Lady Hollow

As much as Hollow has been Michael and Ben Novak’s doggy, she has been and continues to be a familiar, remarkable, and much loved part of the town of Ave Maria’s community life. Born somewhere in the wilds of Colorado, found by a rancher, and rescued by Michael’s daughter Jana at the last moment at a shelter, Hollow always carried with her a bit of that Colorado ease and agreeableness that I see in my own family who live there. I think of her as basically wolfish in nature.

Hollow’s an example of the sort of creature that one comes across only every so often in life whose essential nature, temperament, and characteristics are so basically reassuring and pleasant that she makes an impression without even trying to do so. Anyway, I’ve loved Hollow for years. And Ben Novak captured a bit of her spirit a few months ago when he shared this bit of poetry with me:

Lady Hollow
Ben Novak

Hollow does not ask why
Flowers grow or rivers flow
Or mountains rise or a bird flies.
Hollow does not know yesterday
Or anything that came before.

Though she remembers
Who was kind and where she lives,
What she likes, and who likes her.
Hollow remembers well the box
Her milkbones come from,
And where her bones are buried.
And where she likes to sleep,
And what time to wake me each morn
By crawling across the pillows at 6:00 am
to nuzzle her snout against my face.

At other times of day,
Hollow remembers when it’s time
To take me for a walk.
She nuzzles my hand, or straightens up
On her hind legs to paw my forearm till I stand up,
And knows exactly where to go and what to do
when I need to change clothes or
Put on my walking shoes;
She knows to jump up on my bed
And crawl to the edge where I can pet her
As opposed to lying near the pillows
When she merely wants to sleep.

Oh, she remembers it all for the next hour,
Where I walk and where to turn and where I stop,
Whether we take one route or another.
She remembers how we cross the boulevard,
Where she always stops beside my leg,
And does not move till I say “Heel,”
Though she has forgotten what it means to heel,
And merely runs ahead.

And she remembers where I am
As we walk each morn and eve,
Follows me or runs ahead and
Rummages through the bushes,
But always with an eye on me
To run up from behind
Or when she runs ahead,
To stop, turn around and catch my eye,
And wait till I catch up.

She remembers when I sit down along the way,
To come back and lie down nearby,
And jump up when my rest is done,
To continue on our walk.

She remembers how I like to sit each morn,
Usually just before dawn,
And smoke a cigarette, or two, or three,
On the stone bench by the fountain
In front of the Oratory,
Where she lies down nearby,
And together we watch the sun come up,
And the joggers run by,
And the cars drive by
On their way to early work.

She remembers to walk with me
Along the sidewalk all the way to where,
We turn to go between the houses
Back to the alley toward our home,
Where she is free to leave me
And run through the neighborhood
To check out everything,
Stopping at the lady’s house
Who gives her a morning treat,
And visiting the Campbells for her
Morning slice of American cheese,
And to be back scratching at my door
Within ten minutes or so.

And she remembers to eat daintily, like a lady,
Who gingerly takes the treat I offer,
Then drops it,
Just like ladies in olden times
Would drop a handkerchief
To allow a gentleman to pick it up for her;
Just so, Hollow drops her treat and looks at me
To pick it up and offer it again
So that she can, oh so lightly, take it
As though she is doing me a favor.

If the universe is meaningless…

Alan Watts in The Wisdom of Insecurity, one of my favorite books:

If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black.

In the strictest sense, we cannot actually think about life and reality at all, because this would have to include thinking about thinking, thinking about thinking about thinking, and so ad infinitum. One can only attempt a rational, descriptive philosophy of the universe on the assumption that one is totally separate from it. But if you and your thoughts are part of this universe, you cannot stand outside them to describe them. This is why all philosophical and theological systems must ultimately fall apart. To “know” reality you cannot stand outside it and define it; you must enter into it, be it, and feel it. …

So long as the mind is split, life is perpetual conflict, tension, frustration, and disillusion. Suffering is piled on suffering, fear on fear, and boredom on boredom… But the undivided mind is free from this tension of trying always to stand outside oneself and to be elsewhere than here and now. Each moment is lived completely, and there is thus a sense of fulfillment and completeness. …

When … you realize that you live in, that indeed you are this moment now, and no other, that apart from this there is no past and no future, you must relax and taste to the full, whether it be pleasure or pain. At once it becomes obvious why this universe exists, why conscious beings have been produced, why sensitive organs, why space, time, and change. The whole problem of justifying nature, of trying to make life mean something in terms of its future, disappears utterly. Obviously, it all exists for this moment. It is a dance, and when you are dancing you are not intent on getting somewhere… The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.

