When In Rome!
an Abyssinian (I made her),
a Brataslzvian (he was worst),
a Cannibal (uh-oh),
a Colombian (smoking hot),
a Cynic (she didn’t believe the Canadian),
a Druid (he prayed for the Dominican),
a Fool (ha ha),
a Helgolandian (he was and gone),
an Iraqi (they three went into a bar),
a Lush (one in every crowd),
a Monster (them is the odds),
an Olympian (he was game),
an Opportunist (coulda been me),
a Pole (he vaulted over the rest – *joke*),
a Québécoise (I’ll never forget her / Je me souviens),
a Russian (great dancer – he had the steps),
a Southerner (I melt when she says ‘Y’all) ,
a Transvalanian (out for blood),
a Vulcan (he was eerie),
an Xanaduian (and on her dulcimer she played),
an Xaverian (he shot daggers at the Dominican),
a Zarahthustain (thus he spoke a lot)
The Canadian won the first game.
So, there is no question that the world needs more elephants. The more the merrier, say I.
On the loose and living the good life.
Tanking up on fresh food.
Swilling up at the water holes.
Getting a mud bath on the muddy shores,.
Getting a dust bath in the dust fields.
And making a hellova lot more baby elephants.
And those elephants still alive (and – alas- they are getting easier to count) should be left alone by the vicious human beasts who slaughter them for fun and ivory.
An Elephant stampede would come in right handy.
Now, I’m partial to Elephants, having written a book of short stories where an elephant holds his own in conversations with God.
Yes, God gets a good talking to, though the Almighty does manage to give as good as He gets.
So, I’m all for WORLD Elephant Day.
In fact, I’d give them a whole Week.
Nay, a whole Month.
Alright, a whole Year!!
They’re BIG animals. They can handle it.
“Circles are the answer.
“Just look at any circle and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, no one else is to know about the circles. They must be very stupid if they can’t see something so obvious.
“Yet, you get hints, don’t you – all the time out there. And in your own life – the way things happen so you never get anywhere. Never change.
“The earth, of course, and the sun – well, that’s something you can see. Either way you look at it, the one goes around the other in a big circle that takes in the whole sky. And the earth and the sun and the moon are round – all circles in their own right. So you have circles which are going around in circles, if you get my meaning.
“And if you look further – reach out into the universe as far as you can go – they tell us that everything is going around everything else. Smaller circles and elongated circles which take in such large distances that numbers become forgotten.
“Now, this means that everything, eventually, comes back upon itself. The beginning is really the end. That’s what most people would think – and that’s where they make their mistake.
“You see, things don’t start by beginning – they start by ending. It’s the end which comes first in a circle, so, instead of going back to where it started, it comes back to its end.
“That explains it.”
[Image] https: //i2.wp.com/everwideningcircles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1-milkyway-galaxy.jpg?resize=1600%2C901&ssl=1
My Present / Your Future
Still in this World
A Life Away
You would find it perverse to be wished a “Happy” birthday, but your response would be gracious. Such is the reality you understand, and how you deal with it. I have found that your reality is actually real.
Although it will give you no pleasure – well, ‘little’ pleasure – you are correct in all your observations.
Governments become the tools of the bureaucracies which run them. It doesn’t matter what type of Government, from the monarchy under which you lived, to the right wing horror of fascists that called themselves socialists, to the inept socialism pretending to be ‘for the people’. All three governments held their sway over the city where you spent your life. All three oppressed the people they ruled. All three looked after themselves first.
Writers are either writers or they aren’t. The urge to write encircles one like a snake around its prey. Feed it and it won’t quite squeeze you to death. You can not ignore it – even at your peril. It is with you every hour of every day, ever inquisitive and (sadly) always looking for something better.
Love is a see-saw of extremes. Every high guarantees a low. Every low reaches for a high. Every high reaches for a high. When these hills and valleys are eventually levelled, they are still desired.
Sex is highly over rated. The thing of it is, even rated fairly ’tis a consummation devoutly to be had. Yes – I know – you appreciate Shakespeare. On a par with Goethe, even if you can’t bring yourself to say the words.
People are just one damned thing after another. Of course, so many people have brought you blessings, you throw up you hands to ward off the snake. And sometimes – some few times – it loosens its grip.
There is no castle with walls thick enough to hide against the perils of being human. Which is why you never tried.
Except the grave, of course.
Except the grave.
And, in my novel about him, Kafka In The Castle, I gave him this diary entry.
What sights indeed are these, that cause the racing clocks to pant their minutes in counterpoint to a life still learning the difference between wretchedness and love?
The swing goes up and the swing goes down, and then goes up again. If you are on that race, with childish yells, and up-down-mess-it-around feelings in the pit of your stomach, they haven’t lowered that coffin lid yet.
No, not yet.
What sights indeed are these, that make a heart argue the worth of dying, and ring the bells across the hill when there is no hand upon the rope?
There are happy tunes on the breeze and, yes, even the unicorn lifts its head with twitching ears and mouth agape.
And even (so it has been recorded, in long-ago books) our Lord Jesus God would pause in His ministrations at the wonder of it all.
