End of the Middle

Although we all think we know what differentiates dark from light, there are gradations across the middle that confound easy dismissal and categorization. Such questions hardly matter to most people nowadays, but they are the most fascinating questions to me. They are rich and complex, without definitive answers.

The more I studied, the more the questions. I thought that I studied for answers, but answers aren’t the half of it.

I can gaze out of my study window at a steep hill of green trees, or at the backs of my eyelids into black in the very early morning, and I see another version of our world, another time. It is just as alive as the day by day one in town or country.

Such experiences are not things of common social status and honorifics. They are not the source of livelihood and wealth. They are an internal eternity that can only be separated or ended by neglect, illness, injury, or death.

I have linked a number of manuscripts that I assembled while doing my most intensive study of history. I offer them not as examples of outstanding scholarship or creativity or party conversation, but as a record of the pageant that has been gifted to me by my life of observing, being taught, and questioning.

The complexity of the Middles Ages, and economic necessity, brought me back to studies in 1988 and riveted the focus of my mind. The Middle Ages are our alternate reality. The essence of the age is what we get if we are very very foolish or very imaginative. They are the default that hangs in air; they are the ways embedded in our DNA. They wait for awakening.

No more need be said. This is the end of the middle.

Delineating the Middle Ages

Evolution of English Law

Mediaeval Knights

Gothic Architecture

(Refer to the key offered in the previous post to view these essays. Pick any paragraph to start with and see where it takes you.)

Near There: The Fairview of Marsha Taylor

Though my days are spiced with aesthetic values and judgments, I have not dared venture publicly into art criticism. Nor have I been inclined to do so.

In the best of conditions, aesthetics, ethics, politics, and personal behavior are inextricably intertwined. But it is possible for even the feeble public school boy to try to unravel strands and explain them. To my unexpected and recurring delight, the attempt at explaining brings connections to the surface that I had not seen or had not described before. The exercise makes things clearer, if only for a moment.

One man’s rhapsody is another man’s ramble. I prefer to think that a critique that is closely aligned to an artist and the artist’s work is the former. This feature in TennesseeSoul may not qualify as art criticism in the view of officialdom, but in mine, it is as close as it gets – because it is near to me.

Read it here.

Fifty Years Later: Love is Still an Answer

Gloves Off: Love Lives

50% of readers (1 of 2) of my first draft (1 of several) hesitantly recommend this essay. The other 50% of readers say that while wading through all the muck, they were sure they would find a pony in there somewhere.

Dear friend, there is no pony. But be reminded that even the manure of the plow animal has a use in the garden. While I sought to form my ideas in a measured way, I may well have added one cup of words where the recipe called for one teaspoon. Nonetheless, I leave the kitchen and take the meal as it happened.

You have been duly notified and forewarned. The 1960s do that to us: passion lets loose all over the map.

Read it here.

An Answer to Anselm

An Edge of Sorts

This essay, or rather this pair of essays (including “A Theology of Hope”), is for the chosen few. They will not be featured. In fact, I do not expect you – or any other healthy individual – to read them. I just want you to know that they exist should the time come when you are not comfortably settled and want an excursion through the fog in a different light.

I imagine that I will alter these two over time, but I cannot bear to read them again at this time. So they are born, expelled.

Read it here.

Meditations on Awareness

You may be aware that my new-lead-story announcements come about every two weeks, either late Saturday or early Sunday. This particular one is being sent to a much smaller, select group of potential readers. You have not been chosen at random or because I think that you will enjoy this essay. Rather you have been chosen because you are already likely to be well aware that I at times border on being certifiable. I am half expecting the little green wagon to pull up my driveway at any moment. Joyce assures me, wink-wink, that this piece is just fine. But I have had my doubts. To paraphrase a few songs that come to mind, sometimes you’ve got to dance your own dance no matter who is looking.

Read it here.