All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Don Quixote

The Portuguese phrase, filho de algo, means "son of something". In Spanish, it is "hidalgo",  which means "gentleman". What did this title mean? It meant these sons of something didn't have to pay taxes. They were nobles. Miguel de Cervantes wrote a burlesque of nobility which, prior to its publication in 1605, was under serious popular discussion as a useless social stratum. It was entitled, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha. It was about an aging, delusional gentleman who resolved to become a knight errant and travel the world with horse and armor with the purpose of "redressing all manner of wrongs." Time for a Geodoodle:
My doodle is composed from castings and carvings from Spain. My mother was a teacher of languages and traveled extensively. She brought these back as gifts. But the doodle detail under this sentence addresses an ongoing enigma ---
---character.  Was Quixano a fool? Perhaps, but experience teaches that shielding people from all folly serves only to populate the world with fools. I do not think pursuit of chivalry --courtesy, valor, charity, skill at arms-- is foolish. Cervantes presented his Quixote as a fool, unhorsed, injured, caged, transported back to la Mancha (Sp., the Stain) and yet his character has captured imagination over 400 years. Observe and listen to a man of character who still performs his own compositions, even after illness and age have limited his voice --which I think is still more beautiful than most:

Gordon Lightfoot, "Don Quixote"

Admittedly, this performance three years ago in Reno, Nevada impressed me more than his earlier and more melodious renderings. Mainly because he resembles the character of Don Quixote more now. So do I. We age and understand more at the focal point of broader vistas. Certainly, it would not do to define character through too narrow an aperture. After all, how well could we describe the sky through a hole in the roof?

33 comments:

  1. If only there were more fools with Don Quixote's ambitions. We have a crying need for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mother assigned Cervantes to her 2nd and 3rd year Spanish classes for, quite likely, that very reason.

      Delete
  2. He is to be honoured in his home town of Orillia Ontario with a statue in the town square.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A fitting gesture. The man is a national treasure.

      Delete
  3. Speaking of redressing, that statue forgot his pants.

    Seriously, though, I agree wholeheartedly with Elephant's Child, and with your own conclusion, perhaps because I am attaining "broader vistas" myself.

    Gordon Lightfoot was one of my favourite singers when I was younger, and he still sounds pretty good to me. Medically speaking, the fact that he's able to sing and play again is a tribute to his perseverance (among other factors).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe knights sometimes went without pants while the dents were being hammered out of them.

      Delete
  4. I read "Don Quixote" (unabridged) when I was nineteen and initially thought I was a fool for tackling it. I came away from the experience realizing that ol' Quixano wasn't quite the fool I thought he was - - and neither was I.

    I haven't heard Gordon Lightfoot in years and it was a real treat.

    I like the Geodoodle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jon. It's hard to dismiss the kind of fool who wants civility, justice and an end to oppression. Cervantes created a character who was both an absurdity and a good example --a combination that will never leave us.

      Delete
  5. Many people are still "tilting at windmills". I have often thought that if a person wishes to do good that person should choose one idea and do it. It never hurts to help another person's cause along the way but to do true justice to any good deed is to do it all the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sound reasoning, Emma. Contribution to the common good is a compelling motivation --not always welcomed, but I hope eventually rewarded.

      Delete
  6. Ah, yes-"the focal point of broader vistas." I'm traveling that way too. Wouldn't mind encountering dreamers who tilt at windmills, especially if those windmills are oppression, repression or depression.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then let's keep our armor polished, Tom. We are those dreamers.

      Delete
  7. It is sometimes thought to be foolish to help the helpless, I think it is the human thing to do, and thank God, the vast majority of people think that also. We cannot stop dreaming of a better world, but it is better to go beyond dreaming and contribute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind Arleen. Improvement of the world comes from within, as you consistently demonstrate. I know good vibes when I encounter them.

      Delete
  8. Geo., I echo the same sentiments as the commenter above me. Thank you so much for your visit and kind comment on my blog today, wishing me a Happy Birthday. I truly appreciate it. Hugs. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda! Your new age-number was a momentous year for me. I trust it promises good things for you too.

