lundi, novembre 08, 2004

A Spiritual, Magical and Celestial Weekend: "Sometimes You Win"

Here's the weekend in a nutshell - for those of you scoring at home, the tally was 21 bags of leaves. We had a blast raking and bagging (less fun the bagging) and watching TinyE frolic in the piles of crunchy leaves. We took them to the compost in a truck borrowed from a friend. There was a line of cars waiting to drop off leaves. Back in the day, there would have been a burning. Anyway, it's all on video. Good times. Good times.

On Friday, three dear friends: Nikki, Paul and Myles came over for beer and pizza. It was a great time. Nikki is a bit of a Feng Shui buff, and she told us that we had (at least one) good Feng Shui practice (a plant at the top of the stairs; visible when you enter) - maybe she was holding back the bad news. Our front door faces South. I don't know what that means.

On Saturday morning, two friends (Doreen "'Reen" and Tonya) came over to visit, one of them happens to be a nun. We talked about the election, and, like us, they were bummed, even though they are both pro-life. "We are pro-life," they said "but we don't want to force our views on other people."

On Saturday night, I had dinner with my friend Bob. Naturally, the conversation turned to the election. He said two things that really stuck with me...

Bob is a bit of a lobbyist, especially on environmental issues. He told a story about how he first got involved in lobbying. He was tracking a bill that was in committee. He went and met with each committee member, and after meeting with them, he called a friend who was helping him learn to lobby, and he told her "I think it will pass 6 votes to 4." She said "that's great, Bob."

When the time for the vote came, he went to the committee meeting. One of the legislators who said he would vote in favor of the bill was not there. Another was wearing sunglasses during the hearing. A third left as soon as the roll was called. In the end, the bill died in committee 0 votes to 9. Bob called his friend. He was despondent. He asked her "how do you do this?" And she said "well Bob, sometimes you win."

The second thing that stuck with me: during dinner, Bob was asked "do you still have hope?" He said "yes." He quoted Tennessee Williams who said "there is only the trying..."

Oh, to tell the story right, I should tell you three things: first, the dinner took place at the largest private residence I have ever been in during my entire life (dinner was served in a 3,000 square foot ballroom). Second, there were 150 people at the dinner. Third, you might know Bob as Robert Redford. It was a magical night, and it was really fun to meet "Bob." Here's a transcript of our conversation:

Bob: "Hi Duf"
Duf: "Hi. Mr. Redford. I'm on the board of MCEA, and thanks for coming out to support us."
Bob: "Thanks for the work you do on behalf of the environment."
Duf: "Did you just get here, or did you arrive early enough to enjoy the weather?"
Bob: "No, I got here early. It was a gorgeous day. Did you enjoy it?"
Duf: "I did, we spent the day raking leaves and getting ready for winter."
Bob: "Sounds like fun, nice to meet you Duf."
Duf: "Thanks again for coming."
Bob: "Thank you, Duf."

Then, to end the weekend, I made some of my "$15 - what a crock chili" (so named because if you went to the store and just bought the ingredients for this one dish, it would cost you $15 and because you make it in a crock pot). And our friend Randy came over for dinner. Mrs. Duf made cornbread.

Just after dinner, our neighbors called to tell us to come out and look at the Northern Lights. We did, and they were spectacular. Dancing spirals of green light. Energy from the sun, bouncing off the poles - relected back in the form of light. The sound of voices throughout our neighborhood enjoying the show. A sense of unity. This overwhelming belief that we are together, even though we are divided - that energy can be multiplied and combined to create something spectral and amazing. A sense of proportion too, a sense of insignificance - this belief that as time is measured on our ancient orb, there have been all manner of days. Some characterized by utter darkness and others by dancing green lights and God's majesty and grace so plainly visible for all the (northern) world to see.

Nights like that make you reflective and contemplative. You think about how wonderful it is to live in the world, even when your world doesn't agree with you. You realize that some weekends are so amazing you will remember them forever.

Yes, it is true: there is only the effort, and yes, there are times when the chips don't fall your way. A spiritual, magical and celestial weekend will give way to a dismal weekend will come. A dismal weekend will give way to a spiritual, magical, celestial and amazing weekend. It is the nature of a world that exists on a spinning planet: sometimes you lose, yes, yes, it's true; but sometimes...(savor it)...sometimes you win.