What’s Not to Love ? by Jude Genereaux

23 04 2020

What’s Not to Love ? 

In a humorous essay titled “Fifty Reasons Not to Love a Poet” I recognized a whole shock of proclivities clearly fitting Norbert. The one that immediately made me laugh:

“All of their furniture is positioned around windows, for them to stare out for hours at a time.”

Anyone who ever visited Norbert in the Coop will testify to the fact that his desk was positioned smack in the middle of a bank of windows that looked out into the woods and beyond to the road, another window at his left allowed him to not miss anything moving over by his first neighbor, Charlie Root’s.

The same pattern was established inside our home: the living room was arranged as a sort of command center. The stereo components were stacked at the right of his lazy boy chair for immediate access to music and public radio; a modest TV sat just beyond, for easy viewing and handy remote control; a pair of head phones were within reach if he chose to see/hear all or both at once. Tall stacks of books fairly toppling over in height, stood in rows around the chair, which was squarely centered in the middle of all this. Most important – that chair sat directly in front of a row of windows facing Europe Lake Road.

Norb’s unending curiosity sometimes drove him to listen to programs on NPR at the same time he’d be reading a book, maybe even while watching the PBS Newshour. Not missing a thing, he would take note of a neighbor’s car returning at the end of the day or a pack of wild turkeys mincing their way through the front yard. He took it all in, the windows a crucial part in framing his observance of Life as it happened. Always close at hand were his notebooks and pens (this too is listed in the “50 Reasons” list of habits), for at all times, Norb was watching, recording, imagining.

What so captivated his imagination in this rural setting, where not all that much went out out there? Observing the rhythm of life as it happened outside the security of walls enhanced his peace of mind, his stoking a sense of the natural world as the changes and beauty of the seasons passed before his eyes. Anyone reading DOOR STEPS can see the progression of emotion in the word scenes he captured of the woods and garden, the sky, the weather itself brought to the page – he watched it all through those windows.

Walking the roads fed his imagination, clarified thoughts … but the simple ability to observe the passages from the geography of a chair, brought a richness of thought few of us experience. Through his words we are able.

The return of spring and warmth and growth and green clearly brought on Norb’s most buoyant bursts of joie de’ vivre. It will always be doubly crushing that he had to leave us in April. April 23rd this year marks the seventh year he has been gone from our lives. But not our hearts.

All of which I would list within an essay on “Fifty Reasons to Love a Poet.” ~Jude Genereaux April 23, 2020



5 responses

23 04 2020

Klaus, thanks for this post. Norb was such a good writer, artist, teacher, and dear friend.Gary

23 04 2020

What a lovely piece. You are a good writer, and remembering Norb is always a special pleasure. Keep well, Carol

23 04 2020

I always look forward to memories of Norb. I have written so many poems that feature him tht my family was jealous.

23 04 2020
Jeanne Kuhns

Such a beautiful reflection.

24 04 2020
Paula K

What a beautiful reflection! I love the paragraph about his unending curiosity and how it played out…such an unquenchable thirst for learning! Jude, know that we all continue to hold him in our hearts along with you on April and August 23rd of every year. 💕 As he would say, “Nazdar!” – Be well!

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