The Terrestrial Pilgrim

La Verna, il monte dove San Francesco ha ricevuto le stimmate

We consider history from the time the human story can be recorded. Anything before, we call prehistory. Yet, even in the era of prehistory, man has sought to express and make a record of himself in more permanent, albeit non-verbal, ways. From cave paintings to pottery designs, the human desire to be heard, and thus known, by posterity is plainly demonstrated. In the postmodern twenty-first century, the avenues for human expression is a dizzying cacophony of choice. There is no lack of speakers and audiences and no shortage of means and media.

In my youth, I kept a journal. It was a way to express my egotistic self to my narcissistic ego. Then, in my young adult years, I met a hermit. Yes, a real-life hermit. He chose his station in life because he had felt chosen to it by his Creator. Living in a glorified shack, this hermit spent his days praying and meditating, surviving off the meager amount of food charity might send his way. I asked him if he wrote in a journal, if he ever recorded his discourse with God. His answer: a serene "No." His rationale: every moment with God is to be savored as such; instead of leaning on past experiences, choose rather to enjoy that fresh and present relationship with the Divine. From that day, I have not put pen to page in diary or journal.

To say that I have written nothing resembling that of a memoire since that day twenty or so years ago would be inaccurate. I have perviously written sort of an "apologia pro vita sua," describing for others how God has brought me to where I was. In retrospect, the draft of this story was actually written before my encounter with the hermit. In any case, it was a story of an overflowing heart speaking to fellow searching hearts. From the wellsprings of a cor ad cor loquitur between God and man, came the cor ad cor loquitur between man and humanity. That story was published on a site when Geocities was around and was translated by others into various languages, including Polish. This was before My Face and Facebook. This was before "social media" was even a noun. A few years later, I removed that story from the ether and sought to scrub its digital existence into oblivion. The reasons for my doing so were many. I may get into those at a later time. Suffice it to say, chiefly, I coveted anonymity too much and secondarily, my record of past interactions is an inadequate indication of my relationships in the present. Unless my story was constantly updated, the readers' image of the protagonist could only be static and skewed. The man I was is not the person I am, and rightly so. And if my story had to be dynamically updated. . . . (the author sighs. . . see paragraph above).

Beyond that bit of self-indulgent written exercise, however, I found it difficult to put pen to paper to keep records of even the most memorable of moments. For a long time, I could not even pick up a camera, a tool I wielded expertly in my youth as a student of art, to preserve the many wonders of man and nature that my eyes had the privilege to behold. The difference between experiencing and recording may be somewhat analogous to the difference between seeing with one's eyes giant whales splash in the ocean and watching this majestic wonder through the viewfinder of one's phone or camera. Today, the latter is more predominant and the former is a lost art. Yet, in the back of my consciousness is the hermit's voice gently prodding: "Savor each moment." As any reader can surmise by now, I am verbose. I have written much academically and otherwise, but I have had the most arduous time recording my life in words.

Until now. . . .

The initial impetuous of my writing now is actually quite mundane. Void of any lofty ideal is the truth that I started this "blog" in order to share with some friends my travel experiences and to provide some tips to visiting our beautiful State, Alaska. Yet, as I begin to write, the heart longs to speak to hearts again. This time, to the hearts of my children. I strive for the ideal of treasuring each moment I have with them. Yet, a heart so full cannot be sufficiently drained in moments. I do not know where the ramblings of these pages will lead. Perhaps one thread will continue with its original intent of writing travel tips and reviews for friends. Perhaps another thread will seek to inundate the page with my heart for the sake of my children. I want to love them more, infinitely more, in deeds than in words. I wish, however, to set down in words, if time permits, the labyrinthian complexities of this love not easily deciphered through the lens of daily life. I hope to communicate life lessons not readily learned by example.

La croce sul Monte La Verna

To this end, I beg the indulgence of my readers and implore the mercy of God.

Ut in omnia glorificetur Deus.

- a.d. V Kal. Nov. A.D. MMXIX -

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