Silence

Silence.

Followed by words.

Followed by more silence.

Conversation ?

 

And I can say that my memory has improved — at least when trying to recite/remember the few poems mentioned previously. Can’t really say why, but it is certainly better. Practice, I guess, makes for a master ?

 

And yet, I find it is silence which has determined much lately — for while I have wished to write of something, the thoughts have been a bit too empty to provide for a very compelling post. So I have not written. I will try to do my best to change that.

The Next Corner… Never Coming?

I know very well that what I’m trying to get at is just behind that next corner in my mind. And yet, I never seem to get there : a chasm in between and no plane to cross it, or something of the kind.

This feeling of knowing what you want to remember being just so very close, but not still not close enough to touch it and say, “Ah, here it is. This thing *exactly* what I’ve wanted to say/think/do/remember.” But no … just reaching for now.

Just the other day, I had the interesting wish to walk to work : which in effect meant that for some odd reason I started thinking of the three poems I know (well, actually, knew) by heart. At first it was clear : nothing would come back to me. A good few hundred meters forward through Eaton Park and I could get a confident grip on the first of these. ‘Leisure’ indeed is not the most difficult, but the part “if full of care” evaded me for quite some time. Nevertheless, in time I managed to piece together everything except the two lines on stars and streams of light.

After that it was the time of that poem of destruction : ‘The Rains of Castamere’, which is quite nice and has a wonderful rhythm. As it went, I got a good grip on that as well though I remembered that there was a piece missing (and I knew three words of it, just couldn’t make it go with anything else) — when I checked it later on, the missing part turned out to be the first two lines.

And then, finally of the three I consider myself knowing, it was time for the Battle of Finnsburgh. Given I am not especially crazy, this restricts itself to the first six or so lines of the damned epic but even so it contains a special thought that I quite enjoy. This, the last one, was painless, and easily remembered. Quite possibly because I have known it for the longest.

Just to test my memory, I thought of the two Tennyson poems (one on the Light Brigade, another on the HMS Revenge) that I could have remembered bits about but with one I got as far as “boldly they rode and well” and with the other that it was rather repetitive.

After that I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t recall much else.

Yet, along with some random (but cool) facts that spring to my mind every now and then, I can easily say that our minds pick up the interesting things which make sense to you personally. I couldn’t remember anything of cars if I tried : yet for some odd reason I have a fair idea of how they built some railways in India and the US and Spain. And this continues through all the topics there are — so let’s stop wasting our times with things we don’t care about, for it doesn’t work out in the end.

The Devaluation of Words, or How History Repeats Itself

So, to keep this short and concise, I will start out with a short description of a friend I have. I need to describe him in a short manner for the present purposes — he was : a good person at heart but with the tendency to keep everything to the last minute; this meant that more often than not he would go up to people and apologize for something or the other that had been left undone. He is indeed a good person through and through but I would call it a mix of unwillingness and laziness that brought about how his actions unfolded — but in a sense, the reasons do not matter while the result does.

Then, my thoughts, looking at it from the sidelines, were that my friend was using up the value of the apologies that he had — for if he apologized a thousand times for a hundred different things, the word lost all meaning, the listener becoming desensitized against it. I did not like how this turned out (for it is important to me for every word to count). In a sense, I knew then (and know now) that people were more ready to forgive him for they saw the good person inside the outer shell, and that they were not interested in the apologies. The word, the action had already devalued itself against most everything the world could bring. But that knowing of him had only come with time, and they had seen the evolution into this creature of apologies. So they knew there was something else in there, and they knew it was hidden beneath the surface for the time being. That was then.

Now I find myself being the person apologizing : to customer A in this table, to customer B and C in that. I sometimes wonder how often I mean what I say, if it all hasn’t turned into an elaborate act. And yet, I couldn’t get by without performing it : since for me it is not a performance. If the output of service is lacking then there is a fault, and people need to know. So they will know. And they will know that I regret the fault even if I had nothing to do with bringing it about.

But I also know that every time I say something is wrong (with the apologies due at that moment), I reach closer to the place where it would be better for me to say nothing. And I could not do that. There is a reason for everything — this reason determines why one thing takes ten minutes when it could be done in five; the reason determines why I like to walk instead of cycle on another day. The reason may well be irrelevant when we look at things from a bit farther away but it is nevertheless a reason.

Unfortunately, in that business (and in so many others), the reason comes down to someone’s fault. And, if it is mine, I have the wish to tell the people that. Even though I know that it means nothing to them — and that the apologies I can offer mean even less.
It was sad to see this happening from the sidelines. It is even worse being in it — a farce as good a one as has ever been. And my thoughts return to whether my friend knew of it when he communicated with people in the manner.  And I know that I will ask him about it when we next meet. And I know that I will probably like the answer : for he is a good person, he is an honest person; and the reasons are likely to be similar to mine.

