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Friday, November 12, 2010

The First Pope

I'll Probably Die With Boots On., originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

Alrighty...this is my first paper, for my Religion 213 class (an overview of the New Testament). Gotta 97! whoo hoo. I made a small edit, and seem to have lost the copy of the file that had my works cited page. I pulled from Scripture, Grace Awakening by Swindoll, and If You Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of the Boat. I have been SO busy, it seems I have no time to write for pleasure, lately. :D
The First Pope

We tend to forget that Simon Peter walked on water. Not that most of us would get the question wrong on a test; it’s just a fact that seems to float under the radar. It seems almost fashionable to take a friendly swipe at Peter anytime he comes up in a conversation, or a sermon. He has had several hi-profile embarrassing moments that Pastors love to use as illustrations. To give Simon Peter credit for a little humility, much of this information is purportedly from his own mouth, recorded by Mark in his Gospel. Peter’s fame for dropping the ball, and his chronic attacks of hoof in mouth overshadow a down to earth forthrightness, an insight into his own shortcomings, and a childlike regard for Jesus. This simple, flawed love for Christ, so easy to poke fun at, was the vehicle chosen by God reveal the ultimate reality. Peter, in spite of all his flaws, intuitively knows that his friend, this man he follows, is the Son of God. Peter’s all too human foibles leaves the common man uneasily aware that, though he may be the antithesis of a spiritual giant, great piety is nonetheless within his grasp and with it the potential (and perhaps obligation) for remarkable performance in furthering the Kingdom of God.
Peter has echoes of everyman within him. We may be judgmental of Peter's hypocrisy, and amazed at his ability to put his foot in mouth. Nonetheless, in our dismay and amusement, as we take note of his performance, he jogs our memory, and we recognize ourselves in his failings as we also see in his faith and bravery a benchmark that we can aspire to. Peter resembles us at our most unflattering and therein lies the attraction: Even Simon Peter can walk on water when he is focused on Jesus. Naturally faith can falter when our attention is centered on our fear. We see this when Peter starts to sink because he “saw the wind” and we relate immediately. The dynamics of this are so familiar they seem almost humorous. We would expect the same of ourselves and privately feel we may have actually lacked the courage to get out of the boat, as over ninety percent of the passengers did that day .
According to Zondervan’s Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Peter and Andrew were fishermen like their father, called John or Jonah, depending on which Gospel you consult. The family had relocated from Bethsaida when Jesus met them in Capernaum, and it is speculated they may have been in business with James and John. Peter also had a mother-in-law with everything that implied.  The Encyclopedia goes on to detail Simon Peter’s prominent role in the New Testament. Not only is Peter the first individual introduced to Jesus by a Disciple (his brother, Andrew) but few dispute Peter’s leadership of the early Church. Galatians (2:8-9) tells us that Peter had a special commission to carry the message to the Jews, and of course Simon Peter is a main character in the gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. Peter is also well represented in early Christian apocryphal writings.
It can seem puzzling, that Jesus left Peter rather than John in charge. We would expect Jesus to entrust the care of his mother to the man who was kindest, closest to him, and most dependable. John also has a less spectacular record in misadventure. In terms of how the World chooses the leader of an important organization, Peter is a dark horse, an unlikely candidate, not the most qualified applicant. Why does Jesus leave Peter in charge?
 Perhaps Peter’s character, with its clay feet, is held up to keep us from discouragement, and provide example and inspiration to people like Peter... people famous for dropping the ball, and  chronic attacks of hoof in mouth. Studying Simon Peter comforts people who aspire to forthrightness, but have an insight into their own shortcomings. People seeking to cultivate a childlike regard for Jesus can look to Peter for an example.  Aware of our less than pristine condition as Simon Peter was (Luke 5:8), we can perhaps come to terms with our audacity as we consider reasoning through doctrine, or accepting a leadership role among our peers. As we look at Peter’s resume we can be reassured that our all-too-visible human nature does not disqualify us from service to God. Though Peter displays cowardice, He grows in stature and later approaches his death with dignified clarity. If we can believe the apocryphal Acts of Peter , Peter requests “I beseech you the executioners, crucify me thus, with the head downward”.
Peter is also famously guilty for having “little faith”, and doubts that can sink a miracle. These memories play a part in shaping the humility Peter develops with maturity. We see the benefits of this in instances where Peter is cautious in his endorsement of doctrine:
For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us  not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols  and from blood and from what has been strangled  and from sexual immorality.   If you keep yourselves from doing these things,  you will do well. Farewell.
Peter was a Jerusalem Rock Star. He was a redneck fisherman who hung with Jesus, and healed people miraculously in public. More then once, the bible portrays Simon Peter as having a defective filter between his brain and his mouth. Now if this man heard audible direction from God, in an environment where such things were known to happen, We would expect him to say something like "God told me that was WRONG”, not to use a word like "seems".  Perhaps this is the proper model for assimilating newcomers of a radically different lifestyle into the Church family. Peter is careful not to present his prayerful consideration as the clear directive of the Holy Spirit.This cuts down on a man's tendency to burn heretics

