Good words

“Most of what happens happens beyond words,” say the first words of today’s poem. It’s about marriage, but it applies to life at large. Bearing those words in mind makes it easier, curiously, to find more words.

I do love the words on the sign beside the little walking trail at the Baptist Church down the street:

“Regular walking can strengthen your heart and improve your general health. Walk and enjoy yourself as you enhance the quality of your life.”

I’ve been walking dogs (and the occasional daughter) past that sign for almost twenty years, and it’s taken on a talisman-like significance for me. It’s a personal mile-marker and reminder of temps perdu. It’s by far the most positive message I’ve ever received from church, the church whose portal I’ve only ever passed to cast electoral votes.

The sign has been in decline for some time, the building & grounds committee apparently not considering it worthy of their attention. I took it upon myself to apply duct tape to a corner a few months ago, to hold it together a little longer. But the big windstorm the other day was too much. I found it blown several feet down the hill. Was this another kind of sign?

I deposited it at the church’s door, and later emailed “Pastor Tom” who says he’ll attend to it.

Moral of the story: don’t underestimate the value of a few well-placed words.

What would our CoPhi subjects today say about that?  Machiavelli might say just steal it (but don’t admit anything). Hobbes, I think, would be pleased that I didn’t, that I’d upheld my end of the social contract with my neighbors. And as a fellow walker, I’m sure he’d understand my peculiar sentimental attachment to the words on that sign.

More good words will occupy us in Atheism: Kindness, Education, and Tenderness are our chapter titles in Religion for Atheists.

And before we consider eugenics in Bioethics, we’ll follow up on last time’s lively conversation on drugs. What is a drug, anyway, Alain de Botton? “Essentially a drug is anything that alters your mood acting via either the body or the senses to make an impact upon the mind.” So that includes pomegranate juice, emmentaler cheese, the music of Mozart…

And words.

5:45/6:27, 46/61

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