In one of my favorite books, Robert Farrar Capon describes an amateur not, as we most commonly think of one, as a nonprofessional, but as a lover. The world, he says, is full of things that should captivate us. But, rather than responding to our world’s loveliness with delight, we usually respond with boredom. Capon describes our amateur-short world as looking like it has been “left in the custody of a pack of trolls.” Thus he calls for amateurs who, with a loving eye towards even the orange rinds and stones, “look the world back to grace.”
Capon makes another observation about amateurs: an amateur is “bound, by his love, to speak…a silent lover is one who doesn’t know his job.” This observation, combined with an intense feeling of words bubbling up inside me, is the background for this blog. I’ve looked at the world and seen so much loveliness; I can’t help but speak.
This might seem naive given the our present times. My home country of the United States, for just one example, has seen so much that is terribly evil in the last year alone. How can I pretend that horrific things aren’t happening?
I can’t. And I won’t. I certainly won’t promise that everything I write will be a paen or an ode (most of it won’t be). But unless our eyes accustomed to seeing loveliness and our mouths accustomed to praising it, the evil that is inside and outside of us will, little by little, stop shocking us and causing us to grieve. Instead, it will be easy to say, “C’est la vie,” with a shrug of our shoulders, without missing a step.
So, what will you find here? Mostly things that I’ve found—flora and fauna, articles, words, phrases, poems, passages of Scripture, food—things that make me want to shout, “Look! Do you see?”