Sunday, June 28, 2015

" Midway in the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood, 
for the straight way was lost. Ah, how hard it is to tell what 
that wood was, wild, rugged, harsh; the very thought of it renews 
the fear! It is so bitter that death is hardly more so. But, 
to treat of the good that I found in it, I will tell of the other things I saw 
there. I cannot rightly say how I entered it, I was so full of sleep
 at the moment I left the true way; "

Dante Inferno Canto One Singleton translation

I have been reading about Dante's Divine Comedy and it's effect on future
writers. especially other poets for many years. Since I have retired and am 
spending time at the cabin with fewer distractions I have began to study
Dante's work more seriously as one of the hobbies that I will undertake to
try and keep my mind active. I have been listening to the DVD series on
Dante from Great Courses but I also really recommend the Open Yale Courses
series they cover a number of topics in science and the arts, and are free on the 
web. Since webcasts are problematic given our internet costs at the cabin I have
been reading the book Reading Dante by Giuseppe Mazzotta a transcript of his
lectures, many of which I have watched and loved. One passage struck me as 
especially interesting as he was discussing Dante's use of hope as a "verb of the 
future" in Dante's the Vita Nuova a work which preceded the Comedy. Since
I have found a bit of introspection comes with the territory as one ages I liked
the way Mazzotta discussed the past especially past errors.

" To say "I hope" is a theological virtue, and hope here too always implies the future.
It says the past is not really over and done with because once you enter into the category
will be seen in terms of a new life of hope, you really believe you can change the meaning
 of the past. The fact that things happen whereby all your past errors can and will be seen
in terms of a new life means that there is the possibility of change instead of destruction."

from Reading Dante, by Giuseppe Mazzotta, Yale University Press 2014 page 10. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


You build a house for your soul,
and wander proudly 
in starlight
with the house on your back,
like a snail.
When danger in near,
you crawl inside
and are safe
behind your hard

And when you are no more,
the house will
live on,
a testament
to your soul's beauty.
And the sea of your loneliness
will sing deep

Olav H. Hauge

While I normally avoid commenting on the news my wife and I 
have enjoyed many trips to Charleston and were quite sad
to hear of the tragic deaths.

Friday, June 19, 2015

" That this aggressive haste has influenced us detrimentally
from our earliest schooldays is sad but inescapable. Unhappily,
moreover, the increasing speed of modern life has long since
done away with what meager leisure we had then. Our ways of
enjoying ourselves are hardly less irritating and nerve-racking
than the pressure of our work."As much as possible, as fast as
possible" is the motto. And so there is more and more entertainment
and less and less joy."

                         from On Little Joys 1905
                           by Hermann Hesse

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces. "

from Dolor
  by Theodore Roethk

I have not been visiting other blogs or posting lately.
We have been preparing for a trip to the cabin and I
have been learning to edit my photos on a MacBook Air.
Also I have been getting used to my retirement. We 
imbue things, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries
with great meaning mark our calendars and then the 
the sun comes up we make breakfast and things roll
along pretty much as usual. Retirement seems to be 
one of the more significant marks, for thirteen years I 
went to the same building sat in the same office and 
talked to some subset of the same people each of who
shared a common work calendar but also had their own
personal calendars with other days circled for new jobs,
moves, births, deaths and their own retirement all of
us circling in a kind of Brownian motion. Stepping 
away from that dance, I have found I still have my 
own interests, nature, books, my own places, our home
in the city and our cabin, my family and friends. And 
while I will miss some of the people I now have the
chance to try new things and spend more time with the
people, places and activities  I want to spend time with

We have been at the cabin a little more than a week.
Here are a few of the things we have seen

Under a granary at the farm vixen 3 kits

"And help me understand this person that I've gradually become,
Yet long ago imagined - a perfectly ordinary one
Whose mansion is the future, but whose setting is a 
Landscape of a summer afternoon, with a sky heavy in the distance
And a book resting lightly in his hands."

  from A Parking Lot With Trees
     by John Koethe