Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

“A little piece of a big big universe”

February 23, 2013

It was another of those charmed winter days in the south: reports of a blizzard back in my native midwest were countered here with just enough sunny warmth to take my Vandy library research (Kloppenberg’s Reading Obama and Putnam’s Philosophy in an Age of Scienceoutdoors.

vulibyThe library did not cater to its patrons as it does now, back when I was in grad school. The kids don’t know how good they’ve got it, with their cafe and patio seating and solar charging stations et al. Most of them don’t know because they don’t patronize their library at all. But never mind. I don’t need to channel Spencer Tracy again.

An even warmer and more welcoming sign of early Spring: Younger Daughter back in the (softball) game, on Peabody Green breaking in the new cleats she insisted we pick up at SportSeasons on our way to school at noon. (She’d had a morning career-day “internship” at the neighborhood vet clinic, still intending to follow in Grandpa’s steps despite a few queasy moments reading X-rays she won’t want me to elaborate here.)

VU’s baseball team, just across the way at Hawkins Field, was about to hit the pitch too, at 4. I’d have tried to persuade YD to join me there for a few innings, if it’d been just a few degrees warmer. But the sun was finally in retreat, and baseball’s really not a winter sport even by our standards.

Older Daughter was off practicing softball too, at the remote River Campus, before taking in the Predators hockey game with her boyfriend. To each her own.

Since Mom was also away last night we were left again to fend for ourselves. Pizza and what movie? YD’s default proposal was yet another screening of The Simpsons Movie, but I insisted on another selection. Hitchcock? Maybe next time. Beasts of the Southern Wild, we decided.

I’m still processing my reaction to that disturbing, fantastic tale of mythic critters making their way from  melting prehistoric polar ice to a Louisiana “bathtub” to befriend the most incredibly tough and wise little girl ever. YD thought it a terribly sad story, but I think she’s missing the life-affirming aspect of a strong, precocious young lady imagining “kids in school in a million years,” and  “scientists of the future” someday discovering clear traces of a long-gone girl and her daddy.

I sure hope she wins.

Donald Hall’s window

January 21, 2012

Donald Hall is one of my favorite poets, a former poet laureate, a Red Sox fan (and author of “The Baseball Players” and “Baseball and the Meaning of Life“) , and a feature subject in the current New Yorker (which I’ve finally caught up with). He’s now old and alone (his wife and fellow poet Jane Kenyon left us several years ago) and infirm, no longer writing poetry but still loving life. The view from his window is a reminder to us all that we’re damned lucky to be here, and should not waste a breath on despair.

Jennifer Hecht has also read Hall’s essay and commented on it.

Did you read the piece by Donald Hall in the New Yorker this week? It is an essay on looking out the window, old, and between pages on birds and snow he reports on his life with a phrase for each decade, his thirties bad, his forties forgotten because he was drunk, fifties a good total change of life. Each brings so many questions none of which he there answers. We’re in the middle of so many adventures. Life, I’ve long said, is a decent book with a terrible pacing problem.

The pacing gets too slow in January, she’s saying. April is not the cruelest month. How could a St. Louisan like T.S. Eliot say such a ridiculous thing? Oh, yeah – he’s one of the two from my hometown- the other was a student last Fall- I’ve encountered who did not care about the Cards. He was a convert to Catholicism and not to the Church of Baseball, aka “religion without the mischief.”

I think Mr. Hall shares George Santayana’s perspective on the seasons, as expressed in The Life of Reason: we should enjoy each in turn, and not allow ourselves to be hopelessly in love only with the Spring.

But I still can’t wait for April. Neither can Donald Hall.

pagan Easter

April 4, 2010

Feeling almost resurrected today. Praise the sun, hail Spring!

Easter is a pagan festival. If Easter isn’t really about Jesus, then what is it about? Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox, whilst religious culture celebrates the resurrection. However, early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness, was a well worn story in the ancient world. There were plenty of parallel, rival resurrected saviours too…

All the fun things about Easter are pagan. Bunnies are a leftover from the pagan festival of Eostre, a great northern goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures… Guardian

“Hares (and rabbits) were symbols of the fertility of the season…” And beagles?

Well, wherever it comes from… Thanks to the Younger Bunny who left a basket at my bedside this morning. Imagine my delight at pulling back the “grass” to discover not some inferior knock-off chocolate eggs or bunny but a lovely shrink-wrapped travel kit “for the man on the go.”  Guess I better get going.

Intoxicated w/Spring

May 23, 2009

warner park may21.09jpgHere’s what you can do when an illuminating early am visit to the 4th grade “Electric Houses” exhibit puts you off your May morning routine of writing and then walking the dogs before the sun climbs too high for their comfort (we’re already getting those summerish mornings here):

Give the dogs the day off, and head (w/bicycle) to Edwin Warner Park. Hike the Harpeth Woods trail, scale the semi-strenuous bisecting hill, then bike the paved, conveniently  non-auto-vehicular roadway that girdles the park… while listening to a great mp3 audio rendition of Jim Harrison’s The English Major. I share “Cliff’s” Whitman- esque intoxication with spring, and I agree with his fictional Harvard prof who said: in the realm of absolute imagination we remain young late in life.

But at 60 it’s getting late early for Cliff, I still have some years on him.  Or so I choose to believe.

Happy May Day!

May 1, 2009

It’s the dawn of day after Walpurgisnacht, traditionally the night when spirits roam in anticipation of Spring: we’re supposed to rise on this enchanted day and celebrate.  I’m happy to join the party, though I don’t attach any supernatural significance to the occasion. I’d love to bump into a roaming spirit or two, on Walpurgisnacht or any other time. They must be too subtle and ephemeral for my crude notice.  In fact, my own thoroughly naturalized spirit always roams in anticipation of Spring, dawn’s  seasonal equivalent. You don’t need “real” magic to be enchanted. Jennifer Michael Hecht writes cleverly about this in The Happiness Myth:

In the past, people believed that participation in the ritual or the parade actually kept the community safe, magically. We don’t have magic nowadays, but the belief is no less true…  There are only a few pragmatic routes to happiness, and celebration is one of them. Get out there.

We should snatch every festive occasion to waken ourselves to a new day and welcome a new season of possibility, to let our spirits roam.  Seize the life.  Carpe vitamHappy May Day, it’s  Spring at last!


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