12 Experiences, Thoughts from the Week:
1. We ride through a large swamp on a Gator-type vehicle on a path that seems to have been cut for it. There are tall, mature hardwood trees, pools of tannic black water, a fast-moving surface creek moving around a wet area created by the largest beaver dam I’ve ever seen, breastworks from the Civil War. At the edge of the swamp, the owner of the land has planted crops for the animals who live there, and at higher elevation there are acres of farm land and a pine forest plantation. It was a good way to pass the time on the first cool day of the season.
2. I visit a beautifully appointed house. In the den there are three mounted deer head and three mounted, large-mouth bass. Framed art work features soldiers. The hunter, fisher, soldier was not at home.
3. A friend emails me that she has visited Flannery O’Connor’s farm in Milledgeville, Georgia. When I was in college, O’Connor was included in two courses I took, Literature of the South and American Fiction Since 1915. When I was at France, in Dijon, there was a professor at the university there who specialized in Southern US literature. I audited his class for doctoral students that semester on one of the books of short stories by O’Connor. We read the stories in English and discussed them in French. In my return email I asked if there were still peacocks on the farm. O’Connor liked peacocks.
4. On the first cool night of the season, the temperatures went down to 40-degrees. I slept in an upstairs bedroom in the house of friends. There was a mobile of cats above the bed. I had a good sleep, and it was a pleasure to wake to smell coffee and be greeted with good mornings.
5. Friends remind me that our fiftieth high school reunion is in two years. I had not thought of the time, and I am startled that my arithmetic agrees.
6. On my walks here are some of the ways I’m greeted: “Hey, Bud,” “Hey, Buddy,” “Hey, Chief,” “Hey, Boss,” “Hello, Sir.” My favorite, for some reason, is “Hey, Chief.”
7. A gift shop downtown is advertising outside, “Only 11 Weeks Until Christmas Come In!” No, I don’t want to think about Christmas now. We have the season of fall yet.
8. An apt description of Jesus: ” . . . full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.” This quotation comes from “Alma” (Chapter 9, Verse 26) in The Book of Mormon. It’s interesting that there, in a book presenting its ideas and actions in 82 BC, the life and work and name of Jesus are used.
9. In the alumni magazine from my university, a famous and popular writer who taught there is given a 9-page obituary in celebration of her life and work. An instructor in piano, who died shortly after the writer, is given a four-paragraph encomium. Slightly longer obituaries honor an economics professor, education professor, and biology professor. I’m sure that each person is deserving of at least as much space as the famous writer. Ah, fame.
10. Except for programming on PBS, it seems that programs are interruptions of commercials. I thus don’t watch television a great deal.
11. The Full Moon of October is tonight. The Full Moon of October is the Hunter’s Moon.
12. A favorite quotation from readings of the week: “. . . technology and its graceless protocols. . . the various rings of cell phones that we’ve selected as the soundtrack to our lives. . . . 24-hour news, and the illusion we’re constantly in touch. We are, in reality, out of touch.” (Ann Beattie, “On Visitors,” The American Scholar, Summer, 2014)
Thank you for reading. I hope your upcoming week will be good.