i am sitting here on my little back porch, the wall heater vainly contesting the well below outside, but it is warm enough in my wool socks and slippers, and i don't mind the chill. i am on the back porch because i've taken the lap top from its seat at the kitchen table, that being cleared for the day after thanksgiving dinner that isn't going to happen.
paula is stuck in seattle at her son's house, the way over snoqualmie pass barred by snowfall and inclimate weather. i've advised my son not to motor down from grandview, washington to milton freewater, because we have a very nasty storm brewing/coming in from the south west: the wind is blowing hard enough that snow is being blown from my roof in clumps.
so, that leaves me in an empty house, with naught to do but clean the thing up, an activity i regard w/ about as much fervor as getting a root canal. (no, i've never had one, but i hear that they are unpleasant, so i will never get one. laughing.) and, a chicken i put out to thaw last night, and all the fixings for dinner.
so, i sit here, regarding the trees being buffeted in the wind, and look at the gray sky in the sere light, and i have a smile on my silly face.
got up this morning, puttered and confirmed that things are on "hold" over the phone w/ paula, and phoned and emailed the message to duncan.
and, i had an oroweat raisin bread english muffin with butter, honey and peanut butter with bigelow's constant comment tea. (i feel like a nascar driver with sponsors on my coveralls as i type this, but i like to promote brands popular in the northwest, ... , well, ... , just cuz. makes no difference to me the companies are likely owned by a mexican billionaire named "slim," ... , hint, he ain't much, ... , "slim," that is. but, he seems a decent fellow, been married to the same lady for 40 years, and lives like warren buffet, frugally, it is said.)
and, when i still felt a hollow spot, i toasted another muffin and fried a single egg, and gulped that down as well, sitting in the leather chair in the living room watching the world go by wind borne about 25-30 miles an hour, scudding helter skelter but generally north bound, in the driven winds. no, i really don't know what drives them, and marvel at what keeps huge masses of moisture laden air cohesive and coherent over the miles.
and, i am, oddly enough, content and at ease. the car won't start, the battery expired at about -6 degrees fahrenheit yesterday at about 5.45 a.m., and just ground to a halt. probably a metaphor there somewhere.
i have a chicken, and enough rice, pasta, dehydrated potatoes and other stuff to last a month, and propane bottles and cooking appliances for elk camp downstairs to cook with should the electric go on a frizzle, which it can do in weather like this. that, and four pendleton wool blankets and $350 worth of synthetic sleeping bag ensure that i shall stay nice and secure no matter what.
and, paradise lost is getting pretty interesting, in its slightly ponderous and sedate little way. the book is wonderful, and the poetry sublime, but it reminds me of the old tag line to the joke that goes, "talk, talk, talk, talk, ... , doesn't anybody fuck around here anymore?" endless palaver, over the sublime nature of the foods that adam and eