First frost was Saturday, November 3. It’s good to greet the first marking of a season or change.
Now we will not save daylight by our telling of the time. I’m glad. I like the earlier dark–by the clock and by Nature. It will be good to see the dark come earlier and earlier until Winster Solstice. We need dark.
Leaves are about half-gone from trees now. On my block the pear trees and the weeping willows are just beginning to turn. Now oak trees are beginning to be brown and dark orange. There is no more beautiful color than the brown of oak leaves. We generally have some color on trees late, sometimes through Thanksgiving.
All Saints Sunday, November 4, at the local United Methodist Church was celebrated more than at any other Methodist church I have attended. Impressive in the service was a bell rung at the call of the names of each of the members of the church who died the past year.
The music brought memories of a deceased grandfather and a once close friend. Pop is the only family member I remember going to church with at the Methodist Church where I grew up. He told me his favorite hymn was “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and each time I have sung it, I have felt close to him. I almost laughed aloud when I saw that another hymn was “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God,” words by Lesbia Scott (1929) and music by John Hopkins, Jr. (1940). At Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver, after we rehearsed anthems, we went to the sanctuary and practiced the anthem for the next Sunday and sang the hymns. When we sang “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God,” when I noticed the lyrics: “And one was a soldier, and one was a priest, and one was slain by fierce wild beasts; and there’s not any reason, no not the least, why I shouldn’t be one too,” I commented to a fellow bass, “I don’t think so.” He thought the comment funny, laughed, and we walked out to the parking lot together, we joined his wife with the story of my comment, and the three of us became close and good friends. It’s good to remember the beginnings of friendships, even of the ones which end.
Saturday I will silently lament as a friend takes a chain saw and removes the remaining pear tree in my front yard. I’ll be there to help however I can, hauling limbs, branches, and trunk sections, to his truck or out to the edge of the lot for the city to pick up. I plan to plant a maple tree in the yard and a row of camellias (alternating red and white) along the west border of the yard, where the trees were planted. Last week I learned that my Uncle Jack loved camellias. I sensed that he looked with me when friends and I visited a camellia nursery Saturday afternoon.
In addition to my daily walk, I’ve begun to add another one, around sunset. It’s a wonderful time, just before and as the sun is setting. Sunday night, nobody was on the main business street of the town, and so I sat down in front of a photography studio and watched the sunset. Some sunsets are just the coming and continuing takeover of gray and dark blues. Some are brightly colored. This one was a large band of light salmon color with grey-purple band above and below it. It was one to watch.
Between Second and Third Streets on Roosevelt there is a stretch of woods, hardwood trees. It’s one of my favorite places on the walk. Now it’s easy to see squirrel nests. I wonder why there is no mistletoe there.
I continue Of Time and the River. Each scene is involving and intense. The protagonist comes to terms with his immaturity when he is confronted about making fun of a family who likes him and often invites him to visit, with mind to the friendship of the daughter. Horrible marital relationships are explored in the relationship between Uncle Bascom and his wife, who has gone mad, and in the protagonist’s own family, at this father’s death and when the protagonist comes home for months after studying at Harvard. Boston scenes include a scene of going out to dinner and getting drunk: “We were young and drunk and twenty, and we could never die.” The description of alcoholism as it exhibits itself in the student Robert Weaver is powerful: “. . . the liquor, instead of giving him some peace or comfort, acted as savagely and immediately as oil poured on the tumult of a raging fire–it fed and spurred the madness in him and gave him no release until he had drunk himself into a state of paralysis and stupefaction. There is broad satire in the scenes of the students and intellectuals at the dinner gatherings of Miss Potter and her companion Miss Flintcroft and in the portraits of the brutal South Carolina policemen, who arrest and jail the protagonist and his three friends for drunk driving. There are strong racist sentiments present through these sections, and some may be offended.
Book III begins with a rhapsodic description of October. Examples: (1) “October has come again, has come again….I have come home again, and found my father dead….and that was time…time…time. Where shall I go now? What shall I do? For October has come again, but there has gone some richness from the life we knew, and we are lost.” (2) “October had come again, and that year it was sharp and soon: frost was early, burning the thick green on the mountain sides to massed brilliant hues of blazing colors, painting the air with sharpness, sorrow and delight–and with October. Sometimes, and often, there was warmth by day, an ancient drowsy light, a golden warmth and pollinated haze in the afternoon, but over all the earth there was the premonitory breath of frost, an exultancy for all the men who were returning, a haunting sorrow for the buried men, and for all those who were gone and would not come again.” (3) “All things on earth point home in old October: sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken–all thing that live upon this earth return, return: Father, will you not, too, come back again?” (4) “. . . The sun goes down in blood and pollen across the bronzed and mown fields of old October.”
Election Night: I was moved by Romney’s concession speech and inspired by the speech of the President.
Thank you for reading. I hope you will have a good week.