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Becoming a Better Lover

“‘Try to pay attention to me,’ she said, ‘as best you can. You see, the man who has been thus far educated in matters of Love, who has beheld beautiful things in the right order and correctly, is coming now to the goal of Loving: all of a sudden he will catch sight of...

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The Key of Peace

“Peace is the tranquility of order.” St. Augustine, The City of God There are few words that exercise such a power over our hearts, and our imagination. A few years ago I was giving a lecture at a division-one university, introducing students to some basic points in...

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Playing Alone

When I was down beside the sea A wooden spade they gave to me To dig the sandy shore. Robert Louis Stevenson, At the Sea-Side A Child's Garden of Verses There is nothing quite like playing alone. To watch it is a privilege. Indeed, in watching one might even...

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Seeing is Seeing

For not only that we might act, but even when we intend to do nothing, we prefer sight, as we may say, to all the other senses. Aristotle, Metaphysics This year the fireflies have been stunning. Last night my wife and I were mesmerized; we just sat and looked. And we...

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Delight Among the Oak Leaves

“When the cuckoo’s song is first heard among the oak leaves to the delight of mortals throughout the wide earth.” Hesiod, Works and Days VIDEO FOLLOWED BY DISTINCT REFLECTION What brings delight to people, or not, can show much about those people. Here Hesiod writes...

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In Praise of Spring Cleaning

“Let’s decide on the appropriate place for everything.... This will enable us to know which of our belongings are safe and sound, and which are not, because the place itself will cry out for anything that’s not there; our eyes will spot anything that needs attention;...

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A Letter to a New Grandchild

"Perfect love sometimes doesn't come until the first grandchild." Welsh Proverb Dear David, I am your Mommy’s father. She calls me Daddy, and I hope that you will call me Granddaddy. It is hard to know where to begin in what I’d like to say to you. This past Saturday,...

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Planting Radishes: A Place to Begin

“Agriculture isn’t like other skills, where the pupil has to spend an exhausting amount of time at his lessons before his work is of a high enough quality to earn him a living. No, agriculture isn’t awkward to learn like that: all you need is to watch people working...

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Remembering Spring

“Remember the time has come to plow again.” Hesiod, Works and Days Spring. It’s power never wanes. Once again we experience ourselves, especially in our bodies, as part of some great whole. Things are moving; and we are moved—though we might not know by what or to...

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What Fire Cannot Destroy

“Those bygone workmen did not serve, they worked. They had an absolute honor, which is honor proper. … A tradition coming, springing from deep within the [French] race, a history, an absolute, an honor, demanded that this chair rung be well made. Every part of the...

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Presence Even in Absence: The Power of Friendship

“…the absent are present, the poor are rich, the weak are strong, and—even more difficult—the dead are alive.” Cicero, On Friendship In our times the issue of presence deserves special attention. What constitutes real human presence? Too often, it seems, those who are...

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Seeking Harmony in Our Home

“When cordially united, a father and sons, or a family of brothers and sisters, may, in almost any state of life, set what is called misfortune at defiance.” William Cobbett, The Cottage Economy VIDEO FOLLOWED BY DISTINCT WRITTEN REFLECTION: The other evening we sat...

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