August 20, 2010

Room with a View

Another trip to ye olde Ohio State University aerie:

Looking south, towards downtown

The Grand Reading Room at OSU

Unfortunate sign found in restaurant window on OSU campus

A fine aperitif of light

* * *

Excerpt of poem

Satire V from The Scourge of Vacuity
This poem first appeared in the June 2, 1970, issue of NATIONAL REVIEW.

By L. J. Fattoroski

The liberal I sing, thrice blessed sage —
Presiding spirit of this gaudy age.
No prejudice has he, but, Argus-eyed,
He sees of every question every side.
At Berkeley he was trained to keep his mind
Wide open — at both ends. He’s not the kind
To hasten to a rash decision; no,
Enlightened men act seldom and think slow.

The first hint of fall in the air occurred yesterday morning, August 19th. There is something so definable about each season and yet the boundaries are fluid. I drove out to campus and the weather was admirable to the point of award-winning, the sun warm but not overly so, the sights crystalline. I was tempted to stop in Italian village at an empty bench in the shade and set up camp there. Instead I did so in the aerie in Thompson Library and even now I overlook the statue of Mr. Thompson as well as a myriad of trees. The best view, I’ve decided, faces south but there’s little chance of acquiring that one short of being there when the joint opens. These college kids know what they’re doing. UPDATE: It opened up!

It still lingers, I can still feel the ocean fall & rise and “hear its raging glory”. I remember those golden moments on the balcony with a tip of the cup to Mr. Java as the ocean tipped the horizon line. I relish and read a bit of Pat Conroy’s “South of Broad” about Charleston, in South Carolina, which is where Hilton Head is.

I remember taking in a full nostril of sea ale, that salty concoction of water and minerals that make up the ocean. It was accidental of course - the unexpected wave combined with a planned breath.

Bike-rides were not overdone - just enough along the way to give me a taste of the live oaks and Spanish moss before the one long ride that last day to the far reaches where I met up, again, with the sea oats of the Empty Quarter and lo and behold the sea captivated me again, freshly, even this my sixth day down there.

I recall the good strong dollops of reading balanced against the totally different activities of swimming and drinking. There was the feel of the thick sand making me run in slow motion but my heart in fast. There was the sky, so present to me in a way it’s rarely is elsewhere, it making such a big impression, literally.

Oh how necessary, it seems, to connect such pleasurable activities to the Source!

Not too much time before Labor Day. The wistful songs are already playing on the radio, like Kenny Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall”. Please, no wistful songs before Labor Day, even if the weather this morning screamed “wistful”. All in good time.

I head from one grand reading room to another, from the 11th floor of Thompson to 2nd floor’s to the outside patio seating. Just now I’m looking at shiny-gilt bindings with incomprehensible Chinese characters adorning the spines. It feels like an art museum in here, made more so by the winged Nike, armless and headless as if the Romans had intended that when it was actually just that those appendages fell off over time, and yet we expect, in our hazy art nostalgia, to see headless and armless statues. They say “Greek” or “Roman” more than actual Greek or Roman statues as they existed at the time.

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