I'm still alive. Even though no one reads this, I'm thinking of coming back to here from FB so that I can write longer thoughts and memories, if only to archive things. Older writings seem to disappear on FB and longer posts seem to be passed over, even by close friends, because of the overwhelming volume of daily notifications. Oh, well. We'll see.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
(I memorized this Sonnet last year, first memorization in, well, fifty(?) years)
This haunting poem has always been one of my favorites. This past week, it came to mind (ironically, I had almost forgotten that it ever been written). Now, I can't get it out of my mind.
By Thomas Hardy
I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile amid the tombs around:
"Wherefore, old friends," said I, "are ye distrest,
Now, screened from life's unrest?"
--"O not at being here;
But that our future second death is drear;
When, with the living, memory of us numbs,
And blank oblivion comes!
"Those who our grandsires be
Lie here embraced by deeper death than we;
Nor shape nor thought of theirs canst thou descry
With keenest backward eye.
"They bide as quite forgot;
They are as men who have existed not;
Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath;
It is the second death.
"We here, as yet, each day
Are blest with dear recall; as yet, alway
In some soul hold a loved continuance
Of shape and voice and glance.
"But what has been will be -
First memory, then oblivion's turbid sea;
Like men foregone, shall we merge into those
Whose story no one knows.
"For which of us could hope
To show in life that world-awakening scope
Granted the few whose memory none lets die,
But all men magnify?
"We were but Fortune's sport;
Things true, things lovely, things of good report
We neither shunned nor sought . . . We see our bourne,
And seeing it we mourn."
My LJ account, not my Life (whew!). I received said notice, because I've been so inactive of late. Good to get the reminder, though, because even though FaceBook has the networking population that LJ never had for me, I've missed being able to type as many characters as needed to get the random thoughts out of my brain and down on "paper." Being able to use html in entries for embedding pictures and links is so much more fun than FB's clutzy clumsy "attach" picture or link to message thang.
Anyhow, with this post, I hope to: (a) put off my termination for a bit longer; and (b) maybe get back in the habit of doing a few brain dumps here again. I see I also have to do a bit of spam weeding and link reconnecting in this unruly mental garden.
One of my favorite Vonnegut insights:
"One sort of optional thing you might do is to realize that there are six seasons instead of four. The poetry of four seasons is all wrong for this part of the planet, and this may explain why we are so depressed so much of the time.
I mean, spring doesn't feel like spring a lot of the time, and November is all wrong for autumn, and so on.
Here is the truth about the seasons: Spring is May and June. What could be springier than May and June?
Summer is July and August. Really hot, right?
Autumn is September and October. See the pumpkins? Smell those burning leaves?
Next comes the season called Locking. November and December aren't winter. They're Locking.
Next comes winter, January and February. Boy! Are they ever cold!
What comes next? Not spring. 'Unlocking' comes next. What else could cruel March and only slightly less cruel April be? March and April are not spring. They're Unlocking."
Golly! I love this guy's music. Very busy day, but I ended it with listening to his 30th piano sonata
(particularly the second slow movement) while sipping a tumbler of Bailey's Irish Cream. Someone, please, remember to play this (live) at my memorial service. I've thought that it is the most beautiful music ever since I first heard it in the Rose Polyechnic Institute library in 1962. Take some time (whenever you happen to read this) and listen to anything by Beethoven ... then go outside, breathe some crisp fresh air (assumption: northern hemisphere) and say "Yes!" to Life.
Using the unpatentable Wray Jittercam, I recorded the last 100 yards (or so) of the rough path to the high cliffs of Black Head (Monhegan Island, Maine). Like any good tourist, I got lost after about a minute into the walk (even though I have walked this path for 13 years (14, if you count a day-trip back in 1970)). At any rate, after I hauled my tired old ass up there and turned off the camera, I hiked down to my own "Indecision Rock" seat on the south edge of the cliff, drank some cheap wine, ate some Fig Newtons and did my annual (out-loud) reading of Evangeline by Longfellow. Perfect!
This video is making the rounds lately and it certainly was moving for me. Give it a watch, get out the kleenex and be glad that things like this really do happen in Life!
Someone posted something in another forum that really pushed my button this morning. Just for the record, here's my response:
Kneejerk reaction warning (usually I calm down before I respond, but):
What layers of Poppycock Michael Novak piles upon his own preconceptions. That last quote of Einstein is so off the mark, that I wonder if he's taking something out of context (if not, it reaffirms my conviction that Einstein was not, indeed, a god-like ultimate authority on these matters, but, rather, just another confused bloke like you or me).
I am an atheist. I am not a slave feeling the weight of the chains I've thrown off, but, rather, the freedom of seeing the world as it really is, with all its beauty and ugliness, with all its treasures and its eyesores, with all its kindnesses and its treacheries. In short, all its soothing, inspiring, cacaphonious, jarring, grating, harmonious "music of the spheres."
All of it is reality and I can choose to do something about parts of it where I (think I) can help out and I can choose to leave other things alone and not screw things up any more than we've already done.
I try to choose with my eyes wide-open, based upon what I see and what I've learned and what exists, right now, in this one moment of choice. I don't always have outcomes that I thought I wanted or that are "correct," but I try to learn from those mistakes. Most importantly, I try not to make decisions based upon theological or nationalistic or money-driven programming that we've all had to endure for so many eons.
Again, I am an atheist. I marvel at a sunset, just like you. I feel so lucky to be alive when a small child trustingly wraps her tiny hand around my finger as we walk together. The sound of the wind high up in trees at night is the most beautiful music I can imagine. Talking long into the night with a good friend by a campfire is one of the greatest treasures that can happen.
You don't need god to "own" these things. You just need to open your own ears and eyes and skin and noses and tongues and take it in and breathe it out again and, knowing that soon, for you, it will all be over, makes it so much more precious than some promised land of milk and honey.
Speaking of "imagining beautiful music," now let's all hold hands and sing together
Anyhow, that's the end of this outburst. It's not very well thought-out (or edited), but, well, it's what I feel right now. I prefer tar and feather to crucifixion, so have at it, folks!
"In the end, only kindness matters."
Just realized that I haven't been posting much here of late. On the other hand, I have been entering pictures and thoughts and links at FaceBook regularly (several times a week).
The huge advantage of FaceBook (in my opinion) is that so many more people are connected there and respond (with their real names, too (GASP!)), so that, instead of the relatively lonely monologue that this thing has turned into, there are always several ongoing dialogues (or trialogues (or n-alogues)).
Another advantage is that I am now in regular communication with friends spanning all the way back to High School (Class of '62) and relatives that I never knew I had until this year - again, all using their real names. I got to spend some fun time with several members of my "new" extended family on my last trip to Indiana in May and FaceBook was one of the modes that facilitated it all.
The disadvantage (particularly for folks, like me, that don't do too much self-editing) is that, in most cases, your "thoughts" are limited to fairly short blurbs, which seem (to me) to lead to fairly superficial statements (and, in many cases, the statements are just cryptical teasers that seem to cry out for the "Are you all right?" reply/stroke).
Anyhow, because of the limited number of characters (as in ASCII, not personalities) allowed at FaceBook, I've found myself having to make two, three or more "entries" to just get whatever it is that I need to out of my system before I flush with the "share with others" button. My guess is that longer blurbs (such as this one) don't get read much anymore as folks are looking for the shorter (superficial?) "tweet."
At any rate, I have days when I just want to shut down all my accounts (including email)(particularly when I find people "borrowing" my photographs for their own use/gain). Then I could just spend the rest of my Life playing Spider Solitaire on my new laptop.
There are other times, on the other hand, that I consider posting to FaceBook AND LiveJournal (particularly when I am suffering from acute verbal diarrhea). Then there are other times I think about just posting here again, where I can be (relatively) alone with my (not so concise) thoughts.
Anyhow, well ... let's just leave it at "anyhow" for now.
I joined up FaceBook
and am amassing friends at an alarming rate.
I haven't yet figured out the real-life impact of this virtual community. Someone, please, explain to me what it's all about?
Well, in Southeastern Connecticut, today was beautiful. I had hoped to bike 25 miles today, but, since I haven't been on the saddle since early December, I found that the saddle did not cooperate with my Gluteus Maximuses (Maximi?), so I ended up riding only 12 miles. Still, it was really great to be back on the bike, breathing relatively warm, fresh air as I explored the local roads.
On the return leg of my trip, I went past Odetah Campgrounds in Bozrah, Ct. I had read on the web that they now had three Colorado yurts
that they rent out as cabins during the summer. Today, as I was passing by, I saw some cars and a truck there, so I decided to pedal up there to ask if I could walk by the yurts to just see what they looked like.
A bunch of friends and I built a tipi a decade or two ago (see earlier post here
), but I've also been very interested in yurts, particularly the last five years or so. Done a whole lot of reading about them and surfing the web yearning at some of the pictures that I've found. My choir director has one in his back yard in which he frequently sleeps.
Anyhow, today I couldn't find a soul at the campground, so I just decided to explore for myself and, voila, just past the swimming pool, there were all three of the yurts. I walked around them and peeked in one of the doors. Maybe I should just order one of them (Colorado Yurts
? or Pacific Yurts
(?) or some other company
(?)) and get it out of my system (being realistic, I don't think I'd ever actually get around to building one from scratch). If I got one, after I erected it and moved a few of my cherished possessions into it, I'd have my sons come and torch my old house with its lifetime accumulation of clutter/memories therein.
On my refrigerator door, the old kids' magnets spell out, among many other bon mots, "Simplify!" (though my youngest son, realizing my true
nature added beneath "Complicate!").Here's a small picture from the Camp Odetah website.
Here are a couple of other random images from google:
(Picture from treehugger.com)
(Picture from http://herrdramaturg.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/yurt_night-2.jpg)
Went for a 25 mile bicycle ride today - first in 3 months - it was wonderful
to be back in the saddle again!
Clear skies, however, went south for tonight's anticipated alignment of the crescent Moon (Selene), Venus and Jupiter (a classic menage a trois, if ever there was one). Just before my giving up on seeing them, I went outside for one last try. To my delight, the clouds had momentarily parted and there they were in all their astronomical glory. Luckily for me, the planets hadn't quite hit the horizon, yet, but just after this picture they disappeared.
I grabbed my digital camera, the nifty portable "monkey tripod" that my son bought me and "wrapped" it around the back of a dining room chair as a makeshift tripod and shot this somewhat overexposed and just a tiny bit shaky picture (I was sitting on the chair to give it mass, but I guess I wasn't as immobile as I was trying to be (3 or 4 glasses of wine, by that point)) ... anyhow, it was truly a beautiful sight and this photo is only an approximation of a breath-taking moment. This particular syzygy won't happen again until 2052, long after I'm gone:
(I've promised to post my other RABRAI photos here, but I've reneged on that so many, many times ... maybe, since I started riding my bike again, I'll get them up here later this week(?))
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one( My boy, Bill Clinton, singing Imagine (can you imagine that?!)Collapse )
On September 18, 2008, I finally broke the 45 mile per hour threshold on my bicycle. I've been trying to do this my whole life!
Now I can slow down, right? (Hmmm ... 46 miles per hour is only 0.4 mph away (oh, and then there's that Golden 50 mph tempting me, too!)).
I promise (if only to myself) to post the rest of my RAGBRAI pictures (previous post) real soon ... if only to close the door on that great week.