I tell them the same thing each time I stand before a new class. I’m not sure they believe me. Not sure they can. I tell them that I’m here learning along with them this week. I tell them our class is going to be a dialog, not a monolog.
Ricardo’s interpreting for me this week. It’s a tough job. I forget to slow down when I speak. I use big, theological words and obscure Texas colloquialisms. Sometimes I slip up and cuss a bit; sometimes I do it on purpose.
When I turned 20 my dad surprised me and a friend with a trip to Las Vegas. Not a gift that I would suggest to anyone wanting to encourage their kids to follow Jesus, but in a strange way the experience has had a profound effect on my faith.
It might take a minute or two before you get up to flip the album over and drop the needle on the b side. There might be a pause in the storytelling or a let up in the laughter making the subtle silence noticeable.
We’re all a lot skinnier in the first picture, that’s for sure. You can also see the varying effects of thirty-five years of life; wrinkles, gray hair, the sloop of the shoulders. But there’s so much you can’t see...
The fog is so thick this morning it condenses on the leaves and falls slowly as rain drops on the roof. The streets and sidewalks are slick and shiny, the oaks and mums and grass are weighted with the moisture.
The present was wrapped in a box big enough for a major appliance. Inside was another box a small child could fit in. After that, the boxes inside got progressively smaller. With each successive opening, the excitement built … what could it possibly be? What would this reveal?
Yesterday I began a nearly-vertical ascent on my mountain bike toward the famous 401 Trail outside Crested Butte. We parked the 4X4 at 8,500 feet; from there, the road climbed ever higher. Within minutes I was gasping, and at every turn of the track there was only more incline ahead. Jeeps and ATVs blew by us, kicking up dust to be sucked into my struggling lungs. I was already in my lowest possible gears, barely staying upright. The bone-dry air quickly evaporated my sweat and spit, while the altitude and my asthma conspired to leave me fighting for breath.
My friend Matt Covington researches hydrogeology and geomorphology, with a particular focus on karst aquifers and landforms. This means he spends a lot of time underground. Sometimes waaaayyyyyy underground. And not just on Saturday afternoons, but sometimes for weeks at a time. He has explored some of the deepest caves in the world in Mexico, Peru, Sumatra, Alaska, China, Slovenia and Croatia.
Weeks. Underground. Deep underground. Sometimes scuba diving deep underground so he can go deeper. Places so dark that your body loses its ability to tell night from day, to know when to sleep or be awake.
We’d left the trees about half an hour before, but the peak of Engineer Pass still loomed impossibly far away, and far above us. With each pedal stroke, oxygen became more scarce. Legs burning, lungs gasping, heads aching, each member of the ride somehow found the strength to fight their way to the top. Along the way, people making the ascent in ATVs and 4X4s looked on with a mixture of confusion, awe and pity. Some even stopped to take pictures, knowing their friends wouldn’t believe ‘em if they told ‘em.