Saturday, May 16, 2009


Best line I read this week: A mango, thought Peter, a perfect weapon. (from Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Berry)
Currently listening to: Better by Regina Spektor

 It has been a gloriously rainy weekend here in the Noog. I've been a bit under the weather (zing!), but the grossness passed just as the rain started falling. Do I mention how much I love the sound of rain every time I write? I do, don't I? I'll write about another noise I like: Pandora. My brother downloaded Pandora onto my phone so now I stream it pretty much 24/7. (For some reason, it works better on my phone than my computer. Why is this?) It is also worth noting that, though I've only had this phone for a few weeks, it has already taught me a powerful lesson. The machines are taking over. 

Proof: a few nights ago, my phone began talking to me at random. I was replying to an email. Singing along with Feist. Then suddenly I heard: 

"Say a command." 

I stopped typing. I glanced down to my side.

It spoke again. "Say a command." 

I leaned down close to the phone and said, "Hush."


I tapped the screen with my fingernail. "Stop that. Go back to the music." 

"Say a command." 

"Roll over." 


And we went back and forth like this for some time. My poor searching emo phone never found what it was looking for in the way of my commands. Perhaps its my taste in music that makes it so moody? Ben Gibbard and Iron and Wine and Christy Nockles put me in a soul searching kind of place too.  (I will master technology yet, I tell you.)

Tonight I'm giving my phone time to search in silence while I listen to the rain, and my trusty old iTunes, and catch up on reading your blogs. I've noticed several of you are taking finals and heading home for the summer. Lindsey finishes up high school this weekend (confetti! :). Jessica is about to leave for the Ukraine. Wifeandman are headed to Romania. Jenny is going to Scotland. It's all so exciting. I wish we could have a big party to celebrate your summer adventures. 

In the way of fun summer travels I am going to ... wait for it ... Georgia. :) And yet, I am not jealous of your European castles, your all night rides on the Eurorail, or the life changing epiphanies you'll have in the piazza. I am not jealous because, once I get to the farm, I have my very own storm trooper:

My nephew is adorable, no? :)  I would like to point out that picture was taken at 6 AM. He's a morning person just like his mom. It amazes me when people can form coherent sentences before noon. 

I've also been reading some Madeleine L'Engle tonight. Earlier this week, I was reading a bit from A Ring of Endless Light (one of my all time favorite summer novels ... I pull it down often to re-read the parts I like the most :). The problem with Madeleine L'Engle is that once I read any small snippet of her work I have to read more. My mom gave me several books of Ms. L'Engle's poetry when I was in college so that's usually where I turn. One of my favorites is a poem about David. It's beautiful to read in silence; The words wrap around your imagination in really pretty ways. It's fabulous for reading aloud because the words sound like fireworks when they hit the air. I thought I would post it on here for your rainy day enjoyment. Let me know what you think of it. 

David by Madeleine L'Engle (originally from a collection of poetry called The Weather of the Heart)

Your altar smelled of the slaughter house.
The innocent eyes of tender beasts
Lost in confusions of laws and vows
Was the high price paid to you for feasts.
They had to be men of iron your priests.

And so did I, born but to sing,
To tend the lambs and not to kill.
Why, my Lord, did you have to bring
Me down from the safety of my hill
Into the danger of your will?

I learned to fight, I learned to sin,
I battled demon, fought with lust;
When you were on my side I'd win.
My appetites I could not trust.
I only knew your wrath was just.

What I desired I went and stole.
I had to fight against my son.
You bound my wounds and made me whole
Despite the wrong that I had done.
I turned from you and tried to run.

You took me, also, by the hair
And brought me back before your altar
You terrified me with your care.
Against your rage, I could but falter
You changed me, but refused to alter.

So I grew old, but there remained
within me still the singing boy.
I stripped and sang. My wife complained.
Yet all my ill did I destroy
Dancing before you in our joy.

My God, my God, is it not meet
That I should shout and sing and roar,
Leap to your ark with loving feet?
I praise the, hallow, and adore,
And play before thee evermore. 

My favorite line is when she writes, "You changed me; but refused to alter." It reminds me of one of my favorite Shakespeare blurbs ("Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds." Wah!). The alter/altar play reminds me of a John Donne poem that I don't feel like looking up. It's the one where he keeps saying something like, "Thou hast done, thou hast not done." The poem was a bit of a play on his name? Ring any bells? (Zing!)* I'm en route to Cade's Cove with my brother tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll have some awesome pictures of mountains, pretty clouds, and bears (oh my!) to show you next week. What's happening with you this summer?

