Seth’s reference yesterday to one of the writers who most influenced me, combined with Amie’s reference today (do give a moment to her link on Niemann’s brilliance) to autumn, caused some sort of mnemonic chemical reaction. It started by thinking about the quotation of Thoreau overnight. By the time I saw Amie’s mention of autumn this morning, I suddenly remembered a trip I took to Walden Pond in the autumn of 1979.
Thanks to my International Baccalaureate English teacher during senior year of high school, Thoreau’s writing and that field trip placed a compass in me that had not been there before. It affected the direction of my life profoundly. That same teacher took our IB English class to Cambridge, MA to see a production of King Lear that her son was directing. It instilled an appreciation for theater that would be difficult to describe. She had also invited the intended lead of that production of Lear to perform at our school in southern Connecticut sometime prior to our trip to Walden Pond and the trip to Cambridge. I had not thought of Brother Blue until just now, and cannot believe my fortune to be able to see him again here:
I recall now that Brother Blue took ill not long after visiting our school, and his role as Lear was taken over by the director (my teacher’s son), and the performance we saw in Cambridge was phenomenal to me in part because I had not realized directors could or would act. Another dot: that director, actor, scholar went on to become a MacArthur Fellow in 1983, the third year of the Fellowship program. So, on further reflection, I did know one other recipient of that honor, and no surprise, he was and is a good man. I am not sure which privilege I am most grateful to that teacher for, but at this moment I sure am glad to remember Brother Blue.