Summer 2009, Part 4

Two-thirds of what constitutes summer, at least in this part of the country, has come and gone, much of it shrouded in clouds and rain.  June and July were both far rainier than usual, causing events to be cancelled or shortened.  Attendance at parks, beaches, and events is down yet we, and I suspect others, have been trying to make the most of what little good weather we have been having.

Today was our middle daughter’s family birthday celebration.  She turned seventeen earlier this week – last Monday, as a matter of fact – though with so much else going on it went less noticed than it should.  The weather held off long enough to enjoy sitting out under the trees with four (soon to be five) generations of family from one side or the other.  This evening it’s back into the fog, drizzle, and a cool northeasterly breeze.  It’s a little like a vacation in England, only without the airfare and driving on the left.

This morning I awoke with the words to “Eat This Bread, ” a Taizé chant, in my head.  Coincidentally, one of the readings for today’s mass included a passage from the Gospel of John, chapter 6, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”  A coincidence but, still, it has stuck with me through the day.  On a related note, I have managed to find – either new or used – copies of the fourth, fifth, and seventh volumes of the journals of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, spiritual writer, and activist of whom I have written before.  Now (I think) out of print, it is becoming harder to find these journals, with the sixth hardest to come by – and where it can be found it goes for much more than the original price.  I suppose this may have something to do with the sixth volume including Merton’s account of, among other things, his affair with a young nurse.  Too bad, because I think people who obsess over this episode miss the larger point of Merton’s life – not his monasticism, not gloating over the “failure” to abide by his vows, but of learning what it means to be authentically human.

Anyway, if summer’s going to be this dismal, I might as well read.


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