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Thread: Recent events and ancient brits

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    Recent events and ancient brits

    Well, folks, it looks like we've had a couple bad days. Let us hope for peace in the coming times. As for myself, I went through two hours of dental surgery this week, fully awake. After an hour, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, upside down in the chair, with the drill going and my mouth literally emitting smoke. But I try to keep a sense of proportion... and so found myself thinking of worse things happening to better people than me... Rwanda, Prague, Selma...

    And if studying literature does any good at all, it does give us a sense of precedence in the great themes. One of the great themes of the ancient brits was "well, we lived through *that*, so we can get through *this*. I think we often rise the next day sadder and wiser, as some opium smoker put it, but we do usually rise...

    So instead of discussing events I thought I'd share one of my favorite passages. It's only about 1500 years old. Bad stuff used to happen back then...

    "Then the wounds are deeper in his heart, sore for want of his friend. His sorrow renews as the memory of his kinsmen moves through his mind: he greets them with glad words, eagerly looks at them, a band of companions. Again they fade, moving off over the water; the spirit of these fleeting ones. Care renews in him who must again and again send his weary heart out over the woven ways.

    "Therefore I cannot think why the thoughts of my heart should not grow dark when I consider all the life of men through this world-- with what terrible swiftness they forgo the mead hall. So always this middle-earth fails and falls. Wine-halls totter, the lord lies bereft of joy, all the company has fallen, bold men beside the wall. War took away some, bore them forth on their way; a bird carried one away over the deep sea; a wolf shared one with Death; another man sad of face hid in the earth."

    Sad, yes, with loss, but heartening too, since the man survived to tell the tale, as will we. Another guy back then said life was like one big storm, and we're like sparrows blown around in the freezing wind. But every once in a while the wind blows us through the open window of a house, and it's warm and filled with light, even if we can only stay a little while before we have to go back out into the storm. And that's how I think of this place, and I hope it stays warm and well lit for a good long time, mostly because I really like it here...


    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 10-06-2007 at 04:45 AM.

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