Unlike the Pequod I’ve returned safely to shore after a nice long slow read of Moby Dick — but not before reflecting on just how little I know about why I take to Moby Dick as Ishmael takes to the ocean, and not before musing on the symbolism of water and Ishmael’s likely vocation as a country schoolmaster before becoming a merchant seaman and whaler, and not before appreciating tantalizing clues in a painting (and what a lovely painting it is!), and not before muttering a few vows over what D.G. Myers kindly coined in a Tweet Ishmael and Queequeg’s gay marriage, and not before turning the pages of Melville’s whale taxonomy, and not before marveling at Moby Dick’s handsomely endowed thingamajig, which is longer “than a Kentuckian is tall,” and not before drawing attention to Melville’s marvelous bit of trickery in fooling the reader to think that Ahab, and not Ishmael, is the true monomaniac, and lastly not before wrestling with the invisible this and the invisible that haunting Ishmael. I am done, with Moby Dick for now and the preceding sentence for sure. And in the spirit of long and longer sentences, I’m eager to share the closing sentence of Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, where Calvino performs his own bit of narrative trickery, on par with Melville’s. But that will have to wait till I come down from the oaks and pines and sycamores, where I’m rather enjoying myself at the moment.