December 5, 2009 | Italian

The Mind on Fire

My brain is happy.

This morning I got up and went to Café Margot all grubby. I have been trying not to do that so much anymore. Go out in the world grubby, I mean. It is only marginally acceptable in Starbucks, which is full of Americans, but Café Margot is full of people from other countries, meaning from unslobby cultures.

Cafe Margot Menu

Anyway, my slobby self did a bunch of vocabulary work at the café. Then I went for a short run in Central Park, about two and a half miles, with VocabuLearn playing in my ears. While running and practicing my Italian, I twice crossed paths with a beautiful red-tailed hawk, who was coolly surveying the park and us earthbound humans from high above the 72nd Street transverse.

Then home for more grammar and more vocabulary, throughout the day and into the night. While I was working on flashcards, I recalled the title of that Emerson biography from about 15 years ago: The Mind on Fire. I loved that title, and the book, too, though I didn’t manage to finish it. Not sure why. I don’t remember the exact reason for that title, nor do I mean to compare myself to Emerson in any way, but it occurred to me: when I began this project, my mind hadn’t felt on fire for a while.

And now it does.

True, I went out into the world this morning grubby and half-awake, but mostly now I feel sharp, clean, smart, alive.

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