Sunday, September 7, 2008


What a relief to find summer suddenly gone. It wasn't especially hot, but it did seem more humid than usual to me when I ventured out for a view of the Lake or a taste of thimbleberries. This week I've woken up to a bit of a chill in the apartment a couple mornings and the forecast shows highs in the 50s. I feel like I'm falling in love.

Just as I was also breathing a sigh of relief at feeling my book/cd/stuff inventory reduction projects were done (temporarily) for the first time in months, I find myself buried under a new pile of reading material. A couple interlibrary loans of books on Transcendentalism to skim-read, Peter Carey's His Illegal Self (a memory lane trip to the 60s and communes), the September issue of The Sun (overflowing this month with homelessness, death and destruction . . . and Readers Write about Porches :-)).

A couple months ago, I was invited to take part in Amazon's Vine program (they send a list of things you can have for free if you write a review) and recently wrote a review for Chet Raymo's When God is Gone, Everything is Holy. A great title which the book didn't live up to in my opinion. Here's the one brief passage which did:

"Night, wind, grass. And, yes, bread and wine too, although not as symbols of something otherworldly and divine, but as themselves. Bread, wine, candlelight, rain on window glass, thunder somewhere afar off. The early morning coo of the mourning dove. A stone picked up along the path, hard and cool in the hand.

"If I am to have a scripture, let it be written in the language of things. Concrete, sensual, particular things. This woman that I love. The touch of her skin. This drop of rain on glass. This stone."

But most of the book seems to deny those very values, spending most of its time dwelling on what happens inside the human mind and body and praising technology and a mechanistic view of the world. It would certainly be a starting point for some interesting conversations however. I hope to get more pleasure from the next book I have to review, a long comical post-apocalyptic novel with a fuzzy cover--The Gone-Away World--but I suspect I won't be getting to it very soon.

Even when not working I don't have time to do all the things I want to do, and I've always been baffled by the folks who say they'd be bored if they weren't spending forty hours a week doing meaningless crap. Whatever lies ahead for me, I'm very glad I've gotten to spend most of the past eight years unemployed or working part time before my body got too feeble to enjoy it.

I may tear myself away from the books long enough to get in a hike this week before the arrows start flying in Duluth's woods. The city's trails are snow-covered for at least five months, a mudpit for two, and hunting is allowed throughout the entire autumn. This year the city decided that letting killers shoot down from tree stands wasn't enough fun, and the arrows will be flying horizontally for three months. Yee-haw! Who said the Midwest was backward?

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