Doug Bruns

A note on schedule.

In Books, Literature, Reading, Travel on October 18, 2004 at 10:54 pm

My intention here,  at …the house I live in… , is to write twice a week. I have settled into a schedule of posting mid-week and weekend.  That is working well. I am a slow writer. Enough said. But I’ve been doing this–this blog–quite a while now, a surprisingly long while. The archive is deep. So, in an effort to keep things rolling, I will periodically be re-posting pieces I think fit the current course of things. I’ll call them out as re-posts, as I’ve done below. You can treat them as old news if you wish and simply wrap the fish up in them.

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RE-POST FROM OCTOBER 2004:

Thoughts from a hammock in Antigua, Guatemala

The sun is out and this day is weather perfect with low humidity and a clean breeze. Going to a place without a car is a good thing. There is something to be said about walking, how it immediately closes you in upon your own efforts. That is refreshing, but likely unremarkable to folks just a few generations ago. I’ve been in this hammock for three hours, reading, dozing off, then reading again, successfully fighting the urge to be doing something more, to get up and about and be busy. I like the lessening of potential this affords me: it forces a question of scope and perspective.

Years ago, I had a college course, a biology class, where we were instructed to find a square yard of campus somewhere, in the woods, on the bluffs, somewhere, anywhere, and stake it out. We had to study it for the course semester and our research paper would be written on our square yard. The constraint of vision, loss of depth of field, as it were, gets very limiting until you realize, as the proverb says, that the world is contained in a grain of sand. That is what today in Antigua is like, with nothing to do and nowhere to go, but hang in this hammock. It is wonderfully refreshing.

I’ve only reread a few books in my life, most recently Walden, and now Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I have on this trip. I am reminded of how bad a reader I have been in the past, plowing through a book like a ship crossing the ocean at night. No view of the horizon and little patience for the trip except for making the destination. A reader needs a life to learn the trick of being a good reader. It is, again, a matter of focus. Stake out your square and understand your turf. Derrida died a few days ago, and though I could not comprehend him, I am given to understand he knew this.

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