Laethanta na Seachtaine

The days of the week in the languages I know a little resemble English in their etymology:

  • Sunday = sun’s day. The German sonntag means sun day. The French dimanche derives from the Old French for day of the Lord (dies dominica), as does the Spanish domingo.
  • Monday = moon day. The German montag, French lundi, and Spanish lunes derive from “moon.”
  • Tuesday = Tīw’s day, from the Germanic god of war. The German dienstag, according to Wiktionary, comes from “Thingsus-dagaz (Day of Thingsus)…the attested Latin name of a Germanic God, who may or may not be the same as Tiw.” The French mardi and Spanish martes derive from Mars, the Roman god of war.
  • Wednesday = Wotan’s day, from Scandinavian god Odin, the god of the hunt. The French mercredi and Spanish miercoles are what linguists call calques, “a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word, or root-for-root translation.” The word being translated is Mercury, the Roman god of many things, including financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves.
  • Thursday = Thor’s day, from the Norse god of violent weather. The German donnerstag means thunder day. The French jeudi and Spanish jueves drive from Jupiter, the Roman king of gods and the god of thunder and lightning.
  • Friday = after the Germanic goddess Frigga, the wife of Odin and the goddess of married love. The German freitag has the same etymology. The French vendredi and the Spanish viernes derive from Venus, the Roman god of love.
  • Saturday = Saturn’s day, from the Roman Saturn, the god of wealth, agriculture, and time. The German samstag, French, samedi and Spanish sábado (and, by the way, the Hebrew shabát) all derive from words for sabbath, i.e., the seventh day of the week, starting with Sunday, and a day of rest.

Irish is a bit different:

  • Sunday: An Domhnach (un doo-knock), from domhnach, lord’s day
  • Monday: An Luan (un loo-in), from luain, hard work
  • Tuesday: An Mháirt (un whort), from Máirt, Mars
  • Wednesday: An Chéadaoin (un kay-deen), from céad (“first”) + aoine (“fast”), i.e., the first fast of the week
  • Thursday: An Déardaoin (un deer-dean), from  (“day”) + idir (“between”) + dhá (“two”) + aoine (“fast”) i.e., the day between two fasts
  • Friday: An Aoine (un ee-nuh), from aoine (“fast)
  • Saturday: An Satharn (un sah-rin), from Satharn, Saturn

Laethanta na Seachtaine (lay-un-tuh nuh shock-tuh-nuh) = the days of the week.

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Polar-iced

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I noticed the other day while moving our globe during some spring cleaning how far north Trisha and I have twice been—in April 2015 when we traveled to Iona, Scotland, 56° N—and in June 2001 when we went to Copenhagen, Denmark, 55° N.

Both locations are on the lefthand page of this photograph of facing pages from our Oxford Atlas of the World, which shows latitudes between 50° and 90° N. The cities on that page include London, Prague, Dublin, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Reykjavik, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Whitehorse, and Skagway. (I Include the last two as homage to a favorite boyhood radio show, “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.”) The map on the righthand page of the atlas shows points below 35° S, that is, 20 degrees of latitude fewer than the facing page. Compare it with the lefthand map: there’s nothing there.

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The mass in the center is uninhabited Antarctica; the only cities, on the extreme edges of the page, are Melbourne, Australia, and Hobart, Tasmania, on the lower right. The Tierra del Fuego region of Chile and Argentina is on the upper left. Lily, in her junior year at Wesleyan, spent a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, and traveled to Tierra del Fuego, basically the ends of the earth. If she’d gone to an equivalent latitude in the northern hemisphere, she might only have been in Dublin.

I was impelled to get this down by a book I just started reading, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination, by Francis Spufford. Published in 1997, the book was mentioned in a piece in a recent New Yorker, “Literature’s Arctic Obsession,” by Kathryn Schulz, with the subtitle: “The greatest writers of the nineteenth century were drawn to the North Pole. What did they hope to find there?”

