A hard winter. Cold with ice, and the fume kiln is an igloo.
Repairs tomorrow when the west wind picks up and then the wait for a north
wind. Closer still to 'venerable' and the arrogance of this opinion
makes me feel younger, a confluence of moments which could be the dawn of
I recall a math teacher who had as his favorite word 'puerile'.
Invariably it was followed by 'boy' and sometimes by 'delinquent'. A
veteran from the trenches of the First World War, he suffered from what
was called 'cowardice' before it was called 'shell shock', and which these
days is called something else.
A loud noise would send him into the darker places of memory where he
would twitch and tremble in a most unfortunate manner. Those of us
who found humor in it sometimes enjoyed the math class, otherwise he
struggled for our attention.
And now on reflection I wonder whether it was physics he taught us.
The law of thermodynamics. Experiments with gravity and
pendulums. The vacuum flask. Ball bearings and friction. All of
which were recipes for accident and noise.
His face was soft and forgiving. In his smile there was an
understanding that sometimes unnerved. As though he could see into
arrogance and come away amused. Or perhaps he simply knew that our
turn would come.