Saturday, January 29, 2022

Notes: Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. (Rumi)

      It's odd to see yourself reflected in your friends. Like Caren, I subscribe to the New York Times and the Sun-Times, and like her, I ritually read the Sun-Times first. You have to dance with who brung ya. I happened to now be reading Harold Bloom's  "Take Arms Against a Sea of Troubles." Much of which has to do with "Paradise Lost." And here today is Caren, well, maybe I better just let you read it. Enjoy.

     “You’ve been served!” bellowed the voice on the other side of my front door after a loud banging that had me jump out of my skin. That was earlier this week.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying,
Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators—would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.
                                                      —Walt Whitman

     It’s been a strange week over here in Ravenswood. I can't say much due to a pesky non-disparagement agreement, but that's probably for the best. Due to said agreement, I had to axe most of today's blog. It will suffice to say I've had a but of an exhausting battle on my hands. Such a thing can wear on you, but I am here to say that we can overcome. We cannot let haters rent space in our heads for too long. My wish for all of us today is that we focus on the good in our lives. Savor delicious moments. Find joy where we can. Be silly. Take ourselves less seriously.
     I’ve turned to poetry, baths, and naps to get there. I took most of this week off to soothe my jangled nerves from a stressful situation.
     I found solace in e.e. cummings:
your homecoming will be my homecoming —

my selves go with you, only i remain;
a shadow phantom effigy or seeming

(an almost someone always who's noone)

a noone who, till their and your returning,
spends the forever of his loneliness
dreaming their eyes have opened to your morning

feeling their stars have risen through your skies….

     For me, this poem means that I am coming home to myself. Carl Jung’s inner partner; bell hooks’ self-love. I find this to be the only answer to tolerating the warring factions of 2022. I will not trash talk those who unjustly "served" me. I will not trash talk Trump supporters. I will not spew vitriol at people who do not vaccinate. I will feel angry at times, and I will be honest about that anger, and I will do what I can to advocate in small and big ways. Yet I cannot let terrible drums rule my life.
     I am moving tomorrow, so I’ll be sitting in a cottage on the north shore (within walking distance to the Music Center of the North Shore where I started learning flutes at age 6), sipping rich coffee with heavy cream and reading the New York Times in quietude. (Of course I’ll read a bit of the Sun-Times first).
     I will breathe deeply, hug my parents, my sister, my niece and her father. I will bike to the Botanic Gardens. I will walk to charming downtown squares and find cafes. (No, I will not eat and drink inside yet).
     A wise man with the initials NS once reminded me of Milton’s words in Paradise Lost. “The mind is its own place, in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
     May we all find heaven in our minds today.


  1. "By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell -- and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed."--Adolf Hitler

    So in addition to all his other crimes, it looks like he was also a plagiarist.

    Once the haters start living in the space in your head, it becomes harder and harder to evict them, even for non-payment of rent.

    Best of luck, Caren. May all your trials soon be over.

  2. Thanks to you, I can say I now read poetry.
    Looks like Neil will be introducing you as a rep from a different bureau next week.
    Your career exposes you to the fact that life is a series of ups and downs.
    Fortunately for you, you have the tools to deal with them.
    Good luck with your move. Sounds to me like an upgrade.
    With that being said, never underestimate the trauma of relocating.

    1. Thank you. Yes, my nerves are thoroughly jangled. I'll report more...

  3. Caren, best of luck on your latest move. Confident this will bring you the stability and peace you deserve. I grew up in Skokie; it's quite diverse for a north shore suburb. Perhaps not the leafy paradise our host enjoys, but tranquil and perfectly positioned just the same.

    1. Thank you. I call you The Diplomat. I appreciate you.

  4. Thank you for continuing to share your journey, Caren. I am confident you will come through these hardships with the hope and grace you have within yourself.

  5. Well, the North Shore has recently acquired 10" of snow, so your Moving Day will be a bit challenging and your bike ride to the Botanic Garden will probably get put off for a while, but it sounds like you have more important matters to deal with first. I really wish you had been a little less circumspect about whatever the heck is happening with you these days, as you have the collective wisdom of a lot of good folks here to draw on anytime. Good luck with whatever you need to do.

    1. Well, I once worked for a Loop law firm whose primary client was the Allstate insurance folks, and their job was to file suit against uninsured motorists. I was tasked with reading all those accident reports, and then to locate the whereabouts of those deadbeats. Upon which, a retired CPD detective would bellow "You've been served!" through their front doors.

      Sounds like litigation is involved here, and I, too, hope she will "draw on the collective wisdom of a lot of good folks here." Possibly there is also some kind of cease-and-desist order, or a gag order that is making her keep mum. Seems like a lot of malarkey, at least to me.

      Perhaps it was even something that appeared in this very blog, and some poor shmuck had a hissy-fit about it. Don't know if there's a connection, but whatever the reason, having to move in the dead of winter is not fun. Ouch! Getchoo some good movers, Caren. And when you lawyer up, find yourself a good one.

    2. Thank you Andy! I met the painter there to let him in on Saturday morning and it was not bad at all. My whole driveway had been cleared. Since I am involved in legal BS I could not share more. Wish I had! Thank you for your level headed concern.

    3. Thank you Grizz! I was diplomatic (aka Baruch) enough not to share too much, since I know we all have our travails and didn't want to belabor mine here. Also, you hit the nail on the head. Mum's the word.

  6. Good luck with the legal hassles, and thanks for the tip a couple weeks ago on the meditation program. I’m on day 22 of that app, and it’s been helpful.

    1. Thank you! So glad to hear it. I also like the free (pay if you want) Insight Timer app.

  7. The Whitman poem made me wonder if Walt had ripped off a line from Alfred Lord Tennyson...or the other way around. Memorably set to music for tenor and horn by Benjamine Britten.

    "Blow bugle blow, set the wild echoes flying.
    Bugle blow: answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying."


    1. Or, no thought is original Tom.

    2. Thank you for sharing! I love these connections.


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