Winding ever upward, the road grew steep. Trudging along the roadside, next to the cliff falling away toward a glistening ribbon of water, thousands of feet below, an old man, grey hair falling down his back to his hips, leaned heavily on the staff he is using to push himself each weary step up the mountain’s eastern flank. Worn and bent, he struggles slowly, the small pack on his back seemingly bending him into submission, hour after hour, making slow but steady progress toward the pass, a thousand feet higher yet….
As the sun moved over the mountain to the west, the road, switching back as it climbed, came into shadow, which seemed to energize the old man; his steps became longer and stronger, increasing his pace incrementally, until he no longer paced the snails, but, strode up the mountain as if on level ground….. By the time he reached the pass, he had completely changed appearance; no longer bent, or seemingly weary, he stopped at the summit, to peer into the valley below, now fully erect, glowing with strength…. As he stood gazing into the distance, the sun sunk below the far horizon, throwing the entire world into dusk….
Well, ffolkes, there you have my version of the opening of a vampire story…. I can tell you now, it will never be written, not beyond where it is now, as I really have NO interest in writing about vampires…. Not that I am prejudiced against that genre of literature (yes I am….), but, really, who cares about some insane living dead person, or how they get along trying to deal with immortality, living nocturnally, and the whole blood-sucking issue…. I know it is a classic, lending itself naturally to plots involving morality, ethics, religion, and all the other mystical trappings that go along with such mythical creatures….. and is immensely popular among the weak-minded….
Myself, I never saw that much in it, or was impressed by their so-called powers…. Okay, so they can’t die, again, in the normal sense…. but, I’ll bet, if they take a shotgun blast to the head, maybe a couple of times, I don’t think they’re going to want to do much…. Hell, separating that head from their torso, say, with a katana…. (That is a Japanese samurai sword, razor sharp, able to perform beheadings with one stroke…. in the right hands…) Well, I’d like to see one of them regenerate THAT, once the head and body are a few meters apart…. Okay, so, not the nicest visual image to go along with breakfast…. what were you thinking, anyway? Runny eggs and floppy bacon…. I shudder to think about it….
Any who, undercooked pig meat and chicken embryos aside, the above, though not necessarily my cup of coffee (I updated that phrase to suit my preferences….), could conceivably become part of my skill set…. But, that would happen only if I chose to develop those chops, and that just isn’t going to take place, not in this century, and, unless medical science takes a leap forward pretty soon, my chances of seeing the next one aren’t too good…. Long odds, for sure; not impossible, given some of the advances I’ve heard about (the research going on with stem cells, and nanotechnology, is incredibly encouraging in re: increasing the human life span….), but, definitely not a sure bet.
More likely, I’ll be gone by the time this century reaches the half-way marker, as that will mark my 100th birthday. I’m pretty sure I’m stubborn enough to make it that far, but I’m also smart enough to realize that, unless some medical magic happens, I probably won’t last much longer than that…. If my current condition is any indicator, getting to 100 will be a definite challenge…. That’s okay, I’ve tried to live my life with the American Indian point of view, to wit: “Today is a good day to die”…. I’ve always liked that phrase; it implies a life lived with passion, and ethics, and strength of character, all of which I hope to continue to hold as the driving forces in my life….
Okay, that’s pretty pompous, but, hey, that doesn’t make it any less true…. It also, by golly, takes us far enough from our opening lines to call this an intro, and a damn decent one at that…. Well, maybe it DID wander a bit, but, it never got completely off the rails, and that is a good sign…. It’s also, as I see, a bit long, but, what else is new? My ability to blather without cease is a finely honed skill by now, so, that’s only to be expected when I get going like this….
I had intended to lament my new routine morning-mind, which seems to require at least 45 minutes, minimum, before it will even consider composition, or creative imagery…. but, then I got caught up in the story line, and lost track of my initial plan in the
thrill struggle involved in creating a new story line… Since serendipity has forced its way into the room, let’s let her sit down, and have a cup of coffee…. I always make plenty….
Shall we Pearl?….
A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy Fame is proud to win them;
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!
— Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) — The Voiceless
I first read the Desiderata when I was in college, at UC Berkeley in the late 1960’s. It underwent a revival then, as much of it fit into the philosophy of peace that most of the “hippies” of the era took as their own, including myself. I’ve heard arguments that it is too positive, too fanciful about the beauty in life, and doesn’t fit in with a realistic outlook on life…. Well, bullshit….
Yes, it’s positive, but, it’s meant to be. I’ve gone through it, and set apart with bold, italic lettering a few of the most influential phrases from the treatise. Below that, I’ve put the same phrases, as I would if they were pearls, to demonstrate the power of what they have to say. These five statements, or pieces of advice, if you will, have been the pillars upon which much of my philosophy of life rests. I’ve used them countless times in my life, to encourage myself, to admonish myself, and, in general, to provide me with a blueprint for acting rightly, out of right thinking, and compassion…. So, screw the curmudgeonry, that CAN be detrimental, and live your life with this sort of outlook; you’ll find yourself more content than, perhaps, you have ever been… Enjoy!….
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
Listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly.
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
A little change of tempo, without losing quality at all….
I take my wine jug out among the flowers
to drink alone, without friends.
I raise my cup to entice the moon.
That, and my shadow, makes us three.
But the moon doesn’t drink,
and my shadow silently follows.
I will travel with moon and shadow,
happy to the end of spring.
When I sing, the moon dances.
When I dance, my shadow dances, too.
We share life’s joys when sober.
Drunk, each goes a separate way.
Constant friends, although we wander,
we’ll meet again in the Milky Way.
~~ Li T’ai-po ~~
I had promised to put another episode of the adventures of Wise Old Pine Cone, but, once again, I got usurped by his schedule, which, apparently, blew up…. I’ll get some pictures of him and his paduan as soon as I can, but, he won’t give me a solid commitment on a day yet, so, I can’t say when that will happen…. In the meantime, here is an old-school pearl, fresh as a daisy, though not as cute…. We’ll go with random, harlequin style, no set parameters, and no paradigms…
“I want everything to be explained to me or nothing…. The absurd springs from this confrontation between the human call and the unreasonable silence of the world.” — Albert Camus (1913-1960), The Myth of Sisyphus (1955)
“Dust is an armor of poor quality.” — Smart Bee
“Ambiguity is invariant.” — Hartz’ Uncertainty Principle
“Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own Self in all beings, loses all fear.” — Isa Upanishad
” — Bother! said Pooh, as he stomped Barney’s butt to Jello.” — Smart Bee
“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” — Voltaire
“Do I look like someone who cares about what God thinks?” — Zippy the Pinhead
Any time a pearl comes with Camus, the Upanishads, and both evil Pooh and Zippy, it can’t go wrong; I offer the above as certifiable verification of that…. This is a special pearl, ffolkes…. Not only is it powerful, erudite, and funny as hell, it took maybe a minute and a half to collect; Smart Bee obviously had been prepping for this, as I looked at a total of 17 pearls to collect this seven…. that’s an INCREDIBLE percentage, compared to normal reality’s output…. This one will, no doubt, be useful to read again in the future; I guarantee that each time you read it, you will get something new from it…..
Well, that went a lot better than I’d hoped, or expected. I’m not even going to look in the horse’s mouth; I’m just going to bid thee adieu, until tomorrow, given just a bit of luck…. See ya, ffolkes….
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.
gigoid the dubious