Philadelphia Chronicle

We have never been able to be without air conditioning, but we can here. The humidless breezy summer permits it, and I can understand a bit why people enjoy summer.

Still I yearn for the fall. I don’t like summer because it is warm. I’m the kind of person who is glad of the fall because I like to wear clothes. I don’t necessarily like to be well-dressed; I just like having many clothes on me, many layers. It reminds me, I was in the art museum today and it is wonderful how many and how rich the clothes were people were depicted in during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries–though it does not look like they wore many sweaters. Another thing I like are hot rather than cold beverages, and I find he summer is not as conducive to them as other more obliging seasons are. I understand most people don’t share my preferences, however. What I don’t understand, is what they have to live for.

So I long for the fall, and I yearn for it to start school which I am eager for indeed. I go over to the library at Westminster and see that it is not full of books but small and ordered objects not so much full of words, though many of them are merely full of words, as full of possibilities. They are like so many doors into other rooms, or other cities. You don’t have to go far down any of the shelves to be reassured by the abundance awaiting. I’ve discovered Marsilio Ficino, and I intend to know about him.

The Renaissance, you know, is full of these figures–colorful, towering, interesting. I had wanted to do early Church studies in order to get into the great Plotinus. But now that I have Ficino, who needs the early Church? If I can do him, I’ll have to do Plotinus. We’ll see what develops on that score, but there lies a possibility. And there’s Nicolas, and Pico, and all the other chaps, not to mention Erasmus and Sir Thomas More. I keep wondering if there’s a book like Kirk’s Conservative Mind called the Christian Platonic Mind from . . . probably we’d have to start with Philo–from Philo to C.S. Lewis.

One of the most interesting things about books is their interconnectedness. You find something in the world of one, and it is connected by a passageway to another. A library is like a city, all with underground and aboveground connections, openings, ancient shafts and tunnels, alleyways and doors and windows. It is a good thing for the Westminster library that it has interesting holdings, because the premises themselves are little interesting. The most commendable thing about that building seems to me its well-waxed floors. Somebody recently stripped and waxed them, and how they shine. Odd how it has no grace, charm, and barely amenity to it but the floors are kept in top condition.

Speaking of that, I have been surprised at what is available through the Free Library of Philadelphia because their premises are shabbier than Westminster’s library, and their hours of operation very limited. But my first search for things yielded better than I have grown to expect in Columbus. So who knows what riches and splendors here await me. It is like the Reading Terminal Market–a place to which we are constantly drawn, connected as it is to so many worlds of cooking wonder.

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