Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Footsteps Past and Present

In many ways, yesterday wasn't a terrible re-entry to regular life.  It's never easy getting back to the office, even if I've only been away a day or two.  I'm astonished at all the e-mails that come in a regular day.  I was out of the office for 5 work days, 10 days total, and e-mail came the whole time.  It took much of yesterday morning just to deal with the accumulation of e-mail.

The day had low points; since I woke up in a fairly contented mood, I won't destroy the mood by recounting them.  Instead, let me talk about the high points.

While I was away, I checked e-mails every few days--not the ones from my main workplace, but my private e-mail.  I got a message from my Living Lutheran editor.  She told me that The Lutheran has an electronic newsletter, and that they wanted to run a copy of my recent piece on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 

Of course I said yes.  What a delight to pick up the phone yesterday to find the editor at The Lutheran on the line.  We chatted a bit, and I asked if she was looking for writers.  We talked about my interests, and she said she'd keep me in mind.  I'll start thinking about stories to pitch to her.

I also found out that my earlier editor at The Lutheran has a different post at a sister publication, Gather.  Now is a good time to get back in touch with her.

I ended the day by having an early dinner with colleagues present and past.  We planned to go to the Ft. Lauderdale Historical Society at the New River Inn for a talk on Florida's climate past, present and future.  Yet a different former colleague was giving the presentation. 

We ate at a nearby restaurant that has $5 hamburgers on Mondays.  From there, we could walk to the New River Inn for the presentation.  Two of us were on the team that interviewed and hired the colleague giving the talk.  We've celebrated the completion of the doctoral studies of one of us.  In short, we've been colleagues for so many years that we're now friends.  It was a treat to be with them.

It was an additional treat to explore the RiverWalk area.  I'd never been to that particular section, the oldest part of Ft. Lauderdale.  One of our colleagues brings her students to the area on writing field trips, so she gave us a mini tour complete with interesting background on the history.

It was an interesting juxtaposition to the climate change lecture we'd just heard.  So little of original Ft. Lauderdale still exists, and it's been lost not to rising seas or hurricanes but to development.

But for one evening, we could enjoy a walk along the New River, in the footsteps of ancient Native Americans and traders of all sorts and capitalists of every stripe--as well as ordinary Floridians, out to enjoy a lovely evening, and scruffier types slumped on park benches.  Did they feel the whisper of the history that surrounded us?  Did they think about the future when it would all be under water, both literal and metaphorical?

Likely not.  Many of us choose not to keep competing realities in our heads.  It's similar to the balancing act that many creative types try to maintain.  We work at our jobs that pay the bills, while at the same time giving time and attention to the work that feeds our souls.

If you need some inspiration on that front, here's a great interview with poet and Zen expert Jane Hirshfield.  It's part of what led me to contentment this morning.

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