I notice on the drive to church that most trees are bare. Those left with some leaves are faded brown or faded yellow. I wonder, as Frost did, “what to make of a diminished thing.”
I sit in the music room before sunrise. Dawn’s light shows me clear light from gray sky, recently turned from black and stars to the east. In the west, the sky is tinted mauve. The sky casts dim light on dark and bare tree branches.
On a drizzly night I went for a walk. There was misty rain or light rain. The night was dark, overcast, but not cold. An intermittent breeze blew damp leaves around the street. Damp pavement, damp leaves, damp spirits. I thought of “My November Guest” by Frost, of “Another Autumn” from Paint Your Wagon. Moody sadness. I had left a light on inside the house. I did not want to come home to dark inside. In entered into mild light, meditation, and Lectio Divina prayer.
Metropolitan Opera Broadcast, The Barber of Seville, Rossini. There are high jinx and broad fun and sight gags and disguises that lead to good laughs and long periods of smiles and glorious, virtuosic music. Effective use is made of a cyclorama, lit by white lights. It would be interesting to compare this opera with some of the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Where I Once Lived. As I drove into town, I noticed that the railroad tracks are now a greenway, including a gazebo which houses a farmers’ market. It was lunchtime when I arrived at my friend’s house, and we went downtown to a popular barbecue restaurant. Before we left the car, we agreed to pay separately “so that we don’t quarrel about it inside.” As we ordered, I met and had a brief chat with someone I may have known from the past, maybe not. At any rate, it was a good reunion, or introduction. “This place is a gold mine,” my friend said at the cash registers as a steady flow of customers entered and left. “Now I want to take you to the park.” The park, given by a Japanese company to the town “for $1 a year” was behind the house I once rented: a soccer field, kiddie playground, picnic area. “You’ve not seen our new library. It’s nice and has a big selection of large print books! This is where I went to grade school, the building was right here. You see the name of the library? A lot of people don’t know that man, and in the near future, probably nobody will know who he was.” In the library, she introduced me as “adopted son.” We returned to Red Car. “Yes, it would be fine to drive around.” We drove through old and newer neighborhoods. “You want a small house, let’s see this one’s too large. And these are too close together. You don’t want to live that close to neighbors, do you? Well, coming up is the mill village, I tell you. I’m surprised at how well-kept these places are.” We passed the defunct mill, and on the way home, defunct factories. The day was sunny and chilly and there was, from time to time, a good stirring autumn breeze. “I hate to see it, but we’re getting an ABC store. It’s popular, and I don’t know where it will be. There’s important people here that go, it’s said, to ABC stores in neighboring towns. Now they won’t have to.” At home, photos and shared YouTube and exchange of stories and remembrances. A good visit with an old friend.
Quotations from readings of the week:
“There is proud happiness, happiness born of doing admirable things in the light of day, years of good work, and afterward being tired and content and surrounded by family and friends enjoying a sumptuous meal, ready for a deserved rest–sleep or death, it would not matter”
“The otters were absurdly cute, stupidly cute, swimming on their backs, holding actual rocks on their bellies, using these rocks to break open shellfish and then enjoying their meals like mustachioed men. Such an animal could not be conceived by any self-respecting Creator. Only a God made in our image could go for that level of animal kitsch.”
Dave Eggers, “The Alaska of Giants and Gods,” short story, The New Yorker, November 17, 2014.
“My Sorrow, when she’s here with me, / Thinks these dark days of autumn rain / Are beautiful as days can be” (Robert Frost, “My November Guest”)
“The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. / It was a small part of the pantomime.” (Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”)
Thank you for reading. I hope that your Thanksgiving Day will be good and that the beginning of Advent will bring blessings.