Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

Go ye heroes!

The very tiniest snowflakes (more like pixie dust) are frolicking outside my window. It is morning, the winter sun is below the trees, lighting up this crystal display in the same way that a late an early evening sun in the summer illuminates the air dancing of tiny winged insect troupes. These snowflakes are related to the blizzard that has swept across the eastern half of the country in the last few days; applying a thin layer of confectioner's sugar to our deck instead of the mountains of thick frosting our neighbors to the south have received. I do not complain. Our turn will come. It always does in Grafton.

The aerial display outside contrasts oddly with the earworm I find looping in my brain. It is not a blizzard I am contending with, but rather scenes of bastions, breached bulwarks and bloody defeats.
The earworm to which I allude is one of my favorite songs from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance": Go ye Heroes!


Kevin Kline plays the Pirate King who is taking on the Constabulary, under a very Modern Major-General Stanley. The General and his daughters (led by Linda Ronstadt...go figure) are urging the troops to "Go to Immortality" and sacrifice themselves in the obviously bloody and hopeless quest to preserve their father's dubious honor and their dubious chastity. "Though ye die in combat gory, ye shall live in song and story...". This Chaplinesque scene is wonderful in every respect. Except that it is stuck in my head.

Here's the problem, I think.

Life is a battle, one skirmish, ambush, sortie, defense, battle royal after the next. No brilliant deduction here, just a reality I am reminded of every time this accursed tape loop reloads and fires. Gilbert and Sullivan capture perfectly the crazy juxtaposition of noble battles and pointless glory. This is not to say that all battles are pointless, all glory futile and no conflict noble. There are plenty of major modern battles that would give Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan fodder for their operatic cannons. Each of these battles (pick your poison) matters desperately to someone, and many of them are brutal and tragic.

Out there, for so seems the rest of the world outside of our mountain village, horrible battles rage. I know of them, watch them, feel them and pray for peace. In my safe little world the battle ground is in my mind, and the battles are largely of my own fearful construction. Whatever the conflict du jour is I alternately take the part of the Pirate King or the Major-General. In moments of sanity (such as now, I hope) I see the comedy in it all, and know that I am neither called to "Go to death and Go to slaughter...", nor to "Vary piracy with a little burglary...". In mindful moments I see this. When under the spell of the earworm I am easily lost in visions of bravely conquering giants or succumbing to scoundrels.

Life is a battle...or maybe better, there is suffering...so,neither a hero, nor a pirate be.

The snow dust continues to dance outside the window. The sun is actually bringing warmth to the near side of the plate glass.

In and About - Kinderhook, NY

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