      Delete
  9. This is quite an uplifting essay, especially reassuring in a time of such pervasive cynicism in the world. There is a undeniable place in the human experience for foolish idealism. I see it as a kind of genetic experiment, in which some idealistic urge practiced by some brave soul may take hold and change the world. It is a form of deliberate genetic experiment. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm not sure foolish idealism is philosophically defensible but then, neither is love, beer, skipping or many other things that hold our species together.

      Delete
  10. HI Geo-I love Gordon Lightfoot, too. HIs voice is so unique and beautiful. It can also put me in a state of Saudade. Cold on the Shoulder is one of my favorites. And you know, while I was watching the video, before I read your post, I was thinking to myself, "he reminds me of Geo".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As men age we tend to have similar physiques. This is caused by many years of kicking ourselves, which exercises the same muscle groups.

      Delete
  11. And also, to your point, I read something on Linkied In awhile back....it was about, when in the face of tragedy, a people lose hope, it is up to the rest of us to hold onto hope for them. I don't remember the exact wording but the thought has stuck with me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good thought and a kind one. One I will do well to remember. Thanks, Chicken.

      Delete
  12. My husband said and I agree that Gordon L. is more our speed these days than Duran Duran. I also agree with you that chivalry never goes out of style and neither does critical thinking. Oh how I wish for contemporary writers who are like Miguel de Cervantes! Wait a minute, though. My wish has been granted right here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your very kind comment. Cervantes was certainly a writer who understood his time.

      Delete
  13. Dear Geo., I especially love your last thoughts about "the whole in the roof" (the others too, but that one made me think about too quick judgements).
    Chivalry is something almost forgotten nowadays (I don't say that it isn't "our" own fault) - I thought about a project (in earnest) to photograph young healthy people, all sitting in the S-Bahn or subway - and old people or pregnant women standing unsteadily in front of them - no place is offered, everybody looks intently into his/her cellphone...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Brigitta. It is a very important example you present there. I hope that just one act of kindness --one person offering a seat to another who needs it more-- can inspire others to do the same. I like your photography idea.

      Delete
  14. Ah, but if Don Quixote is a fool, then surely the world is in need of more fools. We can never have too much hope and idealism in the world, nor too much chivalry and kindness. But alas, I fear that I, too, look more and more like this fine gentleman as the years go by. I dare say, increased facial hair is enough to test any woman's sense of humor. (So far, so good!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far, so good --bon, I am glad. Cervantes was sensitive to chivalric principles, kindness, charity, defense of the defenseless, love --things that light our way in the world. This is our quest, Susan, no matter how foolish, to reach the unreachable star. I think a sequel post is in order here. But not tonight. Tonight is Halloween and time to write a poem.

      Delete
  15. What a delight to read this, Geo! I slogged through Don Quixote when I was 15 or 16. My mother was taking a university course on world literature by correspondence and had no one to talk with about what she was reading. So guess who got pressed into duty to read all sorts of fascinating tomes? I really should go back and read Cervantes' book again. I visited Spain in 1972, and I returned with statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza for my mother. Dad got a chess set and Scotch. The Scotch is long gone, but the chess set and statues are downstairs. I'll bet my statues aren't much different from your Mom's! Since I will never read all the books I want to in this life, I hope I get another one or a big library in heaven! Or maybe I'd better start prioritizing in case oblivion presents itself. Happy Monday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If there is any justice in this universe, Louise, there will be an immense library for all whose passion for existence cannot be contained in a single lifespan.

      Delete
  16. I think I've always been a bit sympathetic to the character of Don Quixote -- and to Gordon Lightfoot, for that matter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly Cervantes and Lightfoot are writers who have understood their times and achieved enduring excellence.

      Delete
  17. I just went back to hear the song. I think Gordon Lightfoot still sounds great. He was a favorite of mine when I was younger.

    ReplyDelete

I value your comments. Say hello. Reach out a bit. I do.