Holiday Gratitude

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Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri

After a long night drive, I finally made it back to Texas, to find 28-degree temperatures waiting for me and a chance of snow in the morning. I have yet to see snow this season, so I am delighted at the prospects.  Above is a photo I took of one of my favorite St. Louis spots, a couple of blocks from where William S. Burroughs lived as a young boy.  This corner houses Left Bank Books, one of three magnificent book stores I always try and visit when I am up there.

Feeling weary still from last night’s travels, I spent most of this day napping and now feel that I have enough starch in me to read at leisure. At the time of this writing it is getting dark outside, and contrary to most of my friends’ sentiments, I myself love the long winter nights, especially if a fireplace is included in the picture.

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After weeks of being on the go, I am fortunate now to have some quiet, sedentary time, and am enjoying immensely a book I read back in the late 1980’s and now have opened for a second time. My recent reading of Kaag’s Hiking with Nietzsche prompted this return. The book is Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf.  I read it before I entered the teaching profession, and enjoyed the author’s analysis of human nature with all its inner conflicts. During my teaching tenure, I enjoyed introducing students to Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy and the way he expounded human nature as a bifurcation between Apollo and Dionysus (order and chaos). Hesse’s book portrays a character coming to grips with his own nature struggling between the human and the wolf. However, he avoids the simple dualism and discusses the dilemma of human nature as one layered with many different forces that try to find some kind of harmony. In my later years, I’m finding this complexity much more engaging as I read. Perhaps I’ll have more to share later . . .

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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