I’ve been rather wayward in respect to my blogging duties this summer. One can debate the prudence of the decision, but I opted for some late night java, and now it seems I’m listening to the crickets outside my bedroom window and sketching out a post. In a super-shrunken nutshell, my summer might be described as “libertarians, crabcakes, and bison.” Allow me to explain the combination:
Firstly, I attended several political seminars—one in Atlanta, one outside of Philly—that both had a distinctly libertarian beat. I’m not a libertarian per se, but a lot of the economic chatter was really top-notch. One of the professors had the ancient Sumerian symbol for ‘Freedom’ tattooed on various appendages. I’ve never been a fan of tattoos, but I suppose my newfound libertarian sympathies respect the impulse. After a parade of PowerPoint presentations, I’ve been thinking differently in regards to U.S. immigration and fiscal and monetary policy. And there’s nothing like a discussion of the business cycle to heat up a July night.
The crabcakes can be justified by a trip to Baltimore, where I spent a whirlwind week at a Western Civilization forum. There was lots of talk of political philosophy, constitutionalism, the French Revolution, educational outlook, classical literature, and religion. When the conversation stalled, I can guarantee it was only because we were all munching our crab.
Finally, my family tried out that whole Westward Expansion theory, minus the covered wagon and Laura Ingalls Wilder. You see, we visited the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park—my first real Montana venture. Although my family unilaterally decided to offer me up as a sacrifice should we encounter a grizzly, I seem to have survived the ravaging mama bears. I did see a black bear in a meadow, though, a sprinkling of moose, and a whole lot of bison! Every time we exited the rental car to photograph the breathtaking topography, I thought of that famous Walker Percy essay, the Loss of the Creature and felt mildly guilty. Was I erasing the splendor by reaching for my Nikon? Was I succumbing to a “symbolic complex”? Eh, perhaps.
For everything there is a season—a season for being an abstract, intellectualizing, Walker Percy-reading Swarthmore student, and a time to be an unabashed tourist who has just encountered a really awesome mountain. Here comes another semester. Turn, turn, turn.