Archive for the 'hockey' Category

Three swans a-resting

January 21, 2014

There were nine swans at the res today.  The res is partially iced-over, but there is some open water, especially near where water from a brook flows into it.

They seemed to be grouped in sets of three.  One group was napping, their long necks gracefully folded back onto their backs while they floated in the water.  One of these was obviously a youthful swan, as it had many dark feathers.  For a while it seemed to be awake, with its head up and stretching its wings a bit, but then it, too, assumed the dozing posture.

I think another group of three also included a juvenile, but the third group seemed to be all white in feather color.  One of those was actually standing on some ice.

I was happy to be able to walk all the way around the res today — I wasn’t sure how packed down the path would be, how icy from refrozen melting it might have become, and, therefore, slippery.  There was even a jogger.  But no ice hockey going on down below on the ice — I imagine the ice isn’t sturdy enough right now.  We’re supposed to get another snowstorm in the next day or two, and after it, some more really cold weather, I think.  Then I suspect the swans will be gone again and the hockey players will be back.

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Goals and cups

June 14, 2013

I was writing a post this morning about goals.  I saved it as a draft and then moved away from it — abandoned it — as it was getting too heavy.  (It had to do with goals as ideals for guidance and goals as things actually to accomplish.)

But I couldn’t help think about goals as ice hockey scores, too, living as I do in the Boston area.  (The Boston Bruins are playing the Chicago Blackhawks for the championship.)

While I was out taking care of business, I came across a tee shirt being sold in a local store that says, “We want the Cup.”  $9.99.  Even I, not a rabid hockey fan or Boston sports groupie, couldn’t resist.

Henri Nouwen asked us, “Can you drink the cup?”  I like this shirt as a reflection of a positive response to that:  Yes!  In fact, we affirmatively want it!  Bring it on!

It’s also got a picture of a bear on it, a Boston Bruin.  The Environmental Police shot a Black Bear above the Mass Pike in Newton Corner recently.  He was a youngster and literally up a tree.  I’ve had difficult dreams about bears.  So bear as hockey team mascot is a great way for me to see bears differently, as being part of a benign and friendly context.

I am happy to drink the cup and wear the bear (as a nightshirt, that is).

Ubiquity of ice hockey

April 22, 2012

I would attribute this to my living in the Boston area and the Boston Bruins’ being in the playoffs right now, but both times I turned on the TV today, there it was, ice hockey.

The first time, it was on a national show (Meet the Press), and I surely didn’t expect the show to cover hockey.  I did enjoy seeing one of those equivalents of the Secret Service for the Stanley Cup, gloved hands and all, especially given my previous confusion on the subject.  I am grateful to have become better educated on the subject now.  Perhaps there is a lesson somewhere in there about patience, or at least about varied, even improving, reiteration of patterns.

The second time I turned on the TV was this evening.  I was wondering if I could find some news, local or national, and instead I found the Bruins going into overtime (which I watched them win) in the sixth of their seven-game series with the Washington Capitals.

As a child I would purposely tune into hockey games on TV when I was looking for something safe to watch (that wouldn’t turn out to be a horror movie) when left alone while my parents went out.  This time it was sort of the opposite — I was looking for news or news analysis and got hockey.

Apparently hockey can be the answer, whether I’m looking for it or not.

Hockey, courtly love, and the local paper

September 16, 2011

I was reading my very local newspaper yesterday (The Arlington Advocate), and I get to this story about the Stanley Cup coming to Arlington.  I wasn’t sure I understood its allusion to some rule about who is permitted to hoist the Cup, so I thought, great, I now own a book about hockey rules that claims to include all I’ll ever need to know on the subject, I’ll look it up.

I couldn’t find reference to the rule, but I did find discussion of security people accompanying the thing on its travels.  This aspect of the peregrinations of the Stanley Cup I didn’t see implied in the Advocate article (the coach was said to be keeping his own “watchful eye” on it).  So, I’m a little puzzled by what I’m to make of all this — the mysterious worlds of hockey, book hype, and journalism.

But for some reason it got me thinking about a medieval rule book, maybe because I thought I might find it more on my wavelength: The Art of Courtly Love, by Andreas Capellanus. The back cover of my old and secondhand copy says, “Its thesis is that love is an art and has an elaborate system of rules governing the conduct of lovers: who may love whom, and the ways love may be acquired, kept, decreased, and so on.”  I don’t want to retreat all the way back into that sort of study (been there, done that), but I thought maybe reading it concurrently will make a nice counterpoint to my engagement with the hockey book.

Limitations of codes

September 13, 2011

David Brooks writes in the NYTimes today about how young people think about moral questions.  He seems to come out in favor of relying on traditional cultural frameworks for thinking about them.

When I lost a baby years ago (she’d be 26 now), I didn’t find any of the cultural frameworks available to me very helpful.  Judaism told me that unless the baby had lived 28 days, mourning rites were inappropriate, secular law treated her as a full-term baby, and my reality was somewhere inbetween.   Judaism doesn’t recognize my adopted children either, as I understand it, only the “mitzvah” of my caring for them.  These are not the moral issues at issue in “If It Feels Right …,” but to me they reflect what moral codes do — they reflect limitations as much as they reflect insights.

I ordered a book on hockey rules recently.  I used to turn on the TV when my parents went to the opera and left me alone, and I learned to tune in to hockey games because unlike the movies on late at night, they didn’t get scary.  But I never could figure out some of the rules, and that has been in the back of my mind for a long time.  Hockey, to me, is a fine context for a book of rules.

But I find books of spiritual understandings paraded as rules kind of like overly literal interpretations of poetry.  I don’t think mystics feel moved to foist their understandings on others, but rather develop themselves and go forth among others to interact with them as their understandings have helped them to be able to do.  I think the people who feel compelled to codify what they hear, need enough ego to want to do that, that their understandings are probably distorted, or at least we should be on our guard for that.  Much of what passes for spiritual experience seems to me to be confusing emotional fantasy with spiritual experience, or visions of the simple future with a spiritual experience.

I think some people think spiritual experience and enlightenment are flukes, that we should not aspire to them at all and navigate the human world without them.  The story of Adam and Eve could certainly be read in a way to support that.  But I think that would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I sometimes wonder if that’s the position of people who struggle with participating in these experiences themselves.

Which brings me to my concluding point: should I assume that others should be on a spiritual path similar to my own?  I do believe that spiritual understanding does lie within each of us, within us all, and that it’s gaining access to it that is the challenge.  Should everybody be trying to gain access to it?  I think so, but I can see that until we do, we may need some amount of reliance on others’ understandings; I just don’t think we should mistake those for some kind of Truth, especially when they are necessarily translated into language for others’ consumption.  And I think that we should be open to the possibility that following others’ understandings may give us cover for not recognizing all the impacts of our behavior on others, and what we might want to learn from those impacts.