Saturday, July 18, 2015

Scout 'n Me

I haven't yet read Go Set a Watchman, although it's sitting on my ipad, and I don't know that I will.
All of the reasons pro and con have already been thoroughly digested and analyzed on every form of media outlet, and I don't have anything new to offer.

I just have Scout.  And me.

TKM was my first grown-up book.  I read it when I was ten and in fifth grade, mostly with the aid of a flashlight, in the event that one of the real grown-ups would get up in the night to go to the bathroom and see a sliver of light under my door.

I was mesmerized.  I did not know what the word "rape" meant and, when we discussed the book at dinner, my own father, who looks a great deal like Gregory Peck, did nothing to dissuade me from the notion that it meant a violent act by a man against a woman which was, for some reason unclear to me, more heinous that a man pummeling someone of his own gender.

I did not understand anything at all about racial tensions in the South, or anywhere else.  In my rural, all-white world, they were not discussed, at least not in my hearing.  Within the next few years that would change, and I would discover a depth of racism in the extended family of my own dead mother that left me as as stunned as a girl otherwise unexposed to much of the world could be, but at ten I did not understand.

What I did understand was Scout, and Jem, and Dill.

To the extent that TKM is a coming-of-age novel, it was ours.

I was Scout: motherless, feisty, disinterested in convention, absorbed in figuring out a world in which adults played significant but peripheral roles.

My step-brother, same age as me, was Jem: physically bolder and more adept, but still my partner in our age of discovery.

My younger biological brother was Dill: the face of daydreaming innocence in the wake of tragedy, easily overlooked by adults until suddenly and occasionally he wasn't.

The shack down the road was the Radley house, and the elderly owner's German shepherds, lolling in the sun as they stretched across the blacktop between us on our bikes and town with its dime store and ice cream, were our Boo.

The town, a couple of miles down that road, was our Maycomb.  Many of the adults who populate Scout's world were easily recognizable in ours.

I can't relate many of our stories, as they involve how country children with free reign and bicycles spent their time in the early 1960s , and we will probably carry them to our graves.

But I can say that the curiosity, and recklessness, and sometimes courage, and fierce loyalty evinced by the Finch children and their friend Dill were ours.

I'm not sure that, even all these decades later, Jean Louise will speak my story as Scout did.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Songs of Life

Ok, I admit it . . .  the technology has advanced beyond my capabilities, and I don't know how to make a playlist.  But maybe Marie's Friday Five will motivate me to learn

A while ago I noticed that people in a small cyber group of which I’m a part seemed to have playlists for all kinds of situations, so I started finding songs to fit my moods. And I’ll be at the Wild Goose Festival this weekend, so music is on my mind. For today’s Friday Five, tell us about your favorite songs for different situations.

1. What song do you listen to or sing to deal with times when you are sad?

River (Joni)

2. What’s a song that inspires you?

Girl on Fire (Alicia Keys)

3. What’s a song that reminds you of a happy time in your childhood?

We Come From the Mountains (a summer camp song)

4. What’s a song that makes you want to dance?

I hope someone will have some ideas here . . .

5. What’s a song that you share with someone you love?

Up On The Roof (JT and Carole King)

Bonus question: What’s a hymn or spiritual song you love to sing?

Bring Many Names

Friday, July 3, 2015

Delicate Arch Hike (Utah)

We made a family trip to Utah in May, and since my friend Elaine has said she'd like to go to the iconic Delicate Arch in Arches National Park (my new favorite), I thought I'd provide a travel guide.
As you can see from the map, it's possible to hike a short trail and see the arch from a distance:

That was not my idea, however ~ and my daughter has come close to disowning me for following through on hiking the trail right up to the arch.
We reached the trail about 5:30, hoping to see the sunrise hit the red rock at a little after 6:00 am.  When it became apparent that I could not make the hike in half an hour, I urged my husband and daughter on, figuring I'd walk at my own pace.  Even my own pace was strenuous.  As I considered my imminent heart attack, I looked at the view behind me and hoped that someone would remember to say at my funeral that I died livin' the dream:
I did not mind my many pauses at all:
Most of the second half of the hike up covers a huge rock face, of which this is a small part (looking back down):
The only markers at that point are a series of cairns, which might explain why, when I finally reached the arch, or as close as I was going to get, there was no sign of husband or daughter.  Frantic at the thought of what might have happened to them ~ this hike has its scary moments ~ I was imagining having to hike down an hour and call the Park Service to mount a search and rescue effort.  I finally found someone who had seen them, and said they had given up and turned back.
It seems that they went the wrong way and came upon Delicate Arch on the other side of the bowl on which it sits, and discovered themselves looking down a sheer cliff.  They couldn't imagine that I had continued hiking, so they headed down the rock, not knowing that by veering to the left they would have been able to reach a narrow trail and a fairly wide cliff on which to walk and sit.  That's where I was, and here's what I saw at about 6:30 am:
And, looking the other way:
Was it worth it?  I'd say it was the highlight of my year so far.  But I think that if I want to go back someday, I'm on my own!