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What We Are Studying?

The Odyssey (or Maybe You Don’t Have to Study Homer)

Since the semester started, my sons Alex and Andrew and I have been reading The Odyssey.

I wanted to write something profound about this study but it has turned out to be just Alex and Andrew and I reading The Odyssey.

Each morning we haggle over when we will meet. I miss the old days when Morning Time was more exact. Somehow having fewer children has meant less structure not more. Alex wants to finish his narration so we wait. Andrew starts math so when Alex is finished we wait again. It goes like that every morning. But eventually all three of us are on the couches in the living room reading The Odyssey.

I have some background and perspective on the book having read it before at the CiRCE Summer Institute (awesome!) and having listened to some lectures on the subject, but surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, very little of my input has been needed. We take turns reading. We laugh. We wonder out loud. We argue over pronunciation. We have been waiting the entire semester to see Antinoos spill his guts. We thought yesterday, Chapter 21, was the day, but the arrow did not fly until this morning, in Chapter 22. After a semester of tension we collectively sighed.

It is true that every once in a while I bring up the ideas of hospitality or weaving, trying to be nonchalant, but in the end the really cool thing was that Alex and Andrew and I read The Odyssey. Together. Each of us enjoyed it. Each of us took away something to treasure always. I will not disrespect them by asking them to spill all the contents of their treasure trove. I will not show them my whole hoard. We have the rest of our lives to share these things. No rush. No test. No failures. Just The Odyssey, shared and loved.

So maybe it is okay that we did not really study The Odyssey. Certainly some should.

Some should study but all should love.

Today in our family we are not scholars; we are merely lovers. It is enough.

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