I think I can, I think I can . . . write a short blog post for once! Hang a virtual sign on the virtual door handle reading, Gone Out Walking. Because it’s that kind of morning: first clear blue day in over a week, with temperatures forecast to climb into the 50s or even 60s. At this rate, the last of our snowpack (on the north-facing side of the gap, right above the railroad tracks) may be gone by the weekend. Trailing arbutus is already starting to blossom, but I’m hoping this weather will bring out the shadbush. Those first splotches of white, contrasting with the red/orange blush of maple on the otherwise bare, brown mountainsides always fill me with delight. Well, “delight” doesn’t begin to express it, but . . . If I may indulge in a flagrant abuse of Christian jargon, this first major blooming event signals for me a transition from Nature’s kenosis (self-emptying, self-limitation) to pleroma (fullness, abundance). (Incidentally, anyone who’s stopping by in the vain hope of actually learning something about the via negativa can ponder what the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has to say about kenosis.)

A stray thought from the vaults:

Nature writer and anthropologist Richard Nelson once wrote, “There may be more to learn from climbing the same mountain a hundred times than from climbing a hundred different mountains.” Yes, but one shouldn’t imagine that all discoveries are equally joyous. In my bleaker moods, I think: pain is simply the price of understanding. Of taking a stand.

But aside from the wordplay, what the heck does understanding have to do with taking a stand? I am such a sloppy thinker . . .

And now there’s a stray dog on my doorstep. Gotta go.

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