On Pink Paper, Please

z_wine_spillGood afternoon from my office,

Just when I thought the workload might decrease, we are back to the drawing board on a task here in the department. So, Tuesday we will regroup and see what the next options are. I am glad I have such amazing committee members. The reference to “pink paper” will be understood by those for whom the title is meant. . . . it is actually two days later and I have been working on other things simply managing the daily things that are necessary. I am actually sitting in my office, where it seems I have getting more and more accomplished. That is good thing. This last couple weeks I got a book review accepted and later today (and maybe yet tonight depending on my stamina and the weather) I hope to have the majority of an article written, and certainly to have it done by Tuesday evening. This semester, I have a very long Monday. Actually it is so packed I get little done outside of merely running from one thing to the next.

The thing that I believe is dragging all down is the weather. I am one of those few, who, perhaps, might even go as far as to say I enjoy the winter. However, I am tired of it also. I had to smile because the other day I wrote a letter to “winter” asking it to go away (note, I did not use a gender specific pronoun here and that was intentional). I am not sure my letter was valued as we are supposed to get yet another wintery mix of &%*!~(^ yet this afternoon and evening. One of my geo-sciences colleagues has been keeping the latest models updated on his facebook. I can only hope that whatever comes is short-lived and a hint of Spring might soon be here.

During the past few weeks, I have been provided with a sense of hope for this world around us. While there are so many things that might cause a person to lament, become disillusioned, cease caring, or adopt a living-style that includes Hermitage (hmmmm – that might be an idea and I actually have some I think), there have been some phenomenal gifts I have been fortunate enough to witness. All too often, when I am merely observing the goings-on around me or listening to comments from a variety of people about those others from whom they should care, or reading even papers or blogs or other postings, the vitriolic comnments, disapproving looks, and disenchanted attitudes seem to spew, laser-beam, or create an affect that generates much more hate than care. In the midst of this, I have had the chance to see something quite the contrary. I have been fortunate enough to be allowed into the lives of a brother and sister from whom we could learn a great deal. They have, perhaps, the most amusing, loving, and respectful relationship I think I have ever observed. They are profoundly different and yet alarmingly the same. They can read each others’ minds. They speak without speaking, and that is not only when they are in the same space, it is while they are on the planet together. Little as far as chronology, but larger in physicality, the brother is smart, witty and a prankster. The sister, with the opposite pre-noted attributes, has a more serious demeanor, but is wise well beyond the time she has spent here. Together, they are formidable, but still accessible. I am reminded of the biblical text about “many will try, but few will [find them]”.

Watching them has prompted me, pushed me, required me, to consider my own existence in ways I have not for a while. The persons I have known to be most like this would be my grandmother, Louise (I have mentioned her before), and her elder sister, Helen. While I am not sure I ever really thought about their relationship in this way until I began to work on this blog, I know that their individual homes were the two places I felt safe and loved when I was a child. While I did not know it as a small child, my grandmother had some issues that created chaos in her life (she did get those issues managed), but during that chaos, it was her older sister (who was quite tiny), and my Great-aunt Helen, who took care of her in a number of ways. What I know looking back is her care was given unconditionally, it was given lovingly, it was given unabashedly. They lived 70 miles away from each other, but I am going to assume that they spoke regularly. It would be interesting to see what they might have been like in today’s world with technology. After thinking about them, I did some searching and found out when my Aunt Helen and Uncle Melvin were married. I know it was a second marriage for him. She was married in the chapel of a college in Kentucky. Wow!! My Great-uncle, Clement was a pastor. I did know that. Amazing what I have dug up in a few minutes. This is something I can use in my classes too.

More importantly, what this is really about is asking a simple question: how does one exhibit the love that demonstrates a honest sense of valuing that other person, not merely being infatuated or selfish in what one gives (supposedly gives)? Can we be altruistic in our care and love? I think I am beginning to believe it is possible, but mostly because I can reflect on an example in my own family and then see it in two amazing people I have been blessed to have come into my own life at this point . . . gracias por su ejemplo asombroso y vivificante.

Thank you for reading.

Dr. Martin (aka: an older student as I am always learning)

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