Spufford writes that Charles Darwin, in The Voyage of the Beagle (1839), “became interested in the climatic imbalance between the hemispheres:

In the lower half of the world, the tropics continued much further to the south than the corresponding zone on the other size of the Equator did to the north. Then there was a comparatively thin region of temperate weather, and below that a sudden transition to sub-polar cold much sooner than in the north. At the latitude of 54° south one would find oneself amidst the frozen interior of South Georgia. 54° north, by contrast, put one amidst the comfortable hotels of Harrogate, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where glaciers were scarce.

Darwin, according to Spufford, went on: “If the hemispheres were transposed, there might be tropical seashells in Portugal, puma and jaguar in  Spain, hummingbirds and parrots in Denmark, perpetual snow in Scotland, a sheet of ice across Switzerland.”

Spufford’s purpose is to explain the fascination of climate fantasies to 19th century European writers (few of whom I’ve read), and I’m going to leave him there and talk about me.

I’ve been reading about north and south polar exploration since, as a teenage page shelving books in the Forest Hills NY Public Library, I discovered Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, an account of the 1914 expedition to Antarctica led by the Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton’s story is forever being retold. (Right this minute there’s a musical off-Broadway called Ernest Shackleton Loves Me that I suppose I’m kicking myself for not having thought to try to write.)

If you don’t know it, it was indeed incredible. In September 1914, Shackleton and 56 crewmen set out with the hope of crossing Antarctica by land. Their sailing ship froze fast in pack ice and eventually sank. The men sailed 350 miles in three lifeboats to an uninhabited island in the South Shetland Islands, landing on April 14, 1915. Shackleton and five others set out in one lifeboat and reached South Georgia Island, a whaling station 700 miles away, on May 8. They landed a remote beach and were prevented by the weather from sailing any farther. So Shackleton and three of his men walked 32 miles in 36 hours over a mountain range to the whaling station. Everyone was eventually rescued. No one died.

I won’t list everything I’ve read, but I’ve read a lot, intrigued not only by the people who competed to be the first to reach the North and South Poles but also by those who claimed to have reached one of those goals despite having failed. The most dramatic and poignant story to me is the one that gave Spufford his title.

In 1910, Robert Falcon Scott, a British naval officer, mounted an expedition to the South Pole. Scott and four others reached the pole on January 17, 1912—and found a note from the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen saying his team had been there four weeks earlier. On the return to their base, Scott and his companions failed to connect with a resupply team. One of Scott’s men died and another, Lawrence Oates, was crippled by gangrene and frostbite. On March 17, Oates left the tent and never came back. Scott and the other men died, 11 miles short of a supply depot.

According to Scott’s journal (a remarkable thing about so many explorers in so many different climates and geographies is that they kept eloquent journals), Oates said: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

I first read about Oates in Mark Girouard’s The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman (1981), a book that influenced my novel Saint Mike (1987). Girouard’s DollmanAVeryGallantGentlemanfirst chapter, “1912,” begins with a detail from a 1913 painting, “A Very Gallant Gentleman,” by J.C. Dollman, who imagined Oates’s last walk. Scott, in his journal, wrote: “We know that poor Oates was walking to his death…it was an act of a brave man and an English gentleman. We all hope to meet the end in the same spirit and assuredly the end is not far.”

Reading stuff like this, I’m reminded of a newsbreak heading the New Yorker used to use but no longer does: There’ll always be an England.

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From Sara G to Kate Rhudy to Lucien Carr to me…

In early February, Trisha and I went to a house concert in Durham to hear Sara Ghebremichael, one of Lily’s Wesleyan University housemates in 2003 and 2004. saragSara has become an accomplished singer and banjo player, as you can hear on this video clip. She’s from Washington DC and greeted the Trump administration with a song protest vigil in Lafayette Park that she documented on Instagram and YouTube, and that was mentioned in a French television report that called Washington “The Most Anti-Trump US City.” (Fast forward, past the Trumpcrap, to about two minutes in this video.)

One of the other musicians on the program was Kate Rhudy, a country style singer from Raleigh. She got my attention with her introduction to her song, “If You Killed a Man,” inspired by things she learned after reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. She was bored by the book, she said, but intrigued by stories that Kerouac, when a college student at Columbia in the 1940s, helped his friend Lucien Carr dispose of the body of a man Carr had killed in Riverside Park, near the Columbia campus. Here’s a video of the song.

