Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blue skies, baying, and bluebirds

Felt slightly Thoreauvian this a.m. during my constitutional around Lake Waban. The chickadees were cee-dee-deeing and fee-baying, the cardinals were whistling and adding a red jolt of color to match the fire hydrants on the Wellesley campus. The pond, snowy, is beginning to open up on the edges, yet the ice fisherman persist. The part that reminded me of Thoreau was the rumble of the train in the near distance, much like the train that disturbed Henry at Walden Pond. It all was lovely.

So I went home and consulted his journal for Feb. 20, 1859: "It is a warm west wind and a remarkably soft sky, like plush; perhaps a lingering moisture there. What a reve[la]tion the blue and the bright tints in the west again, after the storm and darkness! It is the opening of the windows of heaven after the flood." Later, Henry reports that a boy in Concord saw a bluebird on this day, 150 years ago.

Even better, on Jan. 20, 1855, Henry writes of something even more lovely:
"Very musical and even sweet now, like a horn, is the hounding of a foxhound heard now in some distant wood, while I stand listening in some far solitary and silent field." Music to my ears, too, Henry!

Definition of handsome

I don’t really need spectacles to look professorial. When I first moved to Wellesley, and was duly shown off to everyone, one of Mom’s colleagues said I looked just like Dad.

Dad should have been flattered, especially as he has compared himself to Tramp, the good-hearted scamp, and Mom to Lady, the refined purebred, in that famous Disney pic. Someone had given my sister the movie-based book when she was a baby and my family read it over, and over, and over. That spaghetti scene sure was a winner. “He wasn’t really handsome….but she loved him just the same.” Dad was being humble. I, like Dad, am plenty handsome.

Anyway, apparently I not only look the part of an educator, but actually am considered one. The difference between obstinate and stubborn? Someone in the Philippines searched, and presumably found out, from this blog. Try Googling, and I’m the first result, the go-to guy for definitions, at least the trickier ones.

Just a few examples of the answers people seek that lead them to land on my blog:

Difference between obstinate and obdurate? Difference between obstinate and stubborn? Substantive vs. substantial? Apparently, being both substantive and substantial, I’m the hound to ask.

Origin of obstinate? (via Starke, Fla., and Dallas, TX—do they know each other?) Example of things that are obstinate? (bet Milwaukee, WI learned that definition well) English word for “moi au contraire”? (Bridgeton, Saint Michael, which is in Barbados!)

One attention-getting visitor locale was Wasilla, Alaska—yes, that Wasilla. Not sure how that reader came to Dreams du Dog.  Perhaps she was looking to me to define “book censorship?”