new year

January 2, 2007

2006 was a big year for me, but it doesn’t feel that way.

the biggest change was that i stopped being a christian. it doesn’t feel like such a big change because it all just fell away like so many bricks. i didn’t decide to stop believing, i just could no longer see the world thru that point of view. and all of the questions that i had been suppressing suddenly seemed so big and unanswerable.

and, mostly, i just stopped feeling ashamed. i never realized how much of my faith hinged on being ashamed. ashamed of my desires, my feelings, my actions. and it was largely my realizing that i wasn’t ashamed of things the church and the bible told me i should be ashamed of that led me to realize that i didn’t believe in christianity any more.

i realized that the biggest pull of religion is the community aspect of it. that you get this instant group of people who care about you, who are your friends, who are willing to help you thru just about anything. people to hang out with, to call when you’re lonely, to cry with, to share life with. that is so appealing and why it took me so long to pull myself out of the church; and the hardest part of not believing is not being an automatic member of that community.

so, what do i look forward to in 2007? new friendships, new relationships. more time for engaging in my passions of working toward a better world–the one that we live in, rather than the one to come.

my concrete goals are to start an under the sink composter. woo, worms! and to start a bit of container gardening. i’d like to start with one veggie, plus some herbs and tea plants. it would be really nice to make some homemade dried herbs and teas, perhaps even to give away as christmas presents next year.

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for a rainy new years day

January 1, 2007

Jersey Rain

Now near the end of the middle stretch of road
what have i learned? some earthly wiles. an art.
that often i cannot tell good fortune from bad,
that once had seemed so easy to tell apart.

The source of art and woe aslant in wind
dissolves or nourishes everything it touches.
what roadbank gullies and ruts it doesn’t mend
it carves the deeper, boiling tawny in ditches.

It spends itself regardless into the ocean.
It stains and scours and makes things dark or bright:
Sweat on the moon, a shroud of benediction,
the chilly liquefaction of day to night,

The Jersey rain, my rain, soaks all as one:
it smites Metuchen, Rahway, Saddle River,
Fair Haven, Newark, Little Silver, Bayonne.
I feel it churning even in fair weather

To craze distinction, dry the same wet.
In ripples of heat the August drought still feeds
Vapors in the sky that swell to drench my state–
The Jersey rain, my rain, in streams and beads

Of indissoluble grudge and aspiration:
original milk, replenisher of grief,
descending destroyer, arrowed source of passion,
silver and black, executioner, font of life.

~robert pinsky