Monday, September 27, 2010


    When things are good I feel like God is with me. When things are bad...well that's different. Unfairly, something in me cries out in disappointment with God. It is what it is. After all, what does he expect? It is even (possibly) good theology. Just not mine. Rich Stearns puts forth some fascinating writing of what God expects of us in The Hole in Our Gospel, and I agree with him, even to the point of feeling he is a little too gentle with some uncomfortable truths. There is a popular Evangelical concept of personal intimacy with the Maker of All Things, and I struggle with this. Perhaps this intimacy occurs in the invisible world, the connection rooted in the part of my soul that protrudes into it, a spiritual pseudopod. Frankly, God seldom answers my questions in a tangible way, and I have spent greater than average effort and resources to facilitate some type of tangible interactive relationship with this Person. I read a collection of documents about him, bound together in a format that many people worship. These documents place him at the scene, either party to or the driving force behind multiple atrocities.
     They also say he loves me, and simple stories of incredible depth and impact paint a picture of paradox and complexity, seductive with promises of fulfillment and terrifyingly vague about my personal hopes and dreams. Few events build my sense of trust, and the disillusionment of my middle age, has necessitated a much more vigorous seeking in order to retain a faith in God's goodness. Even now, my beliefs dovetail neatly with the biblical principle that God's plan often involves life totally sucking for someone who loves him. Not a comfortable place to be. I have reached few conclusions, but have come up with some pretty good questions.
     There is a cultural ideal in North American Religianity of a personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus of Nazareth. You will hear people relate information obtained by communion with God, descriptions of quite meditations, and wordless spiritual 'listening'. Sudden conviction that a sentence uttered from mortal lips is a message from the Divine. Much of this is nebulous and leaves some people with feelings of unworthiness, and inadequacy...because it doesn't happen to them, or not as consistently.
     Perhaps much of this is bullshit.
     Forgive me, but I've been waiting for years for someone to say it, and I've reached the end of my patience. I realize you may be an exception, but that just proves how special you are. Whether we view God as our father, groom (EWW!), master, or friend, we are undeniably directed to view each other as neighbors, brethren, family.
     Last night one of my sisters in a third world country was beaten and raped while out prostituting because she was hungry. She performs for less than a dollar. She probably was HIV positive, or soon will be. Because she was taken so brutally, she will be to sore to work for a while, and will drop a little further toward death by starvation.
     Meanwhile, I went to a bar upset over a couple personal situations. I called a friend from my small group, and went out to temporarily avoid my feelings. I spent maybe 16 dollars in gas, beer and cigarettes. I went home and was struck by the things that seemed missing in my life in spite of my praying for them, and like most nights when I am in pain, I thought God seems distant, and wondered why, and wished it wasn't so. I wondered why God doesn't talk to me as clearly or as often as I would like, even though he must know that I want this so badly.
     Lately, over the last 90 days or so I have wondered about God as a father, and fathers in general. I think about how a father feels when a child is selfish or thoughtless, and a sibling suffers needlessly because of it. I think about what my Dad would have said if my sister was doing without something she needed, while I had plenty and was distracting myself from my luxury with my sister's salvation. Maybe I should be appreciative of the divine silence, and get off my ass before it comes to an end. Maybe God doesn't speak because he is holding his temper.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blissful Ignorance.

Elsie, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     This is Elsie, at a few weeks old. At this point all the pups were up for grabs, and I actually didn't appreciate the fact that Debbie began naming them. Don't name the pups, I said.  It's not a good idea. The name Elsie evolved because there were two pups with the black and white coloring that made me think of Chik-fil-A, and I had begun refferring to them as 'The Holsteins'. Elsie was the girl, so she got the girl cow name. I was always gonna keep at least one, and wisely, I presented the ugliest puppies first for adoption. This is always the best policy. Elsie was the last pup standing, but I'd had my eye on her for a while. She was family (I have no biological children. I'm blessed to be claimed as a father by Kelsie, something I find mysterious, terrifying, and delightful). Elsie was the third member of my little 1 man 2 dog household, and she's been gone now for a couple weeks.
     I like to walk a little footpath in north Georgia, that makes about a three day circle. A couple times a year. It gives me a quietness inside. A silence that bathes my spirit. I think I am pretty severely ADD. I think if I could live in the mountains, I might be almost normal, my true self. My mind slows and thoughts obtain a rare clarity for me. I was looking forward to trip in the spring, until Chemistry 101 happened. I probably would have been alright, but an out of town job contributed to me falling behind which is not good in chemistry, particularly for a high school dropout with pathetic math skills. I began to fear for my grade. I have bad grades on my transcript from 25 years ago that haunt me. They have kept me out of the school of my choice. Impeccable academic performance by a man in his forties who is sick of life kicking his ass has brought my average up and dreams are looking possible, slightly. Bad grades must not happen again. I pushed back work, reading for pleasure (addict. me.) sleep. Quality time with Debbie. I found killer study aids on Youtube and for six weeks let the rest of my life go to hell. Now I cans configger E-lectrons reel goods, though. Like a mutha fucka, as they say. I guess I spent the summer trying to do the usual financial catchup along with the 6 weeks of academic leave, which hit me in the wallet at a fairly lucrative time of year for a housepainter/carpenter. It was also embarrassing. I am a good student, and chemistry humbled me. Another quarter went by, with no walk in the north Georgia Mountains. Schools back in, and I really felt like a little green solitude was the only thing that would keep sane enough to get through this quarter (This seems pitifully immature, now). I finished up a job and began rushed preparations. I had a sudden brainstorm...I could borrow a canoe and spend three or four days on the Flint River. I could cut my gasoline requirement in half, and take less expensive food. And Beer. I had never taken an overnight canoe trip, but I'm outdoorsy. I've been in a canoe. How hard can it be?

Monday, May 17, 2010

What's in a name?

Fulla Spunk. originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch

     My url is no longer my name. :( this has opened up a couple questions for me. When you buy a domain, who gets that money? What makes them special? how does that work? I guess we'll do a little homework on all that stuff, and probably think over a couple formats. Some of the code in my widgets is irrelevant since the change in uri, so my layout needs much tweaking. If I had a twelve-year old old, I'd make him learn HTML. (No X-box until the blog is updated!). Oh, well. occurs to me I should have a separate photo blog/site.
     Another thing... some of the stuff I think needs to be said on matters of morality, ethics, and God lies outside my testicular umbrella (Read: He doesn't have the balls to write about that shit with his name attached.) so I am thinking about an anonoblog. One last thing...I like the idea of an ongoing conversation of theological amatures. (ya know...the mozilla spellcheck isn't familiar with "amature", but on the web it is most often used in conjunction with "slut". Thanks, Google!) where the resposibility of thinking deeply and coming up with something relevant is spread out amongst a few individuals who think rightly. Of course, I would be the judge of that. LOL.                Chemistry has taken a huge toll. There are no words (that I can come up with at this time...I need to get back to studying) The quarter ends Thursday, and I think a little soul-searching is in order. I have not rambled, whined, speculated, or ranted near as much as I need to, but I will soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

cropped pan SOOC, Tanner and Beethoven

Overexposed...But it grew on me. This is utter unedited, except for the crop. The large aperture letss you use a much faster shutter speed, minimizing your your pictures the clarity of steady hands  I overexpose a lot more stuff with the 50 mil. I love my new lens. Mucho booty kickin'. It makes me look good. This view is through the slats of a little fence I hurriedly threw up... the puppies are off the chain, and roaming about the backyard at will. The stress of having to deal with either an escape attempt or long periods sleeping somewhere I can't find them is ...well, stressful. Yesterday, two of the sons of bitches, talked thier innocent sister, who is my favorite that I may keep, into disappearing for 45 minutes under the shed. I fruited. I was positive a hawk got 'em.
Tanner really looks better on a WHITE background

