Posted in Miscellany

Musing on Earth Day

Glass globe photographed in a moth forest

With the power of the mind put into practice for conserving nature, we can make the whole world a better place because we are part of nature, made of fire, water, earth, and air.

In our annual celebration of this year’s Earth Day, we want to spread the spirit of Mother Nature. We want all to find the beauty of life in music from the trills of birds in the rhythm of running brooks, words of wisdom in the susurrus of trees, and books in the vivid scarlet twilight of the sunset lingering in the west. The wonders of nature tame belligerent brutes and soften the hardened hearts of cynics.

One-touch of nature makes the whole world kin. In the arms of Mother Nature, we are all her children, so keeping the earth clean and livable is our filial duty to her.

Posted in Miscellany

What Easter means to me

Urbi et Orbi

Of all liturgical feast days, only Easter Sunday rekindles my dying embers of hope at the dire moment of despair, beginning to grow bigger and glow lighter, filling the void of the heart’s chamber with excellent brilliancy. So when the priest during the homily this morning asked the congregation what Easter meant to us, I had my inner share of answer that it’s about Hope against Hope till the last breath, just as Jesus himself has risen from death. Whether a pious Christian myth or ecclesiastical dogma, the idea of Resurrection gives one the joy of reckoning that there is no night so long that it has no hope of a day. It is aptly applied to the present -day of the war in Ukraine and everyday life circumstances when hope seems a fleeting dream, foolhardy gambling without responsibility.

Pope St. Francis addressed the Ukrainians during the Easter Vigil Mass and the Way of the Cross on Good Friday: “We can only give you our company, our prayers, and say’ you’ courage, we accompany you.” Courage with humor being a handmaid to hope defeats the shadows of darkness. It motivates one to continue a journey in life, however perilous and disappointing it seems to appear, as attested by Viktor E. Frankl, the father of Logotherapy during his internment years in Nazi death concentration camps. Frankl forced his mind to be occupied with the hopeful thought of writing a book about Logotherapy. Suppose anyone challenges Frankl’sFrankl’s experience as no more sordid than what the present-day Ukrainians are experiencing now. In that case, the person is equally no less lofty than an unreconstructed nationalist with no regard for the human race.

Further to the importance of courage and hope, the pope also spoke of reconciliation and forgiveness when loss of values, vengeance, and rage dominated humanity’s better angels. However, the Major Archbishop of Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic Church disagreed with the pope, calling it untimely during the carnage of the war broken up by Russia. In the meantime, Zelensky is pressuring President Biden to declare Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, striking “HELP” to the West. Didn’t Jesus point out the importance of love of your enemy because the fury would consume your whole being, making you ever unhappy and miserable with no sight of mirth and laughter but anger clenched with fists? While I commiserate with the sufferings of the Ukrainians, I also understand the price of a continuous blaze of ire hell-bent on vengeance. It will only continue a vicious cycle of war in epicycle, just as Herodotetus realized in the narrative of the ancient battles in the Histories. One can use the free will to either forget the past regrets thing or move on because the footprints left behind can only take you back and in a backward mode, making you fall by the wayside of your yet unknown destinations in life.

Easter Sunday is beginning to be drawn into the past. I want to record and convey my train of thought visible before the sun with its pale scarlet hues lingering in the twilight of the West. But I still have hope and keep it with me. Thucydides called it a dangerous illusion more potent than the reason that transforms it into an awareness of odds in one’s favor. Whatever it may be, for what’s worth, I will have hope as long I breathe—Happy Easter to Urbi and Orbi.

Posted in Miscellany

ages of man

No matter how many leaves have fallen from a tree as the wind of changes has been blown – sometimes placidly and many times harshly – I still feel like a girl who has refused to enter into adulthood, shunning away from the nature of things. Cicero said the ages of man have their stages of nature with sovereign rights, so anything you fly in the face of them will ask for troubles. But then Cleopatra declared to reject the forces of mortality, and Shakespeare thus praised her courage and fortitude by saying: “Age cannot wither away, nor customs can stale her infinite varieties.” Oh, and there is also Cher, now rightly revered as a dame of celebrity, and she has recently decried acknowledging her age on our evolutionary scale. So why not me with my consistent resistance against the fate of a mortal in all aspects with all my might, with all my soul, and with all my heart?

It’s not only the inevitable awareness of the passing of generations by me. With the recent death of Sidney Poitier, the eminent actor famous for his unforgettably charismatic roles in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and ‘To Sir with Love, it has begun to dawn on me that those who lived through WW2 and pre and post Second Vatican Council are now gone with the wind to the haze of time, a new breed of generations has germinated, sprouted, and dispersed across the lands and oceans, just as mammals began to stage after the extinction of dinosaurs. It’s a nature of the universe, but still hard to accept it, especially when everything else but I change, or seems it so. The difference between the millennials and the Me generation seems as far and wide as that between the Victorians and the Flappers, so to speak. Less than 50 years must have felt a great leap of 100 years to the opposite generations, I gather. But that’s not hyperbole, I believe.

