Archive for March, 2012

[Cont’d: Guardian Angel of Hetch-Hetchy)

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Maybe today’s San Francisco – in spite of her thirst for the waters of Hetch-Hetchy – would shirk the duty to uphold Mankind’s servitude of Creation. But she shouldn’t.  In spite of our current rage for the theocratic reign of Environmentalism the Religion, O’ Shaughnessy Dam is not a scarring sign of Man’s Original Sin: its engineering magnificence not a sloppy bite into some fallen virgin apple. .

There is no righteous reason to pull the dam down and restore the submerged valley. There is, though, a stewardship duty to keep it as it is: to stand athwart this engineering marvel and cry stop.

O’ Shaughnessy Dam is a witness to the truest truth one can say about Man, that he is created in God’s image.

It is said that such creaturliness has something to do with stewardship: mankind tending God’s garden, standing guard over its integrity. And so it is, our Hog-Bristle Brush picturing it all out.

Such caretaking is not static: as nature never is, never truly staying virgin. Nature is mad for Man’s knowing – as Adam knew Eden’s beasts. Taking up the duties of a steward Mankind does God one better, for he makes and invents as a creature.

Hetch-Hetchy’s dam testifies to Man as a sharer in God’s creativity, in His pleasure of invention.  It does so, boldly.  One could say that that Damn Beautiful Dam enhances and calls forth the Genesis story: that it too, this dam, this pile of concrete and rod, can glorify God the Creator by magnifying Man'[s calling as maker and inventor.

God did not call Man the Crown of Creation for nothing.

© Stephen L. Golay

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[Cont’d: from “Eve: if only. . .”]

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[This commentary also applies to the companion PROVOCATIVE painting, “The Purpose of Sex”]

When Adam was expelled from the Garden his punishment was not to work, to till, to make things – that he was already doing – but to put the curse of sweat upon it.

Eve, on the other hand, was expelled because she failed to be who she was, the Mother of the Living. She had chosen temptation before she yielded to motherhood.

From her lying down with Adam on Eden’s floor she had yet to give birth, to propagate the Image of God in Eden. Satan had caught her at her weakest – before she became a mother. By her going under the heel of temptation, she denied God the worship due him from a host of Image Bearers.

Birth was to be – how shall we put it – an act, a creature of Eden, not of Man’s Fall.

Eve’s punishment for disobedience was not motherhood exiled from Eden (motherhood was already the calling, the stewardship of her creaturehood), but pain, and threat of loss, attached to the labor of it.

Motherhood was to be her fullness, God’s Image becoming act in her. Motherhood is her worship of her Creator. As now, through pain, motherhood is to be her salvation – and, in time, the salvation of the world. So much so that birth itself would be the heel that crushes the devilish tempter of her (and her husband’s) Fall.

After the Fall, motherhood is liable to fall again and again into disorder, into shutting the womb against life, putting at risk her redemption, and that of the whole world.

Even with Adam’s manhood at greater fault, fallen womanhood, however murderous its confusion, cannot kill off the stewardship of her creation. Motherhood can never, ever truly wither away from the Woman’s truest self, abort itself from the Woman’s essence.  For Motherhood (like Adam’s work) participates, not only in our creation, but also in our redemption.  Motherhood (like honest labor) is the dough that the leaven of salvation kneads and rises.

A Woman’s motherhood is redemption for her; it is her dough that salvation’s leaven perfects, raises to the bread of life. This is why a woman is so fine-tuned, so acutely aware of the relations surrounding her creaturehood. It is salvation for her.  The redemption of the whole world is somehow tied to, wrapped up, and bundled in.

Behold your mother . . .”

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For a man it is otherwise, this coming and having of salvation.

When God created Adam he made him with a desire that not even He, God, could fill and satisfy.  When He molded Adam from Eden’s Garden dirt God stirred in the mix a longing for something other than Himself.

To God, this risk was worth the gift of freedom: to be loved and adored, in part, not directly, not face to face, but through another. Adam, fingered and whipped from Earth’s dust, was God-made with a void, an emptiness, which only the Woman could fill and satisfy.

Oh, the mystery of it!  To think, that – within the very act of Creation – for the Man & Woman, God was not enough.

