Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome to Jane's blog

Welcome !

 Why eclectic ? I have formally studied  Classics and Modern Languages [Latin and German],  Late Latin language and literature, church history and many branches of theological studies, and more recently many aspects of spirituality.  Informally, I have explored fiction and poetry - starting with English but branching out from there- , politics, peace and justice, mystery novels,   biography  , journals , essays, classical music, art history etc.  Although I am a Christian and in fact work in a church, I am fascinated by other religions- I continue to learn what I can about Judaism, Buddhism and Islam and any other religion.  If you were to visit my house you would find books on these and other topics.  If you were to have a conversation with me in person, we would end up with piles of books on the table and the floor, as we looked up this and that which came to our minds.

Eclectic has a deeper meaning for me too.  Even as I may , and do, have my own personal convictions, I have always sought to respect, encourage and enjoy diverse experience , beliefs, gifts and perspectives.  My hope for this world with all its troubles is that we draw on all manner of insights and wisdom, not only that possessed by the most visible and powerful few.  Also I care about traditions, movements, languages, cultures and species which are at risk of being lost and forgotten.  I have often lived in small communities at the periphery of the centres of power, and have wanted those voices to be heard.  So often I have learned not only from books but from the experience , wisdom and compassion of people who are not published or publicized.

Why peripatetic?   The word peripatetic derives from the Greek- meaning "walking about".  It was the name of a philosophical school, and I suppose I am , literally, someone who seeks wisdom, though not in an academic department of philosophy. I am one of those who is always moving, who is not sure what if any place to call home.  I started out in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the Atlantic coast of Canada.  I spent some of my school years in Toronto and some of my weekends and vacations in rural Nova Scotia.  I travelled to Europe as a child and again as a teenager, and had the opportunity to live in England for 12 years, appropriately as a would-be perpetual student.   Since then I have lived in a Canadian prairie city- Saskatoon- and then in small Saskatchewan towns, followed by a Nova Scotian coastal village, a small Maritime university town, and now beautiful St Andrews on the southwestern coast of New Brunswick, almost at the Maine border.

I have not yet found anywhere where I can live and work for more than 5 1/2 years, and in these rapidly changing times, I am not sure I ever will.  But I cannot regret any of the places where I have lived- they all have their gifts and wisdom. Place is very important and formative, I think- so if you move as much as I do, every place has made you who you are now.  I am sure I will be writing about some of these places in this blog.  I also like to hear, and read about, the experience of others who also find themselves to be wanderers on the face of the earth, often in much more perilous circumstances than a sheltered North American like me has ever known.

I am peripatetic in my spare time too, when time and weather permit!  If funds are short, I happily explore the towns, the landscapes, the art galleries, the coffee shops, the music and theatre within driving distance.  When money and location have allowed, I have travelled in Europe- France, Germany, Austria- but my greatest love so far is Italy.  If I could afford it , I would spend a month a year in Florence, immersing myself more and more in the art and architecture, and exploring the Tuscan countryside.  Venice is magical too.  Another revelation was a trip to Istanbul, and I would love to be able to see more of Turkey- I have read much of Orhan Pamuk's writing and am fascinated by Turkey's unique and complex blending of- and tension between- East and West.

I am as much of an internal peripatetic as an external one- so I will be wandering from one topic to another, and "visiting" writers, artists, activists and sages across time and space. My next posting will take me to Egypt but also to the late 1960s United States and who knows where else.

Welcome to any who read this page!

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