Greek gods knew too well about such a human yearning to be agrasia and played the weakness in favor of their everlasting egoism. Otherwise, why did they keep nectar made with ambrosia to themselves on the Mount of Olympus? Demeter, the goddess of harvest and corn, put the baby of her master who took the goddess in the guise of a poor woman as her baby son’s nurse in a sacred flame on the pretext of making him ageless as a favor to the kindness of her lesser mortals. And it doesn’t end with Greek gods. Jesus never became old, preserved in his prime days of preaching travels with stylishly long hair that reminds me of a famous musician or poet. So was Mary, the mother of God. In the end, only humans stand in the audience, appreciating the agrasia beauty and immortality, comparing the presence of eternal youth to the absence of it.

What with the flow of time and what with the present state I am in now, inching toward the end of the era, is already enough to blow me away into the twilight zone, where things are unlike Alice’s Wonderland but Vincent’s Price’s Haunted House. Magic is no joke and is real for sure, but you always have to pay for what you wish for. But I think it’s a mindset that significantly impacts physical reality, which is magic turning you forever young.

Posted in Miscellany

the sentence

Order tends toward disorder. Chaos stalks feeble efforts. Normal is not default, and sadness is nature. I see it all as a gift of the fates that I have to grin and bear with stoic charm like a Sisyphus rolling up the boulder on a hill in Hades. So much so for the morning’s episode that shadows the day’s remains.

I had to cancel my counseling appointment for tomorrow at 7:00 pm due to training at my new prospective job after work. Should I have rescheduled it instead of canceling? Anyway, the counselor could have asked about such an option if she had been a caring and considerate licensed listener. Writing usually shows a person’s character, however brief it is, as proven by my text communication with her earlier today. Her response was curt and short with a timbre of haste, artful courtesy of an empty reply to her client. I know it because of my divine ability to look through people’s psyche by the mode of speech, writing, or twitching facial muscles. Depending on how you look at it, you can call it a blessing or cursing, but I call it nature. For what’s worth, my extrasensory perception tells me that it’s high time that I prepared a slow parting with her with the pain of disappointment and resentment for betrayal.

In retrospect, she has never provided me her feedback on my mental state since the onset of counseling sessions. Once I had asked her opinion, she was obliged to tell me reluctantly that I had traumas due to an unfavorable family environment, interacting with lots of missed lucky opportunities and debauched aspirations. Then was heard no more. My understanding of counseling is active communication with constructive feedback about the client’s mental state and what to do. However, she only listened, smiled, said goodbye, and continued. Although my heart is weeping for the loss of paid listener whom I could turn to for talks, sorrow will dissipate into the currents of time. Goodbye to you, Ms. A____. I may see and talk to you again, but my spirit will not welcome you again with all my heart and all my mind.

Posted in Film Review

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain according to Benedict Cumberbatch

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is joy and sadness, lightheartedness and seriousness, just like his paintings. It’s about love and art in the oddly beautiful vagaries of what it means to be a human (in the company of cats). Wain’s cats graced the epochs before Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse (and Minnie) and His Gangs) debuted. But Wain was not Disney, and would he have even wished it? Perhaps, that is why Benedict Cumberbatch decided to give Wain a second chance to shine his name once more on earth in the magic of moving pictures that resurrected him from the lapse of time through the chapters of his story in this superbly narrative of the artist.

Louise Wain was a brilliant artist, a contemporary of French impressionist artists, such as Monet, Pissarro, Degas, and Renoir, and Dutch Vincent Van Gogh, all of whom were united in the brotherhood of independent spirits and resilient creativity. Yet Wain’s was a different sort, more existentially debauched in the provisional circulation of works, in the crossroads of the reality of being the only male figure in the parentless family led by the dominant matriarchal sister and of the ideal of ensconcing himself in the solitary niche. All artists are by nature sensitive, but Wain was extraordinarily sensitive, and the world was too much for someone like him to deal with. His wife, the light of his life, was the only happiness and love he felt and shared, but jealous God took her away from him and left him in the lurch of the familial duties and responsibilities in the somber household. This house eventually drove him and his younger sister into the oblivion of reason to the end. Yet, notwithstanding the personal tragedy, Wain’s unique visual world articulated with the sonar modulation of impulse that sparked his creative spirit yearning to soar up to the boundless ether on a par with constellations with stars.

Wain’s wife encouraged and supported him because she knew of his genius despite other people’s ignorance.

Benedict Cumberbatch, now universally recognized as the Sherlock thanks to the phenomenally successful BBC series, proved to be a superb character actor who became Louis Wain rather than merely playing the artist’s part. Ancient Greeks and Romans regarded actors as an equivalent of a spiritual medium whose body could be channeled into another spirit for a willful possession during a mysterious rite of sacred ceremony. If that was the case, as it were, that was how I felt watching Cumberbatch being Wain as if he had summoned the soul of the dead artist from the beyond and asked him how the artist’s life would be told. His naturally mild, gentle deliverance of character nuanced the inner fear, confusion, and frustration that Wain must have felt in dealing with the realities of everyday life as a reluctant and unlikely head of household. Yet, his passionate eyes and particular diction dictate that Wain was an artist of force, a man not of an age but for all seasons.