April 25th, 2006

compass rose

Going places

Tickets for Africa arrived yesterday. I figured they'd be electronic tickets, but no, these are the old-fashioned paper type. And because they're super-cheap mission tickets, I have to carry a clergy ID or letter from the church proving that I have a right to them or the airline may just decide to bill us for the full retail price. Guess I'd better dig out that little card the bishop's office has been mailing us each year.

Travel is expensive, but I've become quite hooked on it. When I was considering a sabbatical in the future (before taking a different appointment), I thought I'd write a continuing education program called "Missed Mountains," where I would go back to the four peaks whose summits I didn't quite make it to over the last couple of years: Wheeler Peak, Mt. Marcy, Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike. All for spiritual growth, you understand.

Well, the continuing education allowance at my new appointment might just allow me to do that, one mountain at a time (and only in the off-season). But, still: boo-yeah!
by himself

in questionable taste, perhaps

Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat,
Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

by Thomas Gray

'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dyed
The azure flowers, that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclined,
Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declared;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
She saw; and purred applause.

Still had she gazed; but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The genii of the stream:
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Through richest purple to the view
Betrayed a golden gleam.

The hapless nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretched in vain to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise?
What cat's averse to fish?

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretched, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled)
The slippery verge her feet beguiled,
She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood
She mewed to every watery god,
Some speedy aid to send.
No dolphin came, no Nereid stirred;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A favourite has no friend!

From hence, ye beauties, undeceived,
Know, one false step is ne'er retrieved,
And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all that glisters gold.