Courage....orifice is important.

courage., originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

The puppies, chemistry, work are kicking my ass. I miss my life of having a life and blogging occasionally. It has been so long, I had trouble navigating the dashboard. I got a new lens. With an f-stop of 1.4. F-stop refers to the orifice, that hole in your camera it sees the pictures through. I could have gone down to a 1.2, but that 1 leetle step would have added another three or four hundred dollars to an already obscenely expensive lens. This is what is known as fast glass. For natural looking photographs, the best thing is natural light. *boing* . Whodda thunkit?  
     So if you want to capture your loved ones, or the loved ones of your clients at their most uncontrived, and you bill yourself as a natural light portrait photographer you need fast glass, a lens that will permit you to photograph pictures in available indoor light, to avoid the washed look of onboard lighting. This picture of Smokey is through my new fast-ass 50 mil. courage. made it into E X P L O R E.
     E X P L O R E is Flickr's Showcase site, The Cream of the Crop. The top 500 most interesting shots out of a daily upload of 7.2 million . Yes. 7.2 million. There are people who have done this many times. A hundred or more. Some of the best photographers in the world. People who capture breath. I am not of this caliber, and never will be, but it was quite uplifting, to have one pop up to  # 365 before falling to the 400's . I have had that feeling 3 times now. courage. topped out at 365 of 500, my highest ranking to date. Go, me. It was like a goofy teen girl friendship note from God. It gave me a warm fuzzy. Taken with the new lens... one of my first shots with it.

    I must give these puppies away and I don't want to. I must give them away. All of them. I can only keep one (1)
     Or maybe two(2).  
     Or  three (3)
     I need Help.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I got Oppa's finger!

I got Oppa's finger!, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

The year I began attending GMC, I was accustomed to a tax refund somewhere between 1500 and 2000 dollars...It had been that way for years. I lost a minor to the passage of time and this changed, but that year I did not notice due to the homebuyers credit. That was sweet.
This year I noticed. In spite of the greatly reduced income of a small paint and carpentry contractor working his way through school, I managed to owe a buck or two...
Last Thursday, looking at an empty wallet and the overdue bills that I have caught up with my tax refund in the past, I wondered who was gonna handle this.
I got a call the the mother of someone at my church. I picked up a little job
This job pays about the same as a teenager on your taxes...
Thought that was kinda interesting.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lookin' for Trouble

Lookin' for Trouble, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

This non-prose world, called unreal by the rulers of this age, but real to people of faith, is the world entered by the mystic, the contemplative, the visionary, the prophet, the poet...For the modern man, arrived through prose...not intuition, not imagination, not wonder, not awe, not worship, not reverence, not trust, not faith. - Brian D. McLaren.

I tried to read " A Generous Orthodoxy" years ago as a denominational Christian. I've always thought too much, so my days in mainstream Religianity were numbered. I have a reading problem. Books are my crack. I've haven't pawned anything to buy books...yet, but it could happen. In spite of this proclivity, I could not finish Brian's attempt to reconcile ecumenism with doctrine in a major world religion that has fractured into myriad fragments, with much disagreement and (in the past...right?) bitterness. He was just too blasphemous. That much openmindedness was an antidote to faith, seemed to be the underlying sentiment in my little church. Brian wanted me to entertain the notion that my faith might have a few errors in it, and that when I disagreed with your theology, that you might have a point. My tiny Kentuckian congregation had some firm boundaries about stuff like this, even though one of our cliche's was "Don't check your brains at the door". I did like the fact that McLaren wears out parentheses. Perhaps we are distantly related. When I shelved "Orthodoxy" I didn't realize how arid the landscape was becoming...
Now, after a little time in the desert, I find him MUCH easier to swallow. (It's because you have apostasized, Brother! The Corinthians have turned you over to SATAN!). So my inner mystic (we all have one... it's kinda like an inner butthead. I have one of those, too.) tells me "Your pastor just referred to that heretic you're re-reading...and for five or six years you have not lost that book. It must be a sign!"
The question is (After all, Jesus performed a sign or two, and then went on to say wanting a sign wasn't cricket.)," By looking for writing on the interior sky, am I guilty of wanting to be the star of my own story? Or am I disappointed that my life seems to be unimportant in this Grand Epic, and simply hungering for a more significant role?"
I gotta go to work. Unfortunately the mule is in the ditch, and these musing will have to go in my inner "Drafts" folder. Who knows when I'll get around to cleaning that up?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yeah, I know.

Yeah, I know., originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
     Suzie, my bitch (lol. It cracks me up to type that.) who usually sleeps diagonal to me on the left side, wandered in and out of the whelping area I prepared for her (a few towels, a couple old sleeping bags in the closet of Kelsie's old room) earlier this week. She's done that for the last few of nights, but last night she was unusually agitated. She woke me up about 1:30, and I figured she was in labor. I got threw down my good sleeping bag next to the whelping area, and that calmed her down quite a bit. She's a daddy's girl. I fired up the laptop and started re-listening to a podcast. every time I would drift away, Suzie would whimper, roll around, or simply lick my face, nostrils, and closed eyes, until I defended myself. I got a little coleman led lantern and the turning it on revealed that Suzie's vagina was REALLY funny lookin'. It was swollen (I've seen a couple swollen vaginas. This was different.), and looked somehow... too long. 
So I touched it ( I know, ewwww!), it was a LOT harder than any other  vagina I've ever touched. I began speculate and imagine that this is what a canine vagina would look like if it had a puppy in it.
     Guess what?
     I was right!  It  spit out a little water balloon that ruptured into what looked like a wet guinea pig in a condom. And since then we have been having puppies. Six  Seven of 'em in five hours. and she's getting that look again...

Saturday, February 27, 2010


love, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
Suzie is pregnant as can be. I am amazed she doesn't squirt puppies out with every step. She has been extra needy, underfoot a lot, and prone to lick your face without warning. Debbie makes no attempt to moderate Soozer's behavior... she just sits there and takes it.

Email to reserve yours today!

