For some reason, I'm really wiped-out by the start of the semester this year: it's been exhausting how much has to be done to get courses going and such. I should go back and read my journal over the last few semesters to see if I always write that, though: I can keep being surprised by the colour of the sky, so maybe I shouldn't take my shock too seriously.
We kicked off the semester with a fab dinner party at Dan and Amy's on Saturday which has gone a long way, though, to fueling the week with happiness all by itself. Along with the Lloyds, Mike and Donna, me, and Professor Barnes, Andrei Orlov--also now a professor--and Anthony Briggman attended, with Anthony bringing his wife, who we all met finally for the first time. Anthony commutes from their place down just across the Illinois border, and she works down there in scientific/pharmaceutical writing, so it's just never been terribly convenient for them to socialize with all of us up here. The addition of the new face to the circle added some more fun in the "Tell us Anthony stories"-direction, as well as just getting to know her, and the night was a quieter one, I guess, but kind of rich, with a long sitting at the table over a pork roast and wine, before drifting into the living room. I don't know. Just good stuff. We tried to get all our fanatic talk about the previous night's Battlestar Galactica episode done before everyone else showed up for dinner. And I loaned Professor Barnes a box containing all of The Legion of Super-Heroes from 1980-1989 that he requested for "spiritual reading" this semester.
On Monday I spent some time finally--we've been meaning to do this for a few years--going through my pictures from Tunisia with Barnes after the Augustine seminar ended. The reason now that finally made it happen was that he wanted to find a picture that he might use for a bound set of notes that he wanted to put together for everyone. So we went through my pictures of Carthage especially, in the ruins of the streets and Roman villas, down at the ancient harbour where I explained the Punic naval construction there, at the faded outline of the ruins of Cyprian's church overlooking the Gulf of Tunis where now only young lovers walk during their lunch hour, and especially the Amphitheatre of the Martyrs, where Perpetua and Felicitas were killed on March 7, 203. Knowing the history is one thing when you look at the pictures, but there is something particularly bittersweet when you realize that the people who live there--the descendants of the invaders who wiped out that culture that still is a matter of study and importance for you today--are entirely oblivious to it. And so it goes.