Monday, October 25, 2010

October, seen from behind an ancient oak

Just at the moment you begin to think you are alone, you look over your shoulder and there is the full moon, peering at you through the nearly bare branches of a huge, old oak tree, watching every movement you make. Wherever you hide, the full moon will search you out and find you.

Just the moon and me .... and, you ....

It seems to me that the magic of the moon -- the full moon, in particular -- is that it connects you with others.

You can look at a full moon, and realize that someone you know on the other side of the world has seen the same moon just a few hours earlier (or will see it, just a few hours later). You can be talking on the telephone to a person a few thousand miles away across America, and both be looking at the same full moon as you speak.

It is the same moon your earliest ancestor saw (and, perhaps, knelt before); the same moon which shone down upon the builders of the Egyptian pyramids; the same moon Homer watched rise as he wrote "The Odyssey;" the same moon your grandchildren's grandchildren will play beneath on a summer evening far into the future -- into a time when you can see it no more.

And, this October, the full moon found me once again, although I had fled from everything and from almost everyone as I always do when autumn makes its appearance.

Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Does each man's death diminish me?

My first encounter with the words of John Donne came from reading the words of Ernest Hemingway. He used "for whom the bell tolls" as his title for a novel about the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. He was there for a while. Hemingway, I mean, not Donne. All right, I am playing around trying to be funny again.

This was in high school. I did not actually begin to read Donne until a few years later, in college. The words of Donne's "Meditation" unquestionably are among the most beautiful and touching ever written. Incidentally, he led quite a life.

The questions to me always have been, are the concepts found in Donne's "Meditation" relevant? Are they true? Why should I accept them?

Without going into a detailed, back-and-forth discussion about these points, I will simply say that while the words are beautiful and touching, I believe them to be wishful thinking for a Utopian society that, in all probability, can never exist, today or tomorrow.

I think this because I do believe there are genuinely good and indisputably evil individuals born into this world. Most of "us" fall somewhere between good and evil, but some very few are at the furthest extents of the good/evil spectrum.

Therefore, I ask the question, does the death of an evil man diminish me?

To which, I say no.

What say you?


its_me_in_montana said...

I saw that very same full moon, shrouded in the thin veil of a cloud, over the mountain across the road. Most awesome, and most magic!

I am a part of mankind, but do not believe the death of a stranger, whether they be good or evil, would diminish me. The death of someone close, that was a good person would diminish me for certain. The death of someone close, that was an evil person, would not, (it would probably make me dance a jig).

Anonymous said...

You know, this is kind of creepy. The first thing I did when I read your post was to look out the window, and guess what? Because of the dark-times over here the moon is up still and it's hanging JUST above my kitchen window, seemingly angled directly at me. It's not completely full, but I have to admit I jumped a little when I saw it.
I've always thought of the full moon as something mystified and magical.
It's said that my great grandfather believed the moon evoked some sort of "illness" or "angst" within him.
Whenever there was a full moon he'd wander aimlessly around for hours just to shrug it off.
My grandfather claimed to have inherited it, even though he never believed in supernatural things, and my mom says she has it too. I don't know about me, but the sight of the full moon on a deep midnight sky stirs my blood somehow, that's for certain.
Exciting post, Fram.

Maddalena said...

I think he was speking from the point, where goodness and evilness are not opposite any more.

Excelent picture, Frammy!

Fram Actual said...

I am a night person and a moon watcher by nature, Boni, and it always feels reassuring when I am able to look into the sky and see the moon, especially when it is full.

It appears we share the same sentiment regarding "diminishing deaths." Some are needed, whether we like the idea or not.

Fram Actual said...

This photograph actually was taken the evening of October 23, Nanna, the night of the October full moon.

As I mentioned in my comment above, I am a night person and a moon watcher, and I find it comforting to discover the full moon watching me, although the notion of "moonstruck" is as old as time itself.

I know a woman who has a difficult time sleeping during the few days the moon is full, although part of this problem simply is the amount of light it casts. She absolutely cannot sleep at all in daylight.

That the moon affects people differently, though, I have no doubt, and I also believe that this can be physiological as well as psychological. If the moon can influence the ocean tides, who can accurately estimate what it might be capable of doing to the human body.

As for me, the moon seems like an ancient friend I have always known, and a guide into the future.

Fram Actual said...

It is a nice view from the Lake House to the tree and the lake beyond it, Mag, and better yet (it seems to me) when the full moon is rising over the lake. The oak tree is very large, too. Its actual size is not revealed through the photo.

Yes, John Donne might have been speaking from the mid-point of the spectrum and, if that is the case, then his concept might be valid. It is your nature, I think, to always look for the goodness in people.

Anonymous said...

So Fram is looking at the moon again.Remeber what the Voluspa told Odin when he asked about his future.And be aware of Fenris.He will gladly eat you alive if you choose the wrong path.Good luck in your new destination.

Fram Actual said...

It is nice to see you back again, Anita.

Perhaps, Fenris = Fram, and I am destined to slay Odin and then be slain by his son in that final battle. In the very least, I assume Fenris is my cousin.

Thank you, for the wish of good luck. I am a believer in luck, both good and bad, and I welcome as much good luck as can be granted to me.

Anonymous said...

Yes I know Fram..I know...

I am thinking of your path.
Have you moved now.

It is good to hear your voice.

Fram Actual said...

I still am at the Lake House, Anita, until Sunday and, possibly, a few days longer. After that, as of this moment, who knows ????

There is no reason people who have never actually met should argue and be angry with one another. It is better to be friends, at least it is to my way of thinking. This is your choice to make.

Anonymous said...

Do you still not know where to go?
Have you packed your things and what about internet and so on when you leave..

Some time ago you told me to leave.To forget about you, remeber?

There is nothing more I want ,then to be friends with you.

Fram Actual said...

Anita, what I had said (or, at least, had tried to say) was make up your mind. Either leave or stay, but stop bouncing around by leaving one day, angry and upset, then returning a few days later, then leaving again after a few more days. Go or stay, but quit playing emotional games.

If you become angry about something I say or do, no problem, just remember that friends stay friends despite differences.

Anyway, I have no clue where I will be or what I will be doing in November, but I have three or four days yet to decide. Maybe, I will go back into the Marine Corps and head for Afghanistan. Life is a blast -- sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively -- is it not?

Anonymous said...

You are always so angry at me Fram and I have done nothing to you.And dont understand emotional games.Whatever, it is good to talk to you sometimes.

It is a good idea to return to war again.May be you will meet my ex down there.

I dont know about life.I think it is a struggle all of it from birth to death.

Fram Actual said...

Anita, I only have been angry at you once, and you know very well why -- the remarks you made about me on Kelly's blog, which were so nasty she later deleted them. Friends do not say such things about friends, even when upset.

So, that is my last remark about this matter. Go, if you choose, or be a friend, if you choose. My only thought is choose; make up your mind.

Actually, I think I am going to San Francisco in a few weeks, by way of Lake Tahoe. After that, the Florida Keys until Winter gives up and disappears. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

What????you tell me I have said someting bad about you on kellyies blog that was so bad she deleted them?Well I tell you -mr.That is not true..and i have them all in my prove that lie,You are putting on me

.I think you behave strange to me and we can never be friends although i want to.. you seems always unpleased with me whatever I do.Well I will not talk this bullshit no more..

But it is good to clean the air.

Now i know you a little bit more.

Kaya said...

The Moon and Me, or just the moon..... Insanely beautiful photograph!!!!

And I have to tell you that I think soon I will begin to steal from you poetry also.

"For whom the bell tolls..." These words mean a lot to me. They were a discovery of Hemingway. And later falling in love with him.

I still have this book in my little home library in English. Maria, old woman Pillar and her wisdom and of course love.....

I returned back and found this post and I thought how good that I am back and can read again what you are writing. I enjoy your writing a lot, Fram.

Thank you for introducing us to John Donne. I like his first verse "no man is an island, entire of itself..." That is true and I thought about it but Donne found such precise words.......

Anonymous said...

Thanx very much for my birth day present i received from you today:)))

It was not what i wanted but it is ok..thank you dear!!!:))

Fram Actual said...

I saw the nasty comment you wrote with my own eyes, Anita, before Kelly deleted it, so I know the nature of your remarks. I am not certain if you have selective memory or what your problem is/was, but your denial is ludicrous.

Ask Kelly if your memory fails you for whatever reason. She is the person who deleted your comment. I do not have to make up things about you, as your insistence on denying what you wrote reveals some sort of two-faced personality.

As for your birthday, I hope those in the future will be better than was this one for you. Whether they will be or not depends solely upon you, not upon anyone else.

Fram Actual said...

Well, Kaya, welcome back to the sea of blogs, and thank you, for your kind words regarding my post.

Steal anything you want here, if you enjoy it. There is no reason for the existence of my blog other than to share and to exchange words and thoughts.

Yes, I think I am in agreement with those who believe "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is Ernest Hemingway's best book. He has a few short stories that I like better, but not because they are written in a better fashion or because they tell a better story. And, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for "The Old Man and the Sea," but I still think "For Whom .." to be the superior of the two.

"For Whom .." probably is the best piece of writing John Donne put forth, too. He was a multi-talented man, but nothing else he did matches it, in my opinion.

So, I see you have posted a bit of photography. I will visit you soon.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Something special ....