Showing posts from April, 2023

"I wanted to ride this day down into night..."

I love this poem by Ted Kooser entitled Happy Birthday . This evening, I sat by an open window  and read till the light was gone and the book  was no more than a part of the darkness.  I could easily have switched on a lamp,  but I wanted to ride this day down into night,  to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page  with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

The Return of the Prodigal Pen

First, a review of my fountain pen ordeal: the discovery of the hairline fracture in the barrel , my brief meditation on repairs , my purchase of a Wingsung 699 as possible replacement and the serendipitous discovery that it's a brilliant pen on its own terms. To conclude this saga, the title of this post is "The Return of the Prodigal Pen." The transcript: As promised, I'm writing an update about the repair of my Amber Pilot Custom 823. the pen arrived yesterday through courier. It is now working perfectly. It seems like this is an entirely different pen altogether. The cracks in the barrel and cap are no longer there. The nib writes smoothly. Many thanks to Lloyd from Cosmos Bazaar who helped me with the repair, who oversaw my pen's short trip to Japan for evaluation and minor surgery, and who made sure I received it. I'll be more extra careful now! On my table (meaning, the dining table, which is where I do most of my work these days): A  Midori Traveler&

What Happened Then

Random moments find me wondering what meeting the Lord Jesus Christ face to face would be like. To a believer, for Whom He shed His blood and died in Calvary, this is one great promise that sustains us: that most blessed reunion when we will, to quote a phrase my mother often mentions, "fall into the loving arms of Jesus."  Meditating on Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection, I got to read Paul Mariani's poem, "What Happened Then." Here, through the vivid language of poetry, we experience Christ's appearing after the cross, and we relish His peace descending through that His physical presence in the room. Perhaps this is how our reunion with the Lord will be. After the toils of this world, the struggle with sin, the longing for holiness, an otherworldly calm will touch us. Our unbelieving eyes will dissolve in tears as we behold Him. “What Happened Then” by Paul Mariani Do we understand what happened then? The few of us in that shuttered room, lamps

Blackwing Palomino Pearl

New pencil: Blackwing Palomino in Pearl!

The love which suffers is the love which saves

From the Church of Scotland’s Book of Common Order: Glory be to you, God, our strength and our redeemer. The vacant cross and the empty tomb vindicate your claim that the love which suffers is the love which saves. Thank you, Jesus Christ! Because You live, we can face tomorrow. Because You live, we will live, too!

Holy Week: sea, food, and song

Manong booked us all tickets to a quiet resort in Glan. My travel plans got cancelled, and I had nothing else to do. With us were Sean and wife, Hannah: their first time to visit the resort after their wedding there a few months ago. The other Hannah, the nurse-cousin who grew up with us and who'd leave us soon for the States, decided to go with us at the very last minute, despite some urgent online work she had to do. "On Holy Week? You're seriously working on Holy Week?" we said. We assured her there was internet connection along the shore. Her eyes sparkled at the thought of the calming white noise of the waves by the beach. And so it happened that on Wednesday, I waited for the family in my clinic in General Santos. Because I wouldn't have in-person consultations until next week, I still saw a couple of patients in the morning. The overhead lights were turned off in my clinic, and if you barged in my office in between 12 noon to one o'clock, yo

Hand soup

In a hospital restroom. 

Going nowhere is going somewhere

Pico Iyer on the art of stillness: Except, as you all know, one of the first things you learn when you travel is that nowhere is magical unless you can bring the right eyes to it. You take an angry man to the Himalayas, he just starts complaining about the food. And I found that the best way that I could develop more attentive and more appreciative eyes was, oddly, by going nowhere, just by sitting still. And of course sitting still is how many of us get what we most crave and need in our accelerated lives, a break. But it was also the only waythat I could find to sift through the slideshow of my experience and make sense of the future and the past.And so, to my great surprise, I found that going nowhere was at least as exciting as going to Tibet or to Cuba. I'm not going anywhere for the long weekend. My travel plans got cancelled, perhaps for the better. I'll be staying at home, meditate on Christ's death and suffering, and find quiet moments for reading and writing. 

Once my father took me ice-skating, then forgot me, and went home

Over the weekend, I immersed myself in the first section of Upstream , Mary Oliver's collection of essays. In "Staying Alive," she gives us glimpses of her childhood. Once my father took me ice-skating, then forgot me, and went home. He was of course reminded that I had been with him, and sent back, but this was hours later. I had been found wandering over the ice and taken to the home of a kind, young woman, who knew my family slightly; she had phoned them to say where I was.  When my father came through the door, I thought—never had I seen so handsome a man; he talked, he laughed, his movements were smooth and easy, his blue eyes were clear. He had simply, he said, forgotten that I existed. One could see—I can see even now, in memory—what an alleviation, what a lifting from burden he had felt in those few hours. It lay on him, that freedom, like an aura. Then I put on my coat, and we got into the car, and he sat back in the awful prison of itself, the old veils covered

Thought begat thought

Henry David Thoreau on keeping a journal: Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of writing, of keeping a journal,—that so we remember our best hours and stimulate ourselves. My thoughts are my company . . . Having by chance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought them into juxtaposition, they suggest a whole new field in which it was possible to labor and think. Thought begat thought.  I argue that this, too, applies in blogs.

God's beautiful creatures

I arrived early for a meeting. There was time for a small chit-chat. The subject of dogs came up. A colleague from the university said his dog died three weeks ago. He showed me photos in his iPhone. The beagle looked sideways, camera-shy, his ears drooped, and his eyes contemplative. I forget the dog’s name now, but I remember his face, like a creature who looks harmless and who you'd be tempted to bring home, but who would chew off your shoelaces if you weren’t looking. “A bad case of babesiosis. It was pretty far advanced,” my colleague said. The beagle was in the hospital for many days and eventually passed away. I did not have to be told that the master missed his loyal, faithful, good friend of many years. Because isn't that what dogs are? I brought up the dog poems by Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, hoping it would comfort him. The book is a celebration of the brief life of dogs. It is tender and joyful and heart-wrenching at the same time, evoking all these emot