Reflections of a History Professor Looking Through a Telescope at 4 a.m., Part II



Holding a child close to your chest

raises your body temperature;

you can feel your core rise and

flow out to the child, to

warm and protect her.


I know that intellectually—

It’s a proven fact—and I know it

emotionally, because I’ve experienced it

and I remember experiencing it.


But what I don’t feel anymore,

can’t really remember,

is what it feels like to hold a child

close, with her body snuggling in ever

closer, and feeling that heat

flow from your body to hers.


It has been too many years,

and I often took it for granted when

I bothered to reflect on it at all, or

worse, so many of those times I was

distracted by the thought I should be

doing something else,

something more productive:


Preparing a lecture, writing a

monograph on Southern history, grading

papers, even fixing that blasted step that

couldn’t seem to ever hold a nail or even a screw.


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