"Shoreline" or "Why canoes and Water Taxi Beach make me uncomfortable."


I love the shore of Brooklyn. Be it Coney Island, Plum Beach, Red hook, Dumbo, or the small inlets of Dockside. The closer I get to the shore, the better I feel, the brighter and clearer the sun shines. I like going in the morning, before the nanny/child pilgrims and the surveyors. I like being alone near the shore.

I was afraid of boats for a long time, but really just deep water. I have always attributed it to a Fourth of July in Michigan, 1993 or 4, I think. We were spending the holiday with an older couple; my mom had been tutoring the wife and they invited us to their cottage on a lake near Holland, Michigan. It was evening and my mom and I were sitting on the top of a double-decker pontoon boat which was docked in the back. We were watching some teenagers two properties down, who were setting off fireworks towards the middle of the lake. One of the rockets went sideways and landed in the water a few feet in front of us. The neighbors yelled their apologies, but I was terrified that it was still blazing and was going to pierce one of the floats, like a torpedo, and sink us. I asked my mom if we should go inside, and she said it was okay. The boat wouldn't sink or and they were going to be more careful. A few minutes later, she slammed my head forward onto the AstroTurf flattening herself over me as another stray bounced on the turf behind us, leaving the smell of melted plastic before hissing into the water on the other side. I wasn't scared in the few minutes as we climbed down, just shocked that it had happened again, that I had forseen what my mom couldn't. I am not afraid of fireworks.

The shore line draws me now because it is a definition. It is an end and limit placed on development. House boats and pier resturants keep it from being an edge, but there is only a minimal blur. Everything here is expanding, trying to claim as much space as possible, but the water is there, steady and moving at once. It has no need for gluttony. Thus far, it remains uncolonized by permanent fixtures.

The closer you get to the water in Brooklyn, the further you get from civilization. Even from those western views that afford the grandest views of King Manhattan, you can feel separate. The trains, concieved of and laid down before ferry boats were obsolete, aren't close enough to be convenient. We are on an island, but you must be so intentional about getting to the edge.


Sure shore: You are there, like the edge of the world; like when He separated night and day and you became the evening and dawn. I am bound to one side by my human nature, though I long to be enveloped by the mystery of the other side.

I love being alone near the shore.


"Bacon!" or "Take & eat; do this in remembrance of Me."

Warning: This is not a kosher post. Literally.

I am a believer in little graces. I think we get little gifts each day, designed especially for us. Spotting them is just a matter of perspective and awareness.

For example, when I go down to the subway to catch a train and it pulls up just after I reach the platform, I like to thank God for that little gift. I remember to do this a lot more in the middle of winter or summer. It's not that I think the trains/ world revolve around me, but rather than feel lucky, I feel thankful.

You may wonder what goes through my mind then when I am stuck with terrible 2 train traffic or construction on the weekend, waiting on a platform for 30 minutes in the freezing cold, at 2am, with a shady fellow pacing 30 yards away. Instead of wondering what I did wrong to deserve this though, I remember that a punishment is not the opposite of a gift. It wouldn't be so special if the train always showed up just as I did, when I had done something particularly nice or moral.

There is no equation for grace. Grace is the inexplicable part of sanctification, little graces included.

I received a special little gift today in church. But first, some background knowledge.

May I present the example of a miraculous scent of roses. For those who don't know, there are many Christians who believe there have been Marian Apparitions, visits from the Blessed Mother, even in the past 50 years. These are usually to children to deliver a warning for peace and the exultation to pray to the Lord for peace. Sights where this has happened often become destinations for religious pilgrims. One of the most often reported experiences by these pilgrims worldwide is an inexplicable smell of roses, Mary's dedicated flower. On person may smell them and the person next to them will not. (In her 70's my Grandmother visited a sight in Bosnia-Hercegovina called Medjugorje, and returned a claimant of the rose scent.) I don't say this to agree or disagree doctrinally, but to give the example of a small grace. Even if it turns out that the woman who wears rose perfume and sits near an air duct in the next building is to blame for the rose scent, it is still a small grace. I think God must use things in the world to talk to us, even when we can explain them. Probably more frequently, even, when we can explain them. He's not sitting in heaven racking his brain trying to find ways to convince people to believe in Him by inventing something that cannot be explained away by science or circumstance; I would think God doesn't really have a whole lot he has to prove to us.

For this reason, I would like to publicly thank the Lord for filling the church with the glorious smell of bacon just as communion began this morning. I did nothing to deserve it, but it made the Eucharist all the more special. Jesus knows I love bacon.

And it was hilarious.