If you are a citizen of the United States with the responsibilities entailed by citizenship and you have moderate views on most things, is it okay to be mostly oblivious to the issues of the day? Is it okay to get up in the morning, get ready, go to work, go home, grab a brew, watch some TV, and…

Thinking Deeply

What does it mean to think deeply about something? Does it mean to think about it in some particular way? Does it mean, for example, to think other than intuitively about it? Is a disciplined writing down of all of the ramifications of something properly described as thinking deeply about it? Or is thinking deeply better understood as a kind of intuitive thinking, a clearing of the mind to allow the subconscious to work through the thing? Is it possible to think deeply about something without devoting an extraordinary amount of time to the enterprise? Can an epiphany be deep thought? Can deep thought be summoned at will, or must it be given the freedom to set its own hours?

My Athens

What is Athens to you? If you are a UGA grad, it might be a museum of memories. You come to Athens to feel again the weight of the walk from Memorial Hall to Park or Brooks or biology or math. Over there, you met the person who would be your best friend forever or your husband or wife. And over there, in the chemistry building, you slew the monster on an exam day, clearing the path to graduation and maybe to med school.

Whether or not you attended UGA, you might think of Athens as the capital of the Bulldog Nation, as sacred in its way as Mecca, a place to be journeyed to for completion of the rituals of fall — tailgating with old friends, swapping stories of great battles past, and renewing debates about who should be Pope to the red-and-black warriors of the gridiron.

For me, having lived mostly in Athens since 1967, the town is something else — something that takes sustenance from the University but is not the University. Athens is an oasis of folks who find solace in their diversity, their creativity, their commitment to living life with curiosity and compassion. The people of my Athens hate only hate itself. They make art of all kinds. They make each other happy when they can, and they hug each other when they can’t. They drink together, smoke too much, and work hard at day jobs to free their nights for the joy of the music and each other’s company.

It is not too much to say that I love my Athens. And I am grateful that there is a place in Georgia where the soil is not quite right for the insularity and meanness and thoughtlessness that seems to grow like kudzu some other places in the state.