God is not a creature someplace “out there” in the universe. God is being itself, the basis for all contingent reality. When Watts writes that “you are this moment now” and not some separate constructed thing apart from the natural world you were born into, he’s advocating for recovering a sense of wholeness, and of an experience of reality as necessary for (wait for it) experiencing reality rather than simply trying to describe sensations. We are creatures in the world, which means we draw our liveliness, our existence, and our “beingness” itself, from whatever provides the basis for the being of everything else.

There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.

To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. …

The notion of a separate thinker, of an “I” distinct from the experience, comes from memory and from the rapidity with which thought changes. It is like whirling a burning stick to give the illusion of a continuous circle of fire. If you imagine that memory is a direct knowledge of the past rather than a present experience, you get the illusion of knowing the past and the present at the same time. This suggests that there is something in you distinct from both the past and the present experiences. You reason, “I know this present experience, and it is different from that past experience. If I can compare the two, and notice that experience has changed, I must be something constant and apart.”

But, as a matter of fact, you cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is a part of the present experience. When you see clearly that memory is a form of present experience, it will be obvious that trying to separate yourself from this experience is as impossible as trying to make your teeth bite themselves. … To understand this is to realize that life is entirely momentary, that there is neither permanence nor security, and that there is no “I” which can be protected. …

The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.

To live in harmony with the universe means recognizing that we did not create ourselves, and that we as beings are tied to whatever provides the basis for the being of everything else.

Prudence

Gracy Olmstead writes on three virtues, and in particular on prudence:

Prudence might be the most underrated and misunderstood virtue. We’ve lost a full understanding of the word. Being called a “prude” is usually an insult, targeting a person’s attitude toward sexual mores only.

But prudence is derived from the Greek word phronesis and describes the most central and vital of the virtues. According to Aristotle, virtues come with two corresponding vices: one of excess and one of defect. The virtue of courage, for instance, avoids the vice of cowardice on the one hand, and the vice of brazenness or foolishness on the other. It lies within two extremes.

The virtuous person must know how to navigate and avoid these vices of extremity. Thus we need prudence: a person with phronesis is “someone who knows how to exercise judgment in particular cases. Phronesis is an intellectual virtue; but it is that intellectual virtue without which none of the virtues of character can be exercised.”

Jane Austen’s Anne Elliott, the star of Persuasion, is perhaps one of the first literary protagonists who comes to mind when I think of prudence. She knows what to do in unexpected, uncertain circumstances—and usually serves as the sustaining backbone in every community or company she finds herself in. After her nephew dislocates his collar bone following a fall, for instance, Anne is the first to act: “It was an afternoon of distress,” writes Austen, “and Anne had every thing to do at once; the apothecary to send for, the father to have pursued and informed, the mother to support and keep from hysterics, the servants to control, the youngest child to banish, and the poor suffering one to attend and soothe.”

Throughout Persuasion, characters look to Anne for leadership, wisdom, and cool thinking. She helps guide important actions throughout the narrative, via both her own personal action and her advice, thus serving to prevent harm and encourage good.

In this sense, too, Anne demonstrates the important particularity of virtue: she exercises her prudence within community, for the good and happiness of that community’s members. Hers isn’t (and couldn’t be) a displaced or isolated virtue. It’s contingent upon her place and the actions that happen within that place.

Gracy’s reflection on prudence reminds me of some of the reasons I value Karen Laub-Novak’s “The Archer,” which I wrote about last year. Gratitude and mindfulness are Gracy’s two other highlighted virtues.