What sights indeed are these, that ease the night’s passage and sow the fields full of restful dawn?
A race against the end is run by all of us; when the kitten kicks and purrs through her ball of string, or when the ancient’s cane tap-taps across the room. Eyes, whether young; or dim; or blind; can still open in amazement, and still marvel at the ever-changing newness.
Marvel and rejoice.
What sights indeed are these, that turn all tunes into rhapsodies of joy, and make the moon do gypsy dances through the night sky?
A sky of stars that shower and shake and stream across the galaxies to cram unto the ends of the distant universe. Grains of sand upon the shore would take sensitive fingers, and a lifetime of counting, yet still could never fill this distant space where even numbers stand in awe.
Zeros with mouths agape.
I first visited Europe years before the Euro was the accepted coin of the realm. In fact, there were many coins of many realms, and all that money caused a fuss.
I kept a daily diary of this trip, and plan to make it a part of any memoirs I might write. So I’ve hauled it out and will make some blogs from it. But they will be greatly abridged.
Around ten o’clock I set out for Checkpoint Charlie. I say that I set out for Checkpoint Charlie, but i would be less than truthful if I stated I got there easily. In fact, I threw my destiny into the hands of Fate to get there at all. For the first time I did what I understand is a favourite pass time of tourists, I executed a complete circle and returned to the Hostel. At least I wasn’t lost.
I set out again, knowing I was to go past a particular building, and also go through a large field. Surprisingly enough, after a ten minute walk, I unexpectedly came to Checkpoint Charlie. And there were the people from the group I was travelling with, who shuffled me into their midst and thus near the front of the line.
Going past the British soldiers was a matter of seconds. You gave your name and the time you expected to return and that was it. Then told you were not allowed to take any photos, you headed to the East German barrier. Here they took your passport; you filled in forms; you had to exchange some of your money for East German money (which you had to spend in the East); got little slips of paper stuck into your passport; walked to a further barrier where you again showed your passport, and then the next thing you were doing was walking in East Berlin.
We had been told to walk along the street until we came to Unter den Linden and then stay on it. We could go down side street, but always return to Unter den Linden. And that is what we did – more or less.
What I had expected of East Berlin was a dark, grey, dirty city, with haggard, suspicious-looking people in 1950’s clothing slinking along the streets with large bundles in their hands. I actually saw little difference in the people, or the place, than what I had seen in West Berlin.
Yes, it was more run-down looking, and there were more ruined buildings, and even buildings that were war-scarred, but it was clean and neat, and the people were like anyone else, though there were far fewer on the streets.
[More to come another day]
I was pleased as punch when I realised the other day that I had taken a Gap Year many years ago. And I was surprised to find that ‘Gap Year’ is a term which started in the 1960s. I rather thought it was from Academia in England from centuries ago.
I was correct to associate Gap Year with travel to new places, or a time to do good deeds. But also – happily – it was also a year between high school and university for students to take a turn in the real world through gainful employment.
The latter was me – admittedly edged forward by the fact that my Algebra marks were deplorable. I got an almost immediate job as an Apprentice Plate Maker in a printing shop. I doubt such a job exists anymore.
My job was two-fold. I placed negatives of photos and text on a metal plate, that had a mixture of chemicals hardened to its surface. Then I placed the metal plate, with negatives, in front of two burning pieces of a substance I no longer remember. They looked like two large and thick pencils. I believe an electrical current set the pencils alight, and the resulting, concentrated fire, burned all the chemical surface off the metal plate, except for the part covered by the negatives. The end result was a metal plate with nothing but the required image upon it.
The metal plate was then coated in ink, which only adhered to the raised image. The image was then transferred to paper and cardboard, making logos (we did many spice labels) plus photos and text. There would be a separate metal plate created for each different colour.
Thus went my Gap Year, which lasted fourteen months. No travels of the world, and no altruistic attempts to make the world a better place.
But I did help sell spice.
I saw a sight that I believe I have actually never seen, though it is fabled the world over.
Standing on the front stoop to test the air I saw a robin on the grass. Robins are rather skittish and usually, when a human presence is so close, it will make them hop (and they truly do *hop*) away. But this one stayed put.
My understanding is that birds ‘hear’ the worms under the earth – that is how they detect them. I assume that is why they so often have their head in a cocked position. However, for this robin, the listening part of the chase was over.
As I watched the robin made a strike into the earth with its beak. It was then that an almost cartoon-like image occurred. The bird had a portion of the worm in its beak and began to pull. It pulled and pulled and the worm stretched and stretched. It made me think of someone pulling a threaded needle from the fabric they were sewing. The length of the worm became even longer than the robin’s body. With this constant and slow tug, the worm finally popped out of the earth.
Then the robin had a go at it.
The bird took at the long, brown earthworm and began to snip off pieces with its beak. It could not have been more effective if it had a pair of scissors. Substantial, beak-sized pieces which it swallowed quickly. The long earthworm became shorter and shorter, giving the robin less to hold on to. In under two minutes the worm became one remaining morsel hanging from the robin’s beak. It was only then that the robin began to hop across the grass. The last piece of worm disappeared inside the robin and the robin quickly took off.
One satisfied predator.
One less worm.