Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Cloister Walk

"In a monastery, the Easter Triduum-which literally means 'the three days,' Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday--is a total surrender to worship. Time feels suspended, allowing for focus on the events commemorated: Jesus gathering with friends the night before his death, to share a last meal; Jesus' arrest and execution; and his resurrection. If you've become acclimated to the normal rhythms of the monastery, the daily round of prayer, meals, and work, the liturgies of the Triduum are guaranteed to throw you off."

"...The Triduum begins with the singing of the 'Ubi Caritas' in the monastic refectory; the words of the great medieval poem--'Where charity and love are found, there is God'--set the tone for our meal and the liturgy that follows."

"...At morning prayer on Good Friday, a monk sings one of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and it hurts; it feels like a blow to the solar plexus."

"On Holy Saturday, I walk up the hill to the cemetery and I meet old Fr. Gall walking stiffly toward me, dressed in a black suit, a narrow, European cut decades out of fashion. He twirls his walking stick and says, brightly, 'Ah, you have come to visit those who are in heaven? You have come to seek the living among the dead!'"

"...The great week of singing, the Octave of Easter with its incessant 'Alleluias,' begins....Someone finds an old Methodist hymnal , and I teach these Catholics 'I Love to Tell the Story,' and 'Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling.'

"...'Ponder on your bed and be still,' Psalm reminds us, 'make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.'"

Space Cowgirl Salvages NASA Photographs

Five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched in 1966 through 1967 with the purpose of mapping the lunar surface before the Apollo landings. All five missions were successful, and 99% of the Moon was photographed with a resolution of 60 m or better.
NASA was so preoccupied with getting an astronaut to the moon ahead of the Soviets that little attention was paid to the mountains of scientific data that flowed back to Earth from its early space missions. The data, stored on miles of fragile tapes, grew into mountains that were packed up and sent to a government warehouse with crates of other stuff.

And so they eventually came to the attention of Nancy Evans, a no-nonsense woman with flaming red hair that fit her sometimes-impatient nature. She had been trained as a biologist, but within the sprawling space agency she had found her niche as an archivist.

Evans was at her desk in the 1970s when a clerk walked into her office, asking what he should do with a truck-sized heap of data tapes that had been released from storage. {excerpt from John Johnson Jr. article}

"What do you usually do with things like that?" she asked.
"We usually destroy them," he replied.