies of the West, edited by J. Douglas Kenyon. X

2.  Impressions on reading The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity  by Jeffrey J. Bütz. X

3.  Photos, once lost, now found, of a 1995 hike up Mt. Charleston, northwest of Las Vegas.
4.  Daniel C Dennett's latest book had a title that attracted me.  Did it live to its title's promise?  Partly, yes.  And what was this attracting title?  Breaking the Spell, Religion as a Natural Phenomenon X

5.  Several photo pages from a late Fall 2009 visit to southern Virginia, including (1) A historic mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway, (2) Where our daughter lives in Floyd Township, (3) Santa's First Visit to the Meadows of Dan, (4) A deck built in large part by our daughter's significant other, (5) Lovers' Leap, where a couple escaped prejudice.  Finally (6)  A short hike with copious and beautiful vegetation plus a few blood-sucking ticks.

6.  Impressions on reading Frank Wilczek's The Lightness of Being; Mass, Ether and the Unification of Forces, a truly readable overview of progress in modern physics by a Nobel Laureate (published in 2008).X

7.   Vienna once more in 2010, with visits to: The Wienerwald again, this time near Vienna;  The Seegrotte near Hinterbrühl; An in-depth comparison of the plague monuments of Vienna and Baden, with emphasis on the artistic treatment of women in general, and Mary Magdalene in particular (warning: artwork with some nudity will be displayed and discussed)

8.  Book Review:  The Time for Falling Bodies to Take to Light  by William Irwin Thompson (combined with a note about Paulo Coelho's The Winner Stands Alone). X
9.  A job-hunting trip to New Mexico landed me in Texas and brought me to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  Although time was quite limited, I was able to take two short hikes in this national park: Dog Canyon and McKittrick Canyon.  I will have to go back and do serious hikes, but these pages will hopefully give you some of the flavor of this park.

10.  Flying to El Paso with a side trip (by car) to the Sacramento Mountains near Alamogordo, New Mexico, for a short Dog Canyon hike.

11.  A promise kept after 6 years! A RETURN to the Amargosa River, this time at China Ranch.
12.  Impressions while reading  a book on the Albigensian Crusade by Mark Gregory Pegg: A Most Holy War.  The issue of whether or not Cathars ever existed is addressed. X

13.  Impressions while reading Otto Rahn's Crusade Against the Grail, The Struggle Between the Cathars, the Templars, and the Church of Rome (2006, first English translation by Christopher Jones).  This is a book that took me back to the 1990s when I first "discovered" and read all I could about ideal, esoteric courtly love.  X

14.  Impressions from reading Reading on Life after Death by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (Celestial Arts 2008) and also The Field, The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynne McTaggart (Harper 2008).  These two books  provoked many thoughts. mostly pleasant ones.  There is only one review, either link will take you there.   X

14.  Graz, Austria: a three-hour tour to Austria's second largest city, a center for education and an all-around scenic place.

15.  An old newspaper article about our arriving in the US from the Netherlands.  An article sent by an old friend of my brother Jack, the one whose visit led to our arriving in the US as "refugees" just 6 months later.

16.  My younger brother, Alex, carried on an email exchange with our mother that I was not really aware of until after her death when Alex composed a farewell tribute to our parents using our mother's words from her emails, and illustrated it with some photos.  Now with the fifth anniversary of her departure coming up I looked at this tribute again and it occurred to me that I can scan this and put it on this web site as a PDF!  So I did.  Alex wrote it and provided the pictures to our mutual friend Caroline, in Virginia, who produced a book of 40 pages.  In my copy she inserted an additional page, the cover of a book I had told her that my mother liked:  Esoteric Christianity by Annie Besant. That book is not mentioned in Alex's tribute, but I have discussed it elsewhere on this site.  X

17.  July 2010 and a flashback to 1976 and a road trip over the Kaiparowits Plateau, Utah.

18.  Sitting Bull Falls not far from Carlsbad, New Mexico, where springs feed a stream and several pools and a set of falls.  All that water supports beautiful riparian areas full of color and life that contrast markedly with the surrounding Chihuahuan desert.  A comparison is made with the falls on the river Piedra in Spain because it also creates a separate world in a dry setting, on a larger scale but with the same magical effect.

19.  Speaking of riparian settings, on my last trip home to Las Vegas, we explored two areas where water comes out of the ground in and near the Red Rock Recreation Area  just west of the city.  I have several pages listed on my Nevada page that have some portion of Red Rock on this site already, but the two places we visited this time were "new" to us.

20.  I read parts of an older book by Richard Kirby called The Mission of Mysticism and found it to have its primary theme in common with Stephen R Covey's book The Divine Center, Why We Need a Life Centered on God & Christ & How We Attain It (yes this is the famed "7-steps" Covey).  In response, I received a note of disagreement from a very astute online reader, a note which is attached here.  In light of that note, I admit I was unfair in judging part of Kirby's book.  X

21.  Another Paris trip, and visits to several places that were new to me, two parks, a mosque, a museum and the top (well, nearly so) of a cathedral!

22.  A day trip by train to Blois, where Joan of Arc prepared her flotilla with which she sailed upstream and liberated Orleans.  But I saw no evidence of that, instead I saw flowers, a chateau, the inside of a cathedral, and the inside of a particularly impressive church.

23.  With dazzling Fall colors on display it did my heart good to make a hike into  McKittrick Canyon (Texas) , on 5 November, up to "the Notch" in the north ridge that terminates the canyon (it is called South McKittrick Canyon beyond the Notch). Eight days later, I repeated the same trek but this time only started taking pictures once past the Notch.  I did not go far past the Notch.  Colors were already subdued by this time, 8 days made a difference,  but I enjoyed making the trek into this beautiful, and interesting, canyon just the same.

24.  It is almost a month later. December 2010, and I took a long walk along the Tejas Trail from Dog Canyon up to see the view from Lost Peak.  This walk caused me to gain about 1,500 feet (about 500 meters) in elevation and taxed my ability to do this sort of thing.  But of course I will do more of it because it is both fun and a challenge.

25.  Something quite different: no great mountains or stunning colors, except at sunset.  A large but rather shallow depression in the earth.  A karst feature going by the name of Nash Draw, about 25 or so miles east from Carlsbad, New Mexico. It has salt (sodium salt) and potash (potassium salts) mines, both open and closed, and an honest to goodness salt lake called Laguna Grande de la Sal.

End 2010:  It has been a terrible year for my family and myself, but each day we attempt to do the best with what is given us.  

I hope 2011 will seem like heaven compared to a very trying 2010 (it would not take much: 2010 seriously sucked, despite my hope-filled title for this page).

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