After the show, I introduced myself to Kate and told her that in 1965 I’d worked with Lucien Carr at United Press International in New York, where I’d just gotten my first job as a reporter on the Local News Desk. Carr, whom everyone called Lou, was the day news editor. He was a slight man with horn-rimmed glasses, a big mustache, an topcoat that was too small, and loafers that he’d somehow worn so that he’d collapsed (what as near as I can determine shoemakers call) the quarterpanels so that they were almost flat to the floor. Carr worked with his shirt sleeves rolled up, one shirt tail often untucked, chain-smoked unfiltered cigarettes, continually fiddled with his mustache, and talked in a growl. Every night, when he left the office, he’d advise the night news staff that he was about to descend into “the tunnel of terror,” his simile for the subway. Someone told me he was married to an African American woman. No one told me he’d killed a man. I thought him very cool.

My father, who was a beatnik manqué and from whom I inherited three Kerouac novels, a Kerouac biography, several books by Charles Bukowski and virtually nothing else, at some point told me a little of what he knew about Carr. I’d gone to Columbia in the early ’60s and that helped him make the connection. I think I’d left UPI at that point, so I didn’t have occasion to look at Carr differently. No one at Columbia ever talked about Carr, not to mention Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg, another Columbia student and friend. I was often in Riverside Park, which was believed to be conventionally dangerous. but not a notorious crime scene.

Here’s what I’ve come to know about Carr, from Kerouacana, Beat histories, some fictional versions of events, and Carr’s New York Times obituary,  which described Carr as “a literary lion who never roared”:

Carr was famously handsome. Here he is with Kerouac (l.) in 1944…

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and in an undated photograph perhaps 20 years later, close to when I knew him.

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Kerouac, Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs, and other Beats were omnisexual. Burroughs introduced a friend of his, David Kammerer, to Carr when Carr was 14. Kammerer followed Carr to a succession of secondary schools and finally to Columbia. In August 1944, after, he said, Kammerer sexually molested him in Riverside Park, Carr stabbed Kammerer to death with a pocket knife and dumped his body in the Hudson River. This Wikipedia biography of Carr goes into more detail, if you’re interested, and mentions the several written and film versions of the event.

The New York Times obituary (above) states unequivocally that Carr gave Kerouac the roll of teletype paper on which Kerouac wrote the first draft of On the Road. Having handled rolls of teletype paper at UPI and at Reuters and the New York Daily News, my subsequent news business jobs, I’d always been suspicious of that part of the Beat Generation legend. This is the sort of machine in which those rolls were meant to be inserted:

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And this is what the rolls looked like, though in my day they were yellow:

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A roll these days is 235 feet long and weighs several pounds. Feeding one into a manual typewriter like the Underwood portable Kerouac used would have required dexterity and a certain amount of strength.

And,  the 2007 book On the Road: The Original Scroll, an edition of the novel/memoir that displayed the text without page breaks or paragraph indents, as Kerouac wrote it, put the lie, I had thought, to the teletype roll story. In his introductory essay, Howard Cunnell wrote:

The paper Kerouac used was not Teletype paper but thin, long sheets of drawing paper belonging to a friend, Bill Cannastra. Kerouac had inherited the paper when he moved into Cannastra’s loft on West Twentieth Street after Cannastra’s accidental death in the New York subway….

It is clear that the scroll is something consciously made by Kerouac rather than found. He cut the paper into eight pieces of varying length and shaped it to fit the typewriter. The pencil marks and scissor cuts are still visible on the paper. Then he taped the pieces together. It’s not known whether he taped each sheet on as he finished it,  or waited until he had finished the whole thing before taping the sheets together.

This 2007 news release from the National Historical Park in Lowell MA, Kerouac’s birthplace, gives a slightly different version of the scroll’s creation. In any case, though Lou Carr may have been, in Allen Ginsberg’s words, “the glue” of the Beat Generation, it seems clear that he didn’t provide the paper on which its most famous novel was written.

