Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sheila Harden

In my lap, as I tap away on my laptop, is a book of poetry by William Wordsworth. Sheila Harden received it for "2nd Prize. Form III. Winter Term 1929. Palmyra, Southsea." No doubt, Sheila Harden has long left this world.

I wonder -- How old were the eyes of this woman who perused these poetic rhymes of Wordsworth:

She dwelt among the untrodden ways

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh
The difference to me!

I wonder how that poem struck her? Did she feel like "Lucy?" Or, did she live with praise and a sense of her beauty and brilliance?

My eyes are fifty years old. One day, I will be gone, too, and someone will wonder about me. These words from Wordsworth caused me to pause and think:

By The Side Of The Grave Some Years After

Long time his pulse hath ceased to beat
But benefits, his gift, we trace--
Expressed in every eye we meet
Round this dear Vale, his native place.

To stately Hall and Cottage rude
Flowed from his life what still they hold,
Light pleasures, every day, renew;
And blessings half a century old.

Oh true of heart, of spirit gay,
Thy faults, where not already gone
From memory, prolong their stay
For charity's sweet sake alone.

Such solace find we for our loss;
And what beyond this thought we crave
Comes in the promise from the Cross,
Shining upon thy happy grave.

New England And England

For more than two weeks I was in New England and Sandy was in England. Now we are both back home. Sandy had an opportunity and experience of a lifetime. She was able to go to Oxford, England with a group from Columbus State University. She saw many of England's most famous attractions.

We were able to stay in touch through e-mail and a very brief phone chat almost every night. Each evening I roamed around the cabin with my cell phone to my ear asking, "Can you hear me now?"

During the trip, Sandy also went to Edinburgh, Scotland for a couple of days. Her adventures in Scotland took her breath away. The landscape, architecture, and the rugged beaches were indescribably beautiful. Her first day there, she took my breath away when she said, "Bill, you and I must come back here! I can't find words to describe Edinburgh."

Sandy's academic focus while in England was to study the "Pre-Raphaelites." I don't know much about them (For my male readers: Sandy said that the Pre-Raphaelites had a lot in common with "Wild at Heart" men), but I am going to read some of the books and research my bride has collected.

Sandy brought back souveniers for our children and me. The gifts she gave me were particularly meaningful: A tartan from the Wallace clan (think "Braveheart"), a book of poetry by William Wordsworth, and a book on Holy Communion by "Fidelis." I am going to do some research on Fidelis. I believe he was martyred. This particular book was given to Clyffe Pypard on March 5th, 1914 by Cuthbert Trent Matthews. The cursive hand writing is in that old sweeping English style and difficult to read but I think I got both of the names correct).

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who watched "The Chronicles of Narnia," Sandy also brought back a box of "Turkish Delight."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back From Maine

I am back after spending some extended time at my favorite spot on the earth -- our cabin in Maine! It's back to work time!

This will be a short post.

I am going to give you two lists: Interesting things that happened in Maine; Things I survived while in Maine.

Interesting things that happened in Maine:

I was on the evening news. Why? The south bound lane of Route 2 slid into the Penobscot River; I went down to check it out and a camera crew and a newswoman from ABC interviewed me.

Sitting on the porch of the cabin I watched a red fox capture and eat a chipmunk. The action took place within 10 feet of me.

Kayaking down the river I saw two deer, a doe and lamb, swimming from one of the islands to the mainland.

A fish jumped into the one of the boats we were fishing from. The fish was not on a hook or line.

I watched a hawk divebomb an eagle several times. Truly a rare sight.

Things I survived while in Maine:

Ravenous mosquitos

A near miss of a thunderstorm that dropped hail the size of baseballs (we were in kayaks).

12 hours in a boat with Jim Pass

Jim Pass' snoring

Jim Pass' cooking