Monday, June 04, 2007

Passionate Loess

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” --Howard Thurman

Have you ever watched a grown man turn into an excited little boy right before your eyes? Or witness a woman so filled with energy that she glows like a kid at the circus? Those transformational moments are Passion—with a capital P. They are life-giving not only for the participant, but also for the lucky bystanders.

We can find passion in the most ordinary of things. I can only imagine the delight and playfulness that God has for creation. Saturday, I had the pleasure of witnessing a man share his passion. Kevin Pogue is a professor of geology (among other things) at Whitman College in Walla Walla and this past weekend led a tour of the wine country land around the area.

While I enjoy a nice glass of wine, I am certainly no connoisseur; and, although I love digging in my garden, I distinctly remember being bored to death in my freshman geology class (Rocks with Ross) at Oklahoma State University. Saturday, however, the earth came alive and took on new dimensions as we stood in the hot Eastern Washington sun mesmerized by our tour guide.

We learned about basalt and loess (a fancy word for dirt) and the Walla Walla valley’s alluvial fan (a term I kind of remembered from geology class). We heard how finer grapes are produced when the root has to struggle for water. We were wowed by a vineyard planted in 30 feet deep river rock with flourishing rose bush sentries guarding each row.

All of those things were delightfully captivating and upon reflection I wondered how that happened to be. Now it could be that I have matured and my attention span increased since my freshman geology class over 30 years ago. Possibly it is because I have significantly more interest in the earth and creation that surrounds me every day. While both observations are probably true, I would have to say the magic of the day came in watching and listening to someone do what they truly love. Think about this, he was talking about DIRT for goodness sake.

Nevertheless, when he stood on the side of a small “Grand Canyon,” warned us to steer clear of the rim that has been known to “spontaneously disintegrate” and then said, “what the heck” and charged off the side of the cliff, he became a young spirit romping through the tall, probably rattlesnake-infested grass to show us what he wanted to communicate. While we gasped from our safe viewpoint and muttered, “Oh, I wish he hadn’t done that,” the earth transformed from just dirt and the man transformed from a middle-aged person into a passionate being that made even the most inert of objects (rocks and dirt) become exciting and interesting. It was truly a gift to behold and experience. Now that is Passion!

Oh, that we could all find what makes us come alive. Tell me. What is your passion? Do you know?



photos by bill hughlett (another man sharing his passion!)

9 comments:

Tess said...

What a wonderful experience and a wonderful post.
And how about that little sentence you tucked in there: "We heard how finer grapes are produced when the root has to struggle for water." How about that as analogy for our lives.
What makes me come alive? What is my passion? I have to think about it. Does that mean I don't have that experience? No, but I still have to think about it.

lucy said...

thank you, tess. i had to hold myself back on the analogies or this post may have been pages long! i am sure they will pop up along the way in one form or another as they seem to do when i listen.

keep thinking :-) fondly--

Gabrielle said...

That is the sentence that really popped out at me, as well.

I guess I would say my passion is to help people realize that contemplation, contemplative prayer and a contemplative way of life is for everyone. I was looking through some of your previous posts, Lucy, and was wondering what Soltura meant, when I came upon the beautiful Lenten prayer you wrote this past February. That is my passion as well, exactly the way you expressed it. And now, I have just found a lovely website called Soltura as well, so thank you!

lucy said...

lovely, gabrielle. i am glad you have discovered soltura. loosely translated it means moving freely to one's own rhythm. it is the place where i most freely am able to practice my passion.

Me said...

I think as we grow older we live through different passions. And I sincerely hope that some return.

My passion is art - but how it reveals itself has changed in my life.

For many years, it was writing poetry. Now it is without a single doubt photography but sometimes creating something like a collage can consume me nearly as much as photography...

It is all a response to life, which in my book means a response to God.

Anonymous said...

My Passion: gazing into my clear-eyes son's eyes and knowing we are truely seeing each other, a pile of books, a cup of coffee, a sunrise over lake Texoma, champagne and strawberries on a bed in California doing 'mornings readings', walking the dogs, head phones on and music on the Ipod, reading your blog!!! Tin-man #1!!!!

nwc said...

I am passionate about the pursuit of the divine. I am passionate about wilderness and wildlife. I am passionate about learning. I am passionate about history. I am passionate about travel of almost any kind. I'm most likely quite passionate about some other things too, but those are the ones that spring most immediately to mind.

lucy said...

Me, Tinman & NWC-- i am delighted to receive such passionate responses! thank you for sharing them with me.

Sunrise Sister said...

Oh Lucy,

You opened up the Mind Sieve again. My response became too long for a comment here. You and your readers will just have to visit me at http://dwmindsieve.blogspot.com to find out what has sifted out now...passion I hadn't really named before.

Sunrise Sis