This summer has by most measures been elusive. It is more the hint and probability of summer than the thing we actually seek, that we talk about. And this year, the folks who come around and knock on my door and desperately try to convert me, have more evidence to support their claims of the end of times. They talk on and on of tornados, tsunamis, massive floods, shooting sprees, gay marriages, drugs, values and on and on.
I’m polite; I don’t discuss natural cycles like global warming or the world press, which today informs us of things we never would have known about in earlier times. Besides, although I do believe in a creative consciousness that I label God and a historical son of his, Jesus, I don’t choose to demonize long-term natural trends as evidence that man is destroying his world … even though they actually may be doing that. Instead, I have grown a beard.
Now this may seem a non-sequitur, but let me try to explain. Just about every depiction I’ve seen of God shows him with a beard. Likewise, most images of Jesus show him with a beard. Most monks are shown with facial hair. There must be some reason for this. A man with facial hair has much less time for idle thoughts and the contemplation of “what if” type stuff. A man with facial hair has to concern himself with who or what might be living in his beard. A beard naturally itches as it grows but what if the itch is some vermin or insect or some bit of food?
A beard not only frees man from the need to worry about esoteric issues, but it keeps him busy washing, combing and otherwise focusing on immediate, important issues closer to home.
A man with a beard is far less likely to cheat on his wife! Who else would have him or want that mass of hair touching them?
A man with a beard is far less likely to dream of affairs or anything else. Every time he sits quietly, his hand rises to his chin and he feels his lovely, clean beard. He is reminded of the reality of where he is and his responsibilities: his need to brush his beard, comb it, wash it, trim it. His beard keeps him from dreams of travel, adventure or sin.
I admit that my initial try at growing a beard years and years ago was a disaster. There were parts of my face where my beard never did really grow and other parts where the hair curled and grew wildly. As a younger man I had no time to piddle with it. I worked two or three jobs to support my wife and a future family. When I finally looked at myself in the mirror, I cut the thing off! Funny, I soon found a better job.
So, a beard requires discipline, time and attention to detail … all things that come with time and experience.
Then, too, as I looked around, the men that I saw with beards seemed to be self-assured, intelligent and relatively happy. I wasn’t unhappy, but my increasing age seemed to be hindering some of my physical attributes … my sight was getting worse, my strength was diminishing, my joints were sore. I decided that as I fell apart, I might as well look smarter and wiser. It might have worked or maybe it just made me look older.
What do you think?
Richard Olmer can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
A pleasant surprise and a lost art
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
On this summer, global warming and facial hair
Fri, Sep 9, 2011
A summer almost gone?
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The origins of trail names
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Where exactly does spirit reside?
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Where to begin?
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The folly of resolutions
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A place of uncommon beauty
Tue, Jan 4, 2011
Christmas: What does it all mean?
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A spiritual advisor
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Understanding personal gifts of everyday people
Tue, Oct 26, 2010
So, after you've done it all, what's left?
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The context of place
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Revisiting old friends
Wed, Sep 1, 2010
Paradise is all around on peninsula
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The wonder in waterfalls
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A walk in the park does the soul good
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Trying to explain
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