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OP, FM, OCSO

During the retreat, I had several interesting conversations with Brian, who had introduced himself at our get-acquainted meeting as “a Dominican friar,” as Ralph had said he was “a Franciscan friar.” Since Guerric, a Trappist (or Cistercian) called himself a “monk,” I asked Brian to explain the difference.

IMG_1022With Abbey along as our guide (look closely at this photo), we went into the woods across from the monastery while Brian filled me in. Monks (and nuns) live in monasteries, from the Latin monos, alone. They may grow crops for food and to sell to their neighbors, but their primary purpose is prayer and contemplation. Friars (from the French frère, brother) and sisters live in the world, teaching and preaching and performing service. Because they may receive payment from others for their work, they are known as mendicants, from the Latin word for begging. Dominicans and Franciscans are mendicant orders; Trappists are contemplatives. Dominicans after their names used the initials OP, Order of Preachers. Franciscan use FM, Friars Minor, a reflection of St. Francis’s aspiring to simplicity and humility. Trappists use OCSO, Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance.

Some rough notes I made in the visitors center library:

  • The first monks were the Essenes in the second century BC
  • St. Anthony and the Desert Fathers, 270 AD
  • Benedict (480-547), an Italian, organized 12 monasteries. Monte Cassino was the birthplace of western monasticism. The Rule of Benedict prescribed monastic life, emphasizing common sense, moderate asceticism, and prayer
  • 1012, Romuald reformed Benedict’s Rule and created the Camaldolese
  • 1084 Bruno of Cologne founded La Grand Chartreuse (Charterhouse), the Carthusians
  • Abbey of Citeaux, 1098, Cistercians
  • Bernard of Clairveaux (1090-1153) founded the motherhouse of 68 Cistercian monasteries
  • Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), founded Order of Friars Minor
  • Dominic (1170-1221), a Spaniard, in 1215 founded the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, harmonizing intellectual life with popular needs
  • 17th century, Abbot de Rancé (1626-1700) reformed Cistercianism to created the Trappists (from La Trappe, France)

St. Francis got permission to found his order from Pope Innocent III (1160-1216). The Encyclopedia Britannica says Innocent “reformed the Roman Curia, reestablished and expanded the pope’s authority over the Papal States, worked tirelessly to launch Crusades to recover the Holy Land, combated heresy in Italy and southern France, shaped a powerful and original doctrine of papal power within the church and in secular affairs, and in 1215 presided over the fourth Lateran Council, which reformed many clerical and lay practices within the church.”

Innocent’s life is interestingly tied up with the life of King John, who misruled England while his brother, Richard the Lionhearted, was off on the Third Crusade. (Think Robin Hood.) The son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (when you think of them, think The Lion in Winter), John refused to recognize as Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton, Innocent’s old friend and nominee. Innocent excommunicated John, who tried and failed to mount a European military campaign. In 1215, the weakened John was forced to sign Magna Carta.

The document led to a civil war that became an international one when France invaded England. Innocent viewed Magna Carta as an attempt at insurrection against royal authority and, at John’s request, declared it null and void. John died of illness in 1216 and his son Henry III defeated the rebel barons. Magna Carta was reissued and eventually served as the basis for the English system of common law.

One more thing about Innocent: he died of malaria in 1216, age 55. His body was stolen, then recovered, and buried in Perugia. His bones were eventually stored in a box in a cupboard with those of two other popes. In 1891, a priest brought them to Rome for burial in the Lateran. On a train. In a suitcase.

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Matanzas

St. Augustine is an island in the Matanzas River, an estuary connected by St. Augustine Inlet to the Atlantic Ocean.IMG_1499

I divided my trip home into three stages: the first, between St. Augustine and Bluffton SC, took me through the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and the Fort Caroline National Memorial, on the very same St. John’s River that runs past Marywood Retreat Center in Jacksonville. The Timucua were native people whose first encounter with Europeans was with French who erected Fort Caroline (Cahr-oh-LEEN) at the mouth of the St. John’s, which they called La Rivière de Mai, for its discovery on May 1, 1562.

IMG_1692The Spanish rulers of Florida felt less friendly to the French and in September 1565 killed several hundred French settlers at the fort. Three years later, the French and Timucuan natives killed 200 Spanish soldiers and recaptured the fort. Matanzas is Spanish for slaughters.

