06 November 2007

bemoaning and foolish consistency

So I didn't take my camera to St. Louis. We spent Thursday through Monday there, the hubby and I, at a conference for youth workers. The conversation went like this:

me: Think I should bring the camera?
hubby: To St. Louis? What's there to photograph in St. Louis?
me: This is true.

Except that it wasn't quite as true as I'd thought. And as we traversed the streets in search of lunch, I'd frame shots in my head: sunlight glazing stone columns, the spindly defiance of a walnut sapling wending up through concrete. And all the while I bemoaned my camera-less state in pained silence (and, um, sometimes not so silently).

But I shall do what I can. Instead of photos, I offer you a feeble scattering of prose.

Scene A: a street, cobbled and thin, bordered by pubs and cafes and bricked courtyards. Cosied up against a swath of river, bathed in air both brisk and smoky.

Scene B: the park's footpath lined with neatened rows of ash trees, their arching branches weaving a canopy of pressed gold, paper thin and fluttering.

* * *

Added bonus: Things I Learned in St Louis

1. I could have a thing for minty shampoo and thick towels.
2. Giving God unfettered, categorical use of my life means giving him the small minutes of right now.
3. I'm not really into screamo music. It might still grow on me, but the probability is rather lean.
4. The mark of a sure friendship is being able to pick up right where you've left off (that, and not really caring how dumpy I look in a swimsuit).
5. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." and here's the brilliant context for that quote:

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them....

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance)

6. Beauty has a way of showing up in the least likely places. So bring your camera.

9 comments:

emily said...

oh . . . st. louis is a beautiful place! i am actually from southwest missouri . . .but my oldest brother and his family live in st. louis. i always love visiting and walking thru the cobblestone streets! unfortunately . . . i am in new orleans now, so visiting st. louis doens't happen as often as i would like!

Kimberly said...

You never know, do you? Beautiful prose. =)

Jen said...

Promise me someday you will strive to be published!

PamperingBeki said...

You silly girl, I could've TOLD you there is a lot to photograph in Missouri!

Sounds like a really nice trip. :)

Melissa said...

I've done that before... decided not to take the camera and then kicked myself afterwards.
I love your descriptions. You can paint a wonderful mental image...

pickles*and*co said...

I can't believe you Nic!!! Never...NEVER leave your camera at home!!! lol BTW, I love St. Louis!!!

Erin said...

We spent a weekend exploring ST. Louis a few years ago, it's a unexpectedly fun city, who'd a thought?

emily said...

oh . . . st. louis is a beautiful place! i am actually from southwest missouri . . .but my oldest brother and his family live in st. louis. i always love visiting and walking thru the cobblestone streets! unfortunately . . . i am in new orleans now, so visiting st. louis doens't happen as often as i would like!

PamperingBeki said...

You silly girl, I could've TOLD you there is a lot to photograph in Missouri!

Sounds like a really nice trip. :)