Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Monday, October 02, 2006


It had all the makings of a nourishing weekend, but it turned out to feed me in unimagined ways, as well.

I was scheduled for a Poetry Publishing workshop on Saturday morning. Of course, it had to be held way up on the north side of Chicago since south-siders can’t even pass their eye exams (or at least that is the consensus of most media types). I left home quite early only to be confronted with exceedingly heavy traffic on the ramp heading north to the Kennedy expressway. My first thought was to search the horizon for a mushroom cloud as I couldn’t imagine why so many folks from Dixie were heading north. The skyline appeared clear and I opted to stay on the expressway and head for Lake Shore Drive as an alternative route.

Lake Shore Drive provides some breathtaking views of, well, the Lake. (Yeah, we’re no dummies here in Chicago…we know what to call a road that runs along the lake!) Once again, I was confronted by a significant volume of traffic. In short order, I managed to figure out that the delay was caused by some hyper-active male glandular condition exacerbated by many beautiful woman running along the lakefront for the sole purpose of saving other womens’ breasts. That resolved, and no other alternative routes being available, I stayed on Lake Shore Drive.

After navigating the narrow main roads of the north side, I arrived at my destination which appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. Checking my workshop receipt against the address on the door, I soon realized that the class would be held in one of those trendy post-modern post-yuppie postcard-size spaces. Before we could begin, however, nature called and I inquired as to the location of a restroom. I was handed a key attached to a rubber ruler (I know, I don’t get it either).

Upon opening the restroom door, I discovered what I think it is safe to say is the LAST thing I expected to see. There in full battle garb was a ninja complete with one of those huge sticks they use for….uh, stick things that ninjas do. Men are congenitally unable to cope with the courtesies of greeting other men when entering a bathroom. But, this took greeting protocol to a whole new level of meltdown, especially because this fella had a really big stick. I opted for the “mumbling-hello-downward-glance-foot-shuffle past him” approach. It seemed to work as after I completed my business, the ninja (and his big stick) were gone. Upon leaving the restroom, I noticed a sign for some zen-battlestar-galactica warehouse space right across the hall. Yes, there were more of them. I stealthily sneaked past the door and headed back to my poetry room.

To my great disappointment there were only 2 other class participants plus the leader. While most of the information imparted required little more than common sense, I at least felt a little rejuvenation from being in the company of fellow “artistes.”

Perhaps it was the afterglow of time dedicated to my avocation of writing on Saturday or perhaps it was the prospect of it being World Communion Sunday, but I felt inclined to break out the new Mexican white collarless shirt that I’d bought in Santa Fe this year. And, being an artist, its extremely rumpled condition fed right into that thought pattern. So, I tied up the ponytail, donned the Don Juan de Santa Fe shirt and headed off to church.

Just as men are congenitally unable to cope with greeting strange men in a restroom, Presbyterians (also known as the Frozen Chosen) are congenitally unable to ask, “What the hell IS THAT YOU”RE WEARING?!?!?” Remarks ranged from, “Well, isn’t that a bright white shirt?” to “How ‘bout those Chicago Bears?”

After some time at the gym, I decided that the Sabbath (and shopping in Oak Park) was calling to me. I apparently hadn’t drank enough overpriced bottled water while I was at the gym because I found myself craving some ice cold diet Mountain Dew. On the drive to Oak Park, I spotted a convenience store and pulled into the parking lot. As I approached the counter, some relatives of the clerk were hanging out, wasting time. One of them, who’d obviously been intrigued by my ponytail AND my shirt, asked, “Are you a chef?” Visions of Mario Batali and his orange clogs danced in my head and I quickly decided that I needed to go back to the gym more often.

But wait, maybe I AM a chef. It seems in the last 5 years, but more particularly in the past year, I have pursued adventures that have added a special salt to my life --trips, events and workshops and seminars and retreats all of which have spiced up my spiritual journey. I’ve tasted the work of numerous authors and educators. New friends have nourished me even as they accompany me on this special road. We are all chefs - taught well by the One who fed us first with bread and wine. Amen.


Anonymous AMP said...

Enjoyable reading and a fun glimpse into the male perspective.

5:32 PM  

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