December 7th, 2010

geek shirt by the falls

I get the impression that they didn't have the kid who was Uranus roll, though.

Well, the holiday season is truly upon us: yesterday we celebrated Mikulas, and none of us was hauled away or eaten by Krampusz. Whew. Thursday is this year's Cookie Day, only this year we are having Cookie Day and Cookie Day 2: The Re-Cookenating. And this year Mikulas is in the middle of Hanukkah, so I hope that's fortuitous for those few of you who do both, and I hope those of you who only do Hanukkah are having a festive and bright one.

But that's not what I started posting to say.

I started posting to say that in the middle of Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder he was describing a game that John Keats played when he was a boy at school. And I was reading along and went--!!! Because Keats played Planets too! I have to tell you, I am more along the lines of W.H. Auden than John Keats, but I have never felt so fond of Keats in my life as I did just then.

You know Planets. Someone stands in the middle and turns slowly, and they're the Sun, and other people pick what planets and moons and things they want to be and revolve accordingly around the Sun and each other. And Uranus rolls in the grass and comets run in and out and create havoc and if it's raining you all get very wet, and regardless of whether it's raining you all get very dizzy.

It's an extremely good game, although I think this many years of vertigo would make me into a comet when my temperament had made me more a planet. And I am extremely pleased that it is so old a game that Keats played it too. One thinks of tag that way, or hide-and-go-seek, but I didn't play Planets until I got to be a physics major, so it feels more private, and yet shouldn't be. I want the godkids and the nieces to play Planets. It is so fine. One ought. And Keats did. Really, I feel much better about that urn by proxy, even if he did have the wrong guy smacking into the Pacific in the other one.