Bluffton, 200 miles north of St. Augustine, where I stayed at an AirBNB, is an artificial town with a very expensive breakfast place. My host recommended a nice place to walk, at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.

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A hundred sixty miles north of Bluffton is Lake City, where I stayed at another AirBNB. Lake City is a strange little town whose web site describes it as “A classic American small town…steeped in history, rich in culture and diversity, and alive with progress.” I was struck more that it was not  only an apparent food desert, but a fast-food desert. I drove for miles into and out of town without seeing even a McDonald’s where I could get a cup of coffee.

My search for coffee on my last morning on the road took me to Lula’s, a pleasant coffee shop with some okay baked goods. I asked the barista exactly where we were. She said, “Florence.” Kind of where I’d started, I went the rest of the way home.

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After Gainesville…

…I drove east to St. Augustine, according to Wikipedia, “the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the borders of the continental United States,” founded in 1565. I stayed in a studio apartment on the second floor of this house…img_1488on Pomar Street in the Lincolnville neighborhood, founded after Emancipation by former slaves. St. Augustine was one of the most segregated cities in the country. This is from a National Park Service web page:

 A dentist and NAACP representative named Robert Hayling from the historic subdivision of Lincolnville initiated the [1963] protest actions that eventually ended discrimination in the old city….Hayling organized campaigns against local segregated public facilities catering to tourists. He also urged the White House not to support the 400th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine set to take place in September 1965. When both efforts failed, he appealed to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) for help.

The SCLC called on New England universities to send volunteers to the city for March 1964 demonstrations and asked Lincolnville residents to provide food and lodging. By the end of one week of protests, police had arrested hundreds of demonstrators, including a delegation of rabbis and the 72-year-old mother of the governor of Massachusetts. White vigilantes terrorized local businesses that dared to serve African Americans.

In early June, Martin Luther King, Jr., came to St. Augustine and took part in a sit-in at Monson’s Motor Lodge. The same month, the SCLC arranged for baseball star Jackie Robinson to address a civil rights rally in Lincolnville. The publicity surrounding these two events hastened Congress’ passage of the Civil Rights Act on June 20, 1964.

Local segregationists initially refused to comply with the new Act. For example, when Monson’s manager noticed African Americans in the motel swimming pool, he threw acid into the water, then drained the pool and stationed guards around it. Angry white mobs also beat “wade-in” demonstrators at local beaches as well as the police assigned to protect them.

Right next door to my house is the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, with a piano once played by Ray Charles, who attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine. A couple of streets around my house had African American residents, businesses, and churches, but the farther I walked the whiter things seemed.

I spent most mornings in my apartment, transcribing my notes from the Mepkin retreat, winding up with 20 typewritten pages. When I went out, I determined that St. Augustine is picturesque…

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Flagler College, once the Ponce de León Hotel

historic…

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Castillo de San Marcos

…well-to-do

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and very touristy.    img_1680

A short drive off the island that contains the city proper, however, was Anastasia State Park, with spectacular beaches…img_1542…and farther south, St. Augustine Beach.

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A year later…

Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner SC, 16-20 January 2017

This was my third visit to Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist monastery established in 1949 on the Cooper River, 40 miles north of Charleston. I went there first at the end of August 2014 for an individual retreat–a getaway vacation, really, since I had no experience with places like this. I arrived, coincidentally, the afternoon of the opening of a new visitors center, a very spiffy place with Memory Foam mattresses, Company Store linens, and lamps you turn off and on by rubbing your finger along the arm. Except for one other man, who spent a lot of time on his cell phone and/or off the grounds, I was the only retreatant for my three- or four-day stay.

I went a second time in February 2016, the first stop on a trip to Deerfield Beach FL to visit Carolyn Bell, a high school classmate I got back in touch with at our 50th reunion in the spring of 2010. I timg_0103hink I recall a few other retreatants, though I don’t remember specific individuals. Mainly I remember Abbey, a wonderful mixed breed dog who had showed up at the abbey abused and traumatized and who was nursed back to health by the monks, especially by Father Guerric Heckel OCSO, the abbey’s director.

