Early autumn. In the yard, Song, the gingko tree, has already shed a few golden leaves. Others on the tree are beginning to be tinged with gold. Sanders, the red maple, has a few red leaves. Erik, the willow oak, shows no sign of change. The mulberry tree, who has not yet told me its name, has brown and yellow-brown leaves. The pecan tree at the back of the yard has some yellow leaves, and the woods beyond the back fence are thinly slashed in places with yellow. In town, some dogwood trees have turned brown-red, like a smear. Others are turning more uniformly red. “Glad autumn’s here?” asked a downtown clerk. “Been waiting for it all summer,” I said.
Reading. Anthology. Huston Paschal, editor. The Store of Joys: Writers Celebrate the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Fiftieth Anniversary, Blair, 1997. In this collection of fiction, essays, and poetry, forty-five North Carolina writers choose a work of art in the museum and respond to it in writing. All are interesting. My favorites include Anderson Ferrell’s “Female Figurine,” in which a female figurine from 2800-2400 BC calls to mind the posture of his grandmother and mother; Allan Gurganus’s imaginative narration of David’s heroics and praise in response to “David Praised by Israelite Women” by Hendrick Ter Brugghen; Julie Suk’s poem “St. Matthew and the Angle,” on the painting by Willem Drost on the inspiration of the saint; Reynolds Price’s “An Enormous Eye,” which shows us how to look at Jan Brueghel the Elder’s “Harbor Scene with St. Paul’s Departure from Caesarea” and urges us to see that the painter knows “what the eye of God knows”; David Sedaris’s hilarious remembrance of a docent in “The Resurrection of Christ” and Heather Ross Miller’s childhood remembrance in “Carmen Miranda in the Twinkling of an Eye,” responding to Minnie Evans’s “The Eye of God.” The handsome book contains reproductions of the art accompanying the literary works. I will plan a museum trip soon, particularly to see the works presented in the book.
Reading. Nonfiction. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Lord’s Supper.” This sermon was delivered in 1832 and printed for the first time in 1884, according to the notes by Joel Porte, in the 1983 Library of America’s Emerson: Essays and Lectures. I have long known about the sermon, but I had not taken time to read it. After giving an overview of the practice of the ritual, emphasizing variations on its practices, Emerson moves to his two points: “. . . Jesus did not intend to establish an institution for perpetual observance when he ate the Passover with his disciples; and, further, to the opinion, that it is not expedient to celebrate it as we do.” He develops his arguments with Scriptural reference and with conjecture thereupon and with keen insight into the history of the practice. His tone throughout reverential. In the conclusion of the sermon, he resigns from his post as minister, since he cannot with full conscience celebrate the practice in the manner that the church officials would have him do. It would be instructive for those who believe in ultimate significance of the ritual to read the essay and to argue against his points and to declare reasons for the practice and thus refute the Sage of Concord. It is interesting and ironic that the arguments I would use would be based on the philosophy for which Emerson is know, transcendentalism.
Thank you for reading. I hope you will enjoy these early days of autumn.