Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moving day...

100 posts. I started this blog at the beginning of 2006 and have posted inconsistently ever since. I'll be honest and say that while I'm proud of many of the posts written here, I was always disappointed by the lack of discipline in which I posted. I started strong, lost steam and have been wrestling with how to get it back ever since.

I think I found the answer: My blogs tend to be long, and the longer I go without writing one, the greater I feel the need to write something meaningful. The truth is, there are a lot of things I want to write about that are meaningful to me for different reasons; some require much explanation and some don't, but I believe it all to be connected. And to encourage the pursuit of this connection, I've decided to start a new blog.

I will gradually expound on the why in the new blog, and there's even a post or two already there to get you started. From now on, my blogging will live at and I hope you'll follow me there.

If you're reading this, you've stuck with this blog and I thank you. You've allowed me to share my thoughts freely: some things that were true to me at the time and many things that hold true now. I hope you find your way over to the new one, and that you find a lot more to read over there.

Cheers and a very happy New Year...

Monday, September 28, 2009

writing in the sky...

For the last week, I have been reading Pirsig’s thoughts rather intently. I’ve a ways to go and intend to discuss it at length in due time, but here, from this altitude, I can’t help but feel it is time for my own. He was right–windows have a way of framing the world, like looking into some moving photograph. I am a spectator, not a participant at this altitude, from this seat.

When the plane is surrounded entirely by cloud, you always feel like it’s turning, spiraling, or diving for the ground. Without the earth below, there is no sense of orientation; I get why pilots lose their bearing and disappear all together. The plane finally clears the cloud, like a break high in an alpine canyon wall, to reveal the valley below: fields and river beds, crevasses made of cloud like cotton stuffing stretched thin. Large nimbus puffs look like the great rust hued rock monuments of the American west. We still cannot see the ground below but this is a world unto itself.

I wonder what the clouds are telling us and wish I paid better attention in Earth science. I imagine the ground below and what the weather is like there. Above this cottony bed is a high mass of definition-less white and gray–no real shape to speak of but certainly the same type of cloud that bounced us around earlier. Above that, higher still are the thin wisps of cirrus, I believe. My memory tells me those clouds are ice, drifting through atmosphere reserved for spy planes, astronauts or something divine.

I’m presently disappointed by my inability to predict the ground weather, to read the clouds I have such a fortunate view of. I’ve lived my whole life watching them, often cursing their offerings, assigning personality and shape to them. Why this sudden interest in their meaning?

Perhaps I am tired of rain. All these clouds certainly mean moisture and Nashville has looked more like Seattle this month; I am quite tired of it. But maybe it is something else entirely. Fall is close and I can feel it coming. Every year I wait for it. I long for it. I have even prayed for it. Something happens as the trees prepare and begin their seasonal death like magic; I come alive. Summer heat sits heavy on me, less so this year on account of an insanely joyful summer, but by September, my heart and spirit grow heavy and ache for fall breezes, long nights on the porch and mountain air. It comes every year and I need it.

If I knew more about the clouds, perhaps I could see the weather ahead, read Fall’s fortune for a glimpse of hope that it is waiting for me on the ground below. I love Tennessee in the Fall.

But deeper still, my heart is wondering what’s ahead, looking for signs of the next season. Perhaps God sits over the weather, raising and stirring the clouds to write directions in the sky. Through this window, it’s hard to tell what is a picture and what is experience but I can’t help but look anyway.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Out of the Silent Planet

Prior to the honeymoon, Sarah and I made a trip to Borders where I picked up this book. It is the first installment of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy and the first book I've read to completion in several months. It was a good feeling.

This book grabbed me from the moment I saw it on the shelf. Out of the Silent Planet. What a great name for a book! The third book also bodes well–That Hideous Strength. I really think a writer could spend their whole life trying to come up with titles that strong and compelling and I think they're right up there with books like Bonfire of the Vanities and The Sound and the Fury. But I digress.

The book tells the story of Ransom, a philologist who is walking cross country on his summer vacation. The story opens on a damp road, gray like ash and shining from a setting sun and fresh rain. Ransom, to keep a promise, works his way into the garden of a shabby home, only to find two professors, Weston and Devine, with whom he is professionally acquainted. The two men are clearly up to something, but before Ransom figures it out, he is drugged and rendered unconscious. Upon waking, it rapidly becomes clear he has been kidnapped by Weston and Devine and is traveling on a space ship, landing, after several weeks, on a planet called Malacandra. The gravity is less there, and plants, mountains and creatures grow like spires in a way the heavier pull of Earth cannot allow.

As you might guess then, Earth is "The Silent Planet". Ransom is perplexed by this name, as was I, but a few different characters put the pieces together. Without giving too much away, there is a spiritual side to the story, a larger idea that connects the various planets together. Earth, or Thulcandra as these characters call it, became a place where evil, or bent people thrived. As this progressed, Earth lost contact with the greater entity of the planets, becoming intellectually closed off and self-interested. Earth grew silent.

While I do not wish to spoil anything else in the story, I must express my attachment, in the wake of this novel, to Malacandra. Lewis paints such a vivid picture of an unfamiliar landscape and ecology, and probes the roots of the human soul and the divine consequences of evil. This is so much more than science fiction and I'm glad to have read it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

good morning from great falls...