But in the mean time, what can I do except continue as it has been ?

Damned be my honesty.

The Thoughts of Scots

With the past few days rainy, a thought has remained more permanently in my mind though it has visited a few other times : with this much rain over here, and even far more up in the Scottish mountains (with an average over a year of every month having 21,25 rainy days in Stornoway), what did the people of that land think of it ages ago ?

It is unlikely anyone offered scientific reasons until just a few centuries ago, so man being man, I am sure that people thought of explaining how and why exactly their lovely place got so much more rain than… well, it isn’t even important how much more rain than place X.

What was important that people could likely feel themselves better on a sunny day, and seeing how few of those there were for them, that must have made them think some rather interesting thoughts. I just wonder, what exactly they were. 🙂

A Day from the Past… and for the Future

As with days of pronounced significance ever happen I feel that I have by now mostly taken up the attitude of a good friend of mine (and I hope he shares this sentiment) and do no longer attribute any particular significance to most of the supposed “holidays” — including, Christmas, New Year, end of XYZ, beginning of ABC, and lastly, birthday.

Not to say that I have discredited the thought and idea of a birthday, but my attitude has changed a lot compared to what it was years ago — but aside from not making it into a holiday for my own self, I think that now it means to me something different : a chance to (re)connect, including with my own self.

That said, this particular 20th will seem to be rather not-the-greatest amongst the activities I’ve managed to list for myself, which include shopping in my favourite M&S and later on heading on to work — with a planned walk by the Yare in near its entire length that we can access (that is, from Earlham to Newmarket, or close enough). Plus, a shift at my favourite work-station as well — we’ll see what happens, but I have the feeling that aside from the forecast wonderful day for us East Anglians it will be a great day through and through.

And I finished ‘The Hobbit’ today; and I listened to Example today; and I noticed the Norfolk Spectacular today; and I walked in Eaton Park today; and I am listening to great music right now; and I discussed energy policy with my housemate today; and I cooked a nice meal today; and I cycled today; and I know that everything is excellent — for so it is.

And yet, nothing makes tomorrow better than what it will be in fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty years — if I am granted that much by the-powers-to-be (which have nothing to do with either a God nor gods nor all the panthea ever created) — for then I will truly be able to see if this has been the first of a new beginning, or an ending of the old, or something completely different. And while I refuse to attribute any specific significance to the day, I do admit, I like to think in concrete numbers and this is something that will assist me when I ever wish to do so (for even though I do not remember when something happened by its year, then often I can remember my own reflection in my mind and think, assess, when it must have been).

So, onwards we go : and a moth is resting on the ceiling of my room. And I think that I have to finish a letter one of my friends — a letter that I’ve put off for far too long (read : two days) for my order-loving self.

 “If thy spirit be strong, the stones in thy way are as water.”

NB! Also note, I’ve had the odd memories of Sienkiewicz’s lines from his Trilogy where Zagloba used to ‘Vivat!’ someone or other. And I have the wish to do that myself. Just, what ? A god? In that case, (pun intended)… ‘Vivat Aurora!’ 

Hmmh. Been listening to British music for the last… mmm… for this evening, I guess. And not any music, the modern kind. Which I generally do not like, but there are a few good artists.

And reading. Blogs, news, articles, caricatures. I started out with economics and political news, continued through a wide range of issues (linguistics included) and ended up in psychology (I am as surprised as anyone).

It does seem that with the modern media of communication being the internet, we’ve got a large quantity of stuff being pumped out daily (hourly?) that most people pay no attention to. And I would say, that in a large part it is, pardonnez, crap. But, if we never try, how do we know the best from the worst ?

So, I will continue on the same track (at least for this evening I’ve pushed my re-watch of SGA into the future) and read new things, share some of them on FB (there’s always someone interested in the most obscurest of items, so even if the own wall is not the most suitable place then someone else’s might be), think of others, enjoy the moment, and carry on.

These evenings of little consequence (silly to say that given I’ve made important decisions again that will affect me in the future) are very enjoyable — I would call them a purification for the mind of the usual noise that we see in daily lives (and therefore a very necessary environment) yet I don’t think that minds can ever actually rest : it more continues thinking on all the new topics along with the old ones, and yet I feel invigorated, newer, with a better (questionable) outlook on items.

The question which inevitably arises is… Why do we actually need to take conscious effort these days to concentrate on ourselves (resting ourselves from the daily “noise”; preparing ourselves for the daily interactions with scores of people; etc, etc) ? Should it all not be as… easy as it seems to be ?

‘The Children of Hurin’, J.R.R. Tolkien

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94J71KbLeiY]

“Sit now there; and look out upon the lands where evil and despair shall come upon those whom thou lovest. Thou hast dared to mock me, and to question the power of Melkor, Master of the fates of Arda. Therefore with my eyes thou shalt see, and with my ears thou shall hear; and never shalt thou move from this place until all is fulfilled unto its bitter end.”

