Friday, February 27, 2009


There is nothing quite like the injection of a shiny red umbrella into a grey February day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

old friends

It is interesting to me to think of the various people I know and the ways in which my relationship with each one of them changes over time. Immediately obvious would be the way that friendships wax and wane (I do strive against and lament the latter but it is a fact of life and can be beneficial in allowing room for the growth of other friendships). But beyond the obvious there is also the way that a relationship that never moves to the arena of friendship can still impact one's life at different times and in different ways. The following incident is what sparked my thoughts on this topic and illustrates most of what I am trying to say.

At the Ash Wednesday service last night I talked with (and received a ride home from) an old acquaintance. She has known me since I was an infant because she homeschooled her boys at the same time my brothers and I were homeschooled. This family was not in the immediate circle of my friends (the boys were not quite my age) but nevertheless, both being founding members of the local group, she and my mother knew each other quite well. We moved away from the city and years passed in which I probably never gave that family a thought. The time came, however, when I moved back to the city to attend Augustine. She was connected with the College as the part-time Professor of Art. I remembered her, of course, but was unsure of her memory of me (having changed much in the intervening years). She did remember me, however, and our relationship grew a bit and adapted to the circumstances. Once again, on finishing at Augustine, I moved on and for four years probably saw very little of her. But I was drawn back to the College this year to be the RA. Her position at the school has changed to one of lesser-involvement but I still have had occasion to chat with her at various larger events. Then she attends the church where we went for the Ash Wednesday service and because of that our conversation on the drive home followed lines which probably never would have come up in previous conversations. I also feel as though I am now in a completely different position in regards to our relationship from what I had previously held. Of course, growing up does that sometimes but I think because we have met--however briefly and perhaps superficially--within several different contexts, the relationship mirrors that breadth.

Having Wendell Berry in mind for several different reasons, this line of thought about the depth of relationship I have with this woman without ever having approached friendship (according to the terms to which I am used) makes me see the value in sticking close to one's roots. Yes, it does occurr at times that one who has travelled and moved around the world (to go to the extreme) still runs into someone from the past who knows them well and who also has moved around the world but I believe one's chances of this happening are reduced the further one moves from home. Perhaps the merit of such a relationship is overshadowed by the merit of seeing other cultures and forming new attachments but I am not sure of it. Forming new relationships is healty and good but I feel that no amount of new relationships can take the place of an old one. New acquaintances will never have known the old you. I am a homebody and have little desire to live with any permanence far from where I have grown up. Perhaps I shall in future but it is not my desire. Because of this it is hard for me to determine if arguments for the superiority of maintaining roots merely appeal to my own preference or if they truly have merit. And so the struggle for understanding and a coherent outlook continues.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

good ice

I finally got around to skating on the canal late at night and it was almost everything I could wish it to be (my imagination is still a bit stronger than that but nevertheless, it was for the most part quite excellent). The contrast of this with my rather nasty last post is a good reminder that in some situations waiting it out is all that is required for the improvement of circumstances. Not that I need to learn the lesson of letting things pass (I should rather be learning lessons of getting on the ball) but I suppose I could always go for more patience and joy in all circumstances.

We got down to the canal sometime around 1:30 I should think and in the entire skate we saw one brief shadow of another skater and two people sitting on a bench. It was beautiful. we had the whole canal to ourselves, the ice was newly swept, and all this in occurred in the vast, dark stillness of a winter's night. A lot of my memories of the skate have a dream-like quality. The rhythm of the pace and sound of our skates was quite hypnotic and soothing but at the same time I finished the skate on a huge high in which I didn't think it impossible to float away, off into the night sky. Despite the fact that I woke up this morning still slightly tired and dehydrated I would gladly do it again any night of the week. Bring it on!

Friday, February 20, 2009


It is frustrating that now the strike is over and I have more time, the weather has taken a little turn to the worse and now the canal is in poor shape. Oh well, it should get better soon I hope and once Winterlude is over, we can return to a happier time with fewer skaters to cut up the ice and get in the way. I really can be horrid at times. But I like people individually, just not always so much generally.