David and I recently returned from New Zealand, where we saw so much that words cannot describe it. I am attaching a couple of pictures. The Tree Fern is endemic to New Zealand, and it is like an evolutionary magic. I thought ferns growing naturally in the Pacific Northwest of the US were magic when I first moved to the rainy part of Washington state, but these tree ferns were spectacular. They are abundant and being preserved now in a park called “Zealandia” where native species are being brought back little by little. The Tuatara (like a lizard) is another endemic species in that park. Thankfully, unlike the Moa bird, the tuatara still lives and is being helped along. The tuatara is the only genus of its species still living on earth after 160,000,000 years. Evolutionary magic, again. What a place!
David and I resumed our writing class when we returned, this last Sunday. David wrote about his mom’s passing while we were in New Zealand. I wrote about Johnny Mathis, and the faith of my fathers, which faith, interestingly, did not believe in evolution. Things have changed, somewhat, in Mormonism since I left, and many adherents have resolved the conflicts about evolution.
Johnny Mathis is old and he still sings “Begin the Beguine”. He’s coming to perform at Spirit Mountain Casino here in Oregon, where I heard my first rock concert, Melissa Etheridge, who’s my same age I found out later. At her concert, she looked and acted much younger than me, just like a rock star should and would, I guess. I loved Johnny Mathis when I was 13. I loved him singing “Begin the Beguine” because I loved sappy, old-fashioned romantic music. I never fully began to dance or sing until I was old because I was a closet-dwelling Mormon.
I began to question the faith of my fathers when I turned 40, and within a few years, I was blue, as in “blue, blue, my world is blue”, Mormon BYU blue, beyond blue. I was depressed beyond blue, that is. And so I began to ask myself, “When do I begin the Beguine?” The faith of my fathers began less than two centuries ago, very new compared to Hinduism and Guru’s, or Sanskrit religious books, or Buddha. It was easy to question that faith of my fathers by being older, more confident, and easier to find answers thanks to Al Gore who invented the internet and who was also a very handsome man. Men, I love ‘em all, can you tell? Could I dance the Beguine with Johnny Mathis before I begin to die?
The Tree Ferns