Saturday, June 04, 2005


I'm back from my shuttling halfway across this great land of ours--I arrived in Wichita a little after 3 a.m. but, just like I suspected would be the case, I was wide awake by 6:30. I seem not to be able to sleep if the sun is up.
It was all good: my children are well; they seemed to enjoy meeting and getting to know Mrs. Meridian as we all played games and visited various places and built shoebox dollhouses together; the South is hot and humid, just like always; and I got to see the girls' godmother, who is a friend of mine from college and whom I've not seen in a couple of years.
Some things noted, in no particular order (though they'll be roughly reverse-chronological):
*Many thanks to Erin at Mannequin Hands for linking to the Meridian. I have reciprocated, with pleasure.
*Last night, a few miles before I reached Tulsa, I almost hit a great-horned owl--it was standing in the road, for some reason (I didn't see any animal at its feet). I had no need of caffeine after that.
*Listening to A Love Supreme while surrounded by brilliantly-flashing thunderheads in an almost-completely dark Oklahoma landscape in the wee small hours of the night last night was extraordinarily beautiful and fitting.
*Driving through Tallulah, Louisiana while listening to Tori Amos' song "Tallulah" (from Boys for Pele) was weird.
*C., my younger daughter, began calling me, on occasion, "Big Guy."
*As nearly as I can tell, this is a term of endearment.
*C. also made a (perhaps) accidental but very funny pun when she called G., her older sister and a horse-nut, an "Appa-loser."
*Along the side of the road in southern Arkansas, surrounded by only cotton (or maybe soybean) fields, we saw a fairly well-dressed man walking in our direction. As we passed him, he suddenly held out a small, white, wooden cross toward us. No inscription or sign, no change in his expression. As returning readers of this blog know, I'm a religious person, but I found this man's act ambiguous.
*A little Googling has finally revealed to me why Eudora, Arkansas, has a business called the Honey Wagon Septic Tank Service.
*There's a house just outside Jackson, Mississippi, that sits right on the side of the highway which has not one, not even two, but THREE trees (large pines) that have fallen on it (one of which has done serious damage to the main roofline).
*The State of Oklahoma, on the Muskogee Turnpike, STILL has up its sign warning that "Failure to pay toll [will be] strictly enforced." "Punished" has the same number of letters as "enforced," State of Oklahoma, so space isn't the problem; however, I'd best cease speculating here as to what might be the problem. Anyway, chicken that I am, I paid rather than argued.
*We took along some audio-books to pass the time on the road. I can highly recommend Carl Hiassen's Hoot; also, for fans of the Harry Potter books, Jim Dale's performances on the audiobooks are quite wonderful. We also took along Artemis Fowl, which Mrs. Meridian had recently read. I'll not say anything about the plot here, but I WILL say that it is strange to find a children's book whose protagonist is unlikeable--by design.
*And speaking of stories and their power, two Sundays ago I attended my ex's Sunday School class (she and the girls attend a Baptist church), and the lesson for that day happened to be from Genesis 22: God's testing of Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. For me, there are few moments in the Bible more mysterious and terrifying, either when I was a child (a children's Bible in my grandmother's house not only had this story, it also provided an illustration of Isaac bound to the altar with Abraham looming over him) or now that I am a father myself (what must Abraham have been thinking?). The teacher, to his credit, didn't make this story easy; as I listened, I found myself wanting to reread Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.
I'm sure there's more to report, but weariness is coming upon me. But I am glad to be back. More to come soon.


Raminagrobis said...

Kierkegaard's a bit hit with me at the moment. When I read his [i]Philosophical Fragments[/i] I was amazed that someone had managed to articulate so elegantly what it is about Christanity that is so damn fascinating to me, despite everything. I've been reading him in tandem with Zizek's 'The Puppet and the Dwarf' - worth taking a look at, if you're so inclined.

And the beginning of Fear and Trembling is just a breathtaking piece of writing.

Raminagrobis said...

I suspect that last comment made me come across as unbearably pretentious. Sorry 'bout that.

John B. said...

If there's something this blog is dreadfully lacking in, it's pretense.
You are absolutely right about the opening of Fear and Trembling, by the way: those were exactly my physical responses as I read it. I had never before seen that very familiar story made so new and so utterly UNfamiliar to me--which, of course, given Kierkegaard's subject, is exactly the right approach: to remind the reader of its power and strangeness and mystery and the VERY hard questions it poses the reader who takes it seriously.
So, yeah: pretense away.