Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Wheel

The wheel turns once more and the world has again sputtered to life. Astrologers tell us that Mercury is in retrograde and we can all expect change; in fact, BIG change. It is a good time clear house and mind for the future: The Year of Living Safely, I guess.

Silver Fox and I were talking at our local bar the other night, in a lubricated fashion, about raising our kids. Over the holidays this year we saw so many of their crowd who once hung out in our living room that we were both feeling all warm and snuggly. I think not every old couple gets the compliment of attention from the younger generation and that we must have done something right to benefit so many years later. Our Christmas Eve open house, a tradition for 32 years, was amuck with children and dogs – the dogs mine, the children not. 

Amid the chaos, there was real warmth. There were hugs and exclamations, eager conversations, laughter over familiar music. And I once again was reminded that first among these is love, and that this is why I make occasions. This is why it is worth the effort.

For all the noisy conflagrations of youthful energy, the turning this year was for me actually a quiet one, devoid of desperate meanings and very much just itself - the beginning of another cycle. The question, of course, is a cycle of what? And the answer, for me, is another year of creating memories, of holding what is dear in my arms and feeling the glow of emotion. Just that, and whatever else I can fit in:)

For me, the advised clearing will have to do with organizing a monumental amount of stuff out of my head so I am more accessible to family and friends, removing the detritus of past goals and the artifacts of false futures so I am free to create the conditions for true success - surrounding myself with love.

What else can I do? After all, as Steinbeck’s Fauna said to Hazel, “the stars have spoke!”

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dark Goddess Review: The Hollow Crown, War of the Roses

I watched the middle installment of this epic Shakespearean made-for-tv production last night, emerging a little shaky on my feet after two and a half hours of blood and mud. I guess I have never seen a modern production company really put its back into realizing a medieval battle field before, as I usually avoid these things. But, this is Shakespeare and all, you know. . . I am going to have to watch the last one, the Richard III, now too.

Not for the faint of heart. I have seen several productions of Henry V and Richard III (although not of Henry VI), but on the stage the blood is always in the background and the verse is out in front. In this 3-part telling of the War of the Roses, a mashup of Shakespeare histories Henry VI (parts 1 and 2) and Richard III, the verse is the supporting act and the story of quick and cruel death after death is the feature. This 2016 production follows the 2013 "The Hollow Crown" that covered the Henriad, or Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. It is peopled by a huge constellation of stars, including Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard Plantagenet (Richard III), Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret, Keeley Hawes as Queen Elizabeth, Tom Sturridge as Henry VI, and Adrian Dunbar as Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York.

So many cut down (literally) for so little reason. It begs consideration of the shortness of our lives, of the lack of legacy in our actions, of the unlasting nature of our existence. Like the Vikings, who have been known for their cavalier attitude toward staying alive, these characters also defy the need. I have often wondered if this "we sleep tonight in Valhalla" approach is a historical afterfact based on the need to appear brave to the survivors, or if indeed people in earlier times had less desire - or maybe just less opportunity - to live long and prosper, or at least to do that without compromise. Have our modern generations become less warlike so that we are appalled by the battle of blade and ax? Do blood feuds erupt less often and are there fewer decades of revenge? Do we accept compromise and civilization to live where we are not laws unto ourselves? Or are the Heroes of the Crown just so much bigger than life that their stupidities are as aggrandized as their deeds?

If you can stomach the routine slitting of throats, hacking of heads, and filthy hair, you can get a handle on the epic Family Feud that ran rampant over England in the 15th century. Seventy-some years of soap-opera-stupid human tragedy unallayed by any socially redeeming content, humans ridiculous and cruel in their greed for power and revenge in the laser beam of the Bard's verse. He knew and wanted us to know that there is no excuse for our madness, no mitigating circumstance to temper the nature of the beast that is man. I have to say, this production supported his efforts.