Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 27, 2009

Wandering and Fish-Slapping Through the Weekend

An interesting weekend…

Saturday morning, I attended an event on men’s spirituality sponsored by Illinois MALEs (Men As Learners and Elders). My friend Ed, who coordinated the morning, gave me the opportunity to read two of my recent poems for the gathered group of 50+ men. We were exploring the Wanderer archetype and our connection to each other, and to God, through the Earth itself and the freedom of wandering through –and truly seeing, or experiencing– the beauty and oddities of nature. The Wanderer poems I read, which first appeared on this blog, were “A Pirate Lost at Sea” and “The Mapmaker”.

My poems got really good response, especially from the main speaker, Gerry (a former Irish national), who was already coincidentally using Wordsworth, David Whyte, Adrienne Rich, Walt Whitman and a bunch of other poetry in his own talk. I also learned a great deal from Gerry, and was blessed during the nature walk and small group discussion afterward.

Saturday afternoon, I helped my son Graham get together with Brandon, a friend from school (and another only child… these lone wolf boys gotta stick together, help each other out…). We went to the public library, where I had the honor of using some puppets to teach them both the sacred Monty Python fish-slapping dance (see clip below). Except  the cow puppets used play/plastic cans of tuna.

Then more good times with Brandon at our house (as I did my best to do anything to avoid grading work for my classes) before, during and after a good supper (thanks, Sue).

Sunday morning, another Brandon ( a grown-up Methodist/Covenant Church seminarian ) gave an excellent homily in church on risk, on being okay with taking godly detours (there’s that Wanderer archetype again), and on the parable of the Good Samaritan. I was challenged. I love it, and hate it, when a sermon challenges me.

Bulls game was great, and afterward I went out to buy Graham’s 7th birthday present (ssshhh… it’s a secret).

Now it’s Monday, it’s “re-entry” time, and I’ve just spent all morning sending out messages to friends and potential business associates. All to avoid my grading just a little longer (ssshhh… if we ignore it, maybe it will go away).

Oh well, time to embrace my life and my work again… I’m not so great at it, but getting better all the time!


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