Oaks

Brad Birzer writes on Oak trees as a symbol of free peoples:

One of the most fascinating symbols of a republic in the western tradition, from the Romans through the Germanic Barbarians to the American founders to the American founders of the Republican Party, is the mighty oak. As noted in the previous essay on the history on the rise of the modern nation state, all republics must exist—by their very nature—as reflections of nature herself. They are, at essence, organic, necessarily experiencing birth, middle age, and death. How easily one might transfer this to the oak, thinking of its own stages, from acorn to prevailing gian, to corrupted and hollowed-out shell. …

When the greatest of Roman republicans, Marcus Tullius Cicero, offered the world the first treatise on the natural law, On the Laws, began with the image of an oak, deeply rooted not just in the soil, but in the poetic imagination itself. “I recognize that grove and the oak tree of the people of Arpinum: I have read about them often in the Marius. If that oak tree survives, this is surely it; it’s certainly old enough,” Atticus begins. To which Quintus famously answers, “It survives, Atticus, and it will always survive: its roots are in the imagination. No farmer’s cultivation can preserve a tree as long as one sown in a poet’s verse.” Indeed, Quintus continues, this very oak might have been planted by the one god. Certainly, the name of the oak will remain, tied to the sacred spot, long after nature has ravaged it.

In his History of Early Rome, Livy informs us that a consecrated oak sheltered the praetorium, a seat of waiting and contemplation for foreign guests and ambassadors from the Senate. Likewise, Suetonius reminds us that Mars, especially, favored the oak as a tree symbolizing the divine authority.

The Mediterraneans, though, held no monopoly over a mythic understanding of the oak, as the Germanic tribes far to the north considered the tree the symbol of their god of justice, Thor. When the Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians met to decide the fate of inherited and common law–which laws to pass on, which laws to end, and which laws to reform–they met as a Witan or AllThing under the oaks.

Christians, knowing the oak to be so utterly rooted in the pagan tradition, knew not whether to love or to hate the tree. According to St. Bede, when St. Augustine of Canterbury called a conference of church leaders in 603, he did so at an oak, knowing the Anglo-Saxon fondness for the tree. There, at what became known as Augustine’s oak or Augustine’s Ak, the evangelist called for unity in proclaiming the gospel. Two generations earlier, Bede records, St. Columba had done something similar, building a monastery among the Celts known as Dearmach, “Field of Oaks.”  Even at the most famous of medieval monasteries, Lindisfarne, Finan built the church altar there not out of traditional stone, but, rather according to the custom of the peoples in that region, an altar “of hewn oak, thatched with reeds.”

When St. Boniface, a century later, encountered a group of Friesians still worshipping the oak of Thor, he—with nothing short of awesome bravado–attacked the tree with his axe. According to the hagiographic legends surrounding Boniface, the oak exploded into four parts moments before the blade touched its bark. So astounded were the pagans at his daring, that St. Boniface seized the moment to begin proclaiming the gospel. Where the ruined oak stood, according to hagiographic myth, an evergreen grew in its place. As it was getting dark and Boniface continued to preach, his followers placed candles all around and upon the evergreen, thus creating the first Christmas tree. …

If Boniface undid the oak as a direct representation of a god, he could not undo its importance to justice, as it remained a symbol of the law and of a free people. When the grand Christian King Alfred the Great met with his men in the late 800s to judge the inheritance of the common laws of the Anglo-Saxon people, they, too, met under an oak. Critically, Alfred and his Witan judged the laws. They did not create them, believing such actions illegal. A ruling body can only judge what it has inherited, not create laws out of nothing. Such a power belongs only to God and through his people only across time. …

The symbol of the oak remained a powerful one in colonial America, especially as the various communities on the eastern seaboard continued their own observance of the traditional common laws and, especially, in their Declaration of Independence. Though not exclusively oak, oaks made fine Liberty Poles and Liberty Trees in the 1760s through 1780s, and newly-freed American communities regularly planted oaks to celebrate their independence from Britain. Pamphleteers, not surprisingly, used the symbol of the acorn and the oak as representative of America’s independence and hardihood.

