Apr 152017


There are few things in nature that astonish me more or that I find more beautiful than the simple impossibility of a bird’s nest.

 April 15, 2017  Moments Tagged with:
Mar 242017

The neighbouring village had a temporary stoplight for a few weeks as road crews did some work on the bank of the river. Seeing as how the village is a sleepy, stop-signs-only kind of place, the change—I could get caught by a red light! Grrrr!—felt big time and sophisticated, especially since the light wasn’t around long enough to actually become annoying.

Stopped one day last week on my way home, I stared out over the fields rather than at the river. My mind was wandering around elsewhere, and so I only realized how beautiful the scene was as the signal flipped to green. There were cars behind me, but I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick pic before taking off.

And no one honked.

 March 24, 2017  Moments Tagged with:
Dec 262016

George Michael has died.

He is the first man I ever saw wearing earrings, which mattered to me enormously as a young boy going to school in the Deep South.

I could link to any number of songs that I know by heart and that were important to me for all kinds of reasons that would seem odd or incidental to others.

The song I have in my head today is “Praying for Time.”

 December 26, 2016  Moments Tagged with:
Dec 232016

I’ve used Suffusion as the theme for this blog from the beginning. It was always a bit overkill—you can tweak anything and everything—but it let me make my blog personal and I stuck with it.

For the past few months, I’ve been forced to live in iOS. Suffusion can handle that no problem, but the mental shift has been a bit of a challenge for me. Drastic change that throws everything up in the air will help.

So I’ve installed a new theme. It’s simple and clean, but nothing worth tweaking is tweakable. That’s odd—I like to tinker—but it also feels a bit like clearing the pipes. Which is always a good thing, even if, in the end, the change turns out to be temporary.

 December 23, 2016  Moments Tagged with:
Dec 132016

Earlier this Fall, I hurt my shoulder and elbow. Right shoulder, right elbow, and yes, I’m right handed. In the worst weeks, I couldn’t find a comfortable way to sit for more than a half hour or so and could barely hold a book to read. Writing by hand for more than 20 minutes was basically signing up for night-long pain, sitting at a computer for more a five or ten minutes was worse. Healing has been painfully slow.

So what do you do when your work and a great deal of your leisure involves reading, writing or sitting still to watch something and suddenly all of those things become competitors for pain-free time in a zero-sum game?

That’s the unexpected experiment I’ve been running chez moi since September. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Work plays trump cards. When I have a stack of papers, all available handwriting time is spent there. Same goes for keyboard time: when assignment sheets or grade entry or email has to be done, nothing else is done at my computer.

My iPad has served as a lifeline to my non-work, digital worlds because I could use it without aggravating my injury. So in the past few months, I’ve had to discover how to make an iPad do real work for me in a way I’d never had to make it do before. Living on an iPad (as opposed to just using one casually on the couch) is not just a device switch though. It demands a different state of mind. I love the physical realities of interacting with iOS, but the virtual realities on the other side of the glass slab are like trying to talk to someone who likes Bill Compton or polka. You can understand the words but not the spirit behind the thing. I want a file system (DevonThink to Go helps with that) and RTF (Devon again, sortof), but I miss Nisus Pro and Tinderbox, both staples of my virtual life. (So many of TBX’s map, outline, text and link functions seem perfect for the iPad’s direct interaction that its absence is a bit haunting.)

And blogging? It turns out that I love the wordpress web interface. I open it on my desktop and I start writing. Open the mobile version and the various iOS stand-ins I’ve tried and, nothing. Maybe it’s the loosey-goosey feel of things without a keyboard, or perhaps the absent file system. Whatever the reason I’m still trying to adjust to the dashboard on iOS.

So what is the point of all this rambling?

As virtual as I am day-to-day, as digital as my work has become, I’m a bodied creature. Physical states matter.

I don’t think I’d taken that into account before quite the way I have done recently.

 December 13, 2016  Moments
Nov 032016

It’s been quiet around here, but a lot’s been going on.

My brother got married. Work is crazy. There’s stuff with the house. I’ve barely read or watched anything I wasn’t teaching. Haven’t had time to.

This too shall pass, right?

…and when it does, more. Soon.


 November 3, 2016  Moments
Oct 022016

There’s been a lot of trouble around here this weekend. Thankfully though, things seem like they are going to be okay. All of it has me thinking though, and realizing too that a lot of the unfortunate events we imagine keep us from our lives are actually doing just the opposite. Because those event pull us to each other and make up the stuff of life.

Which isn’t me trying to make trouble sound like a good thing. It’s not. It’s just me seeing how much of life is really our time with the people we love and realizing that the time and the effort and the worry we pour out for them when there’s trouble isn’t a distraction. It is the thing called living itself.

I feel that very strongly this weekend.

 October 2, 2016  Moments
Sep 072016

The woods on Mont St. Hillaire have darkened and dulled to the hard green of late summer. They are ready now to crack apart into the bright yellow and brilliant orange of Fall. And so it is in the fields below.

The hay has been cut, the scrub tilled under, the manure thrown down. Dry corn rustles in the breeze, and here and there, lime has been spread across freshly turned soil, dusty and white, an early echo of late autumn snow.

In my neighbor’s garden, tomatoes dangle from the leafless stalks of wilted plants, gloriously fat and gloriously red. A pumpkin vine, clutching a trellis, props improbable fruit high into the air.

And the ducks fly overhead. And the river runs cool and clear.

 September 7, 2016  Moments Tagged with: ,