Not Rolling in Anything Untoward

A dome of hot, humid air has enveloped us here for the last couple of days; perhaps a last gasp of summer. I can’t say it’s unwelcome, since I’d rather be warm than cold, but still, it’s been “close” as the English say, and both the dog and I were nearly panting when we came through the last field on the walk yesterday. It’s in here that he usually finds the most delectable grass, and so many interesting lumps of muck. I called again to him, “Probie, Do NOT roll in anything Untoward!” And happily, this time, he did not.

Oddly enough, this made me consider my lack of writing despite so many things coming and going and changing. It’s not just the seasons and the start of school. It is the very pace of these days and the elements that fill them that seem to prevent me getting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. My speeches to clever freshmen are challenging to write and make me keep the house unkept. The excitement of the first grandchild has us all enamored.  The middle children, engaged or back on campus, remind us of the rapid passage of not just seasons but years. The youngest now has a learner’s permit and wants to practice. I am worried about Syria, yet seek to mention and lightly complain about the lack of chai at my backup morning source. What’s really hanging in the balance? Am I tending to what I should be doing? Is anyone else living in a jumble?

I pause and find in my office a book check out weeks ago: a wonderful find of poetry to parse the week and lift the eyes. Pamela Alexander’s Commonwealth of Wings [i] is the story of John J. Audubon’s life in verse. Once again I am awed by the gifts these kinds of poets and poems give us. I have to buy some copies to share. I want to re-find his folio.

Fast forward to this muggy train ride home, with web connection battered and signals on the fritz.  I gaze outside and realize I look forward to tonight’s ballgame, laundry folding, general home pick-up, and hopefully getting my head out of the sand. I’m not quite sure where it’s been: not in anything untoward per se, but it has been scattered and rolling. Maybe this weekend I can reorient. Perhaps if I set to rights the small things in the world around me, being mindful of friends, and of the big things, too, it will happen.


[i][i] Alexander, Pamela. Commonwealth of wings : an ornithological biography based on the life of John James Audubon. Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, c1991.

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