못 말리는 책벌레 김 박사 (a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm, Dr. Kim)

못 말리는 책벌레 김 박사는 텐트 캠핑갈 때 그렇지 않아도 이미 꽉 찬 (already jam-packed) 차 트렁크에 두껍고 묵직한 소설책 (a tome), 큰 사전과 독서대를 쑤셔 넣는다 (cram ~ into ~)

Last weekend my wife and I went to the Balsam Lake Provincial Park on my family’s supposed annual two-night, three-day tent-camping trip, with our two-seat kayak tied down to the roof top of our car. My two daughters were unable to get last Friday off work. As my wife sarcastically puts it, being “a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm, Dr. Kim” crams a tome of novel, a big dictionary and a reading stand into our small car’s already jam-packed trunk whenever we go on a tent-camping trip.

However, taking place for a few hours before my wife and two daughters get up and while, being an early bird, I am making a rice-based meal and washing fruits, my reading never takes a toll on the three main activities for which a camping trip presents opportunities: kayaking, swimming and hiking. Apart from these three major activities, watching stars, taking a look at various trees and plants, listening to birds crowing at daybreak and observing closely-knit duck families were among the activities in which my wife and I basked this time and which led us to be in awe of nature. In the dead of night, at two A.M., she and I went out of the tent to watch countless, shining stars in the skies. While watching the stars, I found my mind crossed by the two expressions: one from Saint-Exupéry’s Southern Mail is “A sky as pure as water bathed the stars and brought them out”; and the other from an unknown Korean source is “a night with stars bursting into the open.” For the first time in life, my wife and I saw trees called balsam and were so fascinated with the graciously beautiful (i.e., not the kind of beauty that in Strait is the Gate, André Gide describes as lying “open to the whole world at the first glance” but an image associated with Koryo’s blue urns), clean, upright figure the trees cut in the wild that my wife and I wished our own lives in the world exuded the image of balsam. I think I was close to cracking a code for communication between birds when I found that at daybreak a bird leader crows at the top of its lungs four or five times in quick succession and, in response, other birds do so in unison two or three times respectively. While kayaking, we often came across a family of ducks and were so in awe of duck parents’ affection toward their kids that we did our best not to disturb the duck family by paddling away from the ducks. Ducks moved in a kids-protecting formation in which one parent at the front was followed by kids in the middle and the other in the rear. This way a tent-camping trip is about what, in Les Misérables, Victor Hugo describes as “stripping our material existence to its essentials”; fostering in us humility and sensitivity required for “reflecting on the countless delights that nature showers on minds open to receive them”; and thus ending up being “a millionaire of the spirit,” a blessing denied to “the millionaire of nothing but money.” At the urging of my two daughters, who have decided to get Friday August 28th off work as a last resort to snatch continuance from the jaws of a disruption to our cherished annual family tradition of going on a tent-camping all together, I have lost no time in making such a reservation for a campsite spot that all our four family members can go on a two-night, three-day tent-camping trip. © Chinhyon Kim

Tents

< dyed-in-the-wool (a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator) > Hi Chin. Thank you for the information. The short notice is no problem: being a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator, I never write anything until the deadline is near anyway. Joe. – Prof. Joe Belanger’s e-mailed message to Chinhyon Kim, January 27, 1998. –오랜 고등학교 영어교사 생활하신 후 교수가 되신 Dr. Belanger 는 나의 UBC 석사 과정 때 은사님이시다. ‘작문연구’를 가르치셨다. 토론토 대학교 박사 과정 지원서는 이미 보내고, 3인의 추천인 중 한 분으로 지원서에 명기한 Belanger 교수님께서 추천서를 써서 밀봉한 후 직접 토론토 대학교에 발송하셨는지 e-mail로 여쭈면서 시간이 촉박하게 (at short notice) 부탁해서 미안하다고 했다. 겸손이 몸에 배시고 열정적으로 학생 지도하시는 분으로 이름난 Belanger 교수님께서 위와 같은 회신을 해주셨다. “원래 못 말리는 늦장꾸러기 (a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator)여서 마감일이 임박하기 전까지는 아무것도 쓰지 않아”라고 말씀하셨다. 사실은 제일 부지런하신 교수님 중 한 분이시고, 학생들 e-mail에 즉각 답신하실 뿐만 아니라 훌륭한 작문 교수 명성에 걸맞게 항상 고품격 표현이 많은 문장을 정성껏 쓰셨다.

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