October 18th, 2011

Neighborhood

Nikki and i walked yesterday for better than a mile, hip worked great, left knee gave me a little trouble but nothing scary.  Its the first real walk we have taken this year.  We hope to be up to two miles soon.

The area still shows the effects of the housing bubble, nice, large homes with good landscaping next to weed lots.  One especially attractive house has overgrown weed lots on both sides, its been that way for at least four years.  Signs of care go right up to the property line and then abruptly stop.  It reminds me of the "Texans" community in the four corners where streets were paved in front of rich people's homes and unpaved in front of poor people's homes.  One homeowner family has "occupied" the adjacent weed lot and converted it to a combination garden and play area.  I don't know if they bought the lot, leased it, or just took it over.  Even if the latter, it is certainly a plus for the neighborhood .

In a nearby subdivision of maybe $240 to 400K homes, one of the two vacant lots has been converted into a vegetable garden with a flowery fringe for curb appeal.  I wondered it it might be a community garden (it still has a "for sale" sign in front of it)  But i dismissed that possibility as unlikely because we really don't do community here, despite our protestations to the contrary.  But again, whoever put that garden there has done a service to all ten households in the subdivision.  I think the one remaining lot is more likely to sell because of it.  This little cul de sac has done much better at beating the bubble than comparable neighborhoods.

My own neighborhood of seventy plus homes was put in about eight years before the bubble, $125 to 175K homes.  A few were foreclosed in the economic downturn, and a couple yards look a little shaggy but most yards are kept up better than mine and it is, in general, a very pleasant, friendly place to be.

Lectio Divina | Scholé

From the earliest accounts of monastic practice – dating back to the fourth century – it is evident that a form of reading called lectio divina (“divine” or “spiritual reading”) was essential to any deliberate spiritual life. This kind of reading is quite different from the scanning a text for useful facts and bits of information, or advancing along an exciting plotline to a climax in the action. It is, rather, a meditative approach by which the reader seeks to savor and taste the beauty and truth of every phrase and passage. This process of contemplative reading has the effect of enkindling in the reader compunction for past behavior. At the same time, it increases the desire to seek a realm where all that is lovely and unspoiled may be found. There are four steps in lectio divina:

to read
to meditate
to rest in the sense of God’s nearness
to resolve to govern one’s actions in the light of the new understanding.

This kind of reading is itself as act of prayer. And, indeed, it is in prayer that God manifests His Presence to us.[1]
[1] Thorton, John F. and Varenne, Susan, General Editors “About the Vintage Spiritual Classics”

An iintroduction to Lectio divina  is ‘Reading with God’ by David Foster OSB ( Downside) ISBN 10:0-8264-6068-4 publ. 2005
tio Divina | Scholé

I find this method helpful in reading any sacred text or any text i choose to make sacred by my acceptance of it as such (e.g. The Tao Te Ching or  Rumi's poetry, or Jill Taylor's My Stroke of Insight).