Sabbath Day – Books, Blogs, Berry & a Fairy
This is my weekly post to remain publicly accountable to God’s command for regular rest, relaxation, restoration and recreation. Each Thursday I commit to activities apart from my responsibilities as pastor of the White Plains Presbyterian Church, so that I might be a better pastor, husband and father throughout the rest of the week.
Today I slept in, though it was not my intention. I have been staying up way too late every night this week, and the rest was needed as renewal and correction.
Over breakfast we shared as a family a few paragraphs by naturalist Henry Beston on our sense of smell. We each committed to “smelling” our day and reporting back during dinner tonight.
With my morning coffee I finished reading the essays appended to Wendell Berry’s 2012 Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is always refreshing, disturbing and challenging to read Berry (new stuff or older), but especially as I have been exploring my own Kentucky heritage this year, and the essays in this volume reflect Berry’s Kentucky home – particularly the essay on Henry Caudill. I did not know that Caudill came from the same cluster of Eastern Kentucky towns where I have spent parts of at least five summers on youth mission trips.
I made a short visit to the church around 10:30, and then returned to sit outside on the front porch and continue reading Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. I picked this up in Yellowstone National Park, after seeing it for weeks in State and National Park bookstores. It is both and challenge and a confirmation of the directions we are moving as a family and as a congregation. Check it out. (I will blog about it soon).
Also spent time today with Soren Kierkegaard (Works of Love), Rob Bell (Love Wins), postmodern philosopher John D. Caputo, and a recent book on Presbyterians and American Culture: A History. I also wandered around inside and outside reading poems from Seamus Heaney’s 1979 collection of poem titled Field Work. Heaney died earlier this week, and I have been reviewing and honoring his poems all week. As he has always been alive to in his poems, which I have been reading for a decade, he remains alive to me.
I actually had the chance to have a quiet lunch with Noelle today! August was on a playdate. And while I never got to go climbing or hiking today, it was all in all a relaxing and satisfying day.
Noelle made chicken parmesean tonight. Over dinner we each reported on the “smells” of our day and then watched a one hour movie on Sacagawea which came via Netflix. Very fortuitous!
While at this playdate, August lost his fourth tooth. After dinner we took him out to Coldstone Creamery to celebrate, and then played for a while near the fountains downtown. It was with great satisfaction for me that August said that what he really hoped he would get from the tooth fairy was a Sacagawea Golden Dollar.(Silver or gold dollars are standard in our house) “It’s what I really hope and want,” he said.
Thus the fortuitous movie.
By chance, but not by accident, I received a Sacagawea Commemorative Golden Dollar from Ken Thomasma himself, the man principally responsible for our having minted the coin. We met in the Grand Tetons during the last week of our Lewis and Clark family road trip a couple of week ago. He said at the time that he believed the majority of Sacagawea coins were held by the tooth fairy. (I went to the bank months ago to get a Sacagawea dollar for this day, so I smiled when he said this; but in a few minutes I will go upstairs and put Ken’s dollar under August’s pillow. The dollar from the bank I will quietly spend myself.)
I also spent time today writing a couple of blog posts about our vacation: Day 20: The Gates of the Mountains – From Great Falls to Dillon, Montana and Day 21: Across the Great Divide – Over the Lemhi Pass to Salmon, Idaho. With these complete, I have just one more week of vacation writing to complete our trip.
I will now finish my day with a few short stories from Wendell Berry’s new collection, A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership (2012). What pleasure.