Hopefully Soozers was a little picky, and Daddy was a handsome dog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blood Drive

Blood Drive, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     I gave blood for the first time in high school as a sophomore in ’84. Needles held no fear for me, the ex Allergy Shot Poster Child, and the novelty of being excused from school to be bussed to the rec department is one of my last memories before being asked to sever my relationship with the Houston County Board of Education. Since then, I have given blood many times. Things are a little different now, They no longer use the blue juice to see if your blood sinks, checking for enough iron. Nowadays they use a device that looks more like a blood sugar monitor. Another thing that is different is the prevalence of  invisible death, 2 diseases  that will kill you, and that you can only catch by exchanging essences with another human. There is also some brain eating disease connected somehow to spending more than three months in England, and/or  having used a certain pituitary growth hormone. It doesn’t seem to make sense to me. The Red Cross site gives some fascinating historical information and some interesting statistics:

  • 1pint of blood can save three lives
  • Every two seconds, someone needs a transfusion
  • In the United States, five million people a year need blood.
  • Less than 38 percent of the population can give blood.
  • Some blood components have a shelf life of only 5 days

     This poses some interesting logistics issues, further complicated by the fact that not all blood is the same, you can’t just suck out some blood from donor 1 and shoot it into recipient 2. This can kill people. The Red Cross has got a big job, and I’m sure I don’t know the half of it, but I wonder about the boundaries, if they are a reflection of politics and marketing as much as genuine safety. If you’ve had a recent tattoo, ever shot dope without paying a doctor to a assist or ever been intimate with someone else’s penis, while possessing one of your own, they would like you to remain a part of the 62% of the population that is ineligible. This is statistics at work. Each donor’s blood is tested for infectious diseases at one of the Red Cross’s five national laboratories. and I would like to think that they are effective. Could we not increase the amount of available blood while decreasing the amount of labor and resources need to obtain it by relaxing these guidelines a little?
     Being in the system, I have received 2 phone calls and 2 glossy, very nicely appointed mailers letting me know about this last Tuesday’s blood drive.  That stuff is expensive. I wonder if the eligible population was larger, could the Red Cross spend less on marketing, and shift some of those resources to something else? Perhaps establishing caches of disaster supplies near heliports, would be a good idea, as Arod in San Francisco suggested in a recent post. A more efficient disaster response could conceivably reduce violent crime in disaster areas, which would possibly have a slight mitigating impact on blood requirements. I don’t really know the answers to any of these questions, but from a stewardship perspective are we minimalizing our blood supply out of fear for public opinion on Red Cross safety measures or are the disease scanning protocols not as effective as one would hope, and do the risk categories provide a little statistical cushion needed to keep transfusion recipients from dropping like flies from AIDS and Hep C?
     Has fear been a factor in setting these guidelines? I wonder.

I haven't got all day, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Photographic filler


 I'm going through the archives...
     It's good to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. I haven't been able to write or photograph with anything approaching a level of healthy discipline, but the quarter is almost over. I did get a few unusual shots, by happenstance yesterday, and I really want to scroll the nasty story down the page a little. I noticed someone from Middle Ga.  viewed it 15 times yesterday, and nobody does that. It felt a little stalky.
     So here goes with a little photographic filler: 

     This was shot at the same firestation I took Colin too a few months ago, I'd never seen a fire truck stretched out, so to speak...

     This guy is a friend of mine from school, and this was shot very casually, but I think it's a striking photo, I was pleased.

Chris Cook, still oozing

The History club also had a guy drop by in an old top hat and give a presentation on Sidney Lanier, a poet and musician from Macon

Sidney Lanier


My First Fiction. This One is Pretty Dirty.

     I kinda had to write it that way. It's offensive.
     Twice I have posted schoolwork here on the ol' blog. The comparison of Dunbar's Mask with President Carter's World was for English 102. I was actually impressed with both poems. It seems at some point, I have lost some of my hatred of poetry.The Homosexuality Post, I originally wrote for English 101. It is by far the most viewed post on my blog. There is no close second. This will be my third posted assignment. I believe it is  the first fiction I have written. Both my previous papers were A's but this last one has the highest numeric grade I have ever gotten, which is amazing. In the days following Aunt Judy's death, I was immobilized, unable to accomplish much, so this was written in the space a couple hours under an enormous feeling of pressure, without my usual visit to an English tutor to proofread my grammar, which is a little bad, since I am a high school dropout. The rush also forced me to finish before I could smooth some of the rough edges of the plot. I printed this thing less than 15 minutes before it was due. It takes 7 minutes to drive to this class.
     Robert Browning has a poem called Porphria's Lover about a man that strangles his lover with her hair so (I speculate) that her love, for him which he is insecure about, will be frozen into eternity. Yep. Pretty sick stuff . The murder of his woman is a theme Browning uses in more than one poem,..hmmm. I wonder If he resented the fact that his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("How do I love thee..."), was more highly regarded.
     My last writing assignment was to tell this story from Porphyria's perspective, which posed some interesting problems for me. 
  1. Browning has his victims cheeks blush after death. How do I do that?
  2. Much of the poem takes place after the murder. How does Porphryia witness it?
  3. What kind of backstory is needed to account for the shocking sequence of events?
     Porphyria's lover can be read here, It's not very long. I am mildly amazed that this is literature, but then I look at the Bible and there is some pretty disturbing stuff in there, too. My paper is a little more graphic then the Bible. I would never write any feminine first person story (remember, I don't think I've ever written a "story" ) unprompted, so this stretched me and possibly the writing sux.  Browning's poem is hellaciously shocking. 

     My own story is probably more shocking, and  a LOT sicker. Not everyone should read it. I am slightly dismayed it sprang from my head.

     Didja get that?  In my story the motive for Porphyria's murder is her promiscuity, a dysfunction resulting from being sexually abused by her father. The story also contains sex and violence. Together...  in an unusually nasty way (at least I think it's unusual. We don't do any of this stuff over here...). So consider yourself warned. Fairly.

Chris Rauch
ENG 202
12 August 2009

As Long as I Can Remember

I. Up the Hill
I run full tilt up the path in the rain, my boots throwing up handfuls of water. Each step displaces sheets of glass and flings them upward where they unweave into tiny diamonds, glittering in the light of the moon. They seem to float, keeping pace with me as my lungs suck fire from the frigid evening air. Slowly, they drift to the rear as I overtake the jewels my hurried progress has cast before me. I curse the weather, the transportation, and the opium. I curse my brokenness, and my inability to forget the man I was with before I married his best friend. I curse my inability to stay away from him. I‘ve acted like a stupid slut all my life, I think. 
“And what does that make you?” the voice in my head asks….

