Monday, October 04, 2004 +


Syracuse, N.Y.

Here briefly to see Murphys. Picked up Mark outside his apartment in Grant (or as we have called it ever since seeing a missing letter on the entrance sign, “rant”) Village, then up Teal to 117 Sunstruck Drive. Matt was on the doorstep waiting for his taxi to work. Louis was at home. Anne was “at the mall.” Martha drove up with her dog Rosie and chatted a bit. We’ll see her again tomorrow. After visiting for about half an hour, we went with Mark to pick up Michael on Shonnard Street, drove to Erie Boulevard to check in at the Econo Lodge, and then on to Green Lakes State Park. Walked around Green Lake (remarkable blues and greens starting a few feet from shore) and had a peek at Round Lake. After taking Michael back home, had an indifferent dinner at Dominick’s, took Mark home, and returned to our hotel.

At 4:30 a.m., I woke with the thought that I may have forgotten to pay our school tax. At home, I would have gone downstairs to check, but here I was faced with panic and no sleep the rest of the night. Fortunately, in the evening I had been rereading C. S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory and Other Addreses, where in “Tranposition” he had written, among other things:

And I believe that if anyone watches carefully the relation between his emotions and his sensations he will discover the following facts: (1) that the nerves do respond, and in a sense most adequately and exquisitely, to the emotions; (2) that their resources are far more limited, the possible variations of sense far fewer, than those of emotion; and (3) that the senses compensate for this by using the same sensation to express more than one emotion—even, as we have seen, to express opposite emotions.

I tried praying that I might actually enjoy these sensations of panic. I didn’t succeed, but eventually I fell asleep again. This morning I don’t look forward to more discomfort, but when it comes, I hope to remember to try this experiment again.

Lewis's paper suggests to me why art initially sensed as ugly might eventually be perceived as beautiful.