Biology Wins. Last week, I accepted the challenge of Hortense, to play some piano pieces. I selected nine easy, short pieces, three which I had previously memorized, four with which I was familiar, and two which were relatively new. On the third day of practice, I had to stop. My right hand cramped. Reiki treatment that night did not help. This is the third time I’ve tried to get back to regular piano practice; each time I have failed. Dupuytren’s disease and limitations due to my repaired smashed elbow prevent my playing even intermediate-level pieces. Score–Biology: 3 Bill: O. I concede, but I’m not worried. There is much I can enjoy doing musically.
Walks in July. Despite high temperatures and humidity-saturated air, July has its beauty. All greens are at their dark, heavy full. Bird song often fills the air. Weeds are bold, lusty. Rabbits are bold. One, standing on its haunches, alert, was being stalked by a cat hiding in high grass. My approach frightened the rabbit and frustrated the cat. There are not many folks out in their yards. There are a few early morning joggers, who don’t seem to be having fun, and workers in parking lots starting the day’s work. With cooler temperatures and clear light, early morning is a fine time for a walk.
Mimosa Trees Again. My massage/Reiki therapist likes mimosa trees. He did not know what they were, but he described them: they smell like peaches; their flowers are fuzzy like peaches. I asked if he had touched the leaf. He said he had not. I told him they recoiled from touch. The news didn’t seem to bother him. I asked him how he’d like it if his clients recoiled from touch. He said it was not the same thing. Since he said he liked peaches, at the next massage/Reiki session, I took him a small sack of peaches from our local farmers’ market.
Reading. Fiction. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. (1891) It’s a morality story, a story of a person destroying his soul and body through pleasures of the flesh and criminal activity. Such stories are not pleasant to read, but Wilde is a master of plot, and he holds the reader’s interest through the various events of the protagonist’s degeneration and demise. The protagonist has been influenced and encouraged in his despicable behavior by another character, who thinks he is charming because of his wit and social position. If one likes to read witty conversations, composed of aphorisms, self-serving and often contradictory, this is the book to read. I feel the way that the protagonist does when he describes a book: “I didn’t say I liked it. . . I said it fascinated me.” Fascination is not the word I’d use. I’d use instead phrases such as “interested me” and “held my attention.” Fascination forsooth. There are three excellent descriptions of Nature that I wrote down: (1) . . . little clouds, that like raveled skeins of glossy white silk, were drifting across the hollow turquoise of the summer sky.” (2) “The sunset had smitten into the scarlet gold the upper windows of the house opposite. The panes glowed like plates of heated metal. The sky above was like a faded rose.” (3) “The crisp frost lay like salt upon the grass. The sky was an inverted cup of blue metal. A thin film of ice bordered the flat, reed-grown lake.”
Reading. Nonfiction. Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod. (1865). This work is Thoreau at his lightest and warmest. He write of his experiences on a walking tour of Cape Cod, including viewing the remains of a shipwreck (including dead bodies), riding a stagecoach, experiencing mirages on the beach, and swimming in the sea. He learns about how residents catch seagulls, care for charity houses (emergency shelters for those shipwrecked), farm oysters, read the sky to predict weather, comb the beach for treasures from shipwrecks (including seeds for fruit trees), run aground blackfish, fish for mackerel, control erosion, control sand in villages, and keep lighthouses. His views of residents shows a love of humankind and acceptances of foibles. He portrait of the Wellfleet Oysterman is funny.
A Good Coincidence. Sunday before Mass I prepared a lunch including turkey breast and baby lima beans, two of the staples of my traditional Thanksgiving meal. At Mass the first hymn was “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” appropriate for the Gospel reading, Matthew 13: 1-23, the parable of the sower, as well as to the celebration of Thanksgiving. I love trips to Serendipity.
Reading. Nonfiction. Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh. (Penguin, 1982). Hoff distinguishes Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. He shows how principles of Taoism are illustrated in the character of Pooh and his adventures with Eyeore, Piglet, Rabbit, and Owl and discusses how the principles can be applied to our lives for our spiritual improvement. It’s an engaging, interesting, and useful book.
Thank you for reading. I hope your upcoming week will be good.