The Atheist’s Pulpit

One believer’s view.

Jul 132014
 

I live in a dry land that once was under water, a seabed now 5000 feet above sea level. Sunrise is held at bay by a granite ridge 5000 feet higher, which at sunset glows as pink as coral. Looking west, the eye is drawn to the sliver of green flanking the Rio Grande, life’s blood trickling through a parched land that rises to five volcanoes close at hand, which in turn are dwarfed by a volcano 80 miles away. All under a sky of limitless blue.

This vista fills me with joy.

Driving into town from any direction, you can take in the largest city in the state with a glance. Stand under the cottonwoods along the river and you forget where you are. Here the land has not been subdued by man. We are surrounded by reminders that we are all recent arrivals and none will outlast the land itself.

The land appears still until you view it at 10,000 years per second, when it shakes and buckles, rises and falls, like a coffee cup on the hood of a truck at rough idle. The land appears flat until you cross it to find the surface cracked and broken by ravines scoured by wind and rain. The land seems silent until the wind howls like an injured animal lashing out in pain.

The land seems dry until a year’s worth of rain falls in a few days. We live for these days and relive them in conversations. We smell the rain before we hear it, we feel the temperature change, listen for the first drops. We sit on our porches, big grins on our faces with the look of wonder like children at a fair.

The Navajo speak of male and female rains, the brief, violent storms versus the slow nurturing drizzle over hours. The Navajo also advise each other to walk in beauty, to appreciate our surroundings and be part of that beauty.

This month, I complete my 30th year in New Mexico, a bit more than half my life. That line, this land, my life leave me speechless.

DSC01787

 Posted by at 7:13 am on Sun 07/13/14
May 282014
 

Twenty-three years ago today, Merri Rudd and I wed in our backyard. In six months, we’ll be halfway to 47 years of marriage. These are scans of the photos — yup, we’re older than digital photography — most of which were taken by Steve O’Neill (thanks, Droogie). See the wedding album.

groom and bridethe proposalin the Albuquerque Journalour vowsour ringscake cuttingAdrienne EdwardsJudge Bill Bivens, Merri Rudd, Mark Justice Hintongroom and bridebride and groom in our native wildflower gardenthe bride dinesMaid of Honor Ann Prince with Merri RuddSteve O'Neill, who took many of these photosDroogsDonavon RobertsDonavon Roberts, Mark Justice Hinton, Merri Rudd, Ann PrinceDonavon Roberts and mjhmAry SmithmAry Smith, Ann Prince, Merri RuddKris Osnesthe wedding party

 Posted by at 7:47 am on Wed 05/28/14
May 142014
 

Though I was born in Hawai’I, I had a Smokey Bear stuffed animal at an early age. Years later, I live in New Mexico, birthplace of Smokey. Like Smokey, my brother turns 70 this year. Returning from a visit to see my brother, we flew over the first wildfire of the season in the Gila, the nation’s first designated Wilderness. It all seems connected.

 Posted by at 10:04 am on Wed 05/14/14
Apr 272014
 

I would laugh at the notion of Mother Earth, our nurturing Gaia, but I do not want a mouth full of sand. This wind is vile and maddening and the one thing in all the world that will never end.

Unhinged (a seasonal poem) » mjh’s blog

The man rages
red-faced,
arms flailing,
he sputters and fumes.
Impotent fury.
The wind blowing fiercely
whips away his whining,
rattles and flaps
his windows and doors.
Unhinged, he rants.
His sensibility scatters
in the rubble of his composure.
The wind —
this damn wind —
wins. mjh

Listen to Unhinged

Download

(<1 min)

previously posted Fri 04/16/10 at 11:47 am

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)

Unhinged (a seasonal poem) » mjh’s blog

 Posted by at 7:51 pm on Sun 04/27/14
Mar 062014
 

Happy Anniversary, Luke!

I’m 12 days late in celebrating an anniversary. On March 6, 2010, we met Luke the Dog. Recently returned from Guatemala, Mer suggested we “just look” at adopting a dog, seven months after Lucky’s death crushed our hearts. Mer suggested we go to a pet store where a local group, HART (Homeless Animal Rescue Team), had rescued animals. We walked in and the very first dog we saw was Luke. Mer knelt beside his cage and cried. We discussed Luke with one of the volunteers. We walked Luke out of the store. He seemed oddly short and stocky, but very gentle and easy-going. Mer liked his interaction with small children; I liked his calm manner under the circumstances and as he met other dogs. Of course, we couldn’t just take the first dog we saw, could we? So, we looked at all the dogs available there, many of which stressed us out with their energy. Then, we went to the Humane Society, filled out a compatibility form, and looked at many more dogs, some virtually unadoptable. Then, we went to the Humane Society’s mobile station and test-walked a dog. After a couple of hours of looking and seeing so many dogs that needed homes but that just weren’t right for us, we went home.

Luke in his trance stateThe next morning, we talked about Luke, who was so different from all the other dogs we saw. And so, we called HART about him and, thankfully, he was still available. Coincidentally, if you believe such things, he was in Los Lunas, which was where I was headed that day to play volleyball. So, a HART volunteer (Jeri) brought Luke to volleyball. Although I put him in the back of the truck’s extended cab, he had other ideas and jumped into the front seat. Fine, I thought, let him ride in the passenger’s seat. But soon, he crawled over and laid his head in my lap for the drive home. He’s a 65 pound lap-dog and a love hound.

In the years we’ve been together, Luke hasn’t traveled as much or far as Lucky did his first year with us (5000 miles). And, we’ve left him at home with a dog-sitter, something we never did with Lucky in 10+ years. Luke is gentle and mellow and loving and we could only be happier if he and Lucky had known each other.

[first published Mar 6, 2011 @ 7:47am]

 Posted by at 7:47 am on Thu 03/06/14
Feb 142014
 

Thirty–one two years ago today, Valentine’s Day, 1982, Merri Rudd and I shared our first kiss. It was the morning after the first Valentine’s Day Pajama Party at Preston Road.

Happy Anniversary, Darling! xox, mjh

Valentine's Day card drawn by mjh for MR in 1987

“I’ll be your man.
I’ll understand.
Do my best
to take good care of you.
You’ll be my queen.
I’ll be your king.
And I’ll be your lover, too.”
– Van the Man Morrison

cupid and whatshername

See also http://www.edgewiseblog.com/mjh/the-atheists-pulpit/30-years-ago/.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm on Fri 02/14/14
Feb 022014
 

Today, two billionaires pit teams of millionaires against each other in a stately pleasure dome built at taxpayer expense. Tomorrow, whether you’re grinning or crying about “your” team, a few people will be even richer and their surrogates will be hard at work opposing raising the minimum wage, arguing against the estate tax and regulations, while praising the non-existent free market. Hey, at least it’s more fun the original feudal system, right? Right? Go team!

 Posted by at 7:47 am on Sun 02/02/14