Monday, April 16, 2007

Something good

This has been a good weekend. In no particular order. . . .
Yesterday it rained and blew. I didn't really want to go to church, but the days have been long and I knew I needed to get out of the house. The church is right next to a river and as I pulled up a Great Blue Heron flew over my car. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen (there's a link to a picture somewhere around here). After church, even though it was still raining, I put on jeans and a sweatshirt and headed to my favorite park. There was no one around but I saw a White Egret and, not one, but two Great Blue Herons. I wasn't that far from them and they are beautiful, tall and elegant. I watched them walk on land, wade in the water and then fly. Amazing. That alone made it a great weekend.

I talked to my grandma this weekend too. She said that she finished "updating" grandpa's life story for the family. Now that she has written it she realizes that his health had been declining quite rapidly at the end. Realizing this has made his death a little easier for her. She seems more accepting of his death and isn't blaming herself for not doing more. Of course she still misses him, but she seems more willing to live a life without him.

Last night at church they talked about missions. The focus this year is Eastern Europe, specifically, the Ukraine. I know a little something about the Ukraine and half of its population speaks Russian. I think I'm going to try to go on a mission trip this summer. I'm a strong believer in actually doing something for the population too, so I was pleased that the focus of the mission trip is actually an English language school. Even learning a little bit of English could greatly help out the economic future of the students. Many of the students will probably know some English but have never met a native speaker to practice with. This is a great way to help out these people and I would be using the knowledge I've spent half my life learning.

Book review. The Master of Petersburg by J. M. Coetzee. Before I start ripping this book apart, I'd like to say that Coetzee is an excellent writer. The first book I read by him was Waiting for the Barbarians. Sadly, this book is so good that everything else of his tends to pale in comparison. However, I think everybody should read Waiting for the Barbarians, especially those people involved in the war against terror. I also think Waiting for the Barbarians will be taught in literature classes centuries from now.

Having said that, The Master of Petersburg suffers from one major problem. The book is a fictional account of Dostoevsky return to St. Petersburg after the mysterious death of his stepson, whom, according to Coetzee, he loved very much. To understand the story you have to know something of Dostoevsky, the political situation in Russia at the time and the underground terrorists groups in Russia. However, if you know anything about all that, you find the premise of the book to be simply unbelievable. Kind of a catch-22, if you will. The writing is excellent and I did enjoy it except I kept thinking that Coetzee would have done better to have made Dostoevsky a fictional writer. Only then the story wouldn't have made much sense either. Also, how much hubris do you have, Coetzee, to think you know what Dostoevsky would have felt and thought? My opinion, skip this book and read Waiting for the Barbarians.

I guess that's it for now. We are in serious countdown mode until Wes gets home. I have a few errands to run today and then just trying not to panic until he gets here.

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