Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2020 tells us that the Full Moon of the month, the Strawberry Moon, is on Friday, June 5. Will I celebrate with strawberries for breakfast?
The Summer Solstice will be Saturday, June 20. Yes, for a little more than two weeks the days will continue to grow longer and longer, and then we’ll be in the dark half of the year. What does preferring a dark half of the year to the light half indicate, if anything, about a person’s temperament or personality?
From the Local Newspaper.
Our school celebrated the graduation of twenty-three graduates during an outdoor ceremony on the football field last weekend. The newspaper featured photographs of the graduates, with information about each one, including their plans for the future.
One senior’s plans: “To focus on my mental health and live pure minded, undisturbed by the distractions of the matrix we live in.”
I think that this student’s college application essay would be exceptional.
Notes on Reading. Fiction. John Updike, The Centaur (1963). In Updike, Novels 1959-1965. The Library of America, 2018.
The only other time I had read the novel was in the summer after my first year of teaching in the early 1970s. I remember becoming involved in the reading and staying up until two or three in the morning to read. Those days are long gone.
The novel is the story of a father and son and their growing awareness and appreciation of one another. Set in Pennsylvania during a three-day period in the winter of 1947, the novel gives a realistic view of a small town and its characters. The title character, the father, is a high school teacher devoted to his family. His fifteen-year-old son, a sophomore at his school, is depicted sympathetically.
The changes in point of view are sudden and deft. The style is lyrical. The book involves the reader. There are frequent allusions to classical mythology. Updike includes an index of mythological characters and creatures referred to, should the reader be interested.
It’s an entertaining and moving book.
Thoughts on a Walk to the Post Office.
Monday morning, June 1, 2020, mid-morning. This is the first day of the year that I’ve walked without light jacket or sweater. It’s a warm and clear day. Now the highs are mid-seventies and lows at night low-to-mid forties.
The recent rains have made dirt roads walkable without dust. I enjoy taking the long way, the way about a block from the highway. I take two dirt paths, one which parallels a paved street; the other through a field.
As I pass the Fitness Center, I see for the first time in months a few cars in the parking lot. As I pass the back of the Center, I see a yoga class in progress on the covered porch. An instructor is dressed in bright orange pants with a black design and a white top, and there are four practitioners, one man and three women, in dark pants and white tops. Meditative music is playing.
There is little snow on the Sangre Range. I do see, though, where there were snow fields, light greens of the trees of the forest, mixed with darker evergreens.
In the fields are ants, large red ants. They have made large ant hills and are busy at work. The open field is rocky with mounds and holes for other creatures. I do not think there are prairie dogs, though I keep looking for them. Half of the length of the dirt path is rocky; the other part is smooth dirt.
Near the end of the field, about a block from the street that leads to the post office, I pass a pickup truck parked at the end of a parking lot. I notice it because of a friendly “WOOF WOOF” coming from it. I don’t see the dog clearly, but when I get to the paved street, I see that he is calmly watching my progress to the drop box, where I pause to mail three items. He does not bark on my return.
As I walk back home, I think that just this week the first leaves of cottonwood trees and locust trees have manifested. I make a mental note to take a chair out to visit with my friend Tree in the field beyond my condo.
I will enjoy the walk out there. Neighbor’s lilacs are in bloom now, and the air is fragrant with their flowers. I will sit on my front porch when I get home and enjoy the smell. And I’ll share with Tree the joy of its new greenery. I’ll toast it with a glass of iced water.
Celebrating a Happiness of the Day.
Each evening I write a short paragraph about something that has brought me happiness during the day. Some days it’s hard to decide which event to celebrate.
There are the topics of the past week: enjoying Updike’s writing style; receiving a telephone call from a friend in town; volunteering at the Food Bank; enjoying the double-spread pages of the almanac with information about each month; meditating with the Wildwood Tarot Deck; watching on YouTube three groups dancing the Virginia Reel; and listening on a CD to a performance of Randy Newman’s “Marie.”
More Thoughts on Pleasures.
Adam Gopnik, in Paris to the Moon, writes, “…we see life as deeply in our pleasures as in our pains…”.
Why do we often understand our lives by our reactions to painful situations?
Our assignment, if we choose to accept it: What have been the pleasures of our lives? How have they influenced us?
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction. Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon. Random House, 2001.
Gopnik writes, “This is the story of the private life of a lucky American family living in Paris in the last five years of the century, less than a tour of any horizon than just a walk around the park. To the personal essays about life in Paris, I have added some private journals I wrote every Christmas.”
In discussing such topics as strikes, entertainments, restaurants, fashion, sports, and quotidian life of Parisians, Gopnik gives us an intimate look at French civilization.
Thank you for reading. I welcome comments, posted here or in an email to me. Be well.