Yet, it was here, in the ordered liberty of Eden, that snaky devilish Lucifer slithered his temptation up the tree.

Vulnerable Adam, himself, was the first to be tongued with the Satanic hissing, as he roamed Eden under the weight of longing. Where was Adam to discharge his burden, have it taken up by another, received as gift and satisfaction?

God thwarted that temptation through Adam’s Great Sleep.

From deep sleep – and Adam’s rib – God unburdened the Man’s loneliness, ejaculated his longing, not by his own hand, but through the flesh of another – the Woman’s.

Awaken on Eden’s floor, beholding the gift of it, Adam gave himself over to her.  Man was made whole.

Yet, as he gave himself whole and complete, he had to watch the Woman, his Eve, come into her own knowledge: that she too was created with her own emptiness, her own burden of longing – a void that neither God, nor Adam her husband, could fill and satisfy.

Like God not being the gratification of Adam’s hidden desire, Adam was not Eve’s final satisfaction.  For the consumption of Eve’s longing was not directed towards her husband, but rested in the other from her motherhood: the infant at play at her feet, and unborn babes yet to be.

This was OK with Adam, as it was with God who farrowed and dropped the seed of it. The Man rested his longing on the Woman, as she reposed hers upon the fruit of it.

Herein lies the mystery of creation, the means by which God’s image is weaved within the flesh, the fabric of all Mankind.

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Yet, sad was the tale.

On the way to Eden’s swelling happiness something other slipped in – Satan slithered up the tree.

Lounging among the branches, that snaky devil was coiled to strike Eve before she could come into full possession of her creation, before she entered into full knowledge of herself – the one of Motherhood.

Satan substituted that knowledge with another – a deadly one – one that shut the womb to all living things.  Eve was to be the mother of no one.  The Snake would wrap its aborting coil on the threshold of her womb’s door.

Satan knew what he was doing. By tempting Eve to fall he disrupted Adam’s eruption, his eruption within from being born into multitudes and hosts of Image Bearers. The Devil has his triumph: with her yielding Eve could not be the mother of any living thing – in a sinless Eden.

Yet, in spite of Great Falls and hard-hearted expulsions, Mankind, man and woman, is not left guideless and graceless.  For no matter how often snaky coils strangle birth and scrape the womb of yeasty warmth, bodily flesh still bears the Image of what it was, is, and shall be.

Satisfaction, gratification, and consummation had to come another way.  Amen to that. We know the Salvation Story of it – the one of the New Adam and the New Eve.

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Too bad Eve had not consummated her yearning (her motherhood) before the Snake slithered up. Too bad her satisfaction upon Eden’s Garden floor did not issue in birth.

It would have been no loss for Adam. He would fondle no regret – in Eden before the Fall – seeing his wife grieve without sin, watch her long for something that he, for all his swelling probing giving, could not satisfy: to see her yearn for yet to be had motherhood.  Had he not, in his own way, done the same?

Too bad Adam was never able to look into Eve’s eye and see her utter joy alight on a face other than his own. In sinless Eden such consummated bliss would have been had without envy of the other. In a sinless Eden there could be no sense of loss – the kind that comes after Falls and Expulsions when man competes with child for the woman’s affection. In a sinless Eden love’s trinity is never tangled.

No need for envy.  Adam had his labors, the work of his hands, by which to image God – to make things as God made the world.  Through his laboring hands Adam mothered things into the world.

If only Eve – in sinless Eden – had truly been Mother of the Living. Churning her husband’s abundance into hosts of sons and daughters, the world, the whole of it, would have fallen onto Eden’s floor – be plowed and seeded – and rise a Garden.

If only, then the Man and the Woman could have, like God, entered into their Sabbath.

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But it was not to be.

The Snake went up the tree!

That, though, does not excuse or exclude the need for redemption.  Motherhood, itself, both needed such and was to become such in Israel, and in Israel’s maids and mothers.

And so, in spite of snake-slithered trees, the Great Story began

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Must never be forgotten: however great is the Story of Salvation, this is also the story of men and women, of this Man and this Woman.

Here begins the telling of redemption – of bodies, of marriages, of work and motherhood.

