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.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Puppy Pile

No sooner had I gotten back to the States than friend Maggie left town. She took off to Alaska, and I got the beagles for a dozen days.

They have the run of the whole back wing of the house, up and down stairs, but if I'm at my desk, which is most of the time that I'm awake, they're in a puppy pile at my feet. Well, on my feet. I extricated myself long enough to take this picture. Can you say "albatross"?

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Kooky Band

I was in Antwerp last Saturday, and the weather was fine. Strolling through the Grote Markt, I encountered this cheerful band of folk musicians. I couldn't put my finger on the style of their very catchy music, but if I had to approximate it, I'd say klezmer, I guess. They had a tuba; they had an accordion. They had half the people in the square following them as they wound their way through it and down a side street.

Belgium is one of my favorite countries. I was curious about it long before I ever visited, since my mother had lived there long ago. I've been making pilgrimages to all the cities she lived or travelled to, but Antwerp wasn't one of them. On this trip, however, I decided it was time to get to know Antwerp.

On a flight from Boston or New York to Brussels, half the people on the plane will be Hasidic Jews. Most of them are headed for Antwerp. It's been the international center of the diamond trading industry for centuries, traditionally controlled by Hasidic Jewish families. In the 16th century, Antwerp was the center of the entire international economy. Antwerp has been traditionally tolerant of Jews and everybody else, so there's been a large and affluent Hasidic presence there for five hundred years.

Stepping out of the train station in Antwerp, you see diamond shops lining both sides of the street. Wouldn't it be cool to wear diamond studs purchased right from Antwerp? If I ever get any money ahead, I'm going to seriously consider it.

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