Reading while Away in the Unexamined Life

A cool fall day. Busy at the Cleveland Museum of Art–too many people, but the medieval sections were still mostly empty. I gazed on things I wish I understood better. I saw the work of a guy who could do faces wonderfully, but the hands he did were weird, long, spider-things. How does that happen?

I think one of the chief events of the day was stopping at Bruegger’s and being attended by a quiet girl with long brown-red hair braided down her back. She had a sort of daring and withdrawn way of address, her name tag said ‘Grace.’ Conservative Christian home, was Katrina’s shrewd guess. And why working between 1 and 2PM? She was very young. Maybe homeschool. She made an impression on us because there was something indescribable about her. Now I’ll remember her all my life. Isn’t that odd?

That was in Ohio still, up in those bucolic regions by the lake and away from the city. I think the weather is good there and perhaps life too. Pennsylvania looked run down. In New York I had a pretzel. New York, at least where we are, near Buffalo, is past its autumn color peak. Not so along Lake Erie, but so here. We listened to a book based on Montaigne as we thrummed along. Now there’s a chap for you, if any.

Now I’m reading Gentle Regrets–I’ve got Last Rites and Gentle Regrets for this trip–which reveals more depths. One is astonished and one is grateful. There is nourishment in reading how these men handle our times. Here’s the best quotation from the book so far, something a priest said to Scruton: “We are not asked to undo the work of creation or to rectify the Fall. The duty of a Christian is not to leave this world a better place. His duty is to leave this world a better man.”

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