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February 2019
Vol. IX, No. 2

February 2019

When its over, I want to say: all my life/I was a bride married to amazement./I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”Mary Oliver

Both images this month, of Seraphim, derive from the Whispers of An Immortalist  blogspot.

Both images this month, of Seraphim, derive from the Whispers of An Immortalist” blogspot.

A Seraph.

A Seraph.

February is short, thank heaven, with Valentines Day, and an excuse to eat chocolate, right slap in the middle of it. We at Weekly Hubris have a virtual box of chocolates for you and we begin, uncharacteristically, with an essay (on The Lesson of Dog) by Publishing-Editor Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, followed by Claire Batemans column which, this month, also features work (poetry, in this instance), by Boleman-Herring. (In A Dog Named Ouzo, I pay tribute to one of our favorite poets, the so-recently late Mary Oliver, so please read to the very end.) Dr. Guy McPherson and The Reverend Robin White follow, with essays that are both, in fact, sermons, for McPherson and White provide pastoral care for the end of the world or, rather, the end of our species. What must we do, here and now, to be of service and to serve the ineffable? Read them both. Diana Farr Louis and Don Schofield come next, with utterly delectable memoirs of Greece: dive in and swim deep. Mark Addison Kershaw and Chiara-Sophia Coyle, cartoonist and photographer, respectively, then provide visual delights: Kershaw, with cartoons of trees; Coyle peering, provocatively, at store windows. Helen Noakes and Ross Konikoff have written Valentines, so I have paired them, back to back, twinned Cupids. Burt Kempner roars, then, of rewilding. And new-this-month Contributor Annie Carroll Maffeo writes to us of maternal and parental guilt in The G-Word.Assistant Editor Tim Bayer has for us a diverting video, about Geek-dom. And we close with a revisitation to an earlier piece by Dr. Skip Eisiminger . . . on talking about sex (what better subject for frigid February?).

Ouzo, early on, on Lake Hartwell.

Ouzo, early on, on Lake Hartwell.

By Way of Being

“A Dog Named Ouzo,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PENDLETON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—From the very beginning, from the moment we first saw Ouzo, I knew he was the one. Up until that day, and ever after Ouzo, I have failed (after a fashion) with dogs. My first dog, a wire-haired terrier brought home to me when I was five, bit me in the face, and was returned to his breeders. My second dog, Brandy, a golden mutt of too much tail and too short legs, I brought home from a Chicago pound in high school. But my family moved soon thereafter, and Brandy found a happier, more permanent berth with neighbors. My third dog, a stray collie, I rescued in college: within weeks, Gulliver had died in my arms of internal parasites. My (briefly) fourth dog, Tatavla, far preferred the local butcher in Ano Mera, Mykonos to me, and I could not blame him. He ran away one last time, and I let him go. (Read more . . .)

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring. (Photo: Robin White.)

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring. (Photo: Robin White.)

Speculative Friction

“Elizabeth Boleman-Herring’s Poetry,By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, Publishing-Editor of Weekly Hubris, considers herself an Outsider Artist (of Ink). A poetry student of Coleman Barks, at UGa, James Dickey, at USC, and Henry Taylor, at AU, and an office mate of Claire Bateman and Susan Bartels Ludvigson, Boleman-Herring took up poetry before she could write, and gave it up, for all intents and purposes (jazz lyrics excepted), after reading Auden. How does one, why should one (she says) follow an act like Auden’s? For the most part, these days, she writes prose, but admits to being an ardent follower of The New Formalism, and admires such living younger poets as Alicia Stallings and Glyn Maxwell. Among lyricists, she worships at the altars of Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer. (Read more . . .)

“Still-Life with a Skull,” by Philippe de Champagne (1671).

“Still-Life with a Skull.”

Going Dark

“Finding Meanings in Life,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—Imagine receiving a terminal diagnosis at an early age. You are simultaneously liberated and devastated; suddenly able to live as you like, freed from the shackles of societal expectations; but . . . you have no future. Your dreams are shattered. Why bother pursuing excellence and love if you have only weeks or months to live? This is the predicament we all now face. It is particularly poignant for those who have been told, and falsely continue to believe, that their dreams will be fulfilled if they work hard and adhere to societal expectations. (Read more . . .)

The Holy Spirit as dove (De Agostini/ C. Sappa, for Getty Images).

The Holy Spirit as dove.

Wing + Prayer

“Corey’s Coming: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22,” By The Rev. Robin White

LAKE HARTWELL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—One of the things I really love about the Gospel of Luke is that it is a “Book of the Holy Spirit.” Like both Mark and John, Luke begins his story of Jesus with John the Baptist. Luke tells us that, “even before his birth, [John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Luke doesn’t even get through Chapter 1 without telling us that the Holy Spirit will inhabit not only John in the womb, but also Mary, Elizabeth and, finally John’s father, Zechariah. In Chapter 2, the Holy Spirit rests on the old man, Simeon and, finally, in Chapter 3, the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus as he emerges from the river Jordan. One of the things I really loathe about the Gospel of Luke is the author’s depiction of John the Baptist. Luke’s John is one of those fire-and-brimstone kinds of preachers, on a tirade about judgement and wrath, severing fruitless trees with an ax, and throwing the dead wood into a bonfire. (Read more . . .)

A trace of Old Maroussi. (Photo by Tassos.)

A trace of old Maroussi.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Maroussi On My Mind,” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—You can’t go home again. We all know that. But what happens when your once upon a time home lies about ten minutes away from your present abode? I try not to enter that neighborhood, set back from the busy thoroughfare between Kifissias Avenue and Melissia in a part of Maroussi called Alonia, because in a past more distant than my own it was an area of threshing floors. But one afternoon a couple of weeks ago, we were stuck in traffic there and on impulse I turned right into our old street to take a short cut. Driving through, I noticed a nerantziá, a Seville orange tree, bearing so much fruit that it was almost as orange as it was green. And the tree stood in its own in a small, unfenced clearing, claimed by no one and untainted by carbon monoxide, unlike most of these very decorative trees that line so many Athens streets. I made a mental note to go and plunder it, since this is marmalade season and my supply was running out. (Read more . . .)

Young goat on a rock, Kythnos, 2018.

Young goat on a rock, Kythnos, 2018.

Imagination’s Favors

“Re-Enchantment,” By Don Schofield

THESSALONIKI Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—During the early 1980s, my first years in Greece, I would seek out rooms on remote corners of islands, on or near the sea, stone houses with wells instead of running water, shepherds’ huts with candles and oil lamps instead of electric lights, fishing villages with locals instead of tourists. Living and working in Athens, I hungered for such escapes, simple abodes in barren landscapes, primitive, pristine and quiet, where I could strip my spirit down to bare essentials—and write. At first, wanting to see as much of Greece as I could, I’d go to a different island every summer or two, and would find the kind of sanctuary I was looking for fairly easily. After a few years, though, as tourism expanded and development became more pervasive, finding such places became harder and harder so, at some point, I began revisiting those earlier abodes, hoping to reexperience the enchantment I once felt there. A huge mistake. (Read more . . .)

Kershaw treesAddison

“Hugging Was Enough for a While . . . ,” By Mark Addison Kershaw

ATLANTA Georgia—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—Mark Addison Kershaw says his influences include James Thurber, Jean-Jacques Sempé, Charles Schultz, Berke Breathed, and several cartoonists from The New Yorker.” Kershaw was born and brought up in Nebraska, spent his college years dabbling in philosophy and a few decades during/after in Minnesota, and now makes his home in Atlanta, Georgia, where he may be spotted walking his dog around the lake behind his home, taking photographs, and thinking cartoonish thoughts. This month, looking up, he turns his attention to the forest and the trees. (Read more . . .)

Clicks & Relativity

“Depicting Editing Storefront Window Reflections,” By Chiara-Sophia Coyle

OAKLAND California—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—What’s really in a storefront reflection, you may ask yourself. And what’s in a photograph of this reflection? Scenes encountered by us all while engaging in life on the city street, yes . . . but, what else? What more? What do you notice beyond the actual display? What lures you in, and entices you to explore the path of commercial consumerism and instant gratification? Vanity might suggest that a quick glance at your own image being reflected back is part and parcel of . . . reflecting. Perhaps the storefront, and its reflection, serves as an unexpected full-body-length mirror, just where you least expect it? Or, perhaps, you crave a quick, surreptitious peek at the person standing just behind you? (Read more . . .)

