Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for October 2011

Pure Joy

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Twas a wonderful treat.  Thanks Bart & JQ!

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October 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Posted in Pictures, UNC


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We had this very fun group of kids and their parents over tonight.  Very cute and very fun.  Love their tv watching strategy.

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October 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Laughter

More Berry

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Another bit of prose from Wendell Berry that I’ve come back to more than once.  It reminds me of all I wish I had asked my grandparents.  Had I only been wise enough to ask.  But as Berry says “a boy’s mind is different from a man’s by precisely a lifetime.”  And so it is that I read this wistfully.

Uncle Jack forsook his present worries, and the conversation, belong then to him and Grandpa, took up the burden of times only they had known.  They spoke of horses and mules and men and days.

Now I can wish that I had stayed and listened and tried to remember.   Now I can wish I had foreseen then what I would want to know now, and had asked the questions I now wish I had asked.

What did their elders remember of the Civil War, and of the time before that?  What did they tell about slavery?  After the war, how were things rearranged between the races?  Was the Klan active here?  What did it do?  Who was in it?  What was it like here before the railroad came, or all-weather roads, when the only dependable transportation to and from Port William was by the river?  What did they remember of the still-standing ancient forests?  How did they make it through the depression of the 1890s?  The drouth of 1908?

But a boy’s mind is different from an old man’s by precisely a lifetime.  And so the talk of that day went out into that day’s air and light and the silence beyond, and the silence has kept it.”

Andy Catlett: Early Travels.  Pgs 70& 71.

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October 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Reflections, Reviews

Andy Catlett

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Recently I’ve been reading another Wendell Berry novel, Andy Catlett: Early Travels.

I am loving Berry’s books because the feel so quiet and I long for that so much.  Reading them is like sitting beside a lazy river on a sunny day.  It’s beautiful just to glance at, but the longer you sit with it and the quieter you get, the more you like it.  The more its beauty seeps into the soul a bit.

I’ve come back to a couple of  passages more than once.  I like the one below because it makes me wonder about my ability to become like the Mom in her gracious, faithful love . . . and I wonder what about being a Christian demands that we do have vision for change in ourselves and the people around us . . .

“My mother I believe I knew fairly well from a fairly early age.  Looking back, I love her simply as I knew her to be.  And I wonder, too, at what she came to be as she grew older and the trials of motherhood and other early difficulties fell away from her.  In her old age she seemed to me to become almost purely generous and wise.  Unlike my father, for whom love was always involved with fear and exasperation and who felt personally affronted by any unremedied flaw, she accepted what she could not help and came finally to a quietness within herself that signified great faith, and no fear at all.

But I had to grow and age into knowledge of my father, and I am afraid to say yet that I know him fairly well.  Insofar as he was a critic of the people and places he loved, he was as much a visionary all his life as I was to be at any age – though at the age of nine I could not have envisioned that.  He bore the burden of his certainty that some things could be improved, and of his vision of how to improve them.  And over and over again he suffered enormous frustration at his or anybody’s inability to make the needed correction.

Both he and my mother were motivated by great love, bu hers abounded quietly, and his was instant and ungraduated, always at full flow.

One morning as I was watching him shave, I asked experimentally, “Daddy, what would you do if I died?”

His reply was shocking, for it came while the sound of my voice seemed still in the air, and with a force of passion that I had not until then imagined: “I would cry my eyes out!”

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October 24, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Reflections, Reviews

An Unintended Compliment

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A comment from a student in the office yesterday:

This isn’t like my other political science classes.  In those I just have think.  Here I have to provide evidence for what I think and it’s a lot harder.”


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October 19, 2011 at 7:33 am

Posted in Political Science

Mother and Daughter

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October 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Pictures


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Twas a great day in the mountains today.

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October 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Pictures