Saturday, November 7, 2009

A mind like a steel sieve

My son Hammer loves all things geography—he started with flags and maps and quickly moved on to politics and history. I do my best to answer his questions ("Mom, what did lead to the breakup of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth?" etc. ad infinitum), but mostly I point him toward his dad, who's equally good at learning and remembering those areas. I wrote a whole, heavily researched novel about the Book of Ruth, but I stutter and stumble over questions about places, people, times, and Biblical teachings I used to know inside and out. It just doesn't stay in my head.

Fortunately, Hammer and I have found a way to talk about geography. He is teaching me all the capitals of the world. I already knew some of the Greater Antilles (Haiti, Puerto Rico, etc.) , so that went OK, but it's slow going in other areas. Here's my haul of new knowledge for today (Pop quiz! Put away your books!)

1. What is the capital of Krgystan?
2. What is the capital of Tajikstan?
3. Of what country is Ouagadougou the capital?

Answers: 1. Bishkek 2. Dushanbe 3. No idea. But I like to say Ouagadougou.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Frederick Weather

FrederickSharply-defined mountains against an achingly blue sky; sunlight filtering through the remaining golden's Frederick* weather.

If you missed Frederick by Leo Leonni as a child, quick go buy it used on Amazon (or, strangely, new in Spanish), before the weather changes. While all the other fieldmice gather grain and nuts, Frederick sits peacefully on the wall, doing his own kind of gathering. Then the mice take to the wall for winter. When the food stores dwindle and the stones grow cold, Frederick brings out the memories and feelings he stored on the stone wall in the sunshine.

Days like today make me want to harvest sunshine, before it crinkles up and blows away.

*And, um, if anyone from the FTC is looking for full disclosure, no one gave me a copy of this book. My sister got it for her birthday when she was three, and she let me read it. A lot. I got Swimmy, which is also fabulous, but not necessarily for a fall day. I was four. I accidentally found Frederick in my possession for a while, but gave it back when I was 32. Or possibly 38. The last fifteen years are kind of a blur, and full documentation was not maintained.
Lee Ann Setzer's blog about books, writing, and life in general.