When Congress rashly passed the democratic Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854—a law that claimed that the enslavement of an entire people could be decided by mere majority vote—angry republican citizens of Michigan formed a third party, the Republican Party, in Jackson, Michigan, under, not surprisingly, a grove of oaks.

Whatever one in the early twenty-first century might think of Jupiter or Thor, the oak remains a mighty symbol of a free people, a people ready to remember and reclaim what is rightfully theirs by the grace of the Creator and the created order. The oak reminds us of strength in the face of nasty and bitter times, returning us to the nourishment of what makes us strong and free, the duty to govern ourselves in a fashion becoming to God and nature and, equally important, to the dignity of the human person. Unlike oppressive governments who rely on cults of personality, the republic relies on the nature of nature and the nature (good and bad) of the human person.

This perspective on Oaks spoke to me because the Sugar Creek Valley in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania is a home to White Oaks, and there are a number on the acres that my family settled there in the early 1800s.

Trees matter.

McSorley’s and wholeness

Maria Popova writes on wholeness, and the ways in which our intentior life lives in harmony (or not) with our public identity:

Where Walt Whitman once invited us to celebrate the glorious multitudes we each contain and to welcome the wonder that comes from discovering one another’s multitudes afresh, we now cling to our identity-fragments, using them as badges and badgering artillery in confronting the templated identity-fragments of others. (For instance, some of mine: woman, reader, immigrant, writer, queer, survivor of Communism.) Because no composite of fragments can contain, much less represent, all possible fragments, we end up drifting further and further from one another’s wholeness, abrading all sense of shared aspiration toward unbiased understanding. The censors of yore have been replaced by the “sensitivity readers” of today, fraying the fabric of freedom — of speech, even of thought — from opposite ends, but fraying it nonetheless. The safety of conformity to an old-guard mainstream has been supplanted by the safety of conformity to a new-order minority predicated on some fragment of identity, so that those within each new group (and sub-group, and sub-sub-group) are as harsh to judge and as fast to exclude “outsiders” (that is, those of unlike identity-fragments) from the conversation as the old mainstream once was in judging and excluding them. In our effort to liberate, we have ended up imprisoning — imprisoning ourselves in the fractal infinity of our ever-subdividing identities, imprisoning each other in our exponentially multiplying varieties of otherness.

This inversion of intent only fissures the social justice movement itself, so that people who are at bottom kindred-spirited — who share the most elemental values, who work from a common devotion to the same projects of justice and equality, who are paving parallel pathways to a nobler, fairer, more equitable world — end up disoriented by the suspicion that they might be on different sides of justice after all, merely because their particular fragments don’t happen to coincide perfectly. In consequence, despite our best intentions, we misconstrue and alienate each other more and more.

O’Donohue offers a gentle corrective: “Each one of us is the custodian of an inner world that we carry around with us. Now, other people can glimpse it from [its outer expressions]. But no one but you knows what your inner world is actually like, and no one can force you to reveal it until you actually tell them about it. That’s the whole mystery of writing and language and expression — that when you do say it, what others hear and what you intend and know are often totally different kinds of things.” …

Today, we seem to serve not as custodians of our inner worlds but as their terrified and terrible wardens, policing our own interiority along with that of others for any deviation from the proscribed identity-political correctness. And yet identity is exclusionary by definition — we are what remains after everything we are not. Even those remnants are not static and solid ground onto which to stake the flag of an immutable personhood but fluid currents in an ever-shifting, shoreless self — for, as Virginia Wolf memorably wrote, “a self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.” To liberate ourselves from the trap of identity, O’Donohue implies, requires not merely an awareness of but an active surrender to the transience that inheres in all of life and engenders its very richness:

“One of the most amazing recognitions of the human mind is that time passes. Everything that we experience somehow passes into a past invisible place: when you think of yesterday and the things that were troubling you and worrying you, and the intentions that you had and the people that you met, and you know you experienced them all, but when you look for them now, they are nowhere — they have vanished… It seems to me that our times are very concerned with experience, and that nowadays to hold a belief, to have a value, must be woven through the loom of one’s own experience, and that experience is the touchstone of integrity, verification and authenticity. And yet the destiny of every experience is that it will disappear.”

