Heaven. Two middle-aged, sincere women, Jehovah’s Witnesses, showed me a 90-second video about the happiness and fulfillment that Heaven will provide, thanks to the savior Jesus Christ. They invited me to church. I thanked them for their time and testimony.
That night I read an essay, “Queer Theorem” by Samantha Hunt, in Latham’s Quarterly, Spring, 2017. Hunt’s comment about Heaven: “A promised ideal of perfection in a removed heaven is hard to swallow when faced with the crystallization of snowflakes, the decomposition of dead leaves to humus, dead people to dirt, and the birth of our universe. . . . Distant heavens are a terrible threat granting permission to destroy the heaven we already have here.”
At a city park there are models of several kinds of dinosaurs in a kiddy play area. I wonder what my child imagination might have made of a playground inhabited by dinosaurs. Would I befriend them? Deafeat them? Tame them?
When I was a child, my friend Bernard and I had no need of a city park. We had two backyards, a line of shrubbery, a few trees, and a swing set. Our swings were rockets that took us to strange places. We rode the swings high and fast and waited for them to slow to let us jump out safely and begin explorations of a new place. Sometimes, though, something happened to the rockets so that we had to bail out at high and fast arcs, hitting the ground, sometimes hard, and tumbling. We took advice from the Guild Woman, the picture of the elegant, bejeweled woman on the cigar box Mutt gave us and which we kept hidden in the hedge. With a broken flashlight as a ray gun and whatever sticks or limbs we picked up in the yard, we were Flash Gordons conquering the Universe!
On a walk in a fashionable neighborhood I encountered two young women wearing sundresses and sitting on a low wall. One was strumming a guitar; the other held a desiccated hydrangea flower. They looked up and smiled at me as I passed. It’s spring! Why such sad music? Why a dead flower?
Signs. On a five-block stretch of a street in a neighborhood where I walk, several neighbors have signs on their lawns. There are three houses with pre-election Clinton/Kaine signs. One sign, in three of the yards, is in three languages, English, Spanish, and Arabic: “No matter where you come from, we’re glad you are our neighbor.” In other yards is this sign: “In this House we believe. . . Love is Love, Black Lives Matter, Science is Real, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No Human is illegal, Water is Life…and Kindness is EVERYTHING!”
I like this street.
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction. Carl Sandburg, Always the Young Strangers (1953). Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1991.
Each time I returned to this book, I smiled in anticipating the enjoyment of reading. Sandburg’s autobiography of his years growing up in Galesburg, Illinois, gives insights into his early love of languages, mathematics, storytelling, biography, politics, and observing and writing. There are excellent character sketches of all types of people who lived in Galesburg, comments on slang, recounting of games, especially baseball, and descriptions of childhood antics. I especially liked the accounts of Sandburg’s time as a hobo and as a soldier in the Spanish-American War. Here are the geneses of The People, Yes; The American Songbag; and the Lincoln biographies.