II. Aside

 I’ve had a little voice inside me for as long as I can remember. The voice doesn’t like me much. I can’t remember the voice ever liking me, but I noticed after getting married the voice sounded just like my husband, Jim. 
And my husband Bill.
As a matter of fact, The Voice sounds like whichever husband I’m on at the time. Whichever husband I’m married to, I mean. I’ve been married to 5, but I’ve been on considerably more than that (Hopefully, I’ve never been on yours, but it wouldn’t surprise me). I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.
Of all my husbands Ted  was different. The Voice never sounded like Ted. For seven years of heaven, The Voice did not sound like the man I was married too. For seven years, The Voice sounded like my father, not my husband, not the man I was trying to love. I really liked that, and I knew I wanted to keep this one.
I leave husbands. It’s what I do. I leave mine, I leave yours. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I go away. I go home to my father’s, and I never come back. I came back to Ted, though… Again, and again. What can I say? He was just different. Finally, Ted left me. Brokenhearted. Older. Wiser. Out of patience, tears, time, and money, the one husband I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from became the One That Got Away.
Now, two husbands later, I lope around the bend, and see Ted’s cottage bathed in swirling luminescence. I am amazed at the clarity of my night vision. Tonight, I resolve to tell him that I have married again. Some strange alchemy occurs as the wisps of opium float over the sea of adrenaline that surges through my veins, spiking at the thought he will be able to resist me, this time…that I am simply too broken to make this happen, that he will send me away.

III. Around the Bend
My heart beats an impossibly sluggish  metronome that sets the slow-motion pace of my pumping arms and legs. Even the law of gravity kneels to this magic, and I see suspended droplets (rain? splash?) in exquisite detail. Each is a tiny little world, a mirrored sphere reflecting the night sky, where  the Moon is alternately shrouded and revealed by wind whipped clouds with burgeoning  rapidity, punctuated by flashes of lightning. My thoughts gather speed  to match the wind I hear in the treetops, The husbandvoice is silent as we both observe the unlit windows. The Chimney mouth is mute, empty of smoke. Noiselessly, I push open the door, and see him, the love of my life, sitting in the cold anguished dark of a single candle. My eyes take in the room - the dying embers of the fire, the extinguished lamp. I am hours late. 
Has he been brooding all this time?

IV. In the Cottage
I move to the hearth. As I pass by Ted, my fingertips brush the meerschaum on the table at his side and note its lack of heat. He probably has not smoked since the fire went out.  I grab a few pieces of kindling and begin rebuilding the fire. As I work, I hear the occasional, sizzle as stray drips fall from my hands onto the coals. I know I cause his silence and dejection. Tonight, I am the source of his pain, not the pipe at his side. Tonight is my last chance, I think as I rebuild the fire, and warmth and light trickle into the room. Tonight is my last chance, and I will throw it away, like I always have. The Fathervoice mumbles a few choice comments.
My task completed, I stand and strip off my sodden outer garments, conscious of the heat radiating from the fireplace, my cheeks…and my sex. It’s unnerving, this lack of speech. I am terrified it is over.  I sit next to him. My voice breaks in synchronicity with my with my heart as I say his name and he doesn’t answer. Galvanized, I murmur love and endearment, as I unlace, rearrange, adjust. I half rise, swinging around to face him. Some trick of the flickering light keeps his eyes in shadow, denying me their message. My tears begin. I smile and I draw his arms around me, his face down to the juncture of my neck and shoulder. I murmur love and apologies through my tears, pleading, repeating old, worn promises . I grow desperate, hungering for a response, waiting, and wanting so badly.

V. Love and Death
It seems hours before he begans to move around me. I feel the arm I placed around my waist come to life, hardening and tightening,  pulling my skirt up on my thighs as the fingers of his other hand tangle in my hair, pulling me back as I sink to my knees in front of him.  He eases forward, expressionless.  He joins me on the floor in front of his chair,  pulling my head back cruelly, and burying his lips against my throat as his free hand continue the work of opening my bodice,  burrowing past layers, roaming over nipples harder than gravel.
My breath catches, quickens. He begins  sliding warm, callused fingers along one inner thigh to my center, pulling whimpers and sobs from within me.
“You don’t love me.” I felt his lips move against my throat.
“Oh, baby, I do!” I moan, soaring through the skies as I kneel on the floor, the pain in my scalp intensifying with my desire. He twists my hair into a cable, his fingers dance upward between my labia with virtuosity, playing a sonata on my clitoris. I surge upward toward my crest, and feel the cable of my hair pulled around my throat working between his lips and my skin as orgasms flood my senses…once, twice, and a third time. With each strangling jerk of my hair twining around my neck, I come again, dimly aware I can no longer get air, that my love withholds breath and life as I struggle weakly, his fingers slowing, and his flat cold eyes boring into mine.  
“You don’t love me.” Now he sounds like Daddy! 
As the world grows dark, and I slip from it, I feel Ted’s fingers twitch one last time, And I think he even touches me like Daddy!  and with this the veil is torn from memory, the images flooding back into my awareness.  I hear Daddy murmur love and apologies through my tears and pleading,  as he repeats old, worn promises.
I hear my heart stop beating, and I see nothing.

VI. Epilogue

I observe from by the window, as Ted’s screaming shatters the night, drowning out the last remnants of the storm. I look down at myself and nothing is there.
I know what I have become. 
I feel tired despair, and the weight of life wasted as I find myself once again in the room listening to the labored breathing of my lover. I cry out. There is no sound. I cry louder, nothing. I watch in horror as Ted draws his knife and lay s the edge against his throat. I shout with everything I have, and he seems to react. I pour myself out, I tell him I love him, I forgive him, I understand. With each utterance, his eyes seem to open wider, the windows of his soul torn open as he searches for the source of haunting.  Finally I can see the man I know  and realize the madness has left him, though he believes himself still in its grip. The blade glitters one last time as he slices himself from ear to ear, and the blood fountains out in powerful spurts. Dropping the knife, Ted bends over, bathing my corpse in blood, loosening the hair from my neck. He lifts me in his arms, and takes his seat, his lips smearing blood and tears on my cheeks, a strange sigh coming from the sliced trachea.
Ted arranges my corpse in his lap, his heart slowing, his blood no longer pumping with the original force, but welling down his chest in a rhythmic ebb and flow. He places my head on his shoulder, and I watch the flow of blood trickle away to nothing as the light in his eyes goes out.
I sit (stand? float?) with our corpses. I see that I left my wedding ring on. Oops.
Ted never comes. His soul has gone elsewhere. People come. They close our eyes, They clean up our mess. Time passes. I find I cannot leave. No matter how many walls I walk through, I’m still in this room, waiting for Ted.  I’ve been here for as long as I can remember.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

A joke...

