Friday, September 1, 2017

Heraclitus was an old man

To Heraclitus who says,
All things pass and nothing stays
Could I not run ahead?
And stepping in the river,
Find the shoe I lost


Heraclitus of Ephesus was really not so old, 60 years old to be precise when he died. Unless, one considers the average life expectancy in ancient Greece was 25, and that Heraclitus was wise beyond his years, having written on topics diverse as nature, logic, learning, and human affairs.

Then we may conclude that he lived to a ripe old age, having learned that all things pass and nothing stays.

Raphael's School of Athens, Heraclitus sits in the foreground, apart from the others with his elbow on a box

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On the road again

St. Augustine was not always an old man.

He was born in the year 354 in Tagaste, the Roman province of Numidia in North Africa. As a youth, he was known for living the good life.

the good life in Montana


After studying in Rome and Milan and after converting to Christianity, he retired to the monastic life in his native village. He was then called to become a priest and moved to the city of Hippo. In time he became bishop, and over the course of 35 years traveled to various councils in Carthage and North Africa. The journey from Hippo to Carthage was a journey of nine days.  One traveled by donkey or on foot,  wearing sandals over dusty roads along a rugged coastline where robbers lay in wait.





North Africa, coast line


In his 75 years on this earth, St. Augustine produced over two hundred books and nearly a thousand sermons, letters, and other works. But he never forgot the importance of travel and meeting other people.

St. Augustine has many quotes, of which I will quote one:

Hope has two beautiful daughters, whose names are anger and courage.  Anger is the way things are, and courage the desire to see that they do not remain as they are.



When asked why he left his studies, he replied, “The world is a great book. None study the book so much as the traveler; they that stay at home read only one page, and never know the joy of the journey.”

The old man is on the road again. This time in Montana, looking for answers, but more importantly looking for hope.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cordelia Redux

The burden of knowledge my daughter says, is upon the writer and not the reader. Sometimes the burden is described as follows: "As we accumulate more knowledge, more knowledge must be known before new contributors can contribute." Here is it is simply that the reader must know who Cordelia is to appreciate the words.

So I explain...

The youngest and favorite daughter of King Lear is Cordelia, who struggles to find kind words to say about her father. William Shakespeare made a play out of it, which is correctly called a tragedy. Its first known performance was on St. Stephen's Day, December 26th, in 1606.



Cordelia Redux 

My lord and father, 
I am the last to speak, with the least to say 
Sad am I, I cannot heave 
My heart into my mouth, I love your majesty 
I love my father more, according to my bond, 
Not more nor less, I confess
Like any good daughter, I would love and be silent 
Leave me to my duty, I have no need to boast 
That the truth is so untender 
To obey and love and honor 
And nothing can I add



Dear Dad,
Okay, It is sad, but
Every daughter does what she should do
Nothing more nor less need be said
To obey and love and honor is the past
The truth is
I have no time to stay
I need the keys, the car, some cash
I’ve got to dash
Cordelia, a painting by William Frederick Yeames

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Back in the saddle again.

I see it has been awhile.

I've been wondering if you wondered where I've been. Well, I've been here and there, mostly there, but now I am back, back in the saddle again.

Back in the saddle
I don't suppose I have much new to add.

Just remember, no matter how much time passes between our meetings, no matter what takes place in meanwhile, there are some things we can never assign to the trashcan, memories are like embers in the fireplace, and there is always a spark to rekindle the flame.

But I will leave you with Gene Autry's lyrics from Back in the Saddle Again. Take from them what you will.

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Whoopi-ty-aye-oh
Rockin` to and fro
Back in the saddle again
Whoopi-ty-aye-yay
I go my way
Back in the saddle again

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Whoopi-ty-aye-oh

Rockin` to and fro

Back in the saddle again

Whoopi-ty-aye-yay

I go my way

Back in the saddle again



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting



Out there something incredible is waiting to be known, look for it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winter's Pie


Kansas Blackbird


Sing a Song of Sixpence
By Mother Goose


Sing a song of sixpence, 
A pocket full of rye, 
Four and twenty blackbirds 
Baked in a pie. 
When the pie was opened 
The birds began to sing— 
Wasn't that a dainty dish 
To set before the king? 
The king was in the counting-house 
Counting out his money, The queen was in the parlor 
Eating bread and honey, 
The maid was in the garden 
Hanging out the clothes. 
Along came a blackbird 
And snipped off her nose.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bede's Advice


Female Sparrow, England, image diliff, cc


Bede’s Advice

 

"O’ King,

It seems to me

The life of man on earth

Is short and swift

Like the flight of the sparrow

In the darkest winter

That flies through the room wherein you sit at supper,

With your earlmen and thegns,

As the fire blazes in your midst,

As the meadhall is warmed,

As drinks are raised about

In salute of your wealth and health

As the wintry storms of snow rage about. 

The tiny sparrow, black and brown, grey and white

Unarmed except for wings

And a chest to boast its prowess

With feathers loosely fitting

As if it forgot to tuck in his shirt

As indescript as the twigs

With which it makes its house

As grimy as the dirt wherein it finds its food

The life of man, O’ King, is short

As this tiny sparrow, who

Flying in the door at once is quickly out the window

O’ King,

While within he’s safe

From the wintry tempest,

From his kith and kin who plot,

From his neighbors who covet his lot,

And would steal his kingdom

So, this life, O’ King, of ours,

Appears for a little while

And what may follow or went before

Is uncertain



[Note. This poem is based a passage from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, Chapter XIII, (Bede c. 673-735). The pagan King Edwin of Northumberland wishing to marry a Christian princess was told he must convert. He assembled his advisors and, after listening to the Christian Paulinus, one of Edwin's advisors recited the parable of the sparrow, concluding that if this new Christian teaching brings knowledge more certain, it seems right that the king should follow it.]