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Posts Tagged ‘canaveral national seashore’

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 134                             Consecutive Days Blogging: 116

Today’s Mileage:  5                                             Total Trip Mileage: 943

Ideals at what costs?

Yesterday I blogged about the Canaveral National Seashore and then did an abrupt shift to talk about the faculty recital that I had just witnessed.  Clearly we can spend time analyzing the meaning of things, like nature, and their significance in an intellectual way.  We can also “be in the moment,” turning off our analyze functions and just experiencing the music and lyrics.  I’m reminded that the importance of nature is not in what it stands for, as much as it is in the experience it provides to us.  It can be a unifying and transcending experience that I believe is available to us if we open ourselves up to it and listen.

Hoping for a different outcome!

I wasn’t sure what I was going to blog on today as we continue to ride up the coast.  Tomorrow we will turn west to catch an important pilgrimage site before we turn toward Jacksonville and St. Augustine.  I started the day drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper.  I had to chuckle at a cartoon which showed two people living in a cave when the man says to the women: “if you keep harping on the $#@! Results, you’ll NEVER be able to see what a perfectly sound economic theory it was!”  I have had similar discussions with individuals about political theory, theological theory, and psychology theory.  It is important to have a theory to guide our decisions.  However theories must be tested with the “data” and adjusted accordingly.

Years ago I had a colleague who spent twenty years researching a particular area of study.  He had published books on the topic and was a nationally recognized expert.  Then after a series of new discoveries, made by other researchers, it became obvious that his theory no longer explained the data, and that a new competing theory was better.  Like a good scientist he published a statement acknowledging the validity of a new theory.  It takes a strong and secure person to admit that their ideas are no longer supported.  Only then can a person truly move on and make good decisions, otherwise you are just doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome.

As I drove to the university I heard a piece on the radio news announcing a proposed law in my state.   The topic is a hot button issue for many people and occurs against the larger backdrop of stories about people sufferings (e.g., Haiti, unemployment).  Politicians in Washington struggle with how to deal with so many people out of work, so many people running out of unemployment, so many people losing their homes, so much suffering!  With this backdrop of human suffering what I see is a need for compassionate responses.  A need for decisions that actually take into account those who are suffering!

In the mean time, a state legislator from my state has proposed that coverage for any abortion, for any reason be dropped from all state health plans.  If this proposal becomes law my state will turn to a young woman, a victim of rape carrying a pregnancy she did not want and tell her, sorry there’s nothing we can do!  My state will turn to a young woman a victim of the most hideous breach of trust, a victim of incest, who is carrying an unwanted pregnancy and say to her, sorry there’s nothing we can do!  My state will turn to a woman in danger of losing her life because of a threatening pregnancy and say to her, her husband and family, sorry there’s nothing we can do!

Ideals for all of us!

Why can’t we do the obvious and offer them the option of terminating the pregnancy of resuming a somewhat normal life or saving their life?  We can’t because we are striving for an ideal, an ideal world in which there are no abortions.  If we create such a law are we really moving closer to this ideal world?  Will there be less rape, less incest, fewer unwanted pregnancy, fewer pregnancy related deaths.  Is this ideal world a place without compassion, where the only concern is for the “pregnancy” whether wanted or not?  Ideals are important, ideals are benchmarks we can work toward, and ideals help us redouble our efforts toward our goal.  However, an approach that champions “ideals at all costs” ignores the cost of their positions, ignores the victims and becomes another variation of “ends justify the means.”

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Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 133                             Consecutive Days Blogging: 115

Today’s Mileage:  10                                             Total Trip Mileage: 938

On a sand pilgrimage!

 I am writing today’s blog as I sit in the lobby of the Carroll McDaniel Petrie School of Music.  My partner Susan is giving a faculty recital in a short time and I figured I might as well do something useful and stay out of the way.

Today we are going to ride through the Canaveral National Seashore just up the coast from the Kennedy Space Center.  I have included it on my list of Pilgrimage and Retreat sites as a Nature Site and a Historical Site.   A Nature Site is described as a location where nature’s beauty may leads to an experience of wonder and awe and a sense of connectedness with that which is greater than us all, the divine.  I reserve this distinction for locations like National Parks. 

Situated on a barrier island the Canaveral National Seashore features 24 miles of pristine, undeveloped beach and dunes.  The Atlantic Ocean pounds the eastern shore, while to the west is Mosquito Lagoon.  The Site includes historical buildings and a Historical Interpretive Park highlighting the history of the local Native Americans and the early encounters among the natives and European explorers.  In addition to the beautiful beach and stunning sunrises the area is home to abundant wildlife. 

Sacred Sands!

The title for today’s blog was taken from an article by Lynn Ross-Bryant in the Journal Religion and American Culture. The author makes the argument that the U.S. National Parks have played a central role in the unifying discourse of America since their inception after the Civil War.  She argues that the parks were able to serve this role because of the close alliance between nature and nation.  Nature “set apart” in the parks becomes the embodiment of an archetypal America, which was the ever-pristine source of greatness of the nation and people.  As such she argues that the parks serve as a sacred site and a unifying symbol of US culture.  She believes that by approaching the parks as pilgrimage sites, you can examine the American values that are embodied in them.

**** Time for the recital to begin****

I now sit in reflection, memories of sweet notes swirl about me like embers dancing about a blazing fire. As I listened to Susan sing I was particularly drawn to the words of one song entitled: Sweet Chance That Lead My Steps Abroad.  They read:

Sweet chance that lead my steps abroad

beyond the town where wild flowers grow.

A rainbow and a cuckoo,

Lord, how rich and great the times are now!

Know all ye sheep and cows

that keep staring that I stand so long

in grass that’s wet from heavy rain,

A rainbow and a cuckoo’s song

may never come together again,

may never come this side the tomb.

A rainbow and a cuckoo’s song

may never come together again.

These lyrics remind us that we can get lost in intellectual discussions about the symbolic meaning of national parks and nature, or we can get lost in the experience of nature.  The choice is ours, the experience of nature is usually only steps way!

 

Sacred light from the east!

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