July 05, 2016

Instant Seasonal Change, Just Add Water


“Poets of place hymn paradisal castles of Summer; Poets as diverse as Charles Olson and T.S. Eliot write eloquently of their different Gloucesters.”
--Donald Hall

Glorious to have Friday afternoon served on fine china weather-wise. Replete with the sort of sunshine you can't buy: warm 75 degrees but with a slight wind and low humidity. No dog days come early.

It's bittersweet of course, not meant to last. The Jimmy Buffet lyric in “A Pirate Looks at Forty” comes to mind: “Never meant to last” - he meant money, but it's applicable pretty much to everything in this life. Ephemeral as the news of the day.  And sure enough by Saturday I was back in port of "Cloudumbus".

But Friday was a stunner of a day, so good it was practically showing off. Slight breeze, 76 degrees, the sky a hue of blue rarely seen in these parts. It's so good that I actually wanted to take the dogs a walk. Enjoyed some of the field behind our house both on the walk and now afterward sitting in the middle of “my” field.

Summer is a season that almost makes poetry superfluous - it is poetry writ leaf and bough. The long view of cropped grass interspersed with trees here and there remind me of an English country garden.

I'm always surprised by how nice a June night can be even at say 7:40 at night. It's equivalent to 3pm in April. Ninety minutes till sunset and even then the sun goes down fighting, or should I say lighting.

The first of July is when time incomparably blurs for me. The race from my birthday to the Fourth is always startlingly swift, presumably because time always passes fastest when you're having a good time. I'd like to make a citizen's arrest on Time, for speeding.

I was moved to move, mowed the lawn, cut down some “in the way” tree limbs, collected sunshine in a bottle and marketed it to those in the South hemisphere. The big project was building a bigger better fence along the front porch and beds. We doubled the size enclosed - better for the dogs and better for us because now we have easy access to a bench previously outside the fence. The black Victorian wrought iron looks quite splendid to my eye. It felt paradisal to be out on it at 5pm on summer afternoon, attractively dappled with light and shade.

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By contrast, it was as cold and dismal a 4th of July as any in memory. Three years ago there was rain but I don't recall it being this chilly. Twain compared something to being as cold as “San Francisco in July” and it certainly feels San Fran-like here in these parts. Good reading and sleeping weather however.

I decided to make lemonade from the lemon-bad weather; I read the inimitable Ted Kooser while lazing on the hammock. Just a few pages and I feel much gratitude for his gifts. Our dog Max joins me, laying his head on my leg and that further relaxes.

Bad weather has its privileges - the neighbors are apparently stymied by the poor weather from cranking their stereo so I have this rare opportunity to relish the hammock next to their fence without being auditorily assaulted.

Technically we may own our property but that doesn't mean we can be where we want when we want - the neighbors (not to mention Mother Nature) have their say.

Listened to “Willie's Picnic” (Margo Price performing live at the Willie Nelson event) and drinking a 5pm beer under the forest canopy. Drizzle no match for the tree block.  Later Lee Ann Womack is singing a song about Jesus and the saints, unironically, which is pretty cool.

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Yesterday my book ordered from the religious order Children of Mary came, entitled “I Will Think of Everything, You Think Only of Loving Me”. It's an anti-worry book extraordinaire, and I was transfixed by the first few pages, specifically where one of the sisters was fretting about someone she was counseling, trying desperately to solve her problems:
"Jesus said to me in my heart: 'Stay our of it.  It is between Me and her.'  Not long after that, I read a quote from St. John of the Cross telling us, in effect, not to be overly upset with the problems of others, because each of us must work out his own salvation." 
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Quick Hits

I understand I can't write in Pope Francis for president because he's not a US citizen. But I can vote for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, so now I have my write-in. This was suggested (tongue-in-cheek) by Lino Rulli and his wife Jill, both of whom say they could never vote for either Trump or Hillary. Which I thought was pretty bold of them given politics can turn a good percentage of his listeners off so easily.

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An early 19th century Librarian of Congress on that job opportunity that neatly describes my own work goal: “[It is] a congenial intellectual occupation [which would] keep my mind alert without severely taxing its powers.”

This librarian could be seen holding the reins of his horse carriage while reading a book!  That sounds dangerous.

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It's silly, but I prefer reading the daily Mass readings to reading Scripture on my own. It feels more “live” that way. It's a poor analogy, but it's like watching a baseball or football game played live versus one watched on tape from the day before.

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Searched 'net for pictures of the unseen parts of the Library of Congress, the Congressional reading room (nice digs if you can get 'em!) and the Asian reading room. How'd the Asians rank? Be nice if I could stow away in that library and stay overnight, checking out the verboten places.

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Always love that stained glass rendering at a local Byzantine church of Lazarus coming forth from his tomb. He's all dressed in his burial wrappings, and I thought of how carefully his family had attended to wrapping him only to see their work undone by God overriding death. Overriding what humans consider permanent.

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I wasn't overly interested in Lincoln as a youth but, as Carl Sandberg said as he finished his Lincoln biography: “That son of a gun Lincoln grows on you.”

2 comments:

Gregg the Obscure said...

You may have seen this already, but it ties in with the notion of spending the night in a great library.

TS said...

I haven't seen it, and it looks preternaturally beautiful. Saved to Instapaper for a read later, thanks!