Monday, October 15, 2012

WHO WILL KEEP THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT ALIVE?

Cooder is quite comfortable here on Davenport. She did get up to roam around a bit during the night, but she came back to bed when I called her. And managed to find her way back to our room when it was time for a midmorning nap. Perhaps she will be a replacement for that obnoxious elf in those Travelocity ads.

Michael and Alicia have an outdoor cat, Swiper, who is the epitome of survival. She moved onto their porch after the lamented demise of their excellent tabby, Tigger, a couple of years ago. Swiper likes her breakfast at 6:30, and, although I was awake, I momentarily forgot that responsibility. When I remembered, I went out to get her dish. When I returned with a full dish of wet food, she rose up as I bent down and managed to knock the dish clean out of my hand, spilling the wet food all over her food mat. Hopefully, she will be hungry enough to clean it up. I'll at least give her the chance.

I slept pretty well, considering it is another new place. Cooder and the down pillows I lugged along with me helped with that. I had some strange dreams, one that had a villian who vacillated between being Aidan Quinn and Jack Palance. Then again, Goldie Hawn was in my dream the night before. Is it The Festival of Star Dreams?

Tolt River, Washington, 10/13/12
I'm still, but nearly finished with, reading Logan Pearsall Smith's Unforgotten Years. I was sidetracked by a New York Review of Books reprint, The Mangan Inheritance. 'Tis my goal to finish it and mail it back to Brooklyn this week, although I will be there next week. Anything I can do to reduce the amount of junk I am carrying around, still. At any rate, Mr. Smith continues to delight and amuse. And given how long ago this was written, because at heart, Mr. Smith is a 19th century guy, I was dismayed to find this a traditional American cast of thought, rather than recent xenophobia.

"Americans who go to live abroad are sometimes troubled by the word "expatriation"; they give much anxious thought to the question as to whether it is expedient, and above all whether it is right, for them to change their skies. An Englishman or other European who settles in America incurs no kind of moral blame, either in the land he has deserted or in his new-adopted home; he is supposed to have had his reasons, and it is taken for granted that they are good ones. But to desert America is somehow regarded as a kind of treachery, as if America were more than a country, were a sort of cause, and its Stars and Stripes the banner of a crusading army which it is dishonorable to desert. But is this sound doctrine? Philosophy was invented after all by Ionian expatriates, Christianity developed by the Jews who left Jerusalem; the duty of any inhabitant of any country is moreover surely his duty to his own spirit; in a world which seems to be growing darker every year, he must seek the light wherever it happens to be shining. His talent, if he has any, must be planted in the soil and under the skies most favorable to it. Perhaps it is only such exiles and refugees, in an age where nationalism grows yearly more savage, who will keep the life of the spirit still alive."


Snoqualmie River, Washington, 10/13/12.


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