August 27, 2013

Diaristic Wanderings from the Weekend

Ahh sky the color of blue as patented by the Creator. A lovely eastern sun gushes down the side of my face and arms. The lovely laugh of my wife, chuckling over a dog video on the iPad... Ah the lush cacophony of birdsong accompanying it all….Oh the wonder of reading about Hilton Head in the 19th century, and about how one man would punctuate his speech when in anger with the word “Confound!”, a delightful anachronism that merely by touching the word on the virtual page it brings up the etymology of the word, stemming from French and ultimately Latin for “chaos”. I was only saddened that the dictionary didn't tell me when “Confound!” used as a swear word begun. Of such trivia I revel.

But oh the time-greed I feel! And sun-gluttony increases as the summertime dwindles.

Book-glutton too, I found a trove of books on the 1913 flood, it being the anniversary, and immediately purchased Washed Away and began reading away. Easter Sunday night it all began with a tornado in Omaha, Nebraska. The author makes the point that everyone sees the 1913 flood as a local event, hence “the Columbus flood”, “the Dayton flood”, “the Louisville flood”. But it was actually a huge weather event that occurred through a vast swatch of the country.

Then, to change the scene of death and destruction I headed to Michael O'Brien novel and came across this metaphoric line: “Marija, if we do not play in the dangerous surf, we will drown in puddles.”

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Nice ride on Saturday afternoon. Food for the soul on a picture-book weather day. Did twelve miles at Glacier Ridge Metro Park, getting satisfyingly lost amid the loops. There was the warm sun against my forearms, the songs of Neil Diamond running through my head, and the occasional stretch of pleasingly dense forest. I told Steph that our hero John Switzer sometimes haunts these parts and it all reminded me briefly of Sea Pines at Hilton Head, the tall trees and marshes. Kind of hard to stop after just twelve.

And then as we wrapped it up Steph made a celebrity sighting: the fabled John Switzer, resident Dispatch naturalist-columnist himself. I didn't want to bother him, knowing that naturalists appreciate their privacy and tend to be introverts, but I accommodated my wife. He had his camera in hand and wore the trademark mustache that greatly aided in identification. (He looked a bit heavier and older than in his Dispatch photo, but then don't we all, ha.) He was photographing black-eyed susans. We walked up and nodded a hello and strolled by him, but I couldn't resist saying “Mr. Switzer” (quietly, I thought) and he immediately recognized his name of course and turned and said hello and tipped his cap to us, in a gentlemanly old throwback sort of way, and we told him how much we enjoy his column.

Afterward we stopped at a little farmhouse selling all manner of fruits and vegetables. We bought peaches but they weren't nearly as good as ours! More apple-like, less sweet and way less juicy.

Drank beer in the sun at 3 in the afternoon while listening to Mexicano music and it reminded me of that golden day spent at that Cozumel beach resort during the February cruise. That day has legs, memory-wise. I'm of the Rose Kennedy school of survival. She went on quarterly trips to Paris for mental health purposes. I go on trips to the beach.

Holed up now on shore of the quiet southern lake in the great (ha) Prairie Oak chain. I feel no immediate need to put in - just enjoying the quiet. Makes me think of the voluble Sirius XM radio priest who said he went to the lake to boat and fish last week. Seemed so…quiet for one so active in ministry. Also reminded me of how grandpa used to like to fish in Lake Michigan. He was likely the most laconic man I ever knew, so much so that I can't remember what his voice sounds like now. He seemed like a character in an old Western, quiet but rock-steady. No drama. Low profile. Only lived to 69, another way of keeping a low profile.

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Got to thinking while saying the Glorious Mysteries how different the “look and feel” of Pentecost in medieval art compared to the words of Scripture. In Scripture the event seems more about the apostles speaking in the native tongues' of the listeners in a crowded Jerusalem square than in the act itself. The Scripture is memorable by the result of the Spirit and the crowd's reaction of amazement to the apostles. It's more people-focused, it seems to me. But most art seems to emphasize a devotional God-focus. THE scene is the reception of the spirit while praying in an ornate church and it makes the event of Pentecost seem calmer, more private, more prayerful and more inward and contemplative, while Scripture makes it seem more outward, more activist, more evangelical and exuberant. Both/and I suppose.

Meanwhile, the morning prayer of Daniel 3 goes in part, “you sons of men, bless The Lord!” and I always want to say, “you sons of bitches, bless The Lord!” Sillly me.

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Saturday night 19-year old Kevin arbitrated on whether a “selfie” refers to any picture taken of yourself by yourself or specifically a nude picture of yourself. He said the former usage was fine. Urban Dictionary seems the final arbitrator and it's funny how the 'net allows even the old to be hip, or I should say allows the old to at least be able to find a translation of the language and secrets of the young. That works both ways since Kevin never heard of the reference of “movin' on up / to the East Side”. I assume that is instantly google-able. Kind of interesting how some see selfies as slightly disreputable. I can see the narcissism angle but also that we're made in the image and likeness of God and so from that perspective our own appreciation of our visage might be respectable. I recall a priest with a lot of pictures of himself on Facebook and felt...mixed emotions at it.

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Got back home at 4:30 we took the grand boys to the “mountain” (a hill actually) and then to the fake deer (reindeer according to Sam) and to the large slide as well. (Sam strongly urges grandparent partiicipation, not merely spectating, so I obliged him by sliding head-first down the narrow slide and going approximately 1 mph since I was too wide for the slide. Steph burst out laughing.)

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