Sunday, September 11, 2005


Northern Lights

There was a fantastic display of northern lights over the city last night. Unlike other folks that check the aurora forecasts or even subscribe to newsletters that inform recipients of upcoming displays, I am always pleasantly surprised when there is an especially good show. In this case, my daughter called from a friend's house to let Kerri and I know we should go outside and look up.

Northern lights have a compelling magic about them - some say you can actually hear an especially active display and I have always been susceptible to seeing divine influence in the aurora, a sort of large scale ever-changing painting by God. On a frigid December night 10 years ago, I pulled my car into a side road and stood under the aurora and cried, begging for guidance and direction, desperate to be heard. A week later, on the day after Christmas, my house and all my worldly possessions burned to the ground with my sons and I narrowly escaping with the clothes on our backs. I guess that period of my life perhaps demonstrates better than any how stubborn I can be because the easiest thing would have been to move back in with my ex-wife - instead, I spent the rest of that Alaskan winter in an unheated 16 foot travel trailer in the driveway of my former house, bringing endless loads of rubble to the dump each day after work in the bed of my Ford Ranger.

In my mind, that night spent standing along side the road talking to the northern lights, tears freezing in my beard, will always be linked to the fire a week later and I am reminded of that every time I see the aurora. In God At The Edge, Jewish Rabbi Niles Goldstein does a great job exploring the idea that faith is often found and grows best in times of hardship. I know from experience that years I spent alone and often challenged by life's circumstances have taught me valuable lessons about myself and society that could probably not be learned any other way.

Today is the 11th anniversary of my Mom's death and I miss her very much. I'd like to think she is proud of me and most of the choices I have made and the paths I have chosen along the road to my apex.

I have no doubt that your mom is proud of you. You have reached within yourself to move forward, something that many never do. You have kept your heart pure in an unpure world and reached out to other with love. Is this not what moms are all about?
love ya
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