Sleeping Trees and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes–Is it Fall Yet?

It’s a relatively cool morning for August in Texas. Trees in abundant green, and in full bloom surround me. Beautiful by any sane persons measure, but all I can do is look at them and wait for them to die. Or at least take the slow march to slumber.

Fall. I want fall to be here like, yesterday. Selfish really as this has been the kindest summer Texas has given us in recent memory. Or any memory for that matter. But Fall is my jam! Fall is my season and it begins (in my mind) on my birthday, which is on the exiting side of September. Or whenever I order my first Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks. I’m not terribly fond of my birthday, there is some infighting between myself and my birthday.  A disagreement. The more I seem to have, the greater the disparity between what the calendar tells me I am and what I feel I am. Still. On my birthday people give me things, and the finest kind take me out for tacos and I let them.

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So once the celebration of my Vaginal Escape Day ends, the fun begins, because what my birthday really means is Fall is right around the corner. A few weeks after my birthday, comes October and this signifies that I am now at the doorstep of Fall, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are flowing. October will wane and I will find myself at my favorite Holiday-Halloween, Though Halloween and Christmas often tussle for the prize of being favorite, But that’s my point. As soon as I get past my birthday, good things happen. Cooler weather is upon us, I can swap out my sandals and shorts for my boots and jeans. I always feel better when I wear my boots. I don’t know why. It’s funny really, as most of my youth I rebelled against anything that was stereotypically Texas. Now it takes 90 degree days to get me out of them, and that’s only because I can’t rock the whole boots and shorts thing. Also I am a hoodie guy. Fall is my hoodie time. They are like walking Woobies. Jeans, boots and hoodies are my fall uniform and I can’t wait to get into it.

It’s also family time. Thanksgiving is a few weeks of X’s on the calendar  and I find myself across the table from people I love, but see far less than I would like to. It’s extra special for me as it also marks when my Lady Love and I got together. Thankful in deed I am.

Jingle Bells and here comes Christmas. If you know me you would know that I am not overly fluffy. I have missed more Disney films, than I have seen and I’m fine with that. So, while I wouldn’t call myself Angsty or Stabby, the only “bright ball of light” in my world is the sun. Which as a pasty white boy, I loathe. So it might surprise you that I am a dues paying, card carrying member of the Christmas Whore Club. I love everything about Christmas, even the corny stuff that you wouldn’t think would appeal to me.

Right now my mind is on gourds, Halloween and the cool embrace of Fall. I am looking so forward to Halloween I can’t stand it, but I have to. The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of my all time favorite films, as it celebrates both Halloween and Christmas, is usually my official Fall kick off. I saw it the other day on Netflix calling me like a lover hopped up on Oysters and chocolate. I will wait though, just a couple of more months Jack. I think I’ll go pluck a leaf and see if I can get this party started.

Some Thoughts on Faith and Intolerance

There has been a lot of hate, talk of religion and the holidays falling on my windshield of life in the last week or two. It seems those three things should not be able to co-exist. In fact one would hope that one of those would cancel the other out, or at least not be the source. So how do we tolerate the intolerable? How do we honor our freedom to speak our truth even when it flies in the face of the very teachings many claim to follow? Truth is I don’t know. I’m just a guy who tries to be his best self and stumbles quite a bit in the process. It sure seems there is a war brewing. Jesus is white. Santa is white,  I’m offended at you wishing me a Merry Christmas…

It seems so pointless and trivial. I could tell you of a large school of thought that would point out that Jesus was Middle Eastern and his birthday would have been no where near December. But what does it matter? Why does it matter? If we weren’t so wrapped in something as fragile as appearance, why would it matter what color he was?  People are putting so much energy into something that should be of no consequence. If this matters to you, I ask you to ask yourself, why? Shouldn’t any following of Jesus be based on his teachings, and only his teachings? And what of these teachings? Why are those that seem to shout the loudest the least informed about their own chosen path? I’ve read the bible, but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an expert. In fact I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on anything…except maybe tacos. How novel of an idea is that? To remove the pressure of knowing everything, to be a perpetual student, always learning. But I digress into flights of fancy. 

I know of no passage in the new Testament where Jesus espoused hate and intolerance. I mean he got a little cranky with those temple merchants but I remember teachings of tolerance, and love. So how does that translate to so many of his followers as the exact opposite? I don’t know. It sure makes me wish more people would read the manual that their whole life philosophy stems from. It’s good stuff.

I’m not Christian, but many of the teachings are good rules to live by.  As are the teachings of the Buddha, Mohammed, the Torah and numerous other philosophies. Which by the way, most have the same teachings, so why must we beat the crap out of each other with our differences when the similarities far outweigh the differences? What is it with our addiction to division? With our obsession with uniformity? How can a nation built on freedom be so allergic to it?

We live in a largely Christian nation. I have no problem with that. I say Merry Christmas…happily. In my mind I am wishing you happiness and joy for the season. Of course ideally it would be year round, but lately we can’t even get through a season. So while I follow no particular path, but rather all paths that offer me something to learn, which are most, I am still in the minority. I’m fine with that. I have no need for matching jersey’s. But where I take issue and a lot of those people who are supposedly at “war” with Christmas, is the intolerance of any other point of view. I don’t mind honoring the traditions of the many, as long as the many honor the possibility that others find a different path to a good life. It does nothing to me to honor Christianity. It takes nothing away from me. So why are so many threatened at the simple acknowledgment of the unique mind. Isn’t that our greatest gift no matter who you think the creator is?

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We live in complex times. It’s the price of our progress as a species. That’s why you don’t learn calculus in kindergarten. Race. Guns. Wealth. It seems a good place to start is where we are. Honor the complexities and admit that we don’t know everything. Admitting what we don’t know seems a good start to knowing.

 

The purpose of this piece is not to give you the answers, I don’t know them. It’s not to tell you what to think, but to implore you to think. Tolerance should be a human instinct. If you follow a path, are you honoring it with your humanity? If you don’t follow a path you are still a part of humanity, and that is the road that we all share. 

 

As for what color Jesus is, I still say it shouldn’t matter, but personally, I think he’s purple.

Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 8:47 PM  Comments (2)  
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