Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pastoral

Yesterday was the annual Carleton College Classics Department picnic, lamb roast, and marathon reading on Mai Fête Island. While the lamb roasted, students read aloud Robert Fagles' translation of Vergil's Aeneid. The reading started at about 1:30 and went until after 11:00 p.m. I contributed by reading the second half of Book 2, in which Aeneas rescues his son and father from the ruins of Troy, but accidentally leaves his wife behind. The Aeneid may be the only work of non-English literature (other than Le Petit Prince) that I've read in its entirety in the original language, and I found that as the English translation was read, some of the familiar Latin words echoed in my head. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit...

Rob reading Vergil while students attend to the lamb.

As I was starting to read, Jane Hamilton (author of The Book of Ruth, A Map of the World, etc.) showed up, but decided the party wasn't worth crashing yet. Meanwhile, red-winged blackbirds danced in the air around us, a Baltimore oriole arrived and sang brilliantly over its nest, and geese lined up on the shore to listen to the Orphic performance on the island. Later in the evening, a green-backed heron made a low pass over the island. By around 4:30, the lamb was beautifully roasted, and the island was teeming with classicists. It was an extraordinarily windy afternoon, and in the evening around 7:30 a little rain passed through, producing a spectacular rainbow that framed the nearly full moon.

Evening clouds moving in over the Lyman Lakes

2 comments:

Shan said...

I was out running at 6:30 and it was so windy that one big gust actually stopped me in my tracks as I was going up a hill on Spring Creek Road. My now, though, I am totally blase about Northfield wind, even though it is INSANE.

I wish I had seen the rainbow! Also Jane Hamilton! (LOVE "Map of the World.")

Great photo of the clouds.

Christopher Tassava said...

Amazing tradition! I'm both surprised and not surprised at the wholehearted carnivoracity - but really reading the Aeneid is the kicker. I'm in awe.

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