In Search of Home – NYTimes.com: Excellent essay. Today, i was researching modern era sense of space, time and matter, and this just fits right in.
In a fascinating recent essay in The London Review of Books, called “On Not Going Home,” James Wood relates how he “asked Christopher Hitchens, long before he was terminally ill, where he would go if he had only a few weeks to live. Would he stay in America? ‘No, I’d go to Dartmoor, without a doubt,’ he told me. It was the landscape of his childhood.”
It was the landscape, in other words, of unfiltered experience, of things felt rather than thought through, of the world in its beauty absorbed before it is understood, of patterns and sounds that lodge themselves in some indelible place in the psyche and call out across the years.
That question is worth repeating: If I had only a few weeks to live, where would I go? It is a good way of getting rid of the clutter that distracts or blinds. I will get to that in a moment.
And it’s that essential openness of America, as well as the (linked) greater ease of living as a Jew in the United States compared with life in the land of Lewis Namier’s “trembling Israelites,” that made me become an American citizen and elect New York as my home. It’s the place that takes me in.
But it is not the place of my deepest connections. So, what if I had a few weeks to live? I would go to Cape Town, to my grandfather’s house, Duxbury, looking out over the railway line near Kalk Bay station to the ocean and the Cape of Good Hope. During my childhood, there was the scent of salt and pine and, in certain winds, a pungent waft from the fish processing plant in Fish Hoek. I would dangle a little net in rock pools and find myself hypnotized by the silky water and quivering life in it. The heat, not the dry high-veld heat of Johannesburg but something denser, pounded by the time we came back from the beach at lunchtime. It reverberated off the stone, angled into every recess. The lunch table was set and soon enough fried fish, usually firm-fleshed kingklip, would be served, so fresh it seemed to burst from its batter. At night the lights of Simon’s Town glittered, a lovely necklace strung along a promontory.
This was a happiness whose other name was home.
Wood writes: “Freud has a wonderful word, ‘afterwardness,’ which I need to borrow, even at the cost of kidnapping it from its very different context. To think about home and the departure from home, about not going home and no longer feeling able to go home, is to be filled with a remarkable sense of ‘afterwardness’: It is too late to do anything about it now, and too late to know what should have been done. And that may be all right.”
Yes, being not quite home, acceptance, which may be bountiful, is what is left to us.
2 Vernon, Atlanta GA, Neel Reid, Buckhead: A beautiful Neel Reid home was lost last week in a fire. Many of you knew the Hull family. All were safe including beasts.
I never knew the home’s facade on Vernon, but it’s rear, which you can see from Habersham, has always been a favorite of mine. I was so happy to read that they have all the original plans from the 20’s and hope to restore it.
THE LOSS OF A NEEL REID DESIGNED HOME
An important Neel Reid (1885-1926) designed residence has fallen victim to a devastating fire that occurred late afternoon on Tuesday. The Atlanta based architect (with roots in Jacksonville, AL & Macon, GA) is revered for his classic designs, constructed around the early 20th century. I pulled my copy of James Grady’s Architecture of Neel Reid in Georgia (1973), and felt a sense of bittersweet to see the home proudly featured on the back cover (picture above). This Buckhead residence was designed for Mr. Cam Dorsey in 1925, and at the time Grady’s book was published, was owned by Mr. J. C. Fraser. It had 2 access points, the main off of Vernon Road, and secondary off of Habersham Road. A key focal point was the semihexagon designed front entrance porch. Photos below include details from Architecture of Need Reid in Georgia, followed by images of the home from the last 48 hours.
*Mr. Ferguson and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend a party at this house, hosted by the current owners, and we are beyond heartbroken for them…. They took great care in preserving Reid’s original vision.
A Buckhead family is in high spirits despite losing the main part of its historic home to a fire Tuesday.
Gerry Hull, owner of the house designed by renowned architect Neel Reid, said it will be rebuilt in the same design. The main part of the house, which is about 7,000 square feet, is a total loss, but the two additions on each end were mostly saved, he said.
According to William R. Mitchell Jr.’s book, “J. Neel Reid: Architect of Hentz, Reid and Adler and the Georgia School of Classicists,” the home was built for Cam Dorsey in 1923 and ’24.
“I’m going to put up a big sign, 6 feet tall, to say, ‘Sorry for the inconvenience. Neel Reid’s house will rise again, like the Phoenix,’” Hull said. “We have the original plans for Neel Reid and we have all the drawings and plans for the work that has been done subsequent to Neel Reid, so it will be put up so you won’t be able to tell the difference.”