Bewilderment, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

   My blog addiction is screaming for release, and I've just reread Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg.  All of his stuff that I have come across is wonderfully thought provoking, and blogworthy, but I am behind schedule on soo many levels, so I will leave you with what Ortberg calls a "Cartesian Joke" :
Descartes walks into a bar. The Bartender asks "A shot of whiskey?" Descartes replies "I think not..." and poof, he disappears.
     So there. I think this is pretty funny, and I gotta go.

     The picture of Lil' Lily tickles me because in the Big one, you can see Debbie reflected in her eyeballs.
     Uh-huh. Dats what I'm talkin' 'bout...and BTW, I got puppies coming. Go ahead and email your intentions...- we can arrange a meeting in a few weeks so you can pick your's up.
     Please. 8D

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Etremely Rare

Etremely Rare, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
     We get a few snowflakes every winter here, in Middle Georgia. The appearance of a little snow is a happy little occasion. Accumulation is kinda remarkable. This morning, there was frozen white stuff on top of the asphalt. We don't get that much. I just saw a clump of snow slip off my roof and fall to the freakin' ground past my window, like something from a movie.
     I bet Blood Mountain is incredible.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My House of Prayer

Weekend trip, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     41 degrees and falling...Snow hopefully on the way. To see snow would make me wonderfully heartsick for the mountains. I keep several weather forecasts in my bookmarks, and its gonna get down to 23 degrees on the Coosa tonight, with a 70% chance of snow tomorrow and Saturday. I miss Appalachian solitude. I miss the feeling of loneliness and quiet that somehow sharpens the ears of my spirit, leaving me more receptive to the voice of love. To go a day or two without speaking, focusing on the simple actions of one foot in front of the other. To find my water, to gather my wood. Sometimes it seems I know a little more when I return. Money was terrible this last Christmas break, and these last two quarters, I have missed my trip to the mountains. I realize now, that I should probably prioritize this a little more highly. I have been telling myself that my fixation is foolish, a by product of entitlement and idolatry, that to escape to a place of loneliness and silence was a cop out.
     But perhaps not.
     Maybe that is just what works for me.
     I gotta say, sitting on a mountaintop in the cold windy dark, is (sometimes...) like that brief period of quiet static as the television moves from show to commercial... suddenly, you realize that someone is speaking clearly in the other room, but you have been unable to hear it until now.
     Much has happened in the last couple of years. I lost a Father and a marriage. I have looked upon some remarkably painful shit. My dog died (you would have to have a good dog to understand) . I have managed to survive school poverty, and make good grades. An infection nearly killed me. Aunt Judy died. Wonder of wonders I have not had a cigarette in 13 days. (I want one now, and have become as big as a house.) I have become painfully aware being hundreds of miles from my sister, and the shrinking number of people in this hemisphere with my blood flowing through their veins. I have also noticed my life is nothing like I wished for, and I would be embarassed to die, for my story to end here. I need to get busy. I need to figure a few things out.
     And I dream. Some of the things I see cannot be my idea, and some of them can't be anything else.

     I would like some time where I can bring these matters before God, in the silence of the days, as my boots pick their way between rocks and roots seeking a resting place for the evening. There, I will sling my hammock in the lee of a boulder, and build my fire. I shall make a little coffee and cook a hot meal. In the stillness between gusts through the passes, with my fire crackling in the sudden silence...Maybe I will hear the voice in the other room. I am so thirsty.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

December 14, 1942 - February 6, 2110 7:20 am

Day 7, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.

     My Aunt Judy had a few challenges, in this world. She suffered from one of the childhood diseases, one that vaccines allow us to disregard. I cannot even recall its name or symptoms, but an extremely high fever left her brain damaged. Aunt Judy was one of those rare individuals who was profoundly aware of her retardation. She understood she lacked something she was born with, and she missed it all her life. She hungered for romance, a home of her own, the right to choose her own destiny, and the ability to think more deeply. She was intellectually gifted before this was visited upon her. She was like Moses, dying within sight of a land flowing with milk and honey, forbidden entry by her creator. Aunt Judy once said "God shit on me when I was a baby....and he has been doing it ever since." Judy's faith was unfrilled, like a primer gray body wrapped around 500 cubic inches. It didn't have a great paint job, but it would get there faster than my car. 
   After my parents divorced,  Grandma and Judy came to Georgia from Ohio. I guess it was to help take care of me and my sister. At that time Judy was in her thirties, with beautiful brown hair. She was hopelessly in love with Robert Urich. Me and Dad would call him "Robert Urine" and she would defend him, correcting us perpetually, always having the last word. Judy had blue eyes like my Father. I wish many things were different when it comes to Aunt Judy, There is a little guilt at how I treated her, and a little anger at how the world treated her. I am glad she is free, and I was there when she left. Everyone else has managed to slip away before I could get there.

Friday, February 5, 2010

10 Things to Think About Before Pulling the Plug

The view from the from the 4th floor, originally uploaded by use2blost.

