The Pittsburgh

I went to Pittsburgh to visit an IKEA, see the many steel bridges, the city and the Frick. The Frick is small, like Dayton, but rewarding. At the car museum I asked the friendly chap how one got into the art museum. “Through the front door, sir,” he deadpanned. I think the most modern work of art there is the building, which is unusual, and refreshing. The grounds of the park are very nice, and the weather being what it is . . .

I took along Scruton’s Our Church. He’s so good for traveling with. Insightful, engaging, thought-provoking, challenging. This book is a companion to England: An Elegy. It is another elegy. His point again, as in the first elegy, is that like Athens of old, England was a gift of God to all humanity. And he is helping us to store up memories, before the thing is lost and must be retrieved through archaeology.

We had a remote-controlled gas fireplace in our rooms and the weather cool and rainy the night we were there. That was a first time, and I’m not sure anymore that a fake fire with gas is such a bad idea. It warms things to a jolly state while you read, and you’re not always working at making the thing blaze and adding wood.

We listened to Perelandra on our way through Ohio, sad and decaying Wheeling, and the rather baffling overpasses, tunnels and bridges of Pittsburgh. I thought I’d read all there was to read in Perelandra, but I was wrong. His books are so immensely learned, so staggeringly so. I was struck this time by how dense the thinking seems to be, how much reasoning in conversations takes place, how much description of the strange new landscape, and how little action for half the book. One of the definite disadvantages of listening to a recording is one doesn’t pause to think about things. I have been doing that a lot in my reading on the early Church.

I took a bit of a break from that, but now I have a much-anticipated good one before me: Henry Chadwick, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition.


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