Scents. There are three bars of soap in the linens area of my closet. One is atop washcloths, a patchouli noir scent from an English company; another is atop hand towels, a French triple milled soap called Beach; the other is atop bath towels, “Log Cabin, Fir and Cedar,” a goat milk soap. Each awaits its turn to be used. When I open the door, I’m greeted by a muted masculine scent, a blending of the three aromas. It’s not a luxury I’d usually have. (I’m Ivory Soap Bill.). They are a housewarming gift from a thoughtful friend.
A Chaplet. In a prayer book published by Caritas of Birmingham, Alabama, entitled Pieta, is the Chaplet of St. Michael. The prayers invoke St. Michael and the nine choirs of angels to intercede in prayers for our lives so that we reflect charity, repentance, humility, and obedience, and they ask for protection from temptations and evil. The nine specific prayers are followed by an Our Father and three Hail Marys. There is a special recognization of the angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and our guardian angel, each accompanied by an Our Father. It’s an impressive, meaningful, and beautiful chaplet that brings blessings to a prayer life.
Ephemera of a Vocation. I have collected all that I have of it: letters of recommendation from administrators, colleagues, and students for teaching positions, letters supporting applications for teaching awards, photographs of characters and scenes of plays I’ve directed for school and community groups, letters of thanks from students, programs of high school and community plays I’ve directed, programs of piano recitals I’ve played for community groups. What does one do with such a collection?
I have put all of the things into manila envelopes, one each for ever place I worked. I don’t want to keep those things. They belong to the past, and each person in the past associated with my work has his or her own memory, good or bad or indifferent or none. I do not want to foster nostalgia or a reconstructed past.
It’s time to let it go. I thought about a celebration and burning it or burying it. A former student has agreed to take it. I mailed it by FedEx this week.
It’s good to remember, to be thankful for a full and meaningful vocation, and to move past, to move onward.
Notes on Reading. Fiction. Claire-Louise Bennett, Pond. This short novel in stream-0f-consciousness technique gives insights into the life of a woman in Ireland living near a village. She ruminates about various mundane things, such as storing and arranging fruit in bowls on a window sill, cooking, noticing how spreading cold butter crumbles bread, bathing during a storm, remembering sexual experiences, and observing animals. Except for the interesting use of images and narration, the book is inconsequential.