In A Dark Wood Wandering

Spring                                                                               Bloodroot Moon

Another Latin session with Greg finished.  We went once a week for about two years, perhaps a little less, then shifted to every two weeks, the pace we continue to follow.  At first we followed lessons in Wheelock, the grizzled Latin classic, updated, but following in the original’s historic pattern.


About midway through it Greg said he felt I was a global learner, more like himself, and we switched to work with the Metamorphoses itself.  I translate as best I can then we go over my translation when we meet.  By phone.  All of my lessons, every one, has been done over the phone, not skype, but over the old fashioned landline telephone.  At least in my instance.  Greg uses a cell phone.

It was my passion for learning what lay behind the English translations of Ovid’s masterwork that started me on this path and Greg felt I’d learn best following it.  He’s been right.  It means I encounter things I don’t know from time to time, but that provides an opportunity to learn and not only that but to learn in context, not in the abstract as a textbook does.

(The Young Cicero Reading, Vincenzo Foppa, 1464)

At first I wandered through the Latin like I was lost in a briar patch.  I’d come up scraped and raggedy with sentences to match.  As I have put more reading behind me, it has been more like following an ancientrail through a strange forest.  I can follow it, even if I don’t always know where I’m going.  And, at times, I turn down the wrong path and have to find my way back or, if I can’t do it by myself, Greg shows me the way.

At some point, I think after I finish the story of Jason and Medea, a long one, I will return to the start, Book I, and begin to work my way forward.  At some point, too, I want to read some other authors, follow different trails through the Big Woods that is ancient Rome.  But for now Ovid is enough.