Despite reports the fire started in the attic, Hull said it began at about 6:15 p.m. by a roofer who had been working on the home. He did not know the roofer’s name.
What Suffering Does – NYTimes.com:
But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don’t only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.
The right response to this sort of pain is not pleasure. It’s holiness. I don’t even mean that in a purely religious sense. It means seeing life as a moral drama, placing the hard experiences in a moral context and trying to redeem something bad by turning it into something sacred. Parents who’ve lost a child start foundations. Lincoln sacrificed himself for the Union. Prisoners in the concentration camp with psychologist Viktor Frankl rededicated themselves to living up to the hopes and expectations of their loved ones, even though those loved ones might themselves already be dead.
Recovering from suffering is not like recovering from a disease. Many people don’t come out healed; they come out different. They crash through the logic of individual utility and behave paradoxically. Instead of recoiling from the sorts of loving commitments that almost always involve suffering, they throw themselves more deeply into them. Even while experiencing the worst and most lacerating consequences, some people double down on vulnerability. They hurl themselves deeper and gratefully into their art, loved ones and commitments.
The suffering involved in their tasks becomes a fearful gift and very different than that equal and other gift, happiness, conventionally defined.
Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark: She talked on the topic at Davidson two years ago and I loved her. I heard her last fall and she was awful. She was way too focused on the minutiae of her research. I’m hoping the book reflects her more broad and anecdotal approach. And I’ve started the book and I am happy to say, the intro follows the approach at Davidson!!
How did darkness become a synonym for everything wicked, sinister, or wrong? In her new book, Barbara Brown Taylor decides not to believe everything she hears about the dark. Instead of turning away from it she heads into it instead, embarking on a year-long journey that takes her into dark caves, underground nightclubs, subterranean chapels, and unlit cabins in the woods on nights with no moons. Along the way she discovers a spirituality of darkness that provides a life-saving antidote to the full solar spirituality available in the marketplace.
scrabble words, geocache: 🙂
Good Morning AmericaVerified account
The new #Scrabble word is “Geocache”! #ScrabbleWordShowdown
Most Popular Starbucks Drinks By City – Business Insider: Funny. I match right up to Charlotte.
The most popular drinks nationwide were brewed coffees and lattes. The map lists the drinks that are ordered more often in each city than anywhere else.
The data also revealed that Seattle, Boston and Memphis are among the cities that prefer Starbucks’ dark brews, while Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Charlotte prefer the chain’s light offerings.
Latta Arcade, Charlotte, Crisp: The other day I had lunch in one of my favorite Charlotte venues, Latta Arcade … I’m going to Crisp and John to Fujiyama. I love this space … and its 100 this year.
The Commission bases its judgement on the following considerations: 1) Latta Arcade was designed by important Charlotte architect, William H. Peeps, and built in 1914; 2) Latta Arcade was developed by Edward Dilworth Latta and his Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, which was instrumental in the development of early twentieth century Charlotte; 3) the Latta Arcade was built as part of large scale commercial construction program undertaken by Latta during the boom years of the early twentieth century when Charlotte emerged as the largest city in North Carolina; and 4) the Latta Arcade has already been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the interior of the Latta Arcade has designated as a local historic landmark by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
via THE LATTA ARCADE.
Vidalia Onions: A Crop With an Image to Uphold – NYTimes.com, kith/kin: I grew up with Vidalias, love them cooked on the grill in a foil pouch with butter, salt, peeper and a bouillon cube! They were only available from May to the 4th of July … great memories of my dad. 🙂
VIDALIA, Ga. — Like the rush to be the first to get bottles of Beaujolais nouveau to Paris or an Alaska Copper River king salmon to Seattle, the pressure to sell the first Vidalia onions of spring is intense. The identity of this town rests on the squat, sweet onion. This time of year, just before the first of the Vidalias are pulled from the sandy soil, the green tops farmers call quills cover nearly every field.
Mostly, Vidalias mean money in this corner of southern Georgia. The crop brings in about $150 million a year to legally registered growers in the 20 counties that make up the official Vidalia growing region.
But there is trouble in the onion fields. Three Vidalia growers took the state to court last year. Instead of shipping out their onions on April 21, a date set by the state for this year as a way to protect the Vidalia brand and to keep the playing field level, the growers wanted to send out some onions early.