I've been reworking the "my complete profile" attached to this blog lately, a little feature that can be as much an exercise in explaining one's self to one's self as a way of sharing one's wonderful (or entirely blank) self with the world. The old profile had been sitting there since the blog began back in 2005.
At that time, I was a working editor; now I work harder at things I've always wanted to do (without the bonus of a paycheck) --- but never had time for. "Busybody" works better.
Still a big believer in genius loci, so "Southern Iowan" remains unchanged.
When the blog started, I intended to write exclusively about local history. Sexual orientation didn't seem important in that context. But things change and this is National Coming Out Day, after all, so I added "queer," a characterization I kind of like and am trying on for size in print. This is the 20th anniversary of my modest big-bang "coming out," --- a process that because I am also "cranky and getting older" was incremental and actually began more than 40 years ago with some fairly frank discussions with a limited audience that included people I thought needed to know. They're all dead now. Wow.
I'm not overly fond of the word "gay," and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) with a Q added nowadays for either queer or questioning, depending upon one's outlook, is quite a mouthful. Many on all sides of the sexual identity divide don't like "queer"; I do --- at least at the moment.
Religion is another matter, which I got to thinking about after the results of a new Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey were announced this week. Those results showed a distinct increase in the number of religiously unaffiliated, or "nones," especially among young people. So I tried to clarify that because I'm not a "none," but certaily am in fellowship.
As a "confirmed skeptic," I do not believe in miracles other than those embodied in creation and the creative process, but do believe --- that if there is an intelligent, creative force out there it is indwelling and links all of creation --- a non-traditional version of Quaker thought; that there is great value in community (expressed well in my favorite "creed," the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism); and that there is great value, too, in the historic forms and liturgical frame of Christianity --- Episcopalian version.
All of this, of course, is wildly contradictory --- but that's part of what life is about, "living the contradictions with as much grace as possible." Physicians incorporate the rest into their creed, "primum non nocere" --- "first, do no harm."
So then I took a long walk yesterday down the Cinder Path primarily to look at my iconic oaks, a little more than a mile in. I'm excessively fond of oak trees, especially the assembly here in an old and modified savanna setting that slopes down to the Chariton River. These are for the most part bur oaks, very slow growng, very long-lived and very old.
It occurred to me at some point along the trail that perhaps I'd been a Druid in a previous incarnation, since Druids tended to gather in oak groves and the word itself can be interpreted as "knower of oaks."
I would add "Druid" to my profile, too, but the difficulty is that I really don't know oaks. Beyond bur and pin, I have an awful time remembering which is which (and there are several varieties scattered along the path). So now I have a pile of oak leaves on the kitchen table and am working on that. But don't expect "Druid" to appear any time soon.