Monday, December 31, 2012

The script is you and me

When I came into possession of this clock, it was wrapped in newspapers dated 1961. It is broken and does not run, and, I assume, this is why it was in a box wrapped in newspapers more than a half-century old. I have no idea how old it actually is, and it makes me wonder. I wonder how many times its tick-tock has sounded at the conclusion of an old year never to be known again, and how many times its chimes have announced the birth of a new year born with hope and anticipation of a better life .... I wonder. I wonder how many eyes have focused intently on this clock to watch it slip from one year to the next. I wonder how many shouts of "Happy New Year" it has heard. (Did you notice? We have moved from us watching it to it observing us, as if this clock were as alive as we. (Is it, in its own way?) I wonder how many lips it has witnessed kiss as a pledge of sorts to live better and faithfully and bravely into the unknown future of the coming year. I have located a horologist who will repair this rather dismal (in appearance) "creature" and make it run again. He will bring it back to life again, sort of .... I think. In a sense, those who watch time remain part of life as long as time exists; those who measure time come and go, arrive and leave, with the passing years. As for the music about time posted here today, take your pick which melody, which set of words, if either, is a reflection of you. As for today and tomorrow, make them whatever you wish them to be: The coming "happy new year" is your year to be what you make it. See you there ....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pathways of a wandering mind

Just in case the land sinks into the seas followed by the oceans drawn up into the heavens tomorrow (the Mayan calendar, you might recall), I decided the last photograph on my page before this catastrophic event would be one of what I love best (well, sort of best) -- woodlands and water -- during the season I prefer. This photo was taken last July several minutes after sunset. Just to taunt and to tease, it was not taken in Minnesota, I might add. In fact, it was not even taken in the United States. Hmmmm .... still another mystery for you to contemplate. Although the technical quality of the photo is, of course, dismal, the view conveys my image of the Earth as it would be if the Garden of Eden actually did exist today. And, if you think it is easy, try your own hand at taking a photo in a boat moving at high speed in open water well after dusk.

Our days -- yesterday, today & tomorrow

Your new day is about to begin; my old day is about to end.

Are we any different or any better off or any worse off than we were a few hours ago? Well, I do not think that I am, anyway.

A bill came from my attorney, so I am a few dollars poorer, but not really any different.

I have been thinking about you, wondering about you. And, as you certainly must know, I also have been thinking about myself and wondering about myself.

I think that I have lived a while and have learned much and seen much and experienced much, but tomorrow a piece might fall off from an aircraft, crash through my roof and smash me like a bug. Is it an unexpected end we wait for rather than to hold hands today?

When I walk across my yard, I wonder how many bugs and ants or other forms of life I might have stepped upon and killed. Silly? Idiotic? Ridiculous? Some people believe life is not random. Some people believe this Judeo-Christian doctrine: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26, King James version.)

Uffff .... Just stand clear from me with any plans of "dominion."

Life is random, death is random; life is, I believe, futile, except for our emotions and our feelings and our defiance toward it. There have been times I have stood in the midst of a storm -- those made by Nature and those made by man -- and screamed in defiance into it. Yes, I really have. (He said with a smile and a sense that the world was mad.) I have never felt better about living than I did in those moments when the end could have been, but was not.

I am rambling. I am not sure if this is a note to you or simply my fingers moving across a keyboard. As I have written before, every bit of knowledge I possess resides in my fingers -- not in my mind, my head, my brain. Every part of my body knows more about me and about the world around me than do my mind, my head, my brain. My mind, my head, my brain form a road which leads nowhere.

The name of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wandered through my reality a few days ago. My favorite quote from the master is this: "A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days."

My interpretation of those words is this: Beware the Wolf in Winter.

You said something?

I wonder who I am
I wonder where I am
I wonder who I have been
I wonder where I am going
I wonder who I will be
I wonder why I am
I wonder why I wonder
To wonder
Becomes boring after a while.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Singing our way to oblivion

While contemplating how I could best spend my final hours before the end of the world arrives on December 21, I noticed that the Minnesota Opera production of, "Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts," airs that evening on public television (PBS). What better way to witness the end of everything than by watching a musical version of an event that occurred during "the war to end all wars" -- World War I? The photograph is from an actual performance, which, I must confess, I have not seen live on stage. For those not familiar with "Silent Night," the opera was commissioned and premiered in Saint Paul a year ago (yes, really .... backwoods Minnesota), and is based on the script from the 2005 film, "Joyeux Noel." I absolutely adore this story and enjoy this film which tells it, and have mentioned them a time or two in posts. To put the story in context, British, Canadian, French and German soldiers emerged from their trenches impromptu for a few hours on Christmas Eve in 1914 to join together singing Christmas carols. Even war has its miraculous moments. To offer a guide to the quality of this production, the music from "Silent Night," composed by Kevin Puts, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for music. So, look at your public broadcasting television schedules and, perhaps, we can be deep within our bunkers singing along with the music from the same opera on the evening the world comes to an end.

