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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?

Sunday, October 18, 2015


It rained last night!
Normaphotos from this morning have taught me two things: sometimes even drought-dwellers must be patient for rain; although the clouds evaporated in morning light, 

it is time to think about bucking firewood again --which makes two things I know and that is a great mental burden right now. Yet, it is time to post, nothing strictly scheduled --I am retired-- but a feeling left by recent enigmatic disturbances to my innards, to which an old essay called out and imposed itself upon the present. Considering the tenor of my previous post, I thought it apposite to trot out this entry from 2011:

There is an ancient therapeutic art that predates Yoga, Tai Chi and certainly the medical philosophy of Galen. Its origin is shrouded in prehistory but is rediscovered by every generation. It may not even be a human invention because animals and insects practice it as a general thing. Even plants organize seasonal frenzies of it. It is called waiting.

Consider the specimen pictured above. In the background we can barely make out an orange extension cord where he has been running a saw. There is evidence also that he has been splitting logs with sledge and wedge. There is a battered yellow wheelbarrow with nothing in it. This means he's in the middle of a chore. Why is he sitting down? He is waiting.

Notice the traditional posture --gloves in hand, sitting forward, marginally alert expression. Notice also the official, all-weather waiting machine he sits on, and over which he demonstrates such mastery. Obviously a skilled practitioner. He is waiting until he feels like going back to work. That could take a while, so let us examine the history of this discipline.

When we don't feel well, we get medicine. Medical science, as we know it, has advanced to quite a complicated thing, commensurate with the increasing complexity of disease. But there was a time when the only communicable distemper was fleas. The treatment was waiting, waiting until they went away or until one got used to them. And there was, we can be historically certain, even a time before that.

It was during that remote golden age that waiting-therapy was practiced and perfected for its own sake. One withdrew from the challenges of primordial life by sitting down and waiting until one's spouse came out taking snapshots and asking where the firewood is. Careful attention to this essay provides a reply of unimpeachable authority: "wait a while".

The therapy discussed here has existed longer and adapted itself more universally to modern medicine than any other. You will not find clinical space devoted to later methods of mental and physical therapy in every medical establishment, but by golly you'll always find a waiting room.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Darwin Doorbooger Returns!

Some of you may recall an old post about Darwin Doorbooger, a little treefrog who explained the cognitive nuances of OBE (Out of Body Experience). I am pleased to report he has returned, perched upon a stalk of Dallisgrass and available for photographs.
"Hello, Darwin."

"Hello Geo.!"

"Did you hop onto that tightrope or are you in the middle of crawling on it?"

"I'm just sitting here, waiting."

"Waiting for bugs, I bet."

"Bugs would be good, perhaps a nice ant-trail. How have you been?"

"Not bad for a human my age. I've had tinnitus for four months."

"I know. I can hear it."

"Yes, I remember, you hear the brains of others in the absence of your own. But why have you quit the pumphouse door for this precarious perch?"

"Just showing off. Can Norma take a photo of me here?"

"Of course. But Darwin, why there?"

"Consider it a test of balance. I wanted to see if I could do it. Let me explore your memory. Hmmm, interesting. 40 years ago you were in an alley..."

"Yes, a studio that gave onto an alley. I restored artwork there. I don't do that now."

"Don't you? Consider this photo from a recent poem illustration:"
"Okay. explain."

"Easier, Geo., if we just compare it to the original:"
"Oh my. Yes, well there were lots of street signs..."

"One of which was growing out of your collar and into your right ear. That can't have helped your tinnitus."

"It is often an ailment of unknown etiology, Darwin. Its symptoms constitute an enigma."

"Best addressed by...?"

"So far, by maintaining a policy of inquiry --like a detective story-- and..."

"Balance, Geo.? Balance?"


"And, Geo., if you can paint out streetlights and signs..."

"...I can perhaps mask this dialtone in my head?"

"You said it, gong-boy, not me. Why, I believe I saw an ant! Bye. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Then, Then It Will Be Autumn

To the California gardener, autumn means topiary lasts longer because shrubs begin to behave. To the retired gardener, it means excellent Cabernet from Lodi --25 miles from here-- to be opened in the afternoon as October fills the kitchen window. The photo below shows a specimen doing just that. It is a bit blurry because he doesn't have his glasses on. 

Our specimen will take his glass of wine and repair to the back porch.

And there, he will listen to one of his favorite vocalists, a polyglot who sings to a world, she who does not hold back while light rusts and tide rushes in. She is the voice of autumn who sings from the heart (and who, despite rumor, does not gargle with Dutch Cleanser). And yes, mais oui, in the back porch he will doodle!

YouTube,Bonnie Tyler "Louise"

He will doodle the waking of the dinosaurs, which always happens in the fall.
Then, then it will be autumn!