My Words Exactly

Thank you, Mr. Stanley, for explaining perfectly my west coast home and simultaneously describing how I feel in every new east coast place i visit.

“Many a Saturday during that year of our residence, my wife and I would load our car and take to the freeways, whose sprawling network placed a few hundred cities, the vast Mojave Desert, several mountain ranges, and the mighty Pacific all in an hour’s reach. We traveled throughout the area, seeing as much as we could, though only a fraction of what was there: downtown skylines and entertainment districts; train stations and ship harbors; farmers’ markets and world bazaars; public parks and botanic gardens; mountaintop villages and lakeside resorts; commonplace lodgings and luxury estates; towns in the desert and cities by the sea. There was almost no place we visited for which I did not conceive at least some small desire to move there. It was never as though I judged that this new setting would suit me better but simply that everywhere I went I saw life, and life attracted me. Driving through the streets of an unfamiliar city, with cars zipping by and taxis taking people places; residents out walking their dogs, merchants setting out their wares, and businessmen hurrying down the sidewalks; couples sitting on verandas, friends chatting in cafes, and surfers heading for the beach; people working in their yards, or on the roads, or on their romances, with the sun going round overhead—all in a place I had never been before—I would think to myself: how is it that life has been going on here all this while, and I not a part of it? Can it be that I shall live only in my own little corner of the world, far from here, and not walk daily down these streets or at evenings retire to those fine homes on the hillside? Know merely my own neighbors, and not learn the names of these people and listen to their stories? Life was happening in that place, and it seemed a shame that I should miss out on it. Though an actual move would have been impossible, I could not help daydreaming about it, not merely playfully but with real hope, for our imagination runs ahead of our reason.”

And thank you, dear Catherine, for always leading me to words that thrill me.

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a thrill like music

“Isn’t it funny the way some combinations of words can give you—almost apart from their meaning—a thrill like music?” – C.S. Lewis

Went to my favorite place with the padres today: The Library of Congress. These quotes never get old. I looooove reading them amidst the phenomenal artwork and stately architecture. I hold great esteem for each of these men and wholly believe in each one of these bits of truth.

BEAUTY IS TRUTH, TRUTH BEAUTY
Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

TOO LOW THEY BUILD WHO BUILD BENEATH THE STARS
Edward Young, Night Thoughts, “Night,” viii, 215

THERE IS BUT ONE TEMPLE IN THE UNIVERSE
AND THAT IS THE BODY OF MAN
Novalis, Philosophy and Physics

THERE IS ONE ONLY GOOD, NAMELY, KNOWLEDGE;
AND ONE ONLY EVIL, NAMELY IGNORANCE
Diogenes Laertius, Socrates, Sec. xiv.

A LITTLE LEARNING IS A DANGEROUS THING;
DRINK DEEP OR TASTE NOT OF THE PIERIAN SPRING.
Pope, Essay on Criticism, Pt. ii, 215

THE NOBLEST MOTIVE IS THE PUBLIC GOOD
Virgil

IGNORANCE IS THE CURSE OF GOD,
KNOWLEDGE THE WING WHEREWITH WE FLY TO HEAVEN
Shakespeare, Henry IV, pt. ii, Act iv., Sc. 7

THE TRUE UNIVERSITY OF THESE DAYS IS A COLLECTION OF BOOKS
Carlyle, On Heroes and Hero-Worship, “The Hero as a Man of Letters.”

NATURE IS THE ART OF GOD
Sir Thomas Browne

THEY ARE NEVER ALONE THAT ARE ACCOMPANIED WITH NOBLE THOUGHTS
Sir Philip Sidney, Arcadi

WORDS ARE ALSO ACTIONS AND ACTIONS ARE A KIND OF WORDS
Emerson, Essays, “The Poet”

THE FOUNDATION OF EVERY STATE IS THE EDUCATION OF ITS YOUTH
Dionysius

THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IS THE BIOGRAPHY OF GREAT MEN
Carlyle, Essays, “History”

ALL ARE BUT PARTS OF ONE STUPENDOUS WHOLE,
WHOSE BODY NATURE IS, AND GOD THE SOUL
Pope, Essay on Man, “Epistle” i, 267

{ the exercise ball }

I have a light blue exercise ball in my room, right next to a wooden coat rack, below my favorite wall hanging – a world map. Some would think I actually use this ball to exercise – if only that was the truth! This ball (which was given to my by my father for Christmas) has only 2 functional uses at the moment.

The first is around 7 or 8 in the morning. I usually am sitting at my desk contemplating the day ahead (e.g. doing last minute work) and my roommate Catherine comes in to sit (and bounce) on this light blue throne as we discuss the events of the previous day and the plans for the one at hand. With me in my swivel chair (which I {confession} selfishly stole from Cath’s room before she moved in…) and Cath, in her red and green striped pajamas, bouncing on my ball — it is in these moments that we discover great truths about our lives.

The second use of the ball comes about 16 or 17 hours later when; again, I am at my desk studying (how boring am I?) and my roommate Jana comes in to discuss her most recent date or law school experiences. Now, it is I in my pajamas (light blue polka dots with a 2006 Rex Lee Run shirt) and her looking classy/happy/earthy/lovely (those who know her, know there is no one word to describe Jana Barker.) She bounces as she speaks – so pure and genuine, almost falls over – and seems to discover something new with each bounce.

I have the world’s best roommates. Every conversation brings new meaning and gratitude into my life about the great friends I am privileged to know. During these early morning or late nights in my room, I often wonder – is it possible for them to know how much I depend on their daily bounces – how much I crave their presence? To this great conversation, what have I to contribute? What have I to offer to this great friendship?

For now, all I have is a light blue exercise ball.