Monday, September 19, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - September 14
And Now for Something a Little Different
Yesterday was a fabulous day. Stephen Spender's wife, Natasha, blew in with a girl from the Coast, Margot Dennis--driving across the continent. They stayed for High Mass and spent most of the day here. At first we were very decorous and intelligent walking up and down the front avenue talking about Zen, Freud, music, John of the Cross, and the Dark Night of the Soul. Then it went down a notch, became more familiar, and amusing, as we went out to St. Bernard's lake and ate sandwiches and fruitcake and talked about monasteries and abbots, bishops and popes, Corn Island, Mexico, God knows what. This was very charming and maybe I began to be less scared. Finally we went to Dom Frederic's lake and went swimming, which was the most enjoyable of all. Margot, once dipped into the water, became completely transformed into a Naiad-like creature, smiling a primitive smile through hanging wet hair. We sunbathed a bit, then finally they trundled off to Cincinnati with their immense load of luggage.
It is hard to remember when I have ever so completely enjoyed anything. Of course, it had a devastating effect in the form of distractions, but I don't care. Except of course I had better make a mental note to be very careful in the future when I am going to see more of women with intelligence. I am obviously utterly starved for that kind of conversation. Everything was really as it ought to be--except that the swimming was an act of disobedience, which may or may not be justified by appeal to a higher rule. I leave that to the mercy of God.
September 6, 1958, III.326