This spring has been wet and yes — even — imagine — foggy. All the rain has been sweet and surprising. The fog came up from the ground after a wet snow on warm streets and rose from plowed fields to meet with low clouds.
Now summer seems to be determined to arrive and I have spent two days “farming.” Not really farming, but out there farming. All the beans are up. I planted zucchini yesterday. Mowed the front yard and dealt with last years and, possibly, this years, front yard wildflower gardens. The iris is blooming, the lilacs are extraordinary this year and very fragrant in the night air, especially the white lilac by my front door. I had a poetic thought and a first line. It might have been done before, but here goes, “White lilacs now by the front door bloom…” I dunno’. There’s an echo there somewhere, hmmmm…
Elise (my esteemed colleague in the laundry area, a new washer/dryer combo) continues to perform beautifully which makes me think of clothes. The way she works I could do fine with two pairs of jeans and four shirts unless I had a social life for some reason.
I’m still on a mission to get rid of things. Among my souvenirs is a large manila envelope with a bunch of stuff I published over the years. Why did I save all that? I know why — I was proud of myself and happy to have gotten my words out there where people could read them. I hope people DID read them and, more important, enjoyed them or took away a little something. BUT that pile might have to surrender to the shredder.
I had an interesting conversation with ChatGPT the other evening based on this Rousseau quote,
“As long as we desire, we can do without happiness: we expect to achieve it. If happiness fails to come, hope persists, and the charm of illusion lasts as long as the passion that causes it. So this condition is sufficient in itself, and the anxiety it inflicts is a sort of enjoyment that compensates for reality” Part 6, Letter VII, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Julie or The New Heloise
ChatGPT is pretty cool to have a philosophical discussion with because it has no emotional investment in anything. When I first heard that passage read in a film I saw a month or so ago, it resonated strongly with me. I have never “gotten” anywhere. It expresses the idea of being unable to “…get there from here” and it struck me that for some people (me?) what ultimately matters is doing something. Every effort leads to another effort. What do people do when the “get there”? I don’t believe anyone CAN get there. For one thing, the person who set out is not the person who arrives. So now I think I might dispute with Rousseau; that the enjoyment of striving (so-called hopelessly) doesn’t COMPENSATE for reality; it’s enough in and of itself.
I remember some point in school having had to read Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” I don’t remember how old I was, but I think it was 9th grade or so when we had to read such (to 9th graders) incomprehensible horrors as Old Man and the Sea, MacBeth, Great Expectations and The Pearl.
I loved Keats’ poem and I think I have just written a little ode of my own to unrealized possibility:
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone…
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