Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Posted on Tuesday, June 17.

Walks.  In this hot and humid weather, I take a daily walk between 7:00 and 8:00 each morning.  Some days it is beginning to be hot at 8:00.  I have six two- or three-miles walks through the town, one out into the countryside, which I alternate in no particular order.

I’ve named each:  the 1-4 Walk, the Rachel’s Studio Walk, the Brigadoon Playground Walk, the Dialogue Bubble Walk; the Home by the Highway Walk; the Over the Hills Not Far Away Walk.  I like each one equally.

This week I met a greyhound and a deer.  They should be in a chase, but we aren’t in that time and place.  From half a block away, the greyhound spotted me and began acting excited.  As I approached, the owner stopped their walk and said, “He never acts like this.  He wants to meet you.”  “What’s his name?” I asked.  “Cooper.”  As I petted Copper, I asked the owner questions, the answers to which correspond to the comments of a friend who owns a greyhound.  I wondered if Cooper and I had known one another in a time and place not here.  On another walk, the deer bounded over a chain link fence and ran through the yard by which I was walking.  A horse-sized, beautiful, powerful deer with wildness in the eyes.

Crepe myrtle trees are now blooming red and pink and white.  They will mark the town with their torches all summer.  I have decided that I will not try to befriend mimosa trees, not yet.

Sundays.  I am loving the Sundays of June:  Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and the upcoming Corpus Christi, for which we are preparing excellent music.

At Pentecost, Friar Gabriel, in his well-thought-out and well-delivered homily, reminded us that Pentecost is about empowerment.  We have received gifts of Spirit.  What will we do with them?

At Trinity Sunday, Fr. Briant explained that religious mysteries are mysteries, not to be understood.  They are to be known and experienced in their outward expressions.  I love that Catholics keep at the heart of religious experience the transcendence to the unknown, the eternal.

Reading.  Nonfiction.  Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars (1939), translated by Lewis Galantiere.  Saint-Exupery was an early French navigator.  It is fun to read of the techniques of early navigation.  Throughout the narratives, the reader is inspired by Saint-Exupery’s view of life, a quest for understand throughout humankind.  It’s a view that is not based on religious belief, other than the promise of the spirit of humans.  It is objective, non-emotional.  For instance, when he crashes in the desert with little hope of rescue, he tells his mechanic, “If we are done for we’re done for, and that’s all there is to it.”  The chapter “Prisoner of Sand,” in which he has crashed in the desert of Libya, should be, and perhaps has been, anthologized in collections of adventure and survival stories.  Galantiere is a master of English prose style.

Reading.  How do we choose the books we read?  This interesting question is raised in Christine Smallwood’s review of Phyllis Rose’s The Shelf: from LEQ to LES.  (The New Yorker, June 9 & 16, 2014)  Rose decided to read novels from a shelf in the New York Society Library.  The shelf had to contain books by both men and women and include at least one classic.  Smallwood calls the book “the latest stunt book.”  Others included in this categories are A. J. Jacobs’s account of reading an entire encyclopedia, Ammon Shea’s reading all of the Oxford English Dictionary, and Christopher Beha’s reading the Harvard Classics.

In discussing how one chooses reading, Smallwood mentions one writer who advocated reading “only the books she already owns.”

I like the last idea.  I have many novels I read as part of college literature classes.  I would like to re-read them.  Perhaps I’ll adopt that idea in my readings for the year, or at least incorporate a good many of the books I own in my reading list.

Thank you for reading.  I hope the late spring is going well for you.  Be sure to welcome Summer on June 21, this Saturday.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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2 Responses to Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  1. Irma says:

    Oh my goodness! What memories today’s blog brought to me. I miss crepe myrtles – they make me remember my grandmother’s garden in New Orleans and the wonderful blooms on the Valdosta State campus the summers I spent teaching in the Governor’s Honors Program. Colorado has lots of lovely trees & flowers – but no crepe myrtle. And – Wind, Sand & Stars has to be one of my all-time favorites. I was introduced to Saint-Exuprey way back in boarding school in Virginia. Thank you Bill!

  2. Dave A says:

    Crepe myrtle. I was unfamiliar with this tree and a quick google search (is there any other?) produced pictures of quite an amazing, multi-colored variety. Take your pick, to suit the color of your house (long term, of course) or your already extant shrubs/bushes.

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