Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Preface

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pp. v-xii

Seven years ago I took a sabbatical year at half pay, and Vicki, the three children, and I lived for twelve months in Western Australia. When we returned to Connecticut...

Contents

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Bumpy Landing

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pp. 1-10

I spent much of July and June smoothing our arrival in Western Australia. For Immigration I filed a cabinet of forms. Through the University of Western Australia...

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Jawing

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pp. 11-13

I have talked for many suppers. I have talked for tuition, roofing, automobile parts, and home repairs. Twice corporations paid me four thousand dollars for motivational...

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House

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pp. 14-19

The realtor who managed the apartment on Cooper Street limited our stay to a fortnight. "The day you leave," she said, "someone else is moving in." Ten days after we left...

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Between

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pp. 20-23

Once I was comfortable in the house, I read Patrick White's novel The Eye of the Storm. White's intellectual stew is thick, and I can manage only one of his books a year...

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Settling

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pp. 24-31

We have been in Perth for twenty-four days and have begun to settle. In the morning I feed the staghorn fern attached to the fence in the back yard. While the body of the...

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Exmouth

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pp. 32-48

In July Edward wrote from Queensland. "We have to visit Exmouth," he urged. "For 160 miles Ningaloo Reef runs along the North West Cape. Tourist brochures...

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October

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pp. 49-65

In Connecticut spring begins in April. The school year wilts, and as days lengthen into flower, purpose sifts away. I slip the shackles of duty and wander field...

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Shelves

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pp. 66-74

Voluna Hardaker studied librarianship at David Lipscomb College in Nashville for a year. As a result when the new library opened at Cross Keys...

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Emptiness

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pp. 75-86

"An empty chapel," Alexander Smith wrote, "is impressive; a crowded one, comparatively a commonplace affair." A fortnight ago I found Smith's collection...

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Summer

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pp. 87-106

The last week in November school ended, and summer vacation began. In the United States Edward would have spent summer in Maine working at a boys' camp. Eliza...

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Christmas

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pp. 107-109

I didn't want to return from the Porongurups. On a trip days fold anonymously into each another, and calendar vanishes. In Perth the temperature rose into the nineties...

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New Year

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pp. 110-116

"What is the most martial day of the year?" Nigel asked, adding, "the day that urges people to press ahead." "What?" I said. "March fourth," Nigel answered, right...

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January

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pp. 117-145

Along with hot summer January brought a second blooming to Mosman Park. Plumbago hung from walls thick as macrame. Flowers on the lemon tree sweetened...

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Man about the House

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pp. 146-163

The last day in January Vicki left Perth for Hartford and weeks of cleaning her mother's house in New Jersey. The trip was long, over forty-six hours. Vicki's ordeal dropped...

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Dixie

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pp. 164-171

For the first hundred years of his life, Methuselah, Boeotian story relates, slept on the ground, sand for a blanket and a rock for a pillow. At dawn on the first day of Methuselah's...

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Sweeping Days

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pp. 172-200

Vicki spent seventy-three days in the United States, most of the time in New Jersey cleaning her mother's house. Getting rid of possessions was hard, and she...

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All the Fun

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pp. 201-210

After enumerating the problems of middle age-difficulties with wife, children, and job; an aging house and prostate, the one losing shingles, dry rot undermining...

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Prissy

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pp. 211-216

"Daddy," Eliza said, on my declining to accompany her to the movie Moulin Rouge, "you are prissy." "Very prissy," Vicki added, going out the door. I am not prissy...

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Going

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pp. 217-218

Yesterday a reporter from the Sunday Times interviewed me at the university. Before returning home I walked to the bookstore and picked up five boxes into which...

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Affection for a Machine

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pp. 219-225

In a letter to C. F., a neighbor in Storrs, I lamented that institutions rarely rewarded loyalty or affection. "When I was twelve," C. F. responded, "I spent days on a Ford...

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On the Way

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pp. 226-237

In Western countries people solve problems. They set goals and climb ladders. At day's end, however, life seems out of joint. Achievement loses significance...

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Kakadu

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pp. 238-250

At 7:15 in the morning on July 9, Paul picked us up at the Mirambeena. Paul worked for World Expeditions. For eight days he would guide us, the last two days...

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Interim

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pp. 251-256

On our return from Kakadu we checked back into the Mirambeen a, room 48, the twin of 50. The next morning rain fell in shutters. I didn't have a raincoat...

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Sydney

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pp. 257-265

We stopped in Sydney because of Eliza. Seven years ago we visited, and I knew the city well. The prospect oflugging bags to and from a hotel sapped my enthusiasm...

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Fiji

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pp. 266-276

In May I spent two evenings studying the "Qantas Holiday Guide to Fiji." I wanted to spend a week marooned on an island. Because Vicki is conservative with money...

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Home

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pp. 277-280

We left Fiji at 11:30 at night on August 5. I am not a comfortable flyer, and to calm my nerves, I spent the morning snorkeling beyond North Beach. Because Eliza was scuba diving and Vicki kayaking, I snorkeled alone...