Friday, February 12, 2016

Driving Eastward on the Friday after Ash Wednesday

Unlike John Donne, I am going the right direction as I travel on a Lenten Friday, east toward Fort Scott, Kansas.

Of course, I'm referring to John Donne's poem, "Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward":

Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other Spheares, by being growne
Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
Hence is't, that I am carryed towards the West
This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I'almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for mee.
Who sees Gods face, that is selfe life, must dye;
What a death were it then to see God dye?
It made his owne Lieutenant Nature shrinke,
It made his footstoole crack, and the Sunne winke.
Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
And tune all spheares at once peirc'd with those holes?
Could I behold that endlesse height which is
Zenith to us, and our Antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood which is
The seat of all our Soules, if not of his,
Made durt of dust, or that flesh which was worne
By God, for his apparell, rag'd, and torne?
If on these things I durst not looke, durst I
Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was Gods partner here, and furnish'd thus
Halfe of that Sacrifice, which ransom'd us?
Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They'are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look'st towards mee,
O Saviour, as thou hang'st upon the tree;
I turne my backe to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O thinke mee worth thine anger, punish mee,
Burne off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine Image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know mee, and I'll turne my face.

My road, Highway 54, actually goes through the old railroad towns along the way, in counties Sedgwick, Butler, Greenwood, Woodson, Allen, and Bourbon. Thus, I'll drive through or alongside El Dorado, Prospect, Rosalia, Eureka, Neal, Toronto, Yates Center, Piqua, Gas, La Harpe, Moran, and Bronson before I reach Fort Scott. 

Piqua piques my interest because it is the birthplace of Buster Keaton and there is a beautiful church, St. Martin of Tours, maintained by the Catholics nearby. I will pay tribute to The Great Stone Face while I visit Piqua. His parents were in vaudeville and his mother Myra gave birth to Joseph Frank while they were on the road. Bronson, Kansas has a Civil War memorial, so I might stop by the city park to take a photo. 

Each of these towns and cities has a history and it has been fun to spend some time on the internet to find out a little about each. For instance, Gas, which is just a few miles east of Iola, was indeed named for its raison d'etre, natural gas. Rosalia was named by the first postmaster after his wife and was platted in 1883. John C. Woods, a native Wichitan who served as an executioner (hanging Frank, von Ribbentrop, and others) at the Nuremberg trials, is buried in Toronto. Debra Dean Barnes, Miss America 1968, was born and raised in Moran, Kansas.

Once I arrive in Fort Scott, I'll check into my hotel, reconnoiter about town, and then meet the other speakers at the History and Heretics Symposium for dinner. I'll publish updates on my drive east soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment