The World Is Too Much With Us

I’ve never been an outdoorsy kind of guy, but something about these first few lines from William Wordsworth’s poem resonates with me.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. …

The poem was written sometime around 1806, so Wordsworth had plenty to complain about, what with the Industrial Revolution and all. But, he spent most of his life in the Lake District of England, which was still positively bucolic when I visited the place nearly 200 years later.

When I read this poem last night, I had a “back in my day” reaction, but in reverse. Seriously, how much “getting and spending” could the guy have seen back then in lovely Grasmere? I’d like to drop Wordsworth into the middle of New York City now and see what he thinks. And yet, the poem makes me wonder about the fever pitch of today’s commerce and marketing and advertising and technology and communication. In another 200 years, will the breakneck pace of our lives look more like a gentle stroll through a quaint village?

Posted in language | 3 Comments

Goodbye, Edgar

It all happened much more quickly than Sara and I had expected. We put our 1993 Volvo 240 Wagon on Craigs List last week, and within two hours it was sold. In addition to the guy who bought the car, three others called to ask if they could check it out…

Posted in family | 7 Comments

XyliChew Mints

A big box of mints arrived at my doorstep last week. But they weren’t just ordinary mints. No, they were XyliChew Mints with 100% Xylitol! I’ve been a big fan of XyliChew and its dusty purple cousin Ricochet for a couple years now, but their great taste is only one small reason for my affection.

Posted in miscellany | 1 Comment

Paper Airplanes

On Sunday at one in the afternoon, a local Grand Rapids guy named Rob Bliss and a handful of friends started to dump paper airplanes off of downtown buildings. By the time they finished, one hundred thousand planes had descended on the nearly 20,000 people crowding the streets below…

Posted in friends and neighbors, photography | 3 Comments

Apples

I started writing this thing a month ago with some lame generalization about how kids behave radically differently from one minute to the next while they all pretty much look their age. But I couldn’t sustain the thought, and I’m not even sure I believe it, so I’m just going to relate a little anecdote about Ben and Sara that occurred earlier this summer.

Posted in family | 4 Comments

Happy Anniversary

Some people like to propose marriage in a public way — a banner pulled by an airplane, a radio call-in request, an electronic marquee at a ball game. When I asked Sara to marry me nineteen years ago, I chose a more private setting: the front steps of the dormitory where we had first met. The actual proposal was merely a formality anyway, since we had discussed getting married for the previous eight months or so.
My attitudes about self-revelation have changed quite a bit over the years, and the change, I admit, has coincided with the Internet Age and its ubiquity of online information about everything and everyone. But here is one thing I know I’d want to shout from the rooftop of my house if I didn’t have this virtual rooftop …

Posted in family | 10 Comments

A few baby names you might want to avoid

Our dear friends are expecting a baby, and they think it’s going to be a boy. When they were in town a couple weeks ago, we chatted a bit about possible names for the kid. And that made me wonder: What are some boy names that most parents should avoid? Here are a few that I came up with after almost no reflection on the matter …

Posted in friends and neighbors | 7 Comments

Music I Like: Josh Rouse

For the past couple years I’ve been meaning to write a roundup of music that I’ve been listening to and particularly enjoy, but as is painfully clear, I never got around to it. So, instead of coming up with a huge list, I thought I’d post little bite-size morsels.
The first musician in my series of “Music I Like” is Josh Rouse. I’ve never met a Josh Rouse album that I didn’t like…

Posted in music | 5 Comments

Crickets and Cobwebs

This little blog has been terribly quiet lately, some parts of it more than others…

Posted in technology | 2 Comments

Monday through Thursday

When I put myself on a diet two years ago this month, I had no idea I’d still be on it today. In fact, the only thing I cared about was making it to the weekend. It’s all I’ve cared about ever since. The place where I was working had bowls full of chocolates everywhere I turned. Each time I passed by them, I felt obliged to stuff my face with at least one. No willpower…

Posted in self-indulgence | 2 Comments