To come to terms with this — with the impermanence and mutability of our thoughts, our feelings, our values, our very cells — is to grasp the absurdity of clinging to any strand of identity with the certitude and self-righteousness undergirding identity politics. To reclaim the beauty of the multitudes we each contain, we must break free of the prison of our fragments and meet one another as whole persons full of wonder unblunted by identity-template and expectation.

I woke up in New York’s Financial District to the above in my inbox this morning, and thought it was an appropriate reflection on the topics of our interior life, wholeness, and the identity politics of our time, because I spent last night at McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village with Peter Atkinson:

McSorley’s is one of those places that stands outside of time, to a large degree—if you let it. It’s the sort of place where it’s still literally possible to almost meditate, if you want, in a public place. You’re surrounded by 163 years of history, real historical memory and the artifacts left behind by real people who stood in the same Ale House you’re standing in now. It’s custodians over the years have respected McSorley’s as they’ve inherited it, and not tried to make it more relevant, or to change it with changing times. What they’ve come into, they’ve passed along, unchanged in only the smallest and most necessary ways—no more live cats wandering the place, for instance, thanks to stricter New York health codes.

But McSorley’s seems to me to be an example of the sort of “wholeness” that Maria Popova writes on above, albeit in physical/place form rather than personal form. It is confidently what it is, and doesn’t explain itself or adjust itself to changing fashions for the sake of anyone’s affections. It has earned the love and returns of so many generations because it is authentic, meaning that it simply is what it is.

A place like McSorley’s might also just provide the context for a discovery of a renewed interior life, especially in the quiet mid-day hours of a Wednesday, for instance, when you can see the dust falling through the air with a burning stove fire nearby, and the warmth of generations seeming to envelope you in one of the few public places in the world that doesn’t seem to want anything from you, in particular, other than to sit and be for a while.

Vita Institute in New York

Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture hosted a one-day seminar-style version of its Vita Institute in New York today at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture. I discovered this was happening only a few weeks ago, registered just before it reached capacity, and just finished this day of talks:

The Center for Ethics and Culture is proud to offer an exclusive installment of its elite pro-life training program for the faithful of the Archdiocese of New York.

Join us for a full day of instruction in the fundamentals of life issues with our world-renowned scholars in biology, philosophy, theology, and law. No prior knowledge of these disciplines is assumed or required; sessions are aimed at enthusiastic pro-life advocates seeking to hone their skill and enhance their knowledge to better advance the Culture of Life. In addition to intellectual formation, participation in the NYC Vita Institute will connect you with a community of like-minded champions for the most vulnerable members of our society.

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Biology: When Does Life Begin?
Fr. Kevin FitzGerald, S.J. (Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University)

Abortion: Law & Policy
Prof. O. Carter Snead (Notre Dame Law School)

Prenatal Screening, Diagnosis, and Selective Abortion
Mary O’Callaghan (Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture) & Katie Shaw

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Abortion: The Philosophical Arguments
Prof. Frank Beckwith (Baylor University)

Abortion & The Church: Resisting a Throw Away Culture
Fr. John Paul Kimes (Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)

Cardinal Dolan’s remarks were basically a welcome to the participants, and by far the shortest of any of the sessions. Dolan primarily spoke on the past half century of New York City’s witness to life in a culture that has enshrined a sort of official indifference, with a default stance of skepticism toward life-affirming attitudes, to the situation of vulnerable persons:

 

Afterwards I met my friend Peter Atkinson at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral for mass, and we caught up over dinner at Lombardi’s Pizzeria nearby.

Windswept New York

After a delay out of Washington of roughly 90 minutes, my Amtrak train departed Union Station for New York around 11:30am, and got me into New York around 3pm. Scenes from today’s travel below, particularly the video that I shot, inspired by me musing about the possibility of the Hyperloop, and how strange this normal-seeming experience might be in a few decades or years:

Freezing in New York, and I only went outside to exit the 1 train at Rector Street for my hotel. Tomorrow is the Vita Institute’s New York seminar. Thinking of attending the full week Vita Institute at Notre Dame this summer.

