May 04, 2012

The Weather, John Adams, etc...

Read some of "14 Minutes" this morning, the account of marathoner Alberto Salazar's spiritual and medical path. He has some interesting things to say about how a tendency towards perfectionism and religion don't mix. I like his spiritual thoughts and wish he'd have more of that and slightly less biographical material (even while realizing it is a biography). While in Medjugorje, his rosary turned from silver to gold overnight; he wasn't ready to call it a miracle but instead a "sign".

How I'd liked to have taken advantage of the unseasonably warm weather on Thursday and criss-crossed home and kissed the Kindle (which sometimes I bring to my nose, momentarily forgetting the smell of new book is not present there). Oh I wish I'd have taken a half-day off and lingered in the languor, jingled in the jangle. But now surrounded by leafy goodness, in the hammock slung. Young, vibrant greens from trees and bushes not yet suffering summer heat or drought, young, firm light greens. Before too long we'll be at midsummer's eve and I shall have to do my annual re-reading of Summer in Donald Hall's natural wonder book "Seasons at Eagle Pond". The sun gesticulates so winningly, so charmingly does she glance off housetops and gaily reaches the hammock. Unfortunately it won't be long till mosquitoes appear, especially given the mild "winter".


Feel relieved that the brilliant John Adams had diary entries as inconsequential as mine.

It seems like you lose a lot if you travel to a foreign country that speaks a foreign tongue. You're reduced to the merely visual. Alexis de Tocquville's traveling companion said that without mastering the language of the locals "one might as well take strolls in one's room with the windows shuttered."

That would seem to narrow the playing field to England, Ireland, Australia. I may go to China one day via a business trip my wife may have to take, but I do wonder what's it's like to, right off the bat, eliminate newspapers, theatre, overheard conversations, television, church services, etc... from the vacation template. You still have food, the sense of taste is not dependent on borders. And I suppose there are musical concerts. But it does seem to leave a bit to be desired.

I felt for awhile upset with myself for developing another "need", i.e. the Kindle (when books work fine) although perhaps that's just because this "need" popped up during my lifetime. I need a car, or would seem to, but I don't begrudge myself for that simply because the automobile was grandfathered in, an invention before my birth. The funny thing about cost of living indexes is that they don't take into account new inventions that one "has" to have, such as smartphones or Kindles or even the personal computer. All of these things somehow got added to my personal cost of living index along the way.

Saw a neighbor happily puffing on a cigar butting the grass with a riding mower. Oh yes, a riding mower - another "have" that wasn't when, at the tender age of 20, I was planning my retirement at 35. I remember reading a book about "How to Retire at 35" which turned out to be move to an impoverished country where the dollar will go far. (Pretty soon the dollar ain't gonna go far anywhere, given the debt we're piling up.)

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