August 04, 2008

Summer Thoughts

I see our new patio umbrella and smile. It looks so good surrounded by green and and endowed with sun. It's no wonder St. Francis gave primacy to the sun, even over water, in his Canticle:
May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .

Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.
Ham o' Bone is down at the beach, in SC, and so I'm reliving the sea's organic freshness, exuberance and laxation, vicariousl. I recall discovering that remote part of the isle where our dog ran free, there where we could see in the distance the Marine isle, aka Parrish Island.

ON beach trips I never know what book will engross & surprise but there’s nothing quite like reading in a setting unparalleled since the Garden of Eden. One thing you rarely find in non-fiction but sometimes will in novels is that remarkable symmetry when an author – like Joseph O’Neill in “Netherland” - says exactly what you’ve been thinking. You can’t read expressly for that purpose since that serendipitous moment is so rare, but it’s a nice side benefit.

At home it’s been disagreeable to have to share our backyard with the movers and shakers who are on an endless road-widening project. How slowly this watched kettle refuses to boil; it feels like death and taxes in its permanence. Their endless toil, their endless piling up and re-piling of dirt here, there and everywhere, the ubiquitous “beep-beep” when they go in reverse, as they always seem to, as this whole project seems to. But enough lament! We should all be so fortunate in our choice of lamentations.

Oh how lean I felt in April, before the beautiful balcony where the seagulls cried! The terrace diner at Busch Gardens, the sandy runs, the hooked but free’d pelican. How long ago it seems now! I misjudge my strength only belatedly, and am never sure on the location of the line between prudent self-preservation and reliance on grace. I sort of miss the old sick days of yore when I would get a cold – nothing more, hardly ever a fever – and when I would stay home in bed and veg and watch game shows like "The Price is Right". Psychosomatic for sure, for when the sick days were rolled into vacation time, they came much less frequently...Certainly rejuvenations through liturgy seem less an option and more a practical necessity; the Byzantine Liturgy seems a personal gift from God.

Rut-breaking vacations need not be to Madagascar but as simple as a camping trip to a local state park, a cottage in nearby Hocking Hills, or even a meal at the local Amish Restaurant followed by some goat-petting. We need not be, in other words, a Bill O’Reilly who has tamed lions and swam the Amazon while beating off sharks. But, at the same time, I distrust my reliance on vacations.

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