Lots happening in the “Shire” and it. is. glorious. Our community is celebrating weddings, music, friendship and growth. I had not factored in how fatiguing glory can be, but surely there will be time to rest in the winter.
One of my dear ones is getting married this Saturday. Here is a Tolstoy quote that landed in her invitation:
but to bring more love and truth into the world.
We marry to assist each other in this task.
The most selfish and hateful life of all
is that to two beings who unite
in order to enjoy life.
The higher calling is that of the man
who has dedicated his life
to serving God and doing good
and who unites with a woman in order
to further that purpose.
~ Leo Tolstoy
I have so many good books on my nightstand I can hardly bear going to sleep.
You know, if you’ve read this blog for more than a week, how much I admire Wendell Berry. I have two new book of essays and I love to read them wherever they fall open.
It does not adhere to the universe or the planet
or the nation or the institution or the profession,
but to the singular sparrows of the street,
the lilies of the field,
“the least of these my brethren.”
Love is not, by its own desire, heroic.
It is heroic only when compelled to be.
It exists by its willingness to be anonymous, humble, and unrewarded.
~ from “Word and Flesh”
by doing more of it.
What skills are required are so elemental
that we have yet to hear of a television viewing disability.”
How do I keep it an isolated incident,
something so overarching, so devastating,
so pervasive in my life still?
How do I keep from being crippled by it?”
The answer, I believe–if there is such a thing
as a concise answer to such questions–
is to slowly learn to live with the loss and not under it,
to let it become a companion
rather than a guide.
and the splendor of the city
smites you all over again
with “astonishment of the heart,”
as it says in the Bible.
Finally, I am snuggling into Donald Hall’s memoir of his childhood summers with his grandparents in Maine, String Too Short to Be Saved. I have to finish this so others (who are not yet aware that their earthly happiness depends upon reading this book) can begin. When our kids were all together last weekend, we spent an evening reading sections of Aunt Doris’ memoirs aloud. Whenever it sparked a memory, Grandpa filled in his own memories. Stuff like his Grandpa who died in a field, sitting next to his tractor. My kids heard about the fine art of burning a page of the catalog and throwing it into the outhouse hole before you did your business so the seat was warm. This book reminded me of that evening.
was never far from the surface of my day,
for a flush or a sigh or a hand pressed to the heart
brought death to me,
as if I had heard someone say the word.
It was a pack on my back,
and I would feel the sharp, physical pain
of their approach to dying,
something becoming nothing–or
was it my own approach to bereavement
that made my side ache?
What are you reading this summer?