Monday, January 15, 2007

Postcard from St Thomas

(... and Saint Martin, and the Bahamas)

The picture on your postcard, readers, was taken by Kid #1 from one of the highest points of the island. You can see a postcard-perfect (when else can I use that cliché?) bay and some smaller, uninhabited islands. We loved this island: for its intriguing history, its utter beauty, its offering of some undisturbed family time in an environment far from home. Today we are in deep denial that this vacation has come to an end.

The trip, by the way, was a gift to the kids, and in a way an apology: since I became department chair, and since my wife has an even more responsible job, we do not spend as much time together as we did a year ago. This makes all of us sad, but we have coped fairly well with the change.

At right you will now see my favorite discovery on St Thomas: the second oldest synagogue in the western world. I was startled at first to find it in the Caribbean, but further reflection on the area's colonial history took that puzzlement away.

My little inner chant from this trip: the body remembers its pleasures (that's meant to be dark, not hopeful: it's about the record stored in the flesh of the body's enjoyment history). I hope to explain that sentence later in the week, after the hell of the spring term beginning subsides to a long-simmering purgatory.

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