The priest has a wry sense of humor. He speaks thoughtfully and compassionately. He is gruff, often grumpy. In homilies he often barks curt directives: “Go to a higher life. Shut off the tv.” “Once again we see in this story that the disciples weren’t ready. They’re hardly ever ready. Don’t be like them. Spiritually prepare yourself and stay prepared.”
Sacrilege. In the town where I recently lived, a block west from my former house, stood a beautiful, tall, healthy holly tree. Ivy twined on its trunk. Holly and ivy together, both revered by early Christians, as seen in our Christmas song. On a recent visit I drove by to admire it and found that it had been cut down. In its place is a pole light, even though across the street is a town street light.
At my bedroom window appeared an emerald light tinged with blue. Nice! Was it a spy drone? I would be important, if it were. Was it a UFO? That would be neat. It was probably a couple of lightning bugs glowing together. It was, whatever it was, a sudden and unexpected nighttime sight.
Almanac for August. Dog days of summer end on the 11th. (I’d wager that the temperatures will remain steadily hot and humid.) The full moon, the Sturgeon Moon, is on the 18th. If we can find a dark and clear enough sky, we can enjoy the Perseid meteor shower on the 11th. (This information is from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2016. )
Notes on Reading. Fiction. Edith Wharton, Summer. (1917) Barnes & Noble, 2006.
“. . . North Dormer, with all its mean curiosities, its furtive malice, its sham unconsciousness of evil.” So muses the protagonist, Charity Royall, a young woman in her 20’s, realizing the restrictive place in which she must dwell. The novel is the story of a sexual affair she had with a young architect, who was visiting the area in the summer to make drawings of historic houses. The book is worth reading for the portrait of a young woman who is remarkably self aware and especially aware of the forces shaping her as she strives for happiness in a relationship which has no hope of fulfillment. When the architect marries a woman of better position, her options are few, and none are good. At the close of the novel she settles for the only feasible life that she knows she has, the marriage to the man who has swerved as her father, the man who rescued her from a life of poverty on the Mountain, when she was a young child. It is interesting that our understanding of Mr. Royall develops as Charity’s view of him changes. He is a worthy antagonist.
The depiction of the squalor and destitution of those living on the Mountain is memorable.
This is the third novel by Wharton that I have read, and I plan to read more. But each novel has been almost painfully sad in her treatment of characters who have hopes of transcending their situations and unable to do so.