Or, so they said in Sutter Creek![1]

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[1] See upcoming novel by the Artist, Forgiveness Sunday: a Marriage Redeemed in Sutter Creek.

© Stephen L. Golay





 Victor Davis Hanson (City Journal)

The shot heard around this painting!.  Read it.

[Also, see POST: The Great California Drought]

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Bookmark, visit these sites regularly

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For California one could post a cauldron pot of institutes, foundations, and NGOs being busybodies in the State’s Water Wars.  We won’t.  The few listed here will do.

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Even the pieces not about the “environment” – a word that has slipped  (that we have let sheathe) into nasty usage – apply, bleed over, and boost our claim that Hetch-Hetchy (and California’s  Great Water Project) is a crowning work of Creation’s Crown, Mankind in California.

[Also, see POST: The Great California Drought]

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Superbly Toned. Pitch-Perfect.

  • Reading Among the Ruins(PJ Media) I have been reading both new and classic books this week among the ruins (see photos below). Martin Anderson, now almost in his 90th year, has written a fascinating memoir about fashioning a cattle and big-game preservation ranch in Africa: Galana: Elephant, Game Domestication, and Cattle on a Kenya Ranch. At one time Galana was believed to have been the largest single ranching operation in Africa, and one encouraged by the Kenyan government to be a model of tourism, cattle production, and wildlife protection.Galana is an analytical but also personal memoir about what Africa was like in its once hopeful and immediate postcolonial phase, and how Martin Anderson in his late thirties came to the Kenyan wild in 1960, when most Westerners were leaving, often for understandable reasons. . . . Speaking of the bush and the wild, as I was finishing rereading Galana last evening, I got a call from my son about a truck speeding out of the family vineyard alleyway across the road. Yes, I know, reader — same old, same old:  The miscreants had already dumped their trash: chemical drums, paints, solvents, oils, concrete, tires, garbage, and lots of broken fluorescent glass tubes — something a bit worse than the usual toxic brew that is left on San Joaquin Valley property.
  • The Myth of a California Renaissance (NRO) Are the recent raves about a new California renaissance true? Rolling Stone magazine just gushed that California governor Jerry Brown has brought the state back from the brink of “double-digit unemployment, a $26 billion deficit and an accumulated ‘wall of debt’ topping $35 billion.”Unfortunately, California still faces existential crises.
  • The Great California Land Rush (PJ Media) Boom or Bust? I have lived on the same farm for 59 years and seen at least three boom-and-bust farm cycles — one in the late 1960s, another in the early 1980s, and a third right now.
  • Krugman’s California Dreaming(NRO) It is rare, even in the case of Paul Krugman, to read a column in which almost everything that is stated is either wrong or deliberately misleading. But his recent take on California’s renaissance is pure fantasy.
  • Five Days of Hope and Despair (PJ Media) Brief travel log of five days amid 21st-century California.
  • The California Mordida (Tribune Media Services)  California now works on the principle of the mordida, or “bite.” Its government assumes that it can take something extra from residents for the privilege of living in their special state.
  • Beautifully Medieval California  (PJ Media) Gates Close at Dusk: At about dusk, I close two large metal gates to my driveways. The security lights come on, and I enjoy intramural life.
  • It’s a Mad, Mad World (NRO)Dorner Debacle:It is hard to remember worse coverage of a catastrophe than what we are given about the ex-cop Christopher Dorner’s murdering rampage. Some reprehensible pundits, ever so easily, fall into blaming LAPD and its “history of racism,” in a sorta, kinda contextualizing of Dorner’s brutal killing of innocents by the specter of Rodney King.
  • California at Twiligh(PJ Media) We keep trying to understand the enigma of California, mostly why it still breathes for a while longer, given the efforts to destroy the sources of its success. Let’s try to navigate through its sociology and politics to grasp why something that should not survive is surviving quite well — at least in some places.
  • It’s Hard to Screw Up California–But We Try Our Best(NRO) There is a sort of upbeat New York Timesarticle arguing that California — in part, thanks to passing the highest sales and income taxes in the nation — might be coming back, a sort of recovery that can guide the rest of the US to a renewed faith in the Obama/EU/blue-state way.

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