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Sabbath Day

May 22, 2014

I keep the sabbath on Thursday. This weekly post is a record of what I do with this gift of time.


Today was a great day for a walk. The woods were wet with rain overnight, and fog lay over the water. The smell of damp soil was everywhere. With more rain promised by late morning, I headed out early to spend a few hours walking among the birds, squirrels and deer. Today I visited the Eugene and Agnes Meyers Preserve in Armonk. There are six and a half miles of trails in the two parts of the preserve, as well as a good stretch of abandoned road that connects the two. With not another soul in the woods with me, this was perhaps the most beautiful and peaceful walk I have taken his year.

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Today I also finished reading Sean Wilentz’s 1995 biography of Andrew Jackson. I am considering taking few weeks to hike, camp an drive from Tennessee and Texas this summer with my son. What began with the idea of following the footsteps of Davy Crocket is expanding in journey through the rise of democracy – a nice follow up to our Lewis and Clark expedition last summer. Thus some quick reading on the Age of Jackson, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. famously called it. I am also reading Sean’s much, much larger The Rise of Democracy: From Jefferson to Lincoln.

After taking a good long nap, and enjoying a delicious meal cooked by Noelle, I took August to swimming lessons and began reading a brand new book by the Notre Dame historian who wrote the prize winning biography of Jonathan Edwards which I read last month.  The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950 and the Crisis of Liberal Belief is George Marsden’s account of the 1950s liberal consensus and the reasons it could not be sustained. This territory has been covered by many others before (I can see both Todd Gitlin’s Twilight of Common Dreams and Gary Dorrien’s Soul in Society from my desk where I am writing), but I am curious to see where this effort leads – the stated purpose is to describe a more inclusive pluralism. Stay tuned.

If the weather holds, and the rain holds off, tomorrow I will pack up the tent and go camping.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 23, 2014 6:30 am

    I’d be interested in your take on Andrew Jackson — particularly the Native American component.

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