As is probably quite obvious, I don’t need a week devoted to reading to catch up: indeed, I’ve actually read less than week than usual. I’ve been visiting friends and family in Ottawa over Reading Week. It’s rather strange to still have that week in February, because I’m no longer a student (and nor are my Ottawa-area friends), but of course I am still working in a university and so, though I have marking to do, I’m not teaching. And I decided I would take a real break.
It’s been nice not to be on the internet very much, though the long gaps in when I check my email have shown just how many things I’m subscribed to. Actually, there aren’t too many; I just get a lot from each of them. One on book reviews of medieval scholarship; one (a new one) on garden news in Halifax; several from various blogs I read. I’ve just spent twenty minutes going through these. I think I’m going to take the beginning of Lent as an opportunity to cut back on internet time.
I was speaking with my friend A—- about Lenten discipline, who brought up several good points, I thought: How food is a little strange, because too often one uses it as a diet, not as a form of penitence. That perhaps it’s good to add rather than remove something from one’s life. That one should be focussing on God if one is going to participate in it. And, of course, how hard it is in February when everything else seems so dreary.
I’ve been writing; I’ve been buying seeds to plant when I get back to Halifax; I’ve been visiting old friends and family. My Ottawa friends I’ve known since I started university, twelve years now. Many have houses; we laughed and said I’d gone for the PhD instead. (But I’m thinking about the house.) We talked about our lives, caught up, have enjoyed winter. We had one of the most perfect winter days I’ve ever known on Monday. I spent it with my sister, her boyfriend, and one of her friends in the Gatineau Park on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river, wandering through a snowy woodland talking, laughing, visiting. It was the Family Day holiday in Ontario, and seemed an appropriate thing to do.
Back to Halifax tomorrow, and back to my marking, to John Stuart Mill and Darwin and Nietzsche, to my routines and to Lent. I think I shall work on prayer and meditation, reading the New Testament, with an element of fasting I should already have decided on — Ash Wednesday being yesterday — but, well, I don’t think the Lord will mind if I start a bit late.