According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering".*
     This has become more than  intellectual. The DNR protocols here at the Houston County Medical Center have three levels of `Letting Someone Die"  The questions I am asking are:
  1. Is letting someone die all that different from euthanasia?
  2. Are one or both of these Okay?  
  3. Is this analogous to other moral issues? (for instance, murder is bad, letting a murder occur when you have the power to prevent it is bad as well...They are on the same side of the Good /Evil line. Is euthanasia/DNR like that...both on one side of the morality coin, U.S. law nonwithstanding?)
  4. Where are you with all of this Christopher? Whats your opinion, and why?
  5. Does scripture speak to this?...More importantly, does God speak to this? (remember...God and scripture are not synonymous. Can you say idolatry?)
  6. Is there a  protestant interpretation?
  7. Does it differ from the Catholic?
  8. Do you give a shit about 6 and 7?
  9. What does it mean that you are to determine these things for a retarded person? What defines your responsibility in this situation?  
  10. Is this a good reason to have a cigarette ?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

window lily

window lily, originally uploaded by use2blost.

seems like its been forever since I saw the baby... got a surprise this afternoon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Horseless Carriage

Horseless Carriage, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Well, I've decided against afflicting the blogosphere with another self portrait. Day 6 nicotine free. OMG. THTKMA. (This has totally kicked my ass.) I have ventured out to the Atlanta Bread Company as an experiment. I have gone to a couple social things, small group and such with a 'leave whenever you want' attitude. I went to church this morning which was a event with a beginning and an end, which I intended to endure for the duration. Without my crutch. I even had a conversation with Katie at church while she smoked a cigarette.
     The whole thing.
     I felt like my conversational skills were clumsy, and undiplomatic. It was hard to concentrate. I never forgot about her cigarette for even a second. (I remember talking to a titty dancer at a bachelor party...Patrick's.  It was like that. You never forget they're naked, not for a second.)
     I never forgot about Katie's cigarette, but every time I wanted to interrupt and ask her for one (twenty in all, at least.) I just sat there withdrawing, and taking no action. That worked out so well, I felt up to a test, so I have braved the real world, and came to ABC to begin my reentry into the fledgling decade. To reconnect  with a life of direction and purpose, to see what this day day holds for me, in my new freedom.

Update:Evidently this day does not hold long periods of concentration, or productivity. The balancing act of keeping the important nominally prioritized over the urgent brings to bear a feeling of pressure. I need to crank out a paper on Tartuffe. It doesn't have to be profound, it just has to be drafted, proofed, and submitted by Tuesday evening, and today is the window of opportunity. Pressure makes me want to smoke, and that makes me feel pressure. It's better than it was yesterday. Wish me luck. The Gaping Hole in my spirit is less visceral, more mental. The trial by fire is over, I look now to some lifestyle changes, like don't eat something just because it was motionless for a moment.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Byron Methodist

Byron Meth, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     A couple of weeks ago the world record largemouth bass was caught. The interesting thing to me is not the weights involved, but the locations. The old record holder was caught in south Georgia, within a couple hours of here. So this catches my interest, and surfing around, I notice a icon near Byron, over by my church. Trails says a neighboring church, Byron Methodist is built next to the largest blackjack oak in the world.
     Well I decide to ride to church early and swing by this tree, to get a shot of the hopefully spectacular sunrise over the largest blackjack oak in the world.
      In the world!
The Pastor, who took a break from his preparations and strolled outside, showed me the spot. There wasn't even a stump.
'Bout a year and a half ago, we had to take it down. It was a sad day. It dwarfed the church. It was dying.
     Dissapointed, I told him to get out of the weather (18 degrees F), walked to the van, and drove to Lifepoint

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Busy...and getting kinda fat. 4/365

     This is the SP from a couple days ago. I'm getting jowls. I did not overeat today. Much. I actually, to borrow a phrase from Arod, feel like I could get a pretty good write on...I'm thinking about profanity, what's okay, and what's not, and exactly what the hell is meant by the taking of someone's name in vain. But alas, the voice of wisdom calls from a tub of scalding, sudsy bathwater, saying to read up on the enlightenment before my analysis of Tartuffe. This is good advice. Who said the voices in your head have to be a bad thing? The smoking update: I shall have 72 hours nicotine free at nine in the morning. 72 is the magical number of physical detox, having to do with things like half-life, and metabolic rate, which are not blogworthy at this time. After seventy two  hours the physical addiction is supposedly broken, and it becomes a psychological from that point on. That's not what I feel at the moment, but I won't chase that rabbit. (It's psychological from the beginning.) I have noticed my pants get tighter in the last five days as I have tried to do this...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So, I backslid.

Oops...I left the coffee pot on., originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Yesterday morning and had a cigarette. You can buy singles illegally from certain ethnically managed convenience stores, and (the going rate is .50 a stick.) I had to hook up. I immediately felt shame and remorse, and smoked the (Newport is the only flavor Mr. Patel does. He offered to do Marlboros once, but I declined. I didn't want to make things too attractive.) fag right down to the taste of filter. I cut the filters back on 'Ports anyway, to get more of the good stuff. Anyway, I now have once again detoxed for 36 or so hours.
     I can definitely say that breaking the 24 hour barrier ushers in a special increase in the suck factor. It's exponential. You could say it was SUCKQUARED. Truly. I am not fit company for humans.  I have made no attempt to encourage interaction, though I did drop by Debbie's for a minute or two at some point earlier. I could tell as soon as I was in an environment with other people, that my inner asshole lurked just beneath the surface.
     I split.
     The Craving is intense, and deep, it is accompanied for me, by feelings of anger, loneliness and hopelessness. They come in waves, usually three at a time lasting about three minutes a piece. I have killed a box of Pop-Tarts, and yearn for more, even though full. Coffee is an old dear friend, but detoxing from nicotine, by some cruel twist of fate effectively halves the ex-smokers caffeine tolerance, so my comfort food is denied me. Hopefully, another nights sleep will take some of this edge off.
     I hope this is it.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Day two, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Okay...that is a picture of yours truly... smoking a cigarette 25 something hours ago. He hasn't had one since. He's been here probably 10 times or better. He's a stubborn bastard when it comes to shakin' a bad habit.
     The first 72 hour period is the trial by fire. I have a little program I downloaded. It tells me how long I have been quit, how many cigs I have not  smoked, how much money I have saved, and chronicles the statistical increase in my life span. like this:
Chris - Free and Healing for One Day, 1 Hour and 30 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Hours, by avoiding the use of 27 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $6.38.

     Kinda neat. It helps. This is a terribly lonely endeavor .

