It began four days ago. The doorbell rang, followed by a brawny lineman wearing a hard hat who attached black placards to our front door knobs. We learned that –

“AT&T is bringing our fiber network technology to your neighborhood! With AT&T fiber, the future of the internet is here!”

We also learned that with this technology, we can expect: “Ultra-fast internet starting with a 1000 Mbps connection, speeds 20times faster than the average cable customer, a reliable connection with less waiting or buffering, and a better Wi-Fi experience with expanded coverage and support for all your devices.”

On the flipside of the placard, we learned that crews would need access to easement areas in our back yards.

With the placards in place, bucket trucks, pick-ups, and other trucks with hitches rolled into our neighborhood and the work began. More linemen from Universal Communications scaled ladders, mounted bucket trucks, attached more power lines to the existing poles. Grunts and shouts accompanied the work, with frequent adjustments to their hard hats.

All of this wearies me. True, information is valuable, however we receive it, but who says it must is be continually accelerated? Already, the globe suffers from psychic and physical constipation—a frightening engorgement of the psyche that buries spirit, the wellsprings of life. No matter that EMFs fry us, as well.

Yesterday’s AT&T telemarketer underscored this condition. Ostensibly offering me still more services, her voice wobbled with exhaustion. She, too, was weary.

 

 

 

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The ground still shivers from the impact.

It happened during the pre-dawn hours, Friday morning, May 19, 2017. Lashing rains and winds felled the centuries-old oak tree alongside the serpentine driveway leading to the entrance of the Second Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri (established in 1831).

The exposed roots give pause: blunt scraggily remnants suggesting disease. More distress is also noted in the large swath of thumbnail-sized shells protruding from within deep grooves of the bark near the seven-foot base. Yet the leafy branches strewn on the ground give no clue to these disorders. Perhaps an arborist could have intervened, years ago.

To those sensitive to such events, the lesson is obvious.

In whom or in what are we rooted lest the storms of life topple us over?

 

 

Still another version of the life of the nineteenth-century American poet, Emily Dickinson, this time a movie, has been released to theaters around the country. Terrence Davies, screenwriter and director of A Quiet Passion, has been captivated by her enigmatic world since a teenager, one that mirrors his own; its production is the highlight of his long career.

But the question remains—Just who was Emily Dickinson? How account for her extraordinary brilliance, given the late Puritanism in Amherst, Massachusetts, that seeped into the warp and woof of life, against which she stormed?

Among the scholarly studies of this poet, Richard B. Sewall’s The Life of Emily Dickinson (1974) presents a multifaceted perspective and affords readers their own take on this woman. By piecing together her correspondence and poems with those in her immediate world, as well as by substantiating his findings with newspaper articles and public records, he contextualizes her. We hear her voice and wonder at its sagacious humor. Fortunately for us, Emily’s pen was rarely idle and her letters, preserved.

But Sewall’s presentation of Emily’s world is unique: it bears his imprint of having been Professor of English Literature at Yale University for forty-two years. Volume I devotes single chapters to the principal players in Emily’s life: grandparents, parents, siblings Austin and Lavinia, Susan Gilbert, and Mabel Loomis Todd—all in relationship through correspondence. And Volume II contains the life of the poet, even further nuanced.

It has been said that the definitive biography of Emily Dickinson has yet to be written, and it must be done by a woman scholar.

There is hope, as Emily proclaims in poem # 314:

 

Available on Amazon

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