Let this, too, be a source of praise, that trees meet in the park like six- winged seraphim, stooping low enough for a boy to find foothold and swing himself to a crooked seat.
This act of grasping something greater, knowing that one's weight won't break the boughs, that weakness allows mastery. The sudden slip that bloodies the thigh, the husky bark rasping one's shin, then the elation of hanging by the knees, trembling, maybe, but trusting the limb.
Surely Jesus, too, climbed trees in Galilee, frightening Mary by exceeding her grasp, then flinging his body from the upper branches and returning to earth, triumphant and flushed.
He must have enjoyed as a boy the enabling flaw, must have loved the flesh He knew would fail, trailing for hours the ascents of his nimble creatures: the ring-tailed raccoon, the unseen lizard, the silent beetle, armored and green.
My house burned down a month ago, so today I walked to the bookstore and bought myself a dictionary, a Bible, and a calendar.
What else does one need, really? For Malvolio, in that dark cell, it was candle, paper, and ink. That was his sacred trinity by which he could be sane again—or at least be proven so.
Me, I need to make sure of the meanings of words, then to invest them with holiness, and then to know when I might use them (or utilize them, as an administrator would say).
On Monday, February 2, I plan to employ perspicacious. Then, on Easter, resurrection is scheduled for its grand debut. And so on. I’m saving horror for Halloween, and thanksgiving for Thanksgiving.
Among poets of old, this was known as decorum. Proper words in proper places. On the anniversary of the fire, I will simply say, damn.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).