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Other Worlds Than These

Other Worlds Than These, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     The title is actually a quote from one of the old Dark Tower novels (Stephen King)...Jake spits it at Roland as our hero abandons his friend to fall to his death. Something along the lines of "Go on, then. There are other worlds than these..."
      There are other worlds than these both in a physical sense, and otherwise. IMHO, the spiritual world encompasses our own, this world that activates and stimulates our senses. In some geometry that my feeble math skills cannot analogize, this sphere ( the spiritual one, that is.) surrounds ours in every dimension. This means time, space, beyond the tesseract, even. This view holds no heresy that I know of, to religion or science. The nature or boundaries of this other world(s) are simply speculation, (for me) but as to existence, I have no doubts. Doubts become impossible in the face of memory. I have been spoken to from the distance half a dozen times, and have twice been present at the proper location in time and space to witness when the line of demarcation became blurry and indistinct, between this world and another. Twice I have come across a temporal/ physical point where the fabric of this reality was worn and frayed, like the denim on the knees of incredibly comfortable Levi's. A place  where the warp of reality has been abraded away, and the threadbare weft permits glimpses of  flesh beneath the surface. A place where I perceived stuff I will not post about today.
     Yeah, baby.
     Here be Dragons, demons, and things that go bump.
     The Light of the World is there as well. He is a reality that encompasses all worlds, in every conceivable dimension.
     Believe it.

The 365 pool on flickr is challenging. You are challenged (and not many succeed) to upload 1 self portrait a day, shot on that day. This is yesterdays.... shot at work, post processed in Elements, and Photo-bee. The early light on this jobsite, is interesting... and I am to busy to think, so this is an easier post than any of the theological musing that flit through my awareness, and slip away before I can consider them properly...The idea of taking a self portrait a day for a year arouses very mixed feelings in me. I may explore this in a later post.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hearing God

pipecutter, originally uploaded by use2blost.

Perhaps we do not hear the voice of God because we do not expect to hear it. Then again, perhaps we do not expect it because we know that we fully intend to run our lives on our own and have never seriously considered anything else.
Dallas Willard, Hearing God, p71.

     I read this after returning from the Tuesday  morning Men's Breakfast, where the host royally pissed me off. The man who has provided my breakfast on most Tuesdays for several years aroused my anger after announcing  that his political opinion and God's were in close parallel (yet again!). I should mention that I had resolved  to quit smoking the afternoon before, about five thirty (yet again!). I am grumpy, and unforgiving. Dallas's book is a reread for me. The last decade has had a kneeling effect on a camel desperate for refreshment. I'm rereading some of my favorites, hoping for fresh insight. My life has seemed dry, in terms of God. I am sharply aware of character deficit, both my own, and society's. It has taken a conscious act of will to maintain my faith, though perhaps what tattered remnants* remain are a divine gift. Conventional Religianity in my neck of the woods, teaches that faith is a gift of God...and that pleasing God is impossible without faith. Hmmm. That sounds like a spiritual protection racket, but I digress.
     I am angry and desperate for a cigarette.
     I go to the store. I get cigarettes.
     Sin. Disobedience. Bondage. Right?
     I've been taught God does not speak to those wallowing in sin. There is that verse in Peter about hindered prayer, after all...
     In spite of this, I am seeking with a greater diligence then usual. (another issue here is the "All your heart" verse...our hearts are pretty screwed up, according to God, so doing anything good with all our hearts is pretty much impossible isn't it? we do things "with all our hearts" for brief shining periods, or (hopefully) briefer periods of depravity, not as an ongoing state of existence.)
     Anyway, I am looking for a tool and pause to read a snatch of theology... this is the drudgery of the attention deficit, a man diagnosed as a retard in childhood, as he shuffles about attempting to function, prior to seven in the morning. He is struggling with nicotine, depression, and a drastically reduced income during a time of life when he must concentrate as never before...My morning 'on task' quotient is less than mediocre today, I suspect.
     The tool I seek is an adjustable assembly of tiny rollers and a little blade, for cutting copper line neatly without crushing it. This is the kind of tool that painter/carpenter may purchase and not need again for years. I know I have one. I am also a little too broke, working a job I underbid, to throw away ten or twenty bucks on a new one. And, for about two years I have been actively angry/dissappointed with God. (Now that I think about it, thats kinda like being a bitchy bride.) This is getting better, but it's still there, so I am talking as I migrate from the kitchen junk drawer to the patio shed. I inform God that finding this tool would be a perfect miracle. Not death-defying enough to rob me of an opportunity for faith, but strong enough to give me a DAMN good reason to see his hand.
Cause I am never gonna find this pipecutter.
      I fix stuff for a living. At your house. When I show up, I am pulling a 10x6 trailer fulla tools, and I have two rooms and an outbuilding of assorted saws, wrenches, levers, rusty junk and odds an ends.
I know I'm not gonna find this six inch tool I've used 4 times in 30 years. Not before I have to show up for psychology at 11. I  am finding a lot of other stuff. In the bottom of a five gallon bucket, I find an ultra tiny crochet needle I got when I was learning make fishnet lingerie ( It's good to have me as a boyfriend). I am amazed. I go so far as to tell God :
This is what I'm talkin' about, Papa. If I prayed about this crochet hook and then found it...that would have been perfect! Why can't you show me where the pipecutter is?
At this point, it occurs to me I used the pipe cutter last summer...fixing my exterior faucet. Then I set it on rough shelving unit that leans against my brick under the kitchen window. Or did I? I have been chain smoking at this this point, and chain smoking after a period of abstinence produces extreme lightheadedness and can be quite disorienting.
     I stumble to the shelves. There is nothing. Okay. Thanks alot, God. (I am childish. When I am pleased, he is Papa, Father, or Lord. When I am disenchanted, he is God. Do y'all do that?)
Something else occurs to me. I gotta dog. Suzie is big, black, and not the brightest puppy in the litter.  
     These shelves are not attached, and frisbees get thrown back here. 55 lbs. of Black hairiness has been known to jostle things. She is a bull in a china shop.
     So I start to brush the leaves aside. I get down on my knees. This kneeling, and this brushing are conrete. The substance, if you will... of what I hope for. The evidence of what is not apparent. It's all about the pipecutter. Or is it? I find an old spray can, some bungee. A tiny precision flushcut saw...I should be spanked for leaving out here to rust. No pipecutter.
I give up. Thanks alot, God. As I raise from my kneeling position, I place my hand on the little bricked up well that ventilates my crawlspace. It has a piece of 1/4" wire mesh in a wood frame, to catch leaves and debris. My fingertips dislodge one more large leaf as I push myself to my feet. The pipecutter gleams in the early sunlight.
     Oh, Papa. was that you?

* "The Tattered Remnants" was Larry Underwood's old band in Stephen King's The Stand. They once opened for Zepplin. :)

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