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Location: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States

Friday, December 23, 2005

The year past...

The year past...

2005 pivoted on the death, in August, of Tom Overholt, my good friend, former colleague, and tennis partner for 25 years. Diagnosed many years ago with a chronic form of leukemia, He was a brave man. One day in the locker room he said to me, “We all know we’re going to die, but it’s a strange feeling to know what you’re going to die from.” The ancient human practice of reflecting upon the year past as if upon the whole of a life, is grounded on the inescapable awareness of death that we live with. So this year I send out my recollections with a heightened sense of the fragility of existence.
     But not at all sadly. Quite the contrary, I’m delighted to recall the year’s adventures and discoveries. I gave up most of the cross-country ski season and annual spring bike training in Texas to take a position teaching philosophy aboard a US navy ship—the subtender ESLand—from January to March. Snow conditions here at the time were no good anyway. I enjoyed the experience so much I’m writing a book about it, based on my logs during the voyage from Spain to the Bay of Biafra and my time ashore in West Africa. Jane joined me in Spain during her March break so we could share exploration of Madrid and especially Bilbao, where the Getty Guggenheim museum was a revelation. Outside Guernica, immortalized by Picasso, we climbed up to the Settimameña caves, a little-known member of the large number of 12,000 year old sites with Ice Age wall paintings. There I realized that people then must have got quite good at locating such limestone outcroppings, which would provide not only shelter but water. For the first time I felt a peculiar kinship with these human ancestors.
     My now-annual April and October visits to California allowed me to enjoy Megan’s daughters—Tazmin and Serina—growing up while my mother grows smaller. She reached 94 in the fall with her faculties intact but her mobility sharply reduced. At the end of May Jane and I were biking again in Tuscany, this time with friends from Athens Georgia—one of Jane’s former professors, Harry Duval and his wife Nancy—and enjoying the riding we did even more with our familiarity with the maritime part of the province. Since Jane is on sabbatical next year we may sample some cycling in the Rockies for the first time. By the time our longer-than-usual warm weather this fall came to a close I’d logged just over 5000 miles on my bike computer (which is now a GPS unit, as well). The best triathlete I’ve coached out of the UWSP triathlon club—Blake Becker—won his age group at Ironman Wisconsin in September, giving him a slot again in the Ironman World Championships. I plan to go to Kona next year for the first time as a spectator.
     2006 will mark the 22nd year Jane and I have been together. Now we’re jointly teaching our Healthy Relationships course regularly during the interim and summer terms. I can boil down the advice for you with a paraphrase of Ogden Nash:
               
               Keep your relationship brimming
               With love in the loving cup:
               When you’re wrong, admit it—
               When you’re right, shut up.

1 Comments:

Blogger Susie Bright said...

I am drooling over the description of all your travels. I have been wanting to visit those same places in Spain, especially.

Your blog looks great! And I'm glad you posted about Judge Jones. That was a surprise refreshment, wasn't it?

BTW, if you allow "anonymous" comments on your blog, then the people who aren't "blogger" members can post comments... I decided to do that with my blog, because every little gate I put up seemed to discourage people. And I like'em chatty!

1:27 PM  

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