Posts tagged Vancouver
“If I was a different kind of writer,” I told Madeleine this summer, “I would say that children from the Pacific Northwest are cold and distant because they grow up looking towards mountains and trees much taller than they. The people around them are too small; they don’t care for them at all.”
I’m bowed by the bitterness, but, it’s not true; it’s not, I don’t think. I’ll miss it a lot.
Autumn began at the end of August in Vancouver. Leaves started falling that early, and now two-thirds of the trees are emptied and the leaves are in sheaves on the sidewalks and curbs. I’ve never seen fall last so long; heretically, I thought the other day, “it’s okay if fall is over soon.” I’m used to Philadelphia, where the season only ever lasts a week. This seems to last so long that we’re almost calloused to the beauty.
Over the weekend, though, I was in Philadelphia, and when I went out Tuesday morning, Vancouver had changed since I left. It was winter-coat weather, cold and brisk — snapping, cool, beautiful, perfect, wonderful; the kind of weather I don’t remember having in years and ages. Every morning, the grass and leaves are covered in sharp, silver frost; the grass is stiff and crackles under your feet, like crusty snow. It’s wonderful and beautiful and I love it so much.
Have a photo of a tiny little island, from our whale-watching trip.
I write to you to report that I have lived a week without a computer and survived — nay, thrived. My old MacBook recovered its life today, yet who knows how long the poor thing will be still with us? It can hardly run two tabs at a time these days.
I’m reading a mile a minute — sorry, 1.6 kilometers per minute — but I don’t feel much desire to type things out here. I’ll try to, though. I suspect the thrill of hitting publish today will be enough to provoke me back to it.
Like the great medieval commentators, Benjamin demonstrated by example that commentary may be an instrument of originality. And in his case, not only of originality, but also of redemption: in Benjamin’s view, interpretation does not so much discover meaning as release it, and loose it upon the world so as to liberate it. Benjamin read messianically. Insight, for him, was a variety of intoxication.
Leon Wieseltier, preface to Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations
Yet take care to avoid the “aspiration to cultural power — a dazzling distraction from the possibility that there may be nothing lasting at the core.”
It seems a great, kind, beautiful gift when Wieseltier says, “Benjamin’s work is evidence of the light that a religious sensibility may shine upon secular existence.”
The human person, like Israel, is invited, expected, and insistently urged to engage in a genuine interaction that is variously self-asserting and self-abandoning, yielding and initiative-taking.
Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament
Let’s be real: it’s been a tough summer. It’s been a really good one, I wrote a week or two ago, “oddly and unexpectedly.” Barefoot sidewalk, brambley, pebbly, climbing, sitting, solitary summer (blackberries really do have thorns: they are brambles, Sleeping Beauty-style!); a photogenic one, but a difficult one, but a good one.
Nolan and I were in the car on Sunday waiting for the bridge to go down, playing KANYE (the song, not the artist) very, very loudly with the windows down, and it was so so so good. Maybe a few days here and there have been enough to make it a social summer, quiet as it’s been. This morning became much better with the song coming on again, loud loud loud in my ears.
O Friends, I’ll love you ’til the record stops. Which, really, is never.