Today’s Moments

I was at Perkins Library again today, bugging the heck out of the Wonderful People at the research desk. Those people Really Know Their Stuff. Which delights me. Because I don’t know their stuff. Not at all.

And I was at class again this evening. My professor said some Very Comforting Things about our upcoming rough drafts, and this was good, because some Very Uncomforting Things have been happening in my research. But happily I have decided that my research paper is not Everything.

No. For example, in our homeschool we are currently studying plate tectonics. Now there’s an interesting idea. And we’re studying the history of map-making, both in preparation for a thorough study of geography and world cultures. And we’re memorizing Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “Travel,” which seemed appropriate to me.

Of course William and I are also doing grammar (nouns, currently) and spelling, and writing in its various forms. Today he wrote a Really Great thank you note to his grandparents, and it was entirely of his own creation. I was So Pleased.

And Everett is really beginning to read, for real and true. It’s amazing how hard he has to work to get the words out. He frowns. He grows frustrated. He gets annoyed with me. But today he read two books: Great Day for Up! and Hiccups for Elephant. He got to put another star on his “Everett’s Galaxy of Books” chart. When he’s read 100 books, we’ll all go to the movies.

Dear Emma was sick today, and yesterday, too. She was frequently awake on Saturday night, having those strange, frightenend, feverish dreams. This morning she woke early and made it to the toilet in time to empty her stomach’s contents into it. Then she went back to bed, but was not so lucky an hour later. I did a lot of laundry today.

But when I got back from class tonight she was fever free and jumping on the bed. She came running to meet me and wrapped her strong legs around my waist and reminded me yet again of how good it is to be the Mommy.

The laundry is folded now; the dishes are in the dishwasher. Emma Grace has Entirely Clean Bedding, and I’ll change the other sheets tomorrow. But now it is time for bed, and time for a book, one that is Utterly Unrelated to my research paper.

I’m reading Gilead, awarded the Pulitzer prize, a book so full of salient moments that I find it a bit overwhelming. Still I read on; why wouldn’t I? If I were to stop, I would miss passages like this one:

I wish I could leave you certain of the images in my mind, because they are so beautiful I hate to think they will be extinguished when I am. Well, but again, this life has its own mortal loveliness. And memory is not strictly mortal in its nature, either. It is a strange thing, after all, to be able to return to a moment, when it can hardly be said to have any reality at all, even in its passing. A moment is such a slight thing, I mean, that its abiding is a most gracious reprieve.

-Marilynne Robinson


5 thoughts on “Today’s Moments

  1. I just read Gilead, per my mom’s suggestion. It took some work getting through some of the passages, but I’m glad I did. I’m on to Life of Pi – man, what great books I’d be missing out on if it weren’t for your book club! Also, have you read Blue Shoe, by Anne Lamott? I recently read it, and if you’re an A.L. fan, you probably will(have) enjoy(ed) it 🙂

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  2. Thanks for reading, Alison! Yes, Life of Pi is a stunning book. I really enjoyed it, and think it might be one of those books I re-read (ha. that’s funny) someday. Bird by Bird is the only book I’ve read by Anne Lamott, and I liked it fine. I’m not really a fan. I can’t say that I’m a fan. No. But maybe I should read Blue Shoe anyway.So now V.B. is reading The Kite Runner. Have you read that? I need to start it yesterday, but I’m afraid of it. Very, very afraid.

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  3. Jenny,WARNING: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A SPOILER. STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW. (ha. as if that will work. as if EVERYONE won’t definitely now read immediately. well, you can’t say i didn’t warn you.)Oh, I don’t know. Call me crazy, but child rape Really Really Bothers me. And it’s such a serious and Terrible Terrible Thing, such an Egregious Tragic Thing, that I just have a hard time getting past it. I have a hard time dealing with it Always, and it’s very bad if it feels to me as if the writer is just playing with me, manipulating a story to make it go the way he wants. In short, Kite Runner includes a child being raped (a passage I read last night and then had a hard time dealing with for the better part of the morning today), and the book is pretty badly written, in my humble opinion (though I’m only on chapter 9), making the rape even harder to deal with because I feel I’m not in good hands, so to speak. But I didn’t know about the bad writing part when I said I was afraid of the book. I was just afraid because someone gave me a heads-up on the “bad thing happening to a child part,” and of course I knew what that meant. And now the story is sullied by mediocre writing at best, so I feel like I’ve been taken to a B movie that I didn’t even want to see.Sorry for the soap box, but there it is.Keep reading it, if you want to. I’m going to finish it because I’m like that, and because I am determined to finish it before my book club meets to discuss it.

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