Sunday, December 8, 2013


Bhavana in winter.
Golly gee, what a restless day! I think 'travel fever' has taken hold, even though I don't leave until a week from today. My mind tends to transition itself on its own time schedule, and right now it's transitioning or transitioned to Bhavana.  I'm physically here, but the mind is doing its own thing. :)

So I'm restless. Meditation would be a good antidote for that, but I'm out of the habit and it's hard to restart without a push of some kind (I think two weeks of nothing else to do will take care of that!). Now, I guess I need to put the physical wheels in motion, although most of those are already handled in my mind too, and there's no point in actually packing bags this early. I wouldn't have any clothes left to wear around here!

I'm hoping the weather allows me to get there. Snow and ice there for the next few days, but it should disappear before next Sunday and right now there's no more forecast for that weekend. That forecast changes several times every day, however, so I'll continue to keep my eye on it.

I'm so looking forward to being at this wonderful place and seeing the smiling, familiar faces of the monks and staff once again. But, in the meantime I have things to gather and pack, a dermatologist appointment, a haircut (maybe) and a recycling run (all on one trip to Rome).

I think I need to find something active and useful to do today, since it's only 9am and there's a lot of daylight between now and bedtime!  Hard to gather much interest on a cold, wet and gray day.

I've been reading Pat Conroy's cookbook (the essay portions) this morning, but it's short and won't take long to finish. Yesterday, I finished his latest book, The Death of Santini, and was left wanting more, plus I wanted to revisit the recipes and see if there was anything in there I might try. Most are too complicated and/or too expensive for me to do. Primarily more expensive!

I admit that I'm somewhat obsessed with this man, and I don't even care. He's an incredible writer and I was hooked back around 1986-87 when I read The Prince of Tides -- first time I'd ever heard of him, I believe.  I thought I'd died and gone to writer's heaven, and nothing I've read of his since has disabused me of that feeling.

There's also some weird sense of connection to him that has no basis in reality -- although I've often thought that perhaps it's the shared 'military brat' background and the fact that we both hated our fathers from early childhood. Not to mention that we are both children of the South and have both suffered a lifetime of depression. In fact, I discovered in the new book that his mother was born and raised dirt poor in Rome  -- 20 miles north of here. Her parents were from Piedmont, AL, 25 miles west of here where some of my own mother's family settled a couple of hundred years ago. Unfortunately, I can't find any of his family names in my own genealogy database -- it would be cool to be a distant cousin. He's a couple of years younger than I, his parents/grandparents and mine lived parallel lives during the same time periods and may have even crossed paths -- his grandfather owned a barbershop in Rome at the same time my grandfather owned a barbershop in Cedartown, and my grandfather's brother owned a barbershop in Rome. These were small towns back then, so it's not out of the question that my great uncle would have known Pat's grandfather, since they were in the same trade. Possibly my grandfather as well, since he was from Rome. On the other hand, Pat's grandfather took his fundamentalist background a bit far, abandoning both his business and family to go out on the streets evangelizing, so the parallels end at that point.

Something else I find fascinating is that one of my other favorite writers, Rick Bragg, is also from the Piedmont, AL area, from another dirt poor family that moved in that same time period and that same arc from the Piedmont area to Rome and back, following ways and places to earn a living. Two great writers spawned from the hardscrabble life of Piedmont, AL. Who'd have thunk it?

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