Eros taking aim.

Eros taking aim.

Waking Point

“Love Probably,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—In honor of Valentine’s Day, a few little snippets about love: I once thought love was cinemascopic/But, now, I find it quite myopic./With blurred lines wistfully geotropic/Love’s desperately philanthropic./I much prefer Eros to Cupid./The former has muscles./The latter’s just stupid./When I first met it, Love was a hunter/With whom I played a game of catch or flee./Now Love’s an old friend and a punter,/Who much prefers a game of wait and see . . . . (Read more . . .)

Shower in India. (Photo by Manjari Sharma.)

Shower in India.

West Side Stories“Hollywood/Bollywood . . . It’s Only a Shower,” By Ross Konikoff

MANHATTAN New York—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—You don’t really know what a person looks like until you see them step out of a steamy, hot shower, no lipstick, no eye liner, no hair style, no towel, just clean, vibrant skin, all facial muscles relaxed and at peace with each other. Only then do you see the real person, unfiltered. I learned to appreciate this truth some 40 years ago while chasing a girl to a small town in India and spending two weeks there. I’ll save the sad emotional details of that escapade for another time but, to put it in a cowry shell: she was on a spiritual quest, and I was on a girl quest. (Read more . . .)

Fierce when necessary

Fierce when necessary.

Pinhead Angel 

“Rewilding,By Burt Kempner

GAINESVILLE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—I often ask people to name the most ancient language. The usual responses are Sanskrit, Egyptian or Babylonian. But they’re all wrong. The original language is far, far older than that. It is Nature. Our ancestors spoke it fluently. The rustling of wind through the trees was their newspaper. Birdsong was their entertainment and the movements of animals alerted them to possible dangers. Perhaps they were even able to communicate with the creatures of land, air, and sea. But we’ve long forgotten that language and the sacred connections among all beings, and we feel the pain of that loss like amputees do a phantom limb. We will never be fully complete unless we rewild ourselves. (Read more . . .)

Teaching my son the most important things.

Teaching my son the most important things.

Working Through Motherhood

“The G-Word,” By Annie Carroll Maffeo

BATAVIA Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—Guilt. Guilt is heavy when you are a mom. And I am feeling it intensely these days. Here is a quick list of what I have felt guilt about in the last few days, in no particular order: Not spending enough time with my son Ben; Working too much; Not having a clean enough house; Not putting together that stupid IKEA table I bought for him like two months ago; Not having lost all the baby weight; Not dedicating myself enough to work; Not being a good enough friend.; Not being a good wife; Not taking the laundry upstairs; Not giving our dogs enough attention; Not organizing our closets; Not working out enough; Not eating well; Getting a migraine . . . . (Read more . . .)

Geek or nerd?

Geek or nerd?

Won Over By Reality

“Engineer, Check. Geek? Nerd?By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—If you have seen a number of my posts, you probably understand why I describe myself as an engineer by birth, training, and fond inclination. I have always been interested in why and how things work: First mechanical and electrical devices and, later on, people. There are times when I have found that I like mechanical and electrical devices better than people. So . . . I think that puts me squarely in the realm of a geek or a nerd. If you don’t know the difference between a geek and a nerd, or know how an engineer views the world, there is a video that may help. (Read more . . .)

Fresco of a satyr and a maenad, from the House of Caecilius Jucundus in Pompeii.

Fresco of a satyr and a maenad.

Skip the B.S.

“Tried & Found Wanton: The Language of Sex (Revisited),” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—February 2019—So, exactly how do humans reproduce if we don’t bifurcate, pupate, or molt? I’m glad the answer to the overwhelming question of my adolescence was not left entirely to my parents. Mother never said a word which wasn’t coded, on the subject and Dad bought me a copy of The Stork Didn’t Bring You, which he quietly left on my bedside table. Though it was the first and last book he ever bought me, it was never discussed and eventually passed along to my encrinolated sisters. Indeed, they had a code of their own: walking to Sunday school once, I overheard one tell the other, “It’s snowing down south.” (Read more . . .)

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