On porches

Lynn Freehill-Maye writes:

The roots of the North American porch go back centuries, inspired by design features all over the world. In his book “The American Porch: An Informal History of an informal Place,” historian Michael Dolan asserts that slaves combined the precolonial African housefront with the native Arawak “bohio” in the Caribbean. West Africans had used an area in front of their home during the hot daytime hours, shading it with a roof supported by poles and elevating it a few feet to keep away biting insects. That kind of indoor-outdoor living, folklorists believe, was echoed in the Arawak bohio, the shaded, partially open dwellings built by one of the Caribbean’s dominant tribes. Planters then willingly mimicked the shaded housefronts on little shotgun houses, which spread north on the American mainland.

There were other cultural influences on the porch, too: Dutch settlers introduced the stoop. Spanish colonials built portals. The English brought the idea for elegant loggias like the ones they’d admired in Italy. “As [the] loggia was becoming fashionable in England, the less classical structure known variously as the piazza, the gallerie, and the veranda was insinuating itself into the vernacular architecture of the Caribbean and North America,” Dolan writes. “All these elements blended into what we know as the porch through a process folklorists call creolization.”

In the young United States, the porch became a signature of the proud new Federal architectural style. It developed a folk-mythic history from Mount Vernon and Monticello onward. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson set the trend with grand-entrance platforms to their estate houses. James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley were all elected president after successful front-porch campaigns, a tactic popular in the late 1800s in which candidates stayed home and asked voters to come to their homes if they wanted to hear a campaign speech. For everyone else, the porch worked as a spot to do homely chores like shuck beans, or just to catch a breeze when it got broiler-hot in the house.

But then the middle of the 20th century beckoned. Cooling porches were less needed because of A/C, and less wanted because of TV. The more secluded back deck came into favor, too. No longer strictly necessary, the country’s front-porch-building fell off.

After being considered outdated and rural, the porch has recently re-emerged as urbanized and in demand. …

The foundation for the porch-building boomlet may have been laid three decades before, when a contingent of Baby Boomers trying to fix sprawl started the New Urbanism movement. In 1990 they built a walkable model community, Seaside, Florida, and stacked it with front porches. New Urbanism drew in part on the ideas of urban theorist Jane Jacobs. She’d argued that “eyes on the street”—the ability for people to actually see the street from inside their rooms, storefronts, and front stoops—kept neighborhoods safer. Porches could enable watchful eyes, new architectural thinkers believed, and build community as well.

Other fresh-designed developments have followed the New Urbanism template, but with mixed results. They beg the question: Do people truly use porches these days, or just like the idea of them?

I grew up with a small porch. Pop, my grandfather, used to sit on the porch in summer evenings and smoke his pipe tobacco. I still remember, and in some sense can still hear, the June bugs buzzing toward the porchlight, and the cicadas calling in the nearby woods. The porch for me, as a child, was a place of encounter with the world around the home—even in a home that wasn’t yet so divorced from the natural world, since its windows were opened to let in cool air in the evenings and overnight, since it had no artificial climate controls. The porch was a place of safety, but also encounter.

Ave Maria pit stop

I arrived in Washington earlier this morning, but not before a short visit to Ave Maria last night, where I got to catch up with Ben Novak along with two students and a townie. I also got to see Hollow, and the great illustration of Ben and Hollow that his niece Alston drew. After sleeping a few hours, I hopped in the rental car and drove to Fort Myers for my 6:55am flight.

I’ll be in Washington until Friday morning for Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network purposes, then will head to New York for Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture’s Vita Institute seminar. Keeping an eye on the snowstorm that approaches.

Windy Fort Lauderdale

Woke up in 2312 of the W Fort Lauderdale to pretty heavy winds and choppy waters, with rain-like (and eventually true rain) conditions on the street level when we went looking for a nearby Starbucks. The photo below of the palm fronds blowing hard in the wind gives a good sense of how heavy the winds were on the street:

This evening I’ll head to Ave Maria for a short visit before flying to Washington from Fort Myers early tomorrow.