Lockdown inevitably means changes in habits and routines. I know some people are drinking more, some not at all. I guess it’s all just a bit different. Pubs closed. Trying times. Everything essentially a bit…odd.Read the rest of this entry »
So much distance is meant by it:
just as with the backdrop of a scene
the world is meant; and as through that scene
the hero strides, cloaked in his action’s mantle: —
so the darkness of this doorway strides acting
onto the tragic theater of its depths,
as boundlessly and seething as God the Father
and just as He transforming wondrously
into a Son, who is distributed here
among many small, almost unspeaking roles,
all taken from misery’s repertoire.
For it’s only (this we know) from
the blind, the cast-out, and the mad
that, like a great actor, the Saviour emerges.
Excerpt from The Portal, Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Edward Snow
To love means to esteem—even perhaps to overestimate—the object of love. To love with open eyes, critically, is something only very few people are capable of doing. Most people’s love is blind. Most people who love their fatherland, their nation, do so blindly. Not only are they incapable of seeing the faults of their nation, their country, they are even inclined to see its faults as instances of human virtue. This is called “National self-confidence.”
A man may be in as just possession of Truth as of a City, and yet be forced to surrender.
Religio Medici, Thomas Browne
Admiral Booth lived his last years in the area of London known as World’s End, an apt place for a man who had once rowed out onto the Thames in order to avoid having to declare that he resided in the city, and who now wished to end his days in obscurity. At the end he was nursed by his companion, Sophia, who all assumed was his wife, the Admiral swallowing down his last spoonfuls of milk and brandy. It was only some time after he died that the residents of World’s End found out that the old man who had shuffled around in a naval greatcoat was no admiral, that his name was not Booth.
I have stayed inside lately, as I suppose we all have. It has felt best to just stay out of the way, and while I know this is the direction from government for most of us (and how unsettling it feels to type those words), I am not sure everyone feels this way. As I look out my window people are still milling about, buying their daily newspaper, tinkering with their car, pushing a child on a bike. And so beyond the official guidelines, and beyond my reservations around how quickly the world has fundamentally changed, it just feels right to be home. An exterior life already feels peculiar. I have always been happiest at home, I think. And obviously now, more than ever. It is the only thing that really makes sense. And I’m not even sure of that.