Dear friends near and far,
Miscellaneous returns from a well-earned July holiday to find New York City paralyzed by the merciless heat of August. Harper Lee’s description of summer in the (fictionalized) town of Maycomb, Alabama comes to mind: “Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.” Forgoing naps and baths, we make due with mid-afternoon iced coffees and round-the-clock air-conditioning.
By weekend, we seek refuge from the swelter as near as Fort Tilden Beach, and as far afield as the Grecian Isles. The comforts of air-conditioning aside, August is no time to explore the great indoors. Rather, it’s the ideal moment to forge out on waterways and trails, into parks and gardens. For inspiration, we’ve included Douglas Brinkley’s celebrated biography of President Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Warrior, focusing on Teddy’s role as a conservationist and sportsman, as well as Derek Walcott’s sprawling magnum opus, Omeros, an epic poem dancing from the Caribbean to the Western Coast of Africa, Boston to the Great Plains.
Stay tuned for more editions of Miscellaneous in the coming months.
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“There are sermons in stones, and books in running brooks.”
— Thomas Mayne Reid, as quoted in Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley
Header image: “Leopards stalking prey,” Arthur Wardle (1864-1949)