Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Guard at The Gate

Here at my castle there's a guard at the gate. In my castle I hold the keys to all my past, and to my present, and wonder about the future. Given the Internet, and my computer, and social media, I can see or look up and find the 'friends' and family of days gone by. They do not see me in my dressing gown, my coffee beside me getting cold, nor do they feel the tears I at times have at the fond memory of this one or that. I am preserved, digitally, as are they. And each to each we no longer are actual realities, shaking hands, seeing into each other's eyes. We can but assume tone from text. We can but hope that the love and hugs and kisses are meant with sincerity. We can but harp on old feelings, old memories, and recall the details or feed the need to add yet more. Yet who really cares how many laundry-loads I do today? Perhaps the devil is in the details. Almost every phrase can appear narcissistic, self-reflective though it (and this) may be.

Thing is, the guard at the gate needs a password, needs assurance that your missive to me is well-intended, is authorized. (It can be daunting to find, or to reach the other.) When last did we communicate? What are the details we recall, that we ought better to recall? Should someone have lost a mother or father, and I've forgotten about it, I may well be remiss in asking after their health! Then too, there are too many of our friends who face death and dying, it seems, far too early. And what of those far older than us? There are the effects of stroke, the results of which are the heart-stopping attacks that we fear. There are the aches and pains of a thousand natural circumstances. In sharing, some persons are happy to spare no details; others are most circumspect. A modicum of happy mediums, usually, is in the modifier. (Must one always be on guard?) But at least, when asked, and ensconced within the purview of my own castle, I am at liberty to choose just how much to reveal of my otherwise private ails.

Long-distance relationships tend to do that to us; they divorce us from intimacy, real intimacy, in which one can see, hear, touch, and smell the other. (Writing that much helps us to stay in touch, ha!) "Familiarity breeds discontent," goes the saying. And being with and around anyone too long can indeed strain at whatever romance, adulation, favour, and even respect one may harbour for the other. "Beware disliking the faults in others," the adage goes, "they are in you." (It often takes me by surprise just how comprehensive that ‘they’ is!) And in exercising compassion, in being aware of the need to be yet more integrative, one can grow and grow. “Don’t hide your light,” says Professor Morrie Schwartz. Yet still, there is the guardian at the gate. We choose our words carefully, or not. We consider and then act with care, or not. We try to assume nothing 'wrong' with another, yet we hold the other in abeyance with our judgement or appraisal, or not. And we certainly don't always do our best with whatever we've got at the given moment, for we are innately lazy. "Laziness is the original sin," says Scott Peck. So... I do not communicate with you as often as I 'should'.

Guarded, and careful, I allow you the news I think you'd like to hear; or worse, I take in and recall only the news from you of interest to me. (One does not necessarily listen to the other.) We are creatures unto ourselves, each moving about with our own interests. Birds do that. Utterly focused on what each hopes to find in someone else's turf; only at the provocation of alarm do they flock off. "Birds of a feather flock together," is Holland's Theory. It is the guard at my gate that disallows the looky-loos. That guard has me kept safe. And when you attempt to visit, or to come find me, or to drop in (unexpectedly), that guard can find curt phrases and intellectual sophisms with which to dissuade you, waylay you, and even discard you. Sorry!

"Every man is his own castle," someone wrote; meaning 'hu-man'. Thing is, the mote around us does have crocodiles or orcas or bug-catchers or biting dogs, and we do have a drawbridge. And unless really, truly, all alone, we do not even have to answer to anyone saying, "who was that knocking at the door?" Yes, truly, one is never really very much alone to do exactly as one wishes at all. The guard at the gate knows that; one is watched over. Always.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Winsome Words

Somewhere in all the words are real people. We write with care and love and hugs and affection and phrases that can sound trite, or not. We write that we may connect. We write with a sense that the other will chew on our words; (will masticate.) Ha! We hope that we will reach the other. We trust that they will understand. (Diction matters.) And thereby, in the solipsistic stylization of our affect we hope the effect will be enduring. We write to send love, care, thought, and well-wishes for the others' welfare. Yet we care not too much about spelling or homonyms or phonemes. We trust all will be forgiven. Because somewhere in all the words are real people.

Death brings on that bereft feeling of never hearing from a person again. Little deaths occur month after month as time slips into years and one thinks about the loss of contact from so and so, or him and her. We are creatures of the moment. And so, we tell what's happening 'now'. That we were in Ottawa once is interesting, to me. We saw the Canadian History museum, visited the Houses of Parliament, and went to a maple-syrup farm. Yet the more detail, the less you may identify. My words may lose you; though somewhere in there is the real me. We are mirrors of each other. We reflect that which we know. And we keep behind our backs the things the other does not see. Death is like that. It takes away the chance yet once more to be able to peer into the other's eyes, and to see the soul. (When shall one never again hear the (last) words of the other? Hm?)

Words are such constructs. We fixate on meanings. The soul is named, so it must exist. So too must Santa. And so forth. Constructs make up our mythologies. Yet history has made a mockery of the immanent beliefs of the Greeks, and then the Romans, and then the Celts, and the Zulu. Their gods have lost power. Beliefs have eroded. Words denoting cherished entities have devolved from adulation to mere intellectual apprehension. We no longer recall the Pantheon. We no longer have reference or deference. Yet in the present we now co-exist with words that give other meaning and import, (despite the avowed intention of some to have those self-same contentions overthrown). OMG! The constructs of our times are imminent iconoclastic impulses toward the dissolutions of eminence. We are in, 'The Iconoclastic Age'! (as hereby given coinage.)

Names for things appear to bring them to life. Kathmandu can be found. So can Timbuktu! But Xanadu is sadly no longer. Yet all of history precedes us, and within the scope and content of its passage we each have had the seeds of progeny that have brought us, willy-nilly, to this place, you and me, (or, "I, and Thou," as Martin Buber would have it). Children become adults.

Trouble is, there are so very many things to know. For some, there are so very many concepts to refute! There are (hierarchical) rungs to climb in the metaphors and analogies of life. But taking on yet one more rubric can be like taking on an accretion of mere facts, rather than being given the wings to soar to the next levels. Words. They can make or break me. Familial words. (That everyone has a Mummy and Daddy certainly does not make all parents the same. Even Brothers and Sisters applies, usually, to The Chosen.)

Words. Big ones are off-putting. Small ones can be paltry. Thing is, words between us are about things, people, and ideas. We apportion the subjects according to our own proclivities. But most frequent is the weather, the immediate, the sense of an other's health, well-being, and welfare, and then the mention of places been, places to go, and the feeling of missing the other (or why write at all?) And in all of these words, somewhere, are the real people. Writing about it all. You?