Monday, April 16, 2018

Evanston: inscrutable mage; Terror; boys of summer

        “Inscrutable mage.”  It has a sound.  A mystery.  It is itself inscrutable. 
        It is in fact a typo in an email I sent to Guy of tracing silence fame.  He caught it.  I didn’t.  Both of us are amused.  ‘Inscrutable image’ was intended, but is much less interesting.


        In 1966-67 when I lived in the San Francisco area, the woman who was then a part of my life and I often rented bicycles and rode through Golden Gate Park.  There were buffalo in one area who came to the fence and gently took pieces of bread with thick knobby black tongues.  At the west end of the park were a Dutch windmill and a 70’ sailing vessel.  On land, not water.  I asked around and finally discovered that it was the GJØA on which Roald Amundsen and five companions completed the first transit of the Northwest Passage, reaching San Francisco in 1906.  A seventh crew member died during the three year transit.
        The Terror is an AMC television series about an earlier, fatal attempt to find a Northwest Passage by the British under the leadership of Sir John Franklin that departed England in 1845 and vanished.
        The series airs in the U.S. on Monday evenings.  Episode 5 will be on tonight.
        So far The Terror has been interesting in depicting deterioarting  life on the frozen ships, but something is attacking and killing men.  If this is a polar bear or Eskimos fine.  But if it proves to be a supernatural monster, I’m through.  I don’t do supernatural.


        Snow is blowing diagonally past our windows.
        On Saturday the Cubs played baseball in what have been described as the coldest conditions ever at Wrigley Field with rain and wind chill temperatures well below freezing.  Even worse weather caused yesterday’s game to be postponed.  Baseball weather it is not.
        And not just in these flatlands.
        Having used the expression ‘the boys of summer’ a few days ago, I realized that I have never read the classic sports book of that name by Roger Kahn and so downloaded the Kindle edition.
        I did not know that the title comes from a poem by Dylan Thomas:

I see the boys of summer in their ruin
Lay the gold tithings barren,
Setting no store by harvest, freeze the soils.

        I have read less than half the book, but the introduction, ‘Lines on the Transpontine Madness’ is so good that I read it twice.
        A quote:

You may glory in a team triumphant, but you fall in love with a team in defeat.  Losing after great striving is the story of man, who was born to sorrow, whose sweetest songs tell of saddest thought, and who, if he is a hero, does nothing in life as becomingly as leaving it.


        I think Dylan Thomas would have liked ‘inscrutable mage’.


        Winter ends a week from tomorrow.