Winding Down

We are in that familiar stage of winding things down. You start detaching yourself from a place in an odd way, it seems to me. First you’ve looked away and then your gaze has settled on that next distance, but after that you look at where you are and you begin to pull the attachments out.

My books, for example, are being rearranged in order of size. I do that because for one thing it is easier to pack them and for another I just enjoy organizing them. I don’t have a settled system, but I do like thinking about the problem and exploring the various solutions. I like having all my books of wonder on one shelf, the non-fiction on another, and the fiction that does not fall into the category of wonder on a third. I mix the nonfiction books by my authors of wonder in with their works of wonder, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve done them all alphabetically, and sometimes I do them by age.

One of the things arranging them by size, or just rearranging them does, is bring to mind those I have not yet read, or mean to re-read, and which I’ve kind of forgotten about. So the detachment is has its stimulations.

But it serves mainly to deaden one to the place. By detaching yourself you’re deadening the connections. I am not so sentimental as to think I’ll leave something behind. There is little to regret about leaving Columbus, OH. But all places–even Columbus–in some way are interesting and have their interestingness, and detaching yourself you are deadening some of that. I have been glad for how much more it rains in Columbus than in semi-arid Minneapolis, and I’ve read many things here, and had wide access to books, though not unlimited.

Of course, you form new interests in the place you’re going, and there are potentially more there. I’m looking forward to being in driving distance of the winter sea. I’m looking forward to being again in a community of people learning, though who knows how it will compare since I know understand that Central Seminary was less trammelled than some places can be. I’m looking forward to learning about the people of eastern Pennsylvania, because though they are not, still they are my people; my kind have deeper roots there.

It makes me reflect that part of my nomadic impulse is that I’m not from anywhere, and that, in a way, is to be from everywhere since you look on a new place without the same expectations as a person who is from somewhere does.


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