Geological Society of America national meeting

GSA poster
Along with several other Bucknell students and faculty, I presented the results of our field research at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Portland, Oregon. A number of people were interested in our fluvial geomorphic assessment of stream restoration projects in Pennsylvania and it was good to connect this work with others around the country. A copy of the abstract is available here.

Riffe Lake, Washington
The weather was cool and rainy most of the time, but the volcanic landscapes were fantastic. Spent a few extras days exploring the Oregon coast at Cannon Beach and the White River and north east side of Mount Rainier. On the right is a thumbnail picture of Riffe Lake along Rt. 12 near the hamlet of Mossy Rock, Washington. Click on the thumbnail to view more photos of the trip.

Summer conditions in Susquehanna River

Picture 1

Merton on Humility

Last night t I read through some thoughts from Thomas Merton on humility and pride. This is from his book, The New Man. He writes:

. . . In a sense pride is simply a form of supreme and absolute subjectivity. it sees all things from the viewpoint of a limited, individual self that is constituted as the center of the universe… If I am the center of the universe, than everything beings to me. I can claim, as my due, all the good things of the earth. I can rob and cheat and bully other people. I can help my self to anything I like, and no one can resist me. Yet at the same time, all must respect and love me as a benefactor, a sage, a leader, a king. They must let me bullly them and take away all that they have and on top of it all they must bow down, kiss my feet and great me as god.

Humility, therefore, is absolutely necessary if man is to avoid acting like a baby all his life. To grow up means, in fact, to become humble, to throw away the illusion that I am the center of everything and that other people only exist to provide me with comfort and pleasure. Unfortunately pride is so deeply embedded in human society that instead of educating one another for humilty and maturity, we bring eachother up in selfishness and pride.

The attitutes that ought to make us mature too often only give us a kind of poise, a kind of veneer, that make our pridde all the more suave and effective. For social life, in the end is too often simply a convenient compromise by which your pride and mine are able to get along together without too much friction.

The part that grabs me: “Humility, therefore, is absolutely necessary if man is to avoid acting like a baby all his life.”

Pride and humitly are so elusive in my life. Once I think I have a grasp, pride jumps up and bites me right in the you know what.

“God, have mercy on me, the sinner…”

Grace, Not Achievement

Sooner or later there arises in every human heart the desire for holiness, spirituality, God, call it what you will. One hears mystics speak of a divinity all around them that is within our grasp, that would make our lives meaningful and beautiful and rich, if we could only discover it. People have some sort of a vague idea as to what this thing is and they read books and consult gurus, in the attempt to find out what it is that they must do to gain this elusive thing called Holiness or Spirituality.…

Their efforts are going to get them nowhere. Their efforts will only make things worse, as things become worse when you use fire to put out fire. Effort does not lead to growth; effort, whatever the form it may take, whether it be willpower or habit or a technique or a spiritual exercise, does not lead to change. Effort may change the behavior but it does not change the person.... Holiness is not an achievement, it is a Grace. A Grace called Awareness, a Grace called Looking, Observing, Understanding.

- Anthony de Mello (The Way to Love)