Friday, October 1, 2010

Sabbatical Day 1

I knew today would be hard.

The problem with a "staybbatical" is that you are constantly reminded of what you are taking a sabbatical from!  Today Norm and I got up early and headed into Boston.  On our way to the "T" we drove by the church and it was all I could do not to drop in and see how things are getting along.  I actually know that things will be fine.  The problem is me.  I have been doing the same thing for over eight years now and before that I did a very similar thing somewhere else.  The idea of a sabbatical is to break out of those habits, to wake yourself up (or be woken up) and do something else, broaden the ol' horizons and what-not.  Good stuff, but hard to get going.

Anyway, we got ourselves into Boston and went straight over to the Athenaeum to drop off some books and pick up new ones.  One of my projects is to better familiarize myself with many of the New England theologians and philosophers of the Nineteenth Century.  However, I am trying to broaden my reading to include the folks who are not so obvious.  That means sometimes getting things from those who labored in the shadows of others.  Not Emerson or Thoreau so much.  Instead, people like FW Hedge, important thinkers who for whatever reason got lost in the public imagination.  Today I picked up a pamphlet edited by James Freeman Clarke about coffee shops in England.  He was trying--apparently--to broaden their appeal in this country in hopes of curtailing the drinking habits of the masses.  I also got a book of sermons by the minister and hymn-writer Samuel Longfellow.  Talk about laboring in the shadows...

Norm also picked out books and then we went for lunch at Emmet's.  I had a Guinness.  Clarke would not have been impressed.  Then it was off to the Museum of Fine Arts for Norm's class.  There was a brief moment of panic after he left, though. That was when I realized that sabbatical means I don't have a sermon to prepare!  Sermon outlining has been my standard act for the past two weeks at the MFA.  Now it is gone.  After running around trying to stare at everything at once, I calmed down a bit and spent a great deal of the remaining time contemplating maiolica pottery, specifically the religious works of the the Della Robbia boys.  Very nice, very bright, very renaissance.  Kinda churchy, actually...

That was pretty much it.  Norm had made a collage entitled "Karaoke Bar" from advertisements in Stuff magazine.  The train ride home was all about talking art with my son and contemplating the creative process and the societal importance of coffee.  That and old religious dudes.  Anyway, it just goes to show that it takes a while to shift gears.  Of course, I have the advantage of planning Norm's education so I will have things to do this month and I am looking forward to most of them.  I certainly hope he is too...

Here is a link to Maiolica, Luca Della Robbia, and his nephew Andrea Della Robbia

Also, James Freeman Clarke and Samuel Longfellow

No comments:

Post a Comment