It would seem that amongst the books not yet mentioned is also the piece of Tolkien’s writings last published (by the present reckoning). Indeed, ‘The Children of Hurin’ is a tale (a wonderful, tragic and dramatic tale) mostly compiled and fully edited (and in small parts written) by Christopher Tolkien, but that makes it lose none of its charm. Indeed, while reading it I most hoped that it would be possible to read a long copy of the other two major storylines of Beleriand as well.

For that is what ‘The Children of Hurin’ is supposed to be — one tragic tale that sealed the fate of the lands west of the mountains and east of the sea, but one of three : the other two being the Lay of Leithian (Of Beren and Luthien) and The Fall of Gondolin (roughly, Tuor and Idris, plus a few epic duels between Balrogs and Ecthelion/Glorfindel). Given that Beren and Luthien has the wonderful duel between Finrod Felagund and Sauron, then for the majority of reads of any First Age literature my favourite of these three has always been something else.

But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low.

But now, reading this book — it was the embodiment of something great, truly great. I enjoyed it for the depth and for the style; the way how “fate” turned the doors; the story of Turin, Master of Fates, who in the end mastered nothing and lost all.

‘False hopes are more dangerous than fears,’ said Sador, ‘and they will not keep us warm this winter.’

It would be hard to describe the book by anything less than an utterly sad and devastating storyline for anyone who keeps on expecting good endings… the only consolation here is that people are saved the death of Hurin though we see well detailed stories for both of the daughters as well as the son, Turin.

‘How shall an Elf judge of Men?’ said Turin. ‘As he judges of all deeds, by whomsoever done.’

The people who have previously read either the Unfinished Tales, or Silmarillion, or some of the Histories of Middle Earth (I think it’s Book 2 there) will know the gist of the story, which is what has put me off from reading it until now — indeed, content-wise there is not much added, but what is there is the depth that a book can have contrary to a chapter.

The Elves were driven back and defeated on the field of Tumhalad; and there all the pride and host of Nargothrond withered away.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVjT2mZG5E8]

One character whose presence I very much enjoyed was our favourite dragon, Glaurung. I noticed a comment on Amazon before buying the book that it added much depth and personality to a commander of Morgoth (Glaurung, specifically), and I quite wondered how it was done — in the end, I still can’t see the exact device but after reading I have to agree that Glaurung was a much different dragon than before (though no less malicious).

In many a sense (and what the reader can easily deduce from the quotes given) I found this to be a treatise on pride : for it was pride which led Turin forward, it was pride which destroyed the Elves of Nargothrond, and moreover, it was pride which allowed Hurin to withstand Morgoth. Yet, this pride took many different forms, though the outcome little changed of it…

Then he cursed his fate and his weakness; but he would not turn back.

Sometimes, they surprise you…

Indeed, they do. “They,” you ask now? What “they”?

I am speaking of days : no two are alike, and certainly some of them turn out in most unexpected ways. As an example of this claim, I would gladly bring today.

I’ve heard of people saying that how a day begins can be indicative of how it will continue. Nothing could be further from the truth, I dare say. This morning I woke up around five different times : starting at 3:30 AM (alarm clock), then 5:53 AM (no alarm clock), sometime past seven (again, accidental, more due to a bad song than anything else), and finally two times that were between 8 AM and the time just a minute before my next alarm would have rung (at 8:52). Now, it would be reasonable to say that all of this waking-and-sleeping should have killed any day in its infancy, but not so this time round.

Firstly, the dream. The dream was exceptional. I do not use words of this magnitude (exceptional) very often (indeed, I use them less than rarely), but of this dream I can say nothing less (and yet I will not describe it). Suffice to say, it was a form of peace.

Then, the morning continued in one way or another, but given I don’t remember much of it I deduce I likely read mail, checked the news, possibly even ate something — all those usual morning activities most people don’t really take an interest in, but which enhance the day and bring one up to date on what is going on : not only in the world and country, but also in one’s mind and house (or the other way round, if that be more aesthetically pleasing).

Some time after, I managed to get my bicycle out and get to work — which was somewhat better than last time, and yet there is room for improvement. Never mind that, had some fun conversations there and learned a few new tricks — and got back as well.

While coming back, a fortunate incident (named “planned cycle route”) took me past Eaton Park where people were playing classical music so I decided to listen to them for a while, and that’s what I did. Possibly not the finest melodies played (suffice to say, Johann Strauss was severely lacking) but it enhanced the day.

And now, the evening : in quiet it has passed, and that is for the better. It is good that Sundays can end quietly; for I believe that Sunday will forever be the end of a week, and not the beginning of one.

But the better a terms one ends it on, the easier and more pleasurable to start a new one… So, on we go !

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