* This joke is so nerdy and lame, I feel the need to explain it. John Donne said, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls..." (Kevin Eubanks, everyone!) 
At least I think it was him. If it was somebody else, my bad joke just got a whole lot worse :) 


  1. Thanks Natalie! You've now inspired me to go read some more L'Engle. I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was in third grade (and loved it, even though I didn't quite understand it), but I've never explored her poetry. Sounds great!

  2. Unreal how things have changed since the days of our ghetto phones, right?

    I have also figured out now where my son gets his "up by 7 am no matter what" mentality while my daughter can sleep till 10... he has some of Andy's blood. Frustrating. Think about this before you have kids. LOL

  3. Awww, I love your storm trooper! When I was in elementary school I got up early every day, even in the summer. My mom would come in at 6:30 to find me reading in bed! Haha, now I will stay up until I can't stay awake anymore reading a book, but I will sleep forever! :)

    I actually never read A Wrinkle in Time. I started it once, but it wasn't really my kind of book. Maybe I should add it to my to-read list to try again.

    I wish my phone talked to me! I have a tracfone, so all it does is ask me for more minutes and give me stupid promo codes that I'm never going to use...

  4. The pic of your nephew made me laugh out loud. That's the type of picture you pull out when they're looking for pictures for his wedding video.

  5. hahahahaha little body in a big helmet! cuuute.

    My phone asks for commands all the time too... I have no idea how to properly use that feature.

    YaY! L'Engle!

  6. One of my really good friends lives right near Cade's Cove. He's an awesome photographer and always brings back sunrise pictures. I really want to go sometime.

    Also, I just watched Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood for the first time. It was okay, I liked the colors of the movie, but the music... The very last song during the credits was perfect. I think it's by Bob Schneider. I think you'd like it.

  7. Poohbonnet, have you read "Walking on Water"? That was my first intro to Madeleine L'Engle beyond her fiction. After that, I started reading her poetry too. I typically feel like writers shine more in fiction or non-fiction, but she's a rare one for me who is incredible with both. She has a book called The Ordering of Love with all her volumes of poetry put together. It's a staple on my nightstand :) Let me know if you find one you like!

    Mel, does the phone thing make you feel old? it makes me feel old. It's crazy to think we lived in a time when cell phones just weren't that common. Even the one I had all through college was a Nokia phone (the kind where you can switch the faceplate. Remember that one? :) I would be willing to bet my future children will love getting up early simply because I detest it so.

    Rachael, that's such a sweet story about reading early in the AM :) I remember loving books so much I couldn't wait to get up and read them again. The part of Wrinkle and Time that always messed with me a bit is that it reads a bit more sci-fi than fantasy. I loved Meg and Calvin. All the characters were awesome (and the writing! Wah! The writing!) but there were parts of the book that blew my mind to pieces. They still do, actually. I loved it when I was finished but it was tough to wrangle some of the bigger parts. Time travel always blows my mind a bit, unless it's Marty McFly doing the time traveling :)

    Jenny, Andy will not have a shortage of hilarious photos when he grows up. That's for sure.

    J, I think the only feature I know how to use on this phone is the one that turns it on and off. I need to seriously figure out how to mess with the ringtone and silence it and what not. Or maybe I should just go back to the Nokia phone with the changeable faceplate ... life was so easy then ... :)

    Ashley, I am SO with you on Ya Ya! I thought the book was great but the movie wasn't as good. The music, however, is lovely. I have the soundtrack. I'l listen to the Bob Schneider song again so I know the one you're talking about ... I also love the one in the middle of the movie that starts "This old house is falling down around the years ... I'm drowning in a river of my tears." I don't know if it's the singer's voice, or the song, or what ... but it breaks my heart every time I hear it.

  8. I, too, recommend The Ordering of Love and Walking on Water! They are fantastic books. She was such a beautiful writer and her books have changed my life!

  9. That is an Andy picture. Andy called your sisters prom dress the green lightning suit.(The one that was dark green with the gold lace. Mamaw has the picture.)I thought that could make your day a little more spiritful.