Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The first volume of the Silmarillion, the Ainulindalë, tells "the tale of the Music of the Ainur and the creation of Arda." It isn't an allegory by any means, but some parts of it are analagous to the real world. The divine being Ilúvatar is very similar to God (somewhat like Lewis' 'Emperor over the Sea' in the worlds of Narnia) and the main personal force of evil is Melkor, who becomes known as Morgoth Bauglir or 'Black Enemy,' a rough analogue to Satan. For he was of the greatest of the Ainur, very similar to angels, before he rebelled against Ilúvatar. At one point he was trying to introduce his own themes in the to the heavenly"music of the Ainur" and after he failed to take control, Ilúvatar said the following to him:
"And thou Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."When I look at that paragraph I see something akin to what God could actually have told Satan ere he fell. Satan may think that he is in control (of anything), but in reality God is in control of all things, as revealed when Joseph spoke to his brothers in Genesis 50:20:
-JRR Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë, p 17, First American Edition
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.God didn't merely use what his brothers did to bring about a good end, but he meant it for good.
All this to say that I am truly enjoying experiencing the Silmarillion yet again, in a new way. Next I'm going to listen to an audio reading of The Children of Húrin, which though it is a dark and depressing tale, is nevertheless epic Tolkien and a grand tale in the tradition of European tales like Beowulf.
I love how we can find things that point to God in many different places. It doesn't mean pantheism is true, or that everything has bits of God in it, or that everything is okay because you can "find God there," but He has been gracious enough to provide us with many examples of His love and character that we can see all around us.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Monday, April 27, 2009
It turned out to be a fun evening. I did get to play a game a short time before my vacation. It was Easter when I took it over to the place where I go to Bible Study some Friday evenings and several of us played. I don't get to play the game often enough, but when I do I really enjoy it. One of these days I need to get one of the expansions, even if it is just so the game will hold together better with the border pieces, ;-).
Saturday, April 25, 2009
What I really want to do is get back to work...but I'm not scheduled to go in until Monday. Who knows, I might just visit the Creation Museum tomorrow, a day early... ;-)
Friday, April 24, 2009
I doubt I'll have an active internet connection until I get home. The campground we are going to is part of the Tennessee State Park system, which is nice, but doesn't feature wireless internet. That is fine with me, I don't need internet access when camping, it has just been nice to have so that I can post pictures and blog posts like this (and perhaps check some e-mail, but don't tell anyone that, ;-)).
Thursday, April 23, 2009
While we were hiking up to Grotto Falls I happened to look down and see this tiny evergreen branch laying next to a rock. It looked like an interesting tableau, so I grabbed a few shots from different angles. I think that this was the one that turned out the best. I wish that there had been a bit more color, or richer tones in the shot...but I think it still turned out well. The only thing that I moved was the angle of the camera.
I don't know what leaves made these shadows, but they were on the former lands of the Ogle farm, one of the first stops along the loop today. My dad and I hiked the entire loop through the farm, but my mom stayed back because the first part (actually the last since we accidentally went backwards) was pretty muddy. But this trail was a great place for photos, including some great flower shots.
My dad pointed out this flower, but I had fun with the angle. I think that the shadow and the green leaves lend some interesting points to the scene. I wish that the flower had been a bit more lively, but at least the color is still intact, ;-).
I have some more purple flowers, but for the sake of variety here is a white one. I have another version of this shot that focuses in on the fern you can seen in the background, but I don't think that it works as well as this one. I like the blurry background and how you can barely see the other green there, but at least it is there. I'm not sure if I took this horizontally or vertically...but I think that it could work as either. I'm leaning towards trying it as a background on my computer.
The last picture from our first stop is some fungi found on a log. I took several pictures after my dad pointed them out, but this was the first and honestly the best (unless I crop some of the others down). The lines are pretty cool, looking somewhat like tree rings. There were literally dozens upon dozens of these things growing on several different logs in the vicinity.
This shot was taken against the background of a crumbling stump, just visible as the red coloring behind the green plants. I don't know why, but again I like the first shot of this series over all of the other ones that I took in case this one didn't turn out. I find it slightly frustrating that a shot can look great on the tiny LCD screen and you don't realize the flaw until it is displayed on the computer. But, at least it is better than not even having a clue until you paid for the film to be developed!
We'll be at a state park campground tomorrow night, so I'm sure that I won't have internet access. I should remember to come back here once I get home, but that won't likely be until sometime Sunday. I'll be home on Saturday but will be busy that evening. I don't even know yet if I'm working on Sunday or not... As always, thanks for reading, and please leave a comment if you like what you read or the pictures that you see. Thanks!
Dollywood has a historic steam engine for which they've laid out a section of track and an interesting route. The train goes through some natural woods on the property, and while you do see some behind the scenes areas several other natural areas are decorated with replicas of historic buildings or scenes like a hobos campfire, a mountain still, etc... The engine came from Alaska and is known as "Klondike Katie."
At one point the engineer blew the whistle for a couple of minutes, releasing me smoke than normal. As my part of the train came past the area where he'd started I grabbed this (and a couple of other shots) of the sun coming through the smoke.
I have been trying to get pictures of the Dogwood trees ever since I've arrived in the area, but this is one of my favorites. I like the juxtaposition of the white flowers against the red leaves of the other tree.
PS This has been fun posting more often. I really need to get back in this habit when I get back from vacation.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This trip will be my first time getting into some place because of my work at the Creation Museum. The Creation Museum and Dollywood have a reciprocal arrangement with employees for admission.
It should be a fun day. Sadly on my last trip to Kings Island I discovered that while I really enjoyed roller coasters my inner ear does not. I loved the thrill, but became nauseous after a couple of rides, :(. I wish that I hated the rides or that I could handle them...but no, I get the worst case scenario, wanting to go, but being unable if I want to enjoy the rest of the day. With that in mind I doubt I'll go on any of the actual roller coasters today (my dad has much the same reaction as I do, without the enjoyment, so we wouldn't all be going regardless), but some of the other rides look interesting.
Ah, working for museums is not only very enjoyable, but has great benefits as well! :-)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Sadly Bob had visited nearly all (if not all) of the buildings that we saw today. Most of the free surfaces were covered with graffiti. I understand when settlers carved their names into Chimney Rock, and those carvings are now historic. But carving your name into a historic building in a National Park is simply childish and disrespectful...it also ruins some good pictures!
I'll leave some nice scenery shots without too much commentary. I'll hopefully post more pictures later on Facebook or via Picasa where I can tie comments directly to them.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I have gotten several good panoramics so far, including a couple of vertical shots. Here is one of the forest and one showing the twists on one of the roads (and in the background you can see some beautiful clouds).
I love the shots that show the trademark clouds and "smoke" of the Smokies... I loved the scenes from the Last of the Mohicans that were filmed here...
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Thursday, April 02, 2009