Nike's Psyche

An outlet for my peaceful ponderings with, perhaps, the occasional rant.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Zodiac by Robert Graysmith I finally took the time to see the long (nearly three hours) but fascinating movie, "Zodiac." Ever since I first started seeing the previews for this movie, I knew I wanted to see it. Why? Because in 1969, at the height of the Zodiac killings, I lived in Vallejo, California.

My memories of that era are vague (I was seven years old when the first couple was killed in Vallejo in December of 1968; 10 by the time we left California for Mississippi with the Zodiac still at large) but I've always carried around that underlying layer of fear. Living on a naval base as we did (Mare Island), we should have felt protected. But, perhaps it was the imprint of the wing walker shoe left at Lake Berryessa that raised the level of fear on the base. My strongest memory of that year, because all of the Zodiac's known attacks occurred between December of 1968 and mid-October of 1969, was of trick-or-treating with armed guards.

Wanted poster for ZodiacMy older sister, Laurie remembers having nightmares.

The main reason I really wanted to see the movie was to give me all the background that I had missed as a child. And there was so much more than I remembered. Certainly, I wasn't aware of how prolific the killer was when it came to writing the San Francisco newspapers nor how much press he craved.

But the artist's renderings of what he might have looked like are too hauntingly familiar and still send a shiver down my spine. Depsite the continued controversy of who may or may not have been the Zodiac, I still greatly enjoyed the movie and Robert Graysmith's take (thanks to his obsession) on that time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Desert Father

When I was a teenager, I purchased a print of this painting by Brueghel while visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

I can no longer explain why it struck me so but I would often find myself studying it as I sat in my bedroom loft listening to Gregorian Chant. Yes, I was an odd 16-year-old.

Thirty years later, I find myself continually drawn to Desert Wisdom. During a tough period in my life a few years ago, it was the wisdom of the desert that helped see me through as I read through The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks by Benedicta Ward.

I have read The Forgotten Desert Mothers by Laura Swan more than three times, and this Lent I purchased Desert Father: A Journey in the Wilderness with Saint Anthony by James Cowan to meditate on during the season.

Cowan writes,
" The endless tales of anchorites subjecting their bodies to lack of sleep, filth, poor food, excessive fasting, loneliness, a denial of intellectual discourse, suspicion of learning and of books, suggests a lifestyle that reduces a man [or woman] to both physical and psychological pulp."

Yet no one will deny the holiness of these men and women who managed to reach a true state of apatheia in their ascesis or the multitude of wisdom that can still affect us to this very day.

It is because these jewels of wisdom are so numerous that I have decided to dedicate an entire blog to these sayings. My goal is to provide, daily, a drop of wisdom from the desert.
You can find this new blog at Wisdom of the Desert


Monday, March 05, 2007

Piggy Back

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by any means possible, except by getting off his back.

~Leo Tolstoy
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