Hello there, it's been a while. This is that post that bloggers write after months of inactivity, in which I pledge my desire to update more regularly. Simply put, 2009 has been the craziest, most wonderful year of my life. Where blogging has typically been the result of a lot of free time—they're usually long, I'll be honest–free time has been scarce, and what time I've had hasn't been spent this way, but that's been fine with me. So, here's a post, but no promises.

It's August 15th and I just took a walk in 47 degree air. I cannot begin to express how good it felt. I don't like to sweat unless I'm doing something that warrants it, and while I love Tennessee, the summers really wear me out. As a wedding gift, Sarah gave me a replacement for this old blue Patagonia fleece of mine, which has been my version of Linus's blanket. I've worn it constantly for years, all over the world. It's been repaired by the factory twice, and it's wearing thin. Most of you who have known me know this fleece, and Sarah, in a very touching gesture, gave me a new black one for me to wear out during the course of our life together. Where the Tennessee summer hasn't allowed me to really wear it, this northern Montana air is perfect, so here I sit on my motel bed, window open, black fleece on, taking in the first bit of prolonged solitude I've had in several months; taking in, but not necessarily relishing.

I am fiercely introverted, easily exhausted by the constant presence of a lot of people and consider the time I have to myself precious. I shut down sometimes talking to people after a busy or long day, get quiet, glaze over; if you've known me long enough to know the "blue fleece", you've probably noticed this too. The wedding season, as you might imagine, has been exhausting; wonderful, but exhausting. Where Sarah and I had little time to really allow for much solitude, we replaced it with each other–hanging out, working out wedding plans, running errands, whatever it was. Before the wedding, our lives really started to become our life. Our wedding was amazing and worth all the work, but with every passing day, we longed more and more, not for our individual solitude, but for the collective peace and privacy of a life together. Now we have it, and two months into the marriage, it's hard to remember what life was like before it.

So here I am, traveling for the weekend in Montana, with the cool, western air blowing through my window, and I feel restless. Pre-marriage Whit would have begged for this, but now I honestly don't know what to do with all this time. I miss my wife...

While everyone of us needs to be alone with our thoughts from time to time, and while I know my inner introvert could use this time emotionally and spiritually, I am having to learn how to do this all over again. Where this quest for solitude was once the point, not only of this blog, but of much of my spare time, it has very quickly become a supplement to a greater point. I couldn't begin to explain marriage and do it any sort of justice, but what I do know is that two months of marriage has rendered 26 years of being single obsolete; I love being married. So here's to rediscovering solitude, but even more, here's to discovering the more perfect picture that now is my life. Cheers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


We’re right in the middle January, the coldest night of the year so far, and the metro schools are closed tomorrow. I’m sure it’s because the school buses don’t have adequate heat for the kids, but it still seems irrational to me. Maybe I’m just jealous because jobs don’t have snow days written into the budget. Truth be told I love these bitter (in the Tennessee sense), cold nights; the entire winter could be just like this. I like to look at the moon on a night like tonight - it always seems brighter somehow, it’s light hard and crisp, like the earth gives up a measure of its darkness. A moon on a night like tonight leads a man to wonder. Tonight, sadly, I can’t see it anywhere.

It’s hard to believe two full weeks of 2009 have already passed. 2008 ended and the new year began without the first inclination that any change had happened. Sarah's and my wedding is only five months and five days away and we’ve been engaged four months now, yet in my mind, it still feels like something happening next year. I never really believed people who told me that life only gets faster and faster as you get old, but I think it’s finally sinking in. I can’t wait till June, it can’t get here fast enough, which is probably why it still feels so far away, but every time stop to think about how long it actually is, it’s much closer than I think. This is the year I get married and as I consider 2009, it’s the only thing I can think about.

Now this is the time in the blog where you start talking about resolutions. I don’t have many this year to specifically speak of. Most of them are things I don’t consider resolution worthy, just life worthy. I’ve resolved in the past to run and get in shape, but I’ve never done it and I’ve always felt guilty about it. This year something funny happened, however, and I all of a sudden started working out and now three months later here I am going to the Y every day. This was no resolution, just a decision I made one day and it stuck. I wanted to get in shape this past year (I’m still not but I’m working on it) and I really think it’s sticking because I finally entered a place in my life where I really wanted it. I want to take ownership over my finances. I want to memorize an entire book of the Bible. I want to be a better steward of my gifts. I want to practice and play guitar more, not just trying to maintain a level of consistency in my playing, which I’m not, but actually work to a point where I’m growing in my musicianship again. I want to write more consistently, shorter thoughts if I have to, just something to help me find time for contemplation in the midst of such a busy season. But I can’t just resolve to these things, I have to want them. I have to do them.

All that being said, I’m excited for what this year holds. Marriage is the most exciting thing I have ever had to look forward to, and I can’t wait to share more about it in the coming months. I really do want to do this more, the whole blog thing, but I’ve been saying that a lot of the last year. I’ve got some ideas for some posts coming up so please do check back and we’ll see what happens. For now, it’s late - sort of - and I’m tired and I think I’d like to turn the lights out for a few minutes before I fall asleep and see if I can catch a glimpse of moon. Happy new year.