This year I was enrolled in a retreat on Contemplative Eldering. Here’s a description from the abbey’s web site: “The Institute of Contemplative Aging at Mepkin Abbey schedules several retreats a year for those in the second half of life (those 60 and older). During the retreat, contemplative practices are explored as a way to welcome the inner life of self-development and spiritual growth as we move into elderhood. Through sharing of common experiences and fears of aging, participants have the opportunity to view aging as a gift and an opportunity for growth rather than decline.”

The retreat was directed by Father Guerric and a “team” of lay volunteers:

  • Mary, a former nun, and her husband, Christian, a former Xaverian brother and former Time Inc. executive, from Tampa FL
  • Lyndall, a native of South Africa, a gerontologist, from Charlotte NC
  • Kath, a clinical social worker, Reiki practitioner, and former nun, Portland ME

The retreatants (and what they shared about themselves or what I learned) were:

  • Dori, Satellite Beach FL
  • Becky, Charleston SC
  • Bob, a Navy officer during the Vietnam war; an auto dealer and business owner, Tulsa OK
  • Glenn, a psychotherapist, married for 39 years to…
  • Lynn, also a psychotherapist, Charlotte NC
  • Beth, an accountant, Alpharetta GA
  • Laura, an English teacher, Tampa FL
  • Jerry, a writer, Chapel Hill NC
  • Ralph OFM, a Franciscan friar, St. Louis MO
  • Brian OP, a Dominican friar, Arlington TX
  • Kathleen, an academic librarian and volunteer, married for 52 years to…
  • Bill, a urologist, Charleston SC

I had an exceptional experience that I won’t go into here but that I hope to write about in more detail about at some point in the future. As an example, though, of the kinds of things that came up, we were encouraged to recall “stepping stones” in our lives, significant moments that for whatever reason persisted in our memories. Driving down to South Carolina, I’d noticed signs on I-95 that said “Florence-Columbia,” two cities I’d lived in with my parents when I was somewhat around 1-2 years old. Obviously, I have no memory of them, and have never been back,  although I have passed the sign more than  once over the years without remarking on it.

Recalling stepping stones “to discover or deepen contemplative practice” is a technique described by Ira Progoff in At a Journal WorkshopWriting to Access the Power of the Unconscious and Evoke Creative Ability. You’re encouraged to begin by writing “I was born, and then….and to list important moments, in no particular order. The Florence-Columbia sign had reminded me of a photograph that my parents kept that may be from that era of my life; it shows me in playing with a hose in an inflatable pool with an unknown girl. I put the image on my list and the “…and then” process led to a series of other water memories: I swam in a lake (Michigan); I played in the ocean (the Atlantic); I spent summers by a lake (Taconic, in northwest Connecticut), and more. In a freshman English composition class at Columbia, assigned to write about “an interesting autobiographical experience,” I began it: “I went to see the river every day,” which wasn’t true, and somehow I think presaged my career as a novelist and playwright.

After Mepkin, I drove to St. Johns FL and stayed the weekend at Marywood Retreat Center on the St. Johns River, a wonderfully wide river that flows 310 miles from a marsh near Vero Beach to the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville.

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Last year, I drove from Marywood to Deerfield Beach, a 300-mile trip I didn’t care to repeat. This time, I reserved an AirBNB room in Gainesville and drove there by way of north central Florida, through rundown towns like Green Cove Springs (which had a hip coffee shop, Spring Park Coffee.

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That stretch of Florida resembled the midwest more than Florida I was familiar with from nearly a dozen trips dating back to the late 1960s. This is near Keystone Heights, at one end of the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail, a 47-mile walking and bike path along the former route of the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

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Gainesville (population 127,000, compared with Chapel Hill’s 57,000) is an attractive city of mostly one-storey homes on streets lined with live oaks and Spanish moss. I stayed in a charming AirBNB in the Duck Pond neighborhood, went to a movie (“The Founder”), ate at a nice restaurant (Civilization) and walked in two terrific nature preserves, Paynes Prairie…

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…and Sweetwater Preserve.

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blackbottom whistling ducks

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limpkin eating a snail

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