April 12th, 2013


Books = Crack

I was tired and a little down not long ago, so I looked around for a book to read. I have to be careful when I do that. Some books are so powerful, I can't put them down until my vision crumbles and my exhausted body can stay up no longer. Cheering yourself up with a really good book is like taking poison to cure cancer. It works, but sometimes you wonder if it's the best bargain.

Anyway, I hadn't read Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome series in many years, so I started in. I devoured The First Man in Rome and immediately went on to The Grass Crown. Hardly pausing for breath, I opened Fortune's Favorites, then Caesar's Women, then Caesar. I'm now a third of the way into The October Horse. Glorious, glorious. But if I don't finish the series soon, I'll never get anything done out of all the tasks piling up around me, all of which are blinking little warning lights.

I know some of you fellow readers understand.
one of those days

Weary of exile

The world I thought I was going to inherit, my parents' world, with their understanding of America, their values, their culture and education, has long since died. I have always been like a survivor of Atlantis, I suppose, trying to preserve what scraps of our heritage I could. For a long time, I thought I and others like me might succeed in building a world which would honor the best we had inherited. Instead, I see a world increasingly debased. I would say, barbaric, except I know my barbarians and a good barbarian would be disgusted by the society we inhabit these days.

I suppose those in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries who had to face a new world after the collapse of Rome felt that way, and they didn't do too badly. They kept some of the best of the ancient world and worked it into what we call the medieval. Christianity, at root an Eastern faith, had transformed the West and become at home in the Empire; now, it began to join itself to, and change, the Germanic nations that overthrew the Mediterranean-based society it had called home. The process has repeated itself several times since then.

There's hope in that, but it's all long-term. In the here and now, satisfactions are few and far between. Truly, this life is a struggle. Evil is all around us (and within us), and there is no resting place. We have to live as those who have a home, but not assume that the society we inhabit is that home. "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through," as the old song says.