Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Awaiting the return of she -- a variation
"Well, not exactly," would be my response to the question should anyone actually interpret the title of this post as a literary allusion to Ayesha. More likely, however, no one reading this post has ever heard of Ayesha or of the novels, "She" and "Ayesha, the Return of She," by H. Rider Haggard. However, without ever realizing it you may have brushed against Ayesha in a metaphorical sense as characters based on her who have appeared in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or wondered who she was had you read Sigmund Freud's, "The Interpretation of Dreams," or spent some time absorbing the essays of Carl Jung. So, if your curiosity has not been aroused by now, it is not because I did not try. As for my title on this post, on occasion I have referred to myself as "He" -- usually in the context of "He who waits for She." I assume you get my drift. If not, suffice to say summer has returned, and a new season of my wait for "She" is under way.
Where is the homeland?
H. Rider Haggard was a writer of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, so you might have an excuse if you have not heard of him. All right, let us travel to the mid-Twentieth Century and mention a writer of that era: How many of you know who Jack Kerouac was?
How many of you are familiar with the words he wrote in a 1949 letter: "All of life is a foreign country."
How many of you think you know what Kerouac meant with those words?
How many of you care what that sentence means and sometimes think thoughts like that?
I go back and forth on Kerouac's literary significance. I first read his "On the Road" in college. I thought even then that Kerouac -- "the man" -- was more interesting than the book -- or any other book that he ever wrote, for that matter. Nothing has changed my mind since. He was a man's man who was more of a recorder of life around him than he was a novelist. Does that really change anything?
Once upon a time, I had the opportunity to interview Kerouac's buddy, Allen Ginsberg. He truly was a boring man, I thought at the time. But, he was speaking on the college circuit then, and, perhaps, he was bored from presenting the same talk to the idolizing child-students in his audiences and was reflecting or radiating that feeling toward anyone who spoke to him. I mention this because I would have much preferred to have interviewed Kerouac, but he was long dead by the time my path crossed with Ginsberg.
So, why am I writing these rambling thoughts? In recent weeks, I keep being reminded of the Kerouac quote: "All of life is a foreign country."
Being reminded of it often keeps me thinking about it often. And, I wonder. If Kerouac were right -- that life is a foreign country -- and, I think he might have been, then where is the homeland? The native soil? The land where I belong?
Asking questions is easy. Finding answers to them is what actually takes talent and ability. So far, I have not found the answer to that question. Possibly, the place where I belong is the place where "She” dwells.
Hmmmm. I wonder. I wonder if she sits beneath the branches of some other old tree waiting for me to arrive while, at the same time, I sit here -- beneath my World Tree (Yggdrasil) -- waiting for her.