Via the Poetry for the Soul Facebook page.
Via the Poetry for the Soul Facebook page.
I was just reading Chapter 1 of “The Great Gatsby” to an friend of mine who couldn’t sleep. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of Long Island (where I grew up) makes me laugh:
It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America. It was on that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York — and where there are, among other natural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in the Western hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound.
I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn’t call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness.
— Nick Carraway, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Photo credit: By Anthony Ross – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69287951
I lived at West Egg, the – well, the least fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard … My own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires — all for eighty dollars a month.
— from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Welwyn Preserve Park in Glen Cove, New York. Photo credit: Michael Sean Gallagher [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D
Have fun! Be safe! Enjoy!
Make sure you have a designated driver! Or, better yet … why not be the designated driver? What better way to spend the first hours of 2019 than as a hero to the people around you (maybe not the hero that Gotham deserves, but the hero it needs right now)?
I’m not sure how I’ve gotten to become such a mother hen in my old age … Maybe it’s because, in my younger days, I was the one who needed mother henning.
Whatever, just don’t wind up like Gatsby, floating face down in the pool at the end of the night. (But go ahead and totally be him up until that point.)
Postscript — the quote below, which I rather like, doesn’t appear in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” or its 2013 film treatment with Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m told that the line actually originates from “Sex and the City” (1998 – 2004).
Act I, Scene 3.
These are a few (poorly taken) shots of rural central Virginia between Alleghany County in the southwest and Fauquier County. It’s a beautiful journey. F. Scott Fitzgerald described the American Midwest as “that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” I myself have always thought his description it fits the Commonwealth just fine.
Most of these aren’t great photos. For one, they were taken from a moving car, as you can tell from the reflections in the window. For another, I am a terrible photographer, as you can tell from the unintentional shot of my giant white nerd face. (My phone is new.)
The best shots were those I didn’t get. Lord knows I scrambled to get a picture of that bear on Skyline Drive, but it was a blink-and-you-miss-it opportunity.
There were other things that I saw, too, of which I’d love to have gotten pictures. The first was the thin, immaculate strip of white headstones in a family cemetery, lying adjacent to their farm’s vast, green square of a cornfield. The juxtaposition of life and death in that image was perfect. Another was a sullen-looking cow, lying in the exact center of a fenced front yard, regarding passing cars like an apathetic despot.
As you can see, what I captured are really just your standard road trip pics, but they still manage to show some of the beauty of the Commonwealth.
Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. [In best Stephen Colbert voice:] “Watch out for bears!”
Creepy solitary abandoned mountain shack is creepy.
New Yorkers, these are dormitories for Chicken University, where poultry prepare earnestly to graduate someday to a culinary position with your household. (These flat, low buildings are often visible from the road in the valleys — I remember thinking that they resembled dog kennels, except that they are entirely enclosed and look quite neatly maintained.)
I think this is the southern fork of the Shenandoah River, but I’m not sure …