Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chilling With Mark and Michelangelo

This picture is for Nathan

Our Easter Sunday started out with a short bike ride and an Easter brunch at McDonalds consisting of two sausage patties and a hash brown (Mark didn't eat anything). We sat out on their lovely balcony overlooking the parking lot, watching a momma chicken and her chicks parade back and forth until the dog belonging to the guests at the adjacent table began to chase them. Afterwards, we sauntered over to the flea market next door for a leisurely stroll through the stands. It was lovely.

Below our lanai on Sunday morning

Later, we headed out to Big Beach. We always go to Big Beach on Sundays because of the Drum Circle held every Sunday evening on Little Beach. (I wrote about it here.) It was windy, but we were able to find a spot further back from the water where some vegetation served as a wind break. Later in the afternoon, when the winds calmed down, we moved out close to the water.

As these pictures indicate, it got a bit chilly in the late afternoon. It had been overcast most of the day,
so we brought along our jackets.

We had extremely good intentions of going on a serious bike ride yesterday (Monday) morning. We left the condo at 7:00 a.m. and drove over to Paia, but it was raining and extremely windy. Seeing it was somewhat sunnier over in West Maui, we then drove over there, but it was also extremely windy there also and it had started raining. So, we headed back to the condo, having spent two hours attempting to find a place to ride. Ironically, when we got back to Lahaina, the sun was shining and the winds were calm.

This satellite image of Maui gives a nice perspective of where we have been cycling. We are staying in Wailea
and the blue arrow indicates where Little Beach and Big Beach are. West Maui is the smaller part of island,
whereas Haleakala dominates the larger part of the island. Pa'ia is the jumping off point for our upcountry rides.

We then headed out to Little Beach and spent a lovely morning and afternoon there simply reading. I felt it was the most relaxing day of our vacation so far. The skies were clear and sunny, the water was fairly calm. There was a breeze, but no wind blasts to speak of. It was wonderful.

I am now over a third of the way through The Agony and the Ecstasy, and I am trying my best not to keep picturing Michelangelo as Charlton Heston.* Applying consciousness, I'm sure I can succeed. I am going to replace that image with this one from the TV Series, Borgia:

(*For those younger readers, Charlton Heston - of Ten Commandments and Ben Hur fame - played the part of Michelangelo in the movie version of The Agony and the Ecstasy.)

I have enjoyed reading this book. Among other things, it has brought back memories of my freshman year of college at Illinois Wesleyan University when I was placed in a two-semester, third-year level Humanities class that was required of all students prior to graduation. The course was essentially a history of the art and culture of Western civilization. 

It was in this class that I was introduced to Homer, Plato, Seneca, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dante and many other writers and works of literature, art and music. It was here when I was introduced the wonder of the Renaissance and to the concept of "Humanism." There was a part of me that responded very deeply to what I was being exposed to. It was magical.

Me in Rome in 1982

Alas, I later turned away from all of this as being too "impractical" (and, in my mind, a bit too "gay"), and I set my course toward something that would be more practical and provide a living. For 30 years, I read almost nothing besides church books and some history. Then I came out and went looking for that person, that part of me, that I had left behind so many years ago. 

I expressed regret to Mark yesterday that I had not read a single New York Times bestseller (other than the Harry Potter books) for the previous 30 years, that I had shut myself off from culture and literature during that time. Wisely, lovingly, he pointed out that I have the rest of my life ahead of me to learn, explore and grow. I am not dead; rather, I am being reborn. I have gone, and am continuing to go through, a renaissance of my own.

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