Sherlock Holmes in "The Red Headed League"
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes has been in and on my mind the past few days. Periodically, I will read a half-dozen or so short stories regaling the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's premiere private investigator. This, I have been doing once again. They seem to clear my mind. In the photograph are David Burke, portraying Dr. John Watson, Jeremy Brett, playing Sherlock Holmes, and Jeremy Kemp, in the role of Dr. Grimesby Roylett, as they appear in the Granada Television production of "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." For those who appreciate authenticity and period material in films, note the sketch of "Chinese Gordon" on the wall behind the actors. General Charles George Gordon was the General David Petraeus of his era, and a national hero in Britain during the time of Holmes. Incidentally, he was killed in a 19th Century version of a holy war conducted by the Islamic Muslims against the West. Some things never seem to change.
Personally, I do not believe in "bliss"
Do peace of mind, happiness, contentment and even -- in the words of philosopher Joseph Campbell -- "bliss" exist deeply within each of us, or are these things to be found through external elements as in a place or through another person? (A discussion of Campbell's concept of "bliss" would make for an interesting post someday, I think.)
It has been my opinion that most people (perhaps, all people) who claim to have found peace of mind, happiness, contentment and their "bliss" either are liars or self-delusional. I could be wrong, but this is what I think. (Incidentally, Holmes more-or-less agrees with that.)
For myself, I know that something is missing in my life and, almost certainly, that ingredient is something within myself that I have lost or, possibly, has always been entirely missing from me. But, that is only part of the equation, I think, because I believe I must find the "right place" and the "right person" to bring out and to nurture that missing, internal element.
Yet, in the same breath, the longer I live, the less I believe there is such a place as the "right place." Maybe, not even the "right person."
I think that I could live in Warsaw or Firenze or Minneapolis or you name the metropolitan place for part of the year, but, maybe, then drift for a portion of the year and then, for sure, be near the woodlands of America for some of the year. I cannot understand why that is so difficult for anyone to accept or to believe.
Although if there were no such thing as the legend of the Holy Grail and an innate, insatiable desire among some men and women to find it, what fun would life be for them? Still, I do not believe in either a Holy Grail or in bliss. I suppose that is a paradox and self-defeating, and makes all pursuit trivial.
Ah, well …. the show must go on, just as I sometimes ramble on and on and on and on ....
The days dwindle rapidly now
On Monday or Tuesday, I will be gone from this townhouse, never to return. I am certain I will have a few memories of my nearly four months here, but no memorable memories.
When I rented this townhouse, I actually had hope I might be joined here for the summer while I sorted through my personal possessions, took care of unfinished business, got my affairs in order (that line sounds like something out of Sherlock Holmes, does it not?) and, together, plotted a course for the future. Obviously, that did not happen. Wishful thinking, but what is life other than a story of victories and defeats. So, here I am, three or four days away from going somewhere and still undecided where that somewhere will be.
There is a lake about twenty-five miles away where I have lived twice in the past, for about two years on each occasion. I looked at a house for rent at the lake a few weeks ago, but decided against it because I would have been locked into a lease through the end of next May. Too, too long, for me. I will be looking at another house at the lake in a day or two for which the owner said she would be willing to negotiate the length of a lease. We shall see.
I really would prefer to perch for another two or three months than to be on the road traveling with no goal or objective in mind. That would be like firing a rifle into the air and hoping the bullet hits something. I want to have specific targets in mind when I fire off my rounds.
I am laughing, though. This episode has a great deal of comic relief to it. Some few of you might know that I received my bachelor's and master's degrees here in Mankato. Several years ago, after being absent from "here" four months, I returned to resume by classes. I came into town cold (figuratively speaking, although it could have been literally as well) in January, with the temperature well below zero and no place to stay. I was preparing to spend the night in my car when I ran into a friend, who took me to his home (his parents' home, actually) and they put me up until I was able to rent an apartment.
Now, history sort of is repeating itself, except it is hot and humid and I am on my way out of town rather than arriving. The next few days will be like putting the proverbial monkey at the keyboard and waiting to see what sort of story emerges.
Yes, we most certainly shall see.