Not in that order.
I am presently listening to Max Richter’s reworking of Vivaldi’s FOUR SEASONS. What admirable nerve to attempt a variation on one of the most admired and most recorded compositions in Western music, and he succeeds.
My birthday went as I expected, except there was no martini. I had two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon and then a carefully measured two ounces of Laphroaig, which I took out and drank on the deck with Live Oaks and Spanish Moss and Skull Creek ahead of me and the open sky above. As was commented about my most recent video, I feel quiet satisfaction in knowing that the ocean is one and that GANNET whose mast I can see from our windows and glass doors could sail from where she is to anywhere the ocean reaches. As I have written elsewhere, though I used the third person pronoun, I hold the world in my mind. Perhaps she will.
Which brings us to the question I alluded to a while ago and considered dropping, but I have had two martinis and my instincts are weakened so I ask.
Many, perhaps most, of you would like me to circumnavigate again. To attempt Cape Horn in GANNET. My question is why do you want this? What is in this for you?
I provide from the lists on the main state a quote used in the front of one of my books:
I am, I believe, following the clear path of my fate. Always to be pushing out like this, beyond what I know cannot be the limits--what else should a man’s life be? Especially an old man who has, by a clear stroke of fortune, been violently freed of the comfortable securities that make old men happy to sink into blindness, deafness, the paralysis of all desire, feeling, will. What else should our lives be but a continual series of beginnings, of painful settings out into the unknown, pushing off from the edges of consciousness into the mystery of what we have not yet become, except in dreams that blow in from out there bearing the fragrance of islands we have not sighted.
--from AN IMAGINARY LIFE by David Malouf
Unexpectedly and unjustifiably, though if you have been paying any attention at all you know that justice is not a common part of life, I have in my old age found a place of beauty and the love of an exceptional woman, You want me to leave this and attempt to do something no one else has ever done or even imagined. Something that will inevitably at the least cause discomfort and pain and may result in my death.
I add, needlessly if you have any concept of who Webb Chiles is, that this is not a referendum. I will do what I think I should, as I always have regardless of others, but I truly would like to know why you want me to go to the edge of human experience again. So tell me.
Yesterday I chanced upon a poem I have long admired, W.H. Auden’s, ‘Musee des Beaux Arts’ about Bruegel’s painting, The Fall of Icarus.
The painting first.
Look at the lower right corner of the painting, just below the ship setting sail. That leg is all that is left of the drowning Icarus.
If you don’t know the myth, Icarus was the son of Daedalus who created wings made of feathers and wax so that he and Icarus could take flight. The wings worked, but Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun whose heat would melt the wax. Icarus with the blind impetuosity of youth did fly too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he plummeted to his death.
And I discovered that William Carlos Williams wrote a similar poem:
Ultimately blind numbers matter. Inexplicably to me DNA demands to be projected into the future. I have no idea why.
But I am struck by how a few rare small populations have done so much: Ancient Greece. Elizabethan England. Two generations of Portugal around 1500. Revolutionary America, which despite the historical myopia of Tom Brokaw, was unquestionably our greatest generation.
Somehow beyond explanation in some places for brief times there has been a concatenation of rare greatness of our species.