coming up for air

Come listen to living prophets

i've blogged about conference before, but have you ever wondered why it's so great? the video will help you understand (it is only one minute long!). 


the first session just ended and it's been amazing so far. you can even see my tweets (shift your gaze a little to the right and up just a tad, ah! found it? the feed is just right there on my blog) about some of my thoughts on it, hashtagged #LDSconf. 
anyway. tune in if you'd like some bits of hope: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch?cid=HPFR100413105&lang=eng 

 i feel like this is a little bit of light i can receive after i've been in a lot of fog, and before i head into more.


venus and allegories

written 9/30/13

this evening as my brother and i approached the overlook on ocean avenue in santa monica to view the hazy sunset, we were both strongly reminded of a similar view we had previously experienced, though that was overlooking the duomo and beautiful city of florence, italy last year. 

same sun, different continents.
similar sunset, similar situations. 
but how much has changed since then. 


my brother and i never did see the sun tonight, though its remnants were subtle and inviting and calm.

as we sauntered along the path, watching the sky change, we both noticed venus. venus shone, faintly at first, against the setting sunset as it faded from brilliant orange and pink to purple and blue to dark black. as the brilliance of the sky faded, venus was more noticeable and soon became the center of focus against the dark velvet sky.

its inherent brightness never changed; only its surroundings, yet it became more obvious as night settled in.


we had a really great talk. 
about the garden of eden.
about animals and communication.

about the importance of food
and perhaps its relevance on earth

about learning.
about the universe. 
about movies.


i told my brother something that happened on my recent trip from the east coast: 

at one point, on the last leg of the journey, i was driving late at night. the sunroof was open and mariah and i were cruising along somewhere in nebraska. 

all of the sudden, i was aware of our surroundings: it was flat all around us and i felt like we were in a big snow globe: i could see the stars so clearly and they surrounded us like a dome across the entire horizon. i could see them out the left window, up through the sun roof, and meeting the ground through the right window. 

so clearly--SO many of them. 

and i got so excited! the next night was our final night driving and i made sure i paid attention to the sky when the sun went down. the wyoming terrain was more rocky now, but the stars showed up as they had the previous night. i was driving again, but i looked over every moment i could get (grateful not many cars were on the road) out my window to just gaze on the stars. i could see the milky way tonight and it was such a sight to behold. i felt grateful that i could see such a wonder in so much detail. 


you see, i know that it's there. 
but seeing it is something completely different. 
it doesn't change the truth i've always known.

it just makes me go, 
"yeah! i recognize that 
because i've known it all along."


so tonight in santa monica, 
it was interesting to just see that one shining ball of gas. 
that was pretty much it. 

and to know that there were those millions and billions of stars that i'd seen
just a week ago -- out there, 
and they were still in front of my eyes tonight
but i just couldn't see them.

because of the smog here, 
because i was close to the city,
because of the lights,
because my eyes are too weak.

but knowing that i'd seen them last week
gave me a little secretive smile
as i folded my arms
and we both watched venus 
appear to be the only belle of the ball. 

just because i couldn't see the other stars
didn't mean they weren't there. 

i wondered what the sky would look like if this city weren't there, 
if the smog weren't there, 
if the lights weren't there, 
if our eyes could see all that was out there, 
and if the only thing that remained was the bench we sat on.

the sky would make everyone stop and stare. 
and it really should make everyone stop and stare anyway, 
but we didn't see one person stop. 

so there we sat, 
siblings on a bench, 
talking about the universe,
watching venus,
sharing a secret with each other 
and God
and the universe.