Monday, September 12, 2005

Did you ever wonder...?

"Nature! I've got Nature on my hand! Get it off!" - Adrian Monk

Did you ever wonder if, maybe, human beings really were deposited on this planet by aliens? I've wondered about that a few times in the last couple of months.

In August, I went to Charleston, SC to see my cousin get married. The wedding was beautiful, and I was very happy to see the Greek side of my family again, but - ye gods! The ambient climate reminded me of a steam room! I am convinced that Charleston in August should comprise one level of the Xian Hell.

I spent as much time indoors as I could, behind the sweating door of my room at the inn. Yes, the door literally sweated, like a glass of iced tea. It swelled up into the jamb, too. Every morning, we had to call for my father to come break the door open in order to get breakfast. Talk about your eternal imprisonment!

Last weekend, it was time to deal with dry heat. I spent the greater part of the day outside watching a soccer tournament in Ohio. Two days under a sun boring through my skin, wearing wraparound sunglasses that hurt my ears so my eyes would stop tearing. Two days to develop a heat rash under my boobs. Two days of ants on my socks and grass pollen up my nose. Two days where the only shade and breeze available were near a stand of blooming goldenrod.

I forced liquids down my system in South Carolina because I've learned, over several visits to Florida, that humid heat makes me dizzy and even sick. Fluids are the answer, even though it makes me feel like I'm drowning when I drink them. Charleston beats Florida by a long shot in the discomfort department. In Ohio, I had the advantage of always being parched, so I didn't have to think about it before I sucked down water (not my favorite beverage) like a camel at the oasis.

Cold weather doesn't give me half the trouble hot weather does, because no one suggests that the outdoors is 'good for you' during the winter. Heck, just being outside long enough can kill you. I can celebrate my pasty-skinned state and personal library free from the criticism of nature lovers who are convinced that everyone should spend time outside, even if they develop anaphylaxis, heatstroke, or just plain hate it.

Now, I am a Pagan. I revere nature, and I respect its power. I enjoy its gifts, too, like chocolate and fresh corn-on-the-cob. But I also remember that mortal man (and woman) is too frail to directly experience the full glory of Apollo, Zeus, or any of the other gods.

Human beings don't seem to adjust well to temperature extremes in either direction. So why, when it is clear that we're about as outdoors-tolerant as an orchid out of the greenhouse, do we extol its virtues? Doesn't it make you wonder, sometimes, if we weren't cooked up in a test tube and parked here?

It makes me wonder if I was.

Sarah G

Friday, September 02, 2005

My Most Popular Article

My most popular article wasn't actually written under my given name. It was written under my Pagan name, Sophia X. Pharou. This was the pen name I used as the editor of Rainbow Wind Magazine, now sadly defunct.

The article? "Why Pagans Need to Come Out of the Broom-Closet".

I published this mini-manifesto in 1995 after seeing Newt Gingrich promise Ralph Reed that he would do everything he could to enact the Christian Coalition's "Contract With the American Family." I put the essay up on the web, and even made it into a flyer for free distribution at Pagan gatherings.

Years later, with the advent of Google, I tried putting that pen name in and got back three pages worth of responses. Most were citations of that essay.

Here's one citation on the Queer Pagan Punk pages.

Another link on the Pagans Knotwork pages.

Here, someone posts it on a bulletin board.

This is a page about adultery laws in Florida.

A page in Brazil has linked to it.

The most pervasive citing is in the Skeptic's Dictionary, but all press is good press, right? It's even multilingual: here is the same page in Greek. Here it is in German. Too bad they didn't translate the article into these languages as well.

The newest publication of the article is here, at the Pagan Institute.

I am really flattered, and proud to have written something that is still going around the net!

Blessed be,

Sarah G
aka Sophia X. Pharou