A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nose to Grindstone

It's shaping up to be a beautiful sunny, if somewhat nippy, weekend. The summer concerts are over, but everyone's back from the beach, and the rather impressive round of cultural offerings in the region has started up. Because I live downtown, and because many of the offerings are free, I have a tempting array of events I can easily attend.

This weekend, I was planning to do the second-Saturday downtown walking tour with Dr. Cecelia Gross. The tours meet at the Welcome Center in the Quadrangle just two blocks from me. Dr. Gross is leading participants on a partial tour of the African American Heritage Trail, showing some stops on the Underground Railroad, for example, and ending with a short visit to the Pan African Historical Museum of the USA. I particularly wanted to attend because I'm interested in the house next door to me, which was built by an escaped slave. I'm curious to learn if Dr. Gross knows more than I do about the building and its history.

Then I was going to go down to Shelton, Connecticut, to a party for one of my Polish-immigrant relatives. Wanda's family really knows how to pull out all the stops for a festive affair. They barely know our Springfield branch of the Banias, but that doesn't stop them from inviting us to everything from a christening to a retirement party, and making us feel very welcome.

In order to attend the party, I was going to have to forego the reception at the Springfield Armory, just two blocks from me in the other direction. The Armory has a new Superintendent, Michael Quijano, who appears to be a very cool guy with lots of fresh ideas. I haven't yet met him, and this weekend would have been a good opportunity.

Then Sunday is the kickoff of the Springfield Museums lecture series, held in the Museum of Fine Arts auditorium, just three minutes' walk from the Emory House. Carlin Barton, Professor of history at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is speaking on "Empire vs. Conscience: The Cost of Compassion in Ancient Rome." An expert in ancient history, Professor Barton will analyze the spiritual contradictions inherent in the Roman psyche and outline their impact on the course of the empire.

Also on Sunday is a reception at the Art for the Soul Gallery, which is a whopping three blocks from my house. The reception is for Larry Poncho Brown, a Baltimore artist whose work is featured in the gallery. Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, and Anita Baker all own works by Brown. It would be a trip to meet him, see what's new in the gallery, and socialize with the arty crowd that frequents the place.

HOWEVER...I'm not going to do a single one of those things this weekend. Instead, I'm going to chain myself to my desk and work. Book cataloging, bookkeeping, and writing commissions are piling up at a frightening rate. So it's nose to the grindstone for Cicily. Remember what it felt like at age 12 to have a book report hanging over your head when you wanted to go outside and play? That's the daily reality of working from home.


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