Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Summertime for me always seems to offer up certain strange, mysterious occurrences; odd sightings; baffling natural behaviours; and downright spooky events. I'm sure there's a logical scientific explanation....but, still. A good buddy of mine says it's because in the summer we are closer to nature than anytime throughout the year. And nature sometimes puzzles us. Yes, that could be so, or just maybe this reality of ours is not that solid as we think it is. Maybe the ancients are right to say that our reality is an illusion. However, we will leave that for our philosophers.

On a rather hot summer's day just last week, my wife and I harvested our string beans, and picked out two tomatoes off our thriving plants. We had dinner with these fresh vegetables mixed in a salad. Later that day when it cooled off we walked across the road and picked two liters of blueberries of which a portion was made into an excellent blueberry cake that evening. Life is good. Cape Breton is a great place to live.

Two nights before this bountiful day was a rough one, to be sure. The North East wind was blowing up a gale, and the rain was extremely heavy. I was heading for bed around 12 o'clock that night wondering if the house is going to hold and the rain to stay out. I heard an airplane overhead. It sounded like it was very low heading for the airport. I stopped and foolishly looked up to the ceiling wondering who could be out in a plane at this hour and in this weather. It actually bothered me. The next day there was a news announcement that a small plane was lost over the ocean, and that SAR were sending helicopters to look for debris. I couldn't get it out of my mind.

That day when my wife and I were picking string beans and blueberries, the Search and Rescue helicopters were flying overhead raking the shore line looking for some sign of the missing plane. The whole experience that day was a reminder of how everything that's wonderful and wholesome can be tinged with tragedy.

I don't know if you have ever seen Bruegel's ICARUS: a painting of the middle ages where farmers and other workers are going about their day's labours not aware that Icarus has just fallen from the sky and is now drowning. The great poet Auden used this in a poem about how people do not notice human suffering unless it directly effects them. I thought of that often that day. But---and this is interesting--- everybody you talked to in those days were saddened and puzzled about this tragedy. It certainly didn't go unnoticed. People were really concerned, saddened and worried. Perhaps Auden is not right about this.

More about the mystical summer later.

Books my wife and I read and are reading over the summer are: tada--- CONTESTED WILL (about Shakespeare) by (my favourite scholar) James Shapiro. I loved that book, but was angry with some of its contents. My next Blog is on this. WAR by Sebastian Junger. An excellent book on the war in Afghanistan---more of that later. I picked up HITCH 22 by Christopher Hitchens. I haven't read this yet, but am looking forward to it. He's a wonderful writer and intellectual. My daughter gave me BEATRICE & VIRGIL by Yann Martel. I said I wasn't going to read this, but now I will. She(my daughter) liked it a lot and I value her opinion. My wife is reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson. She like it a lot and intents to read the other two books out by him. These books are blockbusters, sold everywhere.
She is also now reading WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte. I love this book; I'm sure she'll enjoy it.

Next: Shakespeare conspiracy

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