Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Angels and Epiphanies

Yesterday morning, I had another successful motorcycle session.  My spouse followed behind me on the bigger motorcycle, just in case I got in any trouble that I couldn't get myself out of.

Our neighborhood is on a grid, so I went in a loop across the less-travelled part of the streets--it was about a mile to cover the whole loop.  I only stalled the bike twice--as with manual transmissions in cars, when I'm in first gear, I want to release the clutch too quickly--or I forget to release it at all (that might be a secret to success, now that I think of it).

I confess to not stopping at stop signs--not even a rolling stop.  I slowed down to see if there was oncoming traffic; when there was a car, I came to a complete stop.  No traffic?  I rolled right through.  I need to stop doing that.  I'm on city streets, after all, not a practice course.  If I get a ticket, I'll be annoyed with myself.

We thought we might ride again in the afternoon, but it was not to be.  We had an extensive conversation with a representative from a solar company--we have decided to put solar panels on our roof.  In a way, it's not cost-effective--we won't start recouping our investment until 8-10 years from now.  But we get more attic insulation as part of the deal and a tankless water heater.  We were going to need to replace our water heater in the not-too-distant future.  There's a tax credit for doing all of this, and I won't be surprised if 2016 is the last year for this credit.

I tend to think of us as people who move frequently, but we haven't been those people in many years.  We stayed in our last house for over 10 years.  We know that we want to stay in this house until we're old, and we hope that rising sea levels won't outpace us.

Between our motorcycle riding and our solar consultation, we lounged by the pool and in the pool--yes, in the pool on December 29!  It was chilly at first, but I got used to it.  I want 2016 to be the year of more swimming/exercising in the pool.

I told my spouse about my dream where the Angel Gabriel appeared and sang, "My Dog Has Fleas"--that classic used to tune the ukulele.  I said, "There can be no doubt in my mind--I am supposed to buy a ukulele and learn to play.  I am sure that the Angel Gabriel meant to tell me that there are songs that only I can sing, that the world waits in eager anticipation for my compositions." 

My spouse said, "How can there be any doubt?"

I love my spouse.  I love that I can say such things, and that he's not appalled by my irreverent humor.  I love the fact that although we both laugh, we're both a bit serious too.

I plan to turn it all into a poem.  At some point in the future, some industrious grad student will look at my papers and wonder why I return to angels again and again.  It's partly the time of year, of course.  I'm part of a liturgical church, and the texts return us to angels periodically.  I'm also part of a society that embraces angels and uses them to their own purposes.

This morning I was going back through blog posts to determine how I spent the last days of the last several years.  I came across this blog post which had strong elements that could be combined into a poem. I pulled out my trusty purple legal pad, and then I thought, why am I doing it this way?

The answer:  because that's what I always do.  This morning, I decided to skip a few steps.  I created a Word document and posted the chunk of blog post into it.  Then I played:  I made sentences into lines, and I added bits and pieces.  It's a poem that thinks about the angels that appear throughout the Christmas stories with important messages.  I began by pasting together all the angel messages and had a rhyme that I didn't anticipate:

"Go to Bethlehem and see,
Don’t go back to Herod, Flee."

You may or may not recognize the message to the shepherds, the message to the Wise Men, and the message to Mary and Joseph about the murderous Herod.  I may take those 2 lines and see what else I could do with a more formalist approach.  I envision a different poem altogether, not a reworking of what I created this morning.

The poem considers the distant wise men, studying the stars and thus present for the epiphany.  It ends this way:

"The stars sing a softer song
than those angel choirs,
a song that most of us will never hear."

It's been a great morning already.  Now it's off to spin class, and to see what else the day brings.

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