Do not say I did not warn you

I do not know about you, but I am scared straight, putting my affairs in order and on my knees praying to Quetzalcoatl every few hours.

Never mind that Quetzalcoatl was a god of the Aztecs and not of the Mayans, but since they were sort of neighbors and since I am not on a first name basis with any Mayan gods, I will hang tight with the Aztecs (or Mexicas, if you prefer). After all, divinity, real or imagined, is divinity. Not to mention that Quetzalcoatl is among my favorite gods (I love that name) and there is one theory that, in actuality, he was a Viking who tired of the cold and snow of Iceland and Newfoundland and Vineland and headed south for the winter. My kind of Viking, no doubt.

Please, do not laugh. I am serious.

And, yes, I know I am drifting and rambling and not getting to the point. What can I say? I was born a drifter, both literally and verbally.

Back on topic: I assume you do realize that the Mayan calendar ends with the arrival of December 21, 2012. I also am reasonably certain you are aware that, according to some, this amounts to a Mayan prophecy the end of you, me and the Earth will occur on December 21, 2012. Finally, I assume you are intelligent enough to know that December 21, 2012, is only six days away.

Although I am not buying it one hundred percent, I am taking no chances. Although any Mayan I have met has no clue when the end of life as we know it will arrive, I will err on the side of caution. Although my best guess is that this confusion arose simply because the Spanish conquistadors arrived and put an end to Mayan life and times and civilization before they had a chance to publish their next calendar, I will choose the conservative path.

Neither am I the least bit worried that I would not do just fine if I had to pick up, pack my bags and start all over again in Heaven or in Valhalla or in Tralfamadore or anywhere else on December 21. But, no matter, I still do plan to stay on the good side of Quetzalcoatl and to fill my underground bunker with fresh supplies to ensure survival if this is the real thing -- the real thing, but not a full-fledged cataclysmic thing. You do understand where I am coming from, do you not? Half the money in gold buried in the back yard; half the money in the bank -- in a manner of speaking. Mr. Nonchalant over here; Mr. Bunker Mentality over there.

So, I am not suggesting you build a bunker or try to get on the good side of Quetzalcoatl. I just thought I would mention that December 21 is only a few days away and there is no escaping that fact. Do what you must -- and, do not say I did not warn you ....

Monday, December 10, 2012

I think I am out of control

What do you think? About the barn, I mean. Not about me. This is my barn. It is red, but the color does not show up well because the world around it is white and gray and black. The intent of the photograph was neither technical excellence (you know me; it never is) nor to say, "Guess what? I have my own barn." It was to show my view from the window today. Eight inches of snow have fallen, and more is coming. My mood has been strange today. Usually, I whine and cry and complain about snow, but not tonight, although I have shoveled twice and probably will again in the morning. My mood is now influenced, I think, by what I have mentioned here recently: I now see a light at the end of the tunnel and have come to a realization what it means to me and for me. I have learned nothing new; I simply have remembered what I have learned before and had forgotten. Life not only is learning; it is remembering and re-learning lessons lost along the way. Now, for the music. Here is another concert from Rainbow, this event eight years later than the one I posted earlier. Joe Lynn Turner had become the Rainbow vocalist by this time. He is not my favorite singer among those who fronted for Rainbow, but he had a great voice and a couple of his songs were simply fantastic. Remember, you do not have to listen if this sort of music is too much for you, but I have been on a Rainbow and a Deep Purple kick lately. (Deep Purple + Rainbow = many great voices & many unbelievable musicians. Often, in a sense, one band with two names. The absolute best of the best.) Misspent youth, you know what I mean. Maybe, it is time to misspend a few more years. Why not? I think my life has changed in a couple of ways during the past week or two, and it might be time to rock and roll again. As the cliche goes, you only live once (or twice or three times or ....).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Germany .... 38 years ago this very day

Where & when & with whom

Some of the lyrics
from "Free Bird"
composed by Ronnie Van Zant & Allen Collins
performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Oh... oh... oh... oh... oh...
And the bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows I can't change.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My December memory

Some people got to ....

Some of the lyrics
from "I’ve been this Way Before"
composed by Neil Diamond
performed by Sarah Brightman

Some people got to laugh
Some people got to cry
Some people got to make it through
By never wondering why

Some people got to sing
Some people got to sigh
Some people never see the light
Until the day they die

But I've been released
And I've been regained
And I've been this way before
And I'm sure to be this way again

Something special ....