Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I know a Goddess when I see one

I liked the Tri-met MAX story with just enough villainy to make one pay attention and hiss, but no real tragedy. A man got ready to get off the light-rail train in Portland, and his three-year-old ran ahead. Something happened and the door closed between them. He pounded on the door. His toddler was already crying on the platform. A woman on the other side pounded on the door. Everyone was in an uproar. The train operator didn't hear, or didn't care, and the train pulled away. The frantic father waited for the next stop, got off, and took the next train back. It took him seven minutes. No parent can read that story without shuddering. A three year old! But when he got to the platform where he had left his son, a nice, young woman was waiting there with his little boy.

Here she is! The father was so distraught he didn't get her name. But then the newspaper tracked her down and printed her picture. What a perfect person to be on the platform for a little, lost boy! I mean, I take MAX sometimes; and the platforms are often full of people who look like they might kill you.

That is an exaggeration, the people are usually fine, but they don't look like this pretty, kind girl. It just nice to know they are still out there -- the good person who has to step up and comfort a toddler for ten minutes, missing their own appointment, or class.

There was more. The operator of the train said he didn't hear the father. But when they checked out the intercom system it seemed to be working fine. I am sure there will be more. But I don't need to hear the rest of it, because the best part was the little Madonna on the platform.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

All about Bultmann

I am taking a Gospel class and am amused by how often Jesus' identity is raised in the Gospels. "who do they say that I am?" is a typical question.

I have another identity mystery to solve however. Who is this Bultmann? As I do research on the Gospel John I keep running into his name. He seems to be a mythic figure to all the towering giants of exegesis. It’s hilarious in a way, I almost have to do research on the researcher. In John Ashton’s book, Understanding the Fourth Gospel, (boy is that misnamed) which left me cross-eyed and belligerent because of its insider, referential impenetrability (perhaps I should just say it’s a scholarly work), he treats Bultmann as a God.

And of course the name BULTMANN has the heavy sound of German authority; if God's name wasn't Yahweh it might just be Bultmann.

Ashton actually treats Bultmann as more of an idol than a God, because he is always trying to refute him. I put it down to an obsession by one exegete to an older, authority figure. Perhaps Bultmann was Ashton’s old professor, he has to be respectful while he undermines his pet theories.

But then I find in Raymond Brown (who himself is a towering something or other) this little bon mot "I do not think that the evangelist was either anti-sacramental (in a Bultmannian sense) or anti-ecclesiastic." Raymond Brown is more accessible than Ashton is, although not much. I cannot fathom the above quoted sentence though, and cannot imagine ever writing anything where I used the Biblical scholar Bultmann as an adjective.

Oh, then Malina and Rohrbach, who are very modern and try and be understandable, mention Bultmann as if everyone knows who he is and what he stands for.

They seem so happy and oblivious these Biblical scholars. It’s such a tempest in a teapot sort of environment where everyone knows everyone. These scholars of the Bible - not so long ago all male - obviously intelligent - very detail-oriented - learned - unemotional tinkerer’s of the Gospels. It’s as if the Gospels were car engines and they just have to have a go at them.


After writing a mild screed about Bultmann above, I felt a little guilty so I looked him up. He is all that I said, but also someone I think I might have agreed with. Wikipedia says "He carried form-criticism so far as to call the historical value of the gospels into serious question. Some scholars criticized Bultmann and other critics for excessive skepticism regarding the historical reliability of the gospel narratives." Interesting, he was really saying that the Gospels should be looked at in a different way -- actually sounds like he came to the post -modern conclusion that you cannot just take the Bible back and back until you finally have the truth of it, you need another paradigm. He was influence by Kierkegaard more than most people are now. His movement away from exegesis had a different flavor than it would have if he was writing today.

But Bultmann, it looks like you were all right, in a Bultmannian sense that is.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Crab

My friend and I were talking about making important decisions and I said "sometimes I can't look right at it, it has to come at me sideways like a crab."

She said "oh it makes you cranky."

"No it has to come in through my peripheral vision."

We went back and forth until we understood each other, but the crab was not her favorite metaphor.

But I like the idea of the crab.

If your unconscious is going to hoard something and not let you see it, its probably not a puppy or a kitten of an idea. Its going to be more like a crab.

Crabs are hard, unlovely, but undeniably real. And, it could be worse. I am not even talking snakes and spiders here. Surely those are in my unconscious too, but I am happy to leave them there.

But crabs walk sideways moving faster than you would think, you can imagine them getting away from your hoarding unconscious onto that beach that is the place of between, of productivity and possible danger. Crabs are used to moving from one medium to another, sometimes living in the water, and sometimes venturing onto land. They are only going to come out at special times when they think they can do it safely.

If it happens that you catch something out of the corner of your eye and turn your head fast, you might just see a crab scuttle away because he is as scared of you as you are of him. But maybe a little bit curious too. So he might pause before slipping away in that hole in the rock and look right at your with his beady eye.

You will know that you have seen something that is usually hidden. And you should pay attention.

Monday, August 10, 2009


It has a ka-chunk feeling.

It's that feeling of satisfaction when a fact slips into place and suddenly you understood something that you didn't understand before. As a kid I remember having that feeling at school. Ka-chunk and suddenly I would understand what the x and y axis meant or get an image of water moving through the hydrologic cycle.

As I've gotten older I've noticed a similar feeling around a different kind of knowledge. I think of it as Knowing with a capital K. Its when my heart catches up with my head and I KNOW something. I usually already knew it with my head, perhaps for years. I had that feeling of Knowing when I drove by the low-income apartments on Sandy Blvd. one morning just as the school buses pulled in and watched as this huge horde of kids pile into the buses. I had always known that a lot of Parkrose students lived in apartments. But here they all were and so many of them! I could never look at the statistics the same way again. I had seen them and they now meant something to me.

I thought of that when I watched a clip of Wendell Potter being interviewed by Bill Moyer. Potter is an insurance executive who quit his job, and now works to expose how the insurance industry is trying to derail health-care reform. It's as good as my friend said it was, but I was fascinated by Potter's description of why he quit his job.

He had been visiting his family in Kentucky when he heard about a health fair at the county fair grounds. He was curious about it and drove over to check it out. What he saw appalled him. People in long lines, waiting for a free medical check up. Doctors doing procedures in horse stalls. He took pictures and showed them on air: hundreds of people waiting in line in the rain. He told Moyer, "I couldn't believe all the people." Moyers asks him "well didn't you know the statistics already." Potter answers "well I did, but this made it real, some of these people I probably grew up with." Potter didn't quit his job immediately but he finally did. The two realities of his high paying job and the people in the rain couldn't co-exist.

Potter had a conversion experience! We tend to think of conversion as only pertaining to religion. But Potter went through a rapid realignment of his heart, mind and soul that was as profound as the classic religious conversion. He looked out at people standing in the rain and felt that ka-chunk of real feeling. We can know something intellectually for a long time, but now and again we get the privilege of KNOWING it.

If you are interested in watching the video, Google Moyer Wendell Potter or try the link below:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Polar Bear Psalm

More school projects. I wrote some Psalms for my Psalm class and here is my polar bear psalm. Its a lament, which a very dramatic form that seems to me fits with the idea of a species dying out. Be prepared though, to be sad:

Psalm of the Polar Bear -- A Lament

I know you Lord as I know the ice -
It’s crusty thickness where I hide and wait is a testament to Your goodness

I know you Lord as I hunt through the icy depths
Your Arctic waters brings me the fat seal pup and rich narwhale meat

Oh God, who thickens the ice
Why do I hear the mumble and groan of cracking ice and the singing sound of melt water?

Oh God, who brings the cold,
every day I wake to a warm southern breeze - sweet smelling and false;
I lift up my nose and long for the hard white smell of the cold north wind.

But you, oh Lord, are the keeper of the ice,
You have cared for my people and our fierce, lonely hunt.

You, oh Lord, are the keeper of the ocean,
You have filled it with seal and salmon, whale and walrus.

You have given us immense strength, oh Lord, to swim tens of miles to the summer ice.
You have given us unerring smell, oh Lord, to find the aglus where the seals come to breath.
You have given us stillness, oh Lord, to wait by the aglus for the sweetest of seal prey.
You have given us sharp tooth and claw to grab and crunch the swift and wily walrus.
You have made us fat and strong, fierce and persistent and we adore you with our every stalking move.

Why then oh Lord do we swim out from land and never find the strong carriage of an icy ledge,

Where are you Lord as our limbs ache and tremble, and our power gives out in a limitless, edgeless ocean?

Why do we grow thin on poor meals of skinny birds and hard-caught caribou without finding the succulent seals we need to fatten and grow our children.

Where are you Lord as the sweet tender wind flows out of the Southern lands destroying your faithful hunters?

How should we live

The following is a post I made for my environmental religion class. It's a little rough around the edges, but I didn't want to lose it so here it is:

I have a Catholic background and from there became a Unitarian Universalist. I have no experience with the end times. I don't like to judge other's religious expression but I am not impressed by that branch of theology. There is something spooky about it to me. There is this emphasis on the powerlessness of the individual and the irrationality and powerfulness of the savior. Your role as an individual is to be in with the powerful one. Saving means believing, and the ethical side of religion is undeveloped. The end-times theology is something both Berrys (Wendell and Thomas) have regretted because it takes the focus off of the sacred material world and puts it onto heaven.

However, oddly, I've always been attracted to end of the world stories in literature. I have a taste for science fiction and one of my guilty pleasures are stories about comets hitting the earth, and I will watch some pretty bad disaster movies! (If anyone has times for a beautiful end of the world novel, Kevin Brockmeier, "The Brief History of the Dead" is NOT a guilty pleasure but a treasure of a novel.) When I was a child I used to fantasize about being in a world without people, just walking around the beautiful Earth playing with the animals. I have no idea what that means about me. I think it might just mean that I was a middle child in a big family! I told my older brother about this old fantasy of mine and he just laughed and laughed.

Its hard to take in how vulnerable we are, we protect against it. We have a filter that tells us the past dictates the future. But anyone who has had an important person in their life die unexpectedly knows that is just a filter, things change sometimes in the wink of an eye. So will it be a comet that gets us or our terrible stewardship of the Earth? They have very different theological meanings. The comet would be entirely natural, and would mean that all our struggles were pretty pointless unless some remnant survived and then came back again (science fiction language :) ). I have a big picture theology and even I can't get much meaning out of human flowering on Earth only to be taken out by a natural cosmological event.

Having Global warming go too far has another meaning entirely. Wendell Berry says being "fallen creaters in a fallen world can only instruct us painfully in division and disintegration" . I have always regarded my Apocalyptic interests as some private expression of my psyche. The fact of it is almost entertaining in a generally positive and forward thinking person like myself. This whole global warming crisis has pushed me toward darker thoughts than usual. Some think that religion is our human response to the idea of death, that we have these interesting complex identities, that feel so real and important packed into a biological package that dies. But one of the comforts has always been that the world continues on without us. Many people believe either in an after life or reincarnation. So far my response to these dark thoughts have been to realize that I can only do what humans do. I can change my behavior a little, I can preach about this, I can maintain my hope. I don't even want to be an activist about it -- although I end up doing so out of interest and enthusiasm, I really don't think that for me activism is a response to the Apocalyptic challenge but comes more from the gut, not my heart. I think Berry is on the right track, the response to something so large is to grow a garden, to be more human, to make more connections, to be more open to friends and family.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is it God or is it Nature?

The experience of Nature is for many people the first memory they have of mystical union. A religious person who’s beliefs are under stress may look at Nature and say ‘Whatever else I believe, I know this is holy.’ In my Marylhurst Cohort, the diverse wonderful bunch of people I am taking classes with, we agree that Nature is holy. It’s a touchstone around which we gather, using its symbols to create unity between us.

However, if we dug a little deeper, if we wanted to discover our disunity instead of celebrating our unity, we might find that we don’t entirely agree about Nature. For some of us Nature may only be God’s handiwork. It is beautiful because God made it and it shows the world of men and women that God is good and great. Nature is holy because it is made by God. For others Nature contains some part of God. If we strip away the noise of impermanent things we will hear, as St Augustine says, "the very Self which in these things we love". I can imagine this as that deepest vibration within the world’s atoms. In this view, God is in nature not just the creator of nature. For some people this God in the world is explanation enough. God is as great as Nature because God is Nature, no more but no less. For others God is both in the world and also exists as some larger animation or principle. St. Augustine believed this and later in his poem asked his readers to imagine going "beyond ourselves to attain a flash of that eternal wisdom which abides above all things".

God’s relationship to Nature has acquired greater interest in the last fifty years with the rise of post-modern science. Post-modern science allows for mysticism in a way that Cartesian science did not. Post-modern physics has some theories about matter that almost require a mystical intuition to truly understand. People who have rejected religion often return to mysticism rather than to God. Sometimes that movement toward mysticism will begin a journey toward God. However, whether the journey toward mysticism moves one toward God it will very often lead back toward those original feelings about Nature.

In my tradition, Unitarian Universalism, we also gather around symbols and language of Nature in the way my Marylhurst cohort does. Nature is a ‘safe’ place for the modern skeptic to begin to reacquaint with the Holy and to rise above sectarian differences. The questions about the connection between Nature, Mysticism and God break out anew as a skeptic attempts to deepen his or her religious practice.

The other reason reason to look at God in Nature is our ecological crisis. Issues around God and Nature attract an energy and urgency they didn’t when our planet was not in mortal danger. The ecological crisis is becoming apocryphal and our duty and relation to the earth is not just an abstruse argument among theologians but is a common ethical discussion between people in their homes, in our new President’s speeches, in church, and on the letters-to-the-editor page.

Sallie McFague, in The Body of God, discusses the theological underpinnings of an ecological theology. She begins with the idea of embodiment. With all caveats in place, she asks us to consider a model of God as a body, and that body is our Universe.

McFague is a Christian and she makes, not such a great leap, and enlarges yet again who belongs inside the circle of ‘reconstituted Israel’. In 80AD Luke wrote a Gospel that enlarged the idea of who qualified for inclusion in God’s covenant with Abraham. The Good Samaritan is one example of what McFague calls "one of the central features of Jesus’ ministry--his destablizing parables that side with the outcast". McFague thinks it is time to enlarge that sense again and bring our suffering planet in "Indeed we might see nature in our time as the new poor of Jesus’ parables".

Although McFague does not mention my favorite parable, the Good Samaritan, it’s not hard to imagine that she would be sympathetic to an argument that compared the beaten man to our poor damaged earth, and the Good Samaritan as anyone moved by pity and love to step in and restore it.

(this is an extract from one of my academic papers. Its one of the good bits, where i got to stretch myself out a little :) ! )

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cyborg Skiers

I was getting restless. My husband has been on an inhuman work schedule and I have been spending all my time in God country. I was beginning to feel like I needed to spend at least a little time in God's actual country.

I looked around for some playmates and signed up for a day ski with a local cross country ski club. I had been on their trips before, and they were decent people who generally knew how to ski. The weather looked good. I should have realized my folly when the guy organizing it said 'we are going 14 miles, have you ever skied fourteen miles?' Well I didn't really know if I had, but I said yes I had.

When I showed up at the car-pool location I didn't sense anything different. Middle-aged to slightly old participants with a lot of grey to white hair. Half retired, half still working. Nothing special in the way of equipment. We drove through the Gorge and up toward Wind River. I made a joke about working on the Bicycle Master Plan, I said ' I am trying to get them to put some kind of hook on the bottom of hills so you can grab on and get pulled up to the top.' They laughed politely than one said 'but bicycling is good exercise.' 'Yes I know' I said 'but those hills ha ha'. I laughed alone.

Except for the humor challenges it was a nice group. We got out of the car and got our gear on and then we went. There was an actual breeze as the pack moved out and I was quickly the very last one going uphill. Not only was I last but the gap was widening!!! I thought 'well sometimes it takes a while for me to warm up. I'll be fine.'

But I wasn't really fine. I respond to group pressure and so I started to really push myself. I was sweating and had to stop so I could take off my jacket. I puffed purposely forward but taking off the jacket had only put me farther behind. I came around a bend and the nice leader was there looking a bit anxious, "are you ok?". It is the question that the insanely, competitive dread. "Oh, I'm fine!" I trilled,"I guess I'm just not as fast as you are," stating the obvious. "but I will make it" I could only hope it was true.

Than it began in earnest. He chose to believe me, so he went ahead of me. On any ski tour some of it has to be uphill. That's ok, but on a 14 mile ski tour, at least five miles of it are uphill. In this case it was the first five miles. I began a series of legs where I would see them waiting for me far ahead, reach them puffing, wheezing and exhorting myself, and they would look back at me, ask me how I was doing and then move on. I knew they were probably getting cold waiting but I never got to take a BREAK. Everytime I would reach them they would move on and I would force myself to follow--it was like stalking a herd of elk!

Finally, finally we stopped for lunch. I struggled a little out of my skis because of an icing problem with my bindings and devoured my lunch. I was so hungry I was gulping huge bites of my sandwich but before I was done I looked around and they were DONE with lunch and getting ready to move on. They were even faster eaters than I was!

Then it happened. As they were packing up I said "I need to take a leak." They looked at me dumbly and said, 'we'll wait for you around the bend'. That was when I began to wonder. Am I skiing with cyborgs? They had eaten lunch with me, but maybe that was just to fit in. Not one of them stopped the whole day to take a leak. I only took one but I was the only one who did.

Things did get better after lunch. We had done the major uphill stint. I could just barely keep up with them on downhill stretches. I was so exhausted though that I wasn't really enjoying myself. I still had to push like the dickens to keep up and I couldn't tell you what the woods were like.

This trip wasn't the idealic return to nature that I had hoped. I had turned into the 'little engine that could', following a pack of cyborg elk. I rounded a bend and negotiated a long challenging down hill, we were in sight of the broad easy road that would lead to the car. I was just thinking, hey this is finally kind of fun when my ski chattered over and hooked itself under a limb that was snow-glued to the ground. It is just the kind of thing that happens when you are beyond tired.

Wham bam, thank you mam! I went down hard. The limb stayed put and my ski was soundly hooked. I had to crawl backwards up the hill to push the ski back through the hole formed by the sturdy branch, my butt in the air, my chest and arms hugging the icy ground. I pulled the ski out. Then I found out I could not get back up, I was just too darned tired. I sat defeated for a moment, then gave it one more heave ho! I managed to move forward a little unsteadily, and there they were my cyborg friends. I got closer, 'man, I hooked my ski!' I shouted, they made sad faces at me and then turned as one and moved briskly away back toward the car.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another kind of testimony - City Council

I testified at a recent Portland City Council meeting that was held in East Portland, not the usual downtown council chambers. The city council was voting to accept a special report on East Portland. Here is my (very short) testimony. It goes remarkably well on a religion and spirituality blog since its all about equity. Warning, there is some wonk talk in among the equity talk! It's my secret side.

After thanking the council I said:

The East Portland Action Plan has a whole section on equity. The plan asks for equity reporting and audits. We want our fair share of investment in our neighborhoods and opportunities for the children and adults in East Portland.

Equity is about fairness and our desire to improve our neighborhoods, but it is also about our desire to be fully and wholly a part of Portland. You are familiar with those t-shirts that say, "this is what 50 looks like" and "this is what 60 looks like", well this is what Portland looks like. As proud as we are to say East Portland, we aren’t just East Portland.

Equity is one of those concepts that can come across negatively as "getting ours", but equity in the positive sense is about connections, about being a part of the larger whole. There is a sense of being cut off, when equity isn’t there. This symbolic city council meeting, like the earlier events of Sam Adam’s and, even before that, Ted Wheeler’s Parkrose inauguration, builds connections. The new East Portland swimming pool addition to the East Portland Community Center builds connections. I believe, that if the connections are there equity will automatically follow.

I invite you to continue to build connections with this part of Portland; and one way to do that would be through equity reporting. The equity audits and reports that are recommended in the East Portland Action Plan, need to become a part of the decision making culture at city hall. I was delighted to see Mayor Adams linking neighborhood equity reporting to the bureaus and to the future Portland Strategic Plan in one of his earliest announcements as Mayor. Someday the East Portland Action Plan will be old and outdated, but it won’t matter if you are systematically using equity in your decision making.

Thank you Mayor Adams: thank you Counselors, it was a pleasure to serve on the East Portland Action Planning Team.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The new look of my blog is inspiring me to write more. Just looking at that picture of Waldo Lake and remembering that I was actually there on a dazzling day in July is an inspiration. Yes the quality of the light was that magical and the water was an incredible clear blue.

I am writing my first exegesis paper for Marylhurst. Doing this is fraught for me because I have to take a LOT of Bible classes to get my MDIV. It isn't so much this particular paper, but the fact that I will have to repeat the process over and over. I wish very much, that the DIV part was more interfaith and I could fill my head with the theology of all the world's great religions.

I cringe a little when my teachers say bright little aphorisms about all that we will learn. The depth etc. I imagine that I could study pickle-making and take some meaning out of it. If you delve deep enough in any subject you learn something that you can take with you and apply somewhere else. Naturally, I have already learned much from this Bible look-see. I am saddened though by the opportunity cost. I have this time to study and I am going to have to spend it on the Bible. I am not denigrating the Bible so much as wishing for more balance in my studies. It saddens me. I am old enough to be sad, and a bit angry, about wasted time.

My original prejudice that the Bible is no more divinely inspired than any other spiritual writing is being confirmed. Once you know how copied, translated, changed and selected it is its hard to see God's hand there. Yes, there is faith and religion, which I respect. But each generation is yanking the book in one direction or another depending on the politics of the day. There is this great human need flowing through it. I am convinced it is a holy book, but more because of the faith and tears, and sometimes blood, of the readers and writers than because of some grand plan. And of course there are some beautiful passages.

Here is my pickle-making insight from the Bible. I was reading about Dick Cheney and his criticisms of Obama because he was closing down Guantanamo Bay and I though "He's a Roman!". Dick Cheney is all about empire and in empire its OK to level whole towns to preserve it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In the Belly of the Beast

I just signed up to get trained as a Trauma Counsellor through Trauma Intervention Programs of Portland Oregon. For my MDiv we are being asked to do practicums. I think that means get real and be practical. Its the doing rather than the thinking part of my program.

I tend to get lost in the thinking. I tend to enjoy the thinking. Many of my Marylhurst cohort (the folks I am travelling through the program with) are getting a slightly different degree called Applied Theology. I love the name of that degree and wish my own degree had such a nuts and bolts name. There is something nutty about acquiring a degree called Master of Divinity when one has so many doubts about said Divinity.

However, Trauma Counselling is a nuts and bolts skill of the Minister and I am oddly looking forward to it. Partly because I felt my intuition kick into gear when I read about it in the newspaper. 'I could probably do that' is what I thought. I confess I have been wondering about the pastoral side of ministry. Can I deal with other peoples problems? I feel I have the compassion gene; I am pretty sure I don't have the sympathy gene.

There is a part of me that probably needs a little roughing up, that needs examination, that needs a regular dose of humility, that does not like garden variety people problems. I try not to complain a lot myself, and there must be something in me that just shouts that to the world. People tell me nothing!!! They think I am going to disapprove! I don't think I do that, but sometimes I probably look puzzled, like huh, why are you telling me this. What can I say, I blame my mother. Why not, she doesn't have a computer. But I got to say, I don't think anyone tells her anything either.

I don't think I am going to need sympathy for Trauma Counselling. I think I am going to need empathy. It's scary and I hope I am strong enough for it. It feels a little like going into the belly of the beast. Or rather, like signing up to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Question

I am beginning to think of it as The Question. Appropriately capitalized, because the convention of piety means that all references to God are capitalized. My question is, of course, 'is there a God'? It's starting to take on the urgency of 'does he love me'? It too, is a question we ask ourselves when we are young and in love.

I am surprised by this. I never thought I would get my stomach clenched over an existential question. The whole question of God was in my head before. It was a question as out there as anything, as remote and distant from every day as anything I could think of. I love my UU church but it keeps God at arms length in a comfortable fuzz.

Now that I am in this MDiv program I feel that I need a steady orientation toward God. It feels as if how I take in the information will be determined by this orientation. So now, it's thumbs up or thumbs down. What's it going to be?

It doesn't help that the Christians in the program point me to scripture as a way learn about God. Scripture is very interesting but I am a post-modern gal. I actually said that to someone, I am a 'post-modern person'. I couldn't believe those words came out of my mouth. It sounded so fat-headed but how else to put it? I want to do more wide reading, not focus narrowly on the Bible. I feel heelish saying that, but it is true for me.

Even my meditation practice with its age old passages points insistency at The One. Every time I meditate it grates against The Question like the wind flapping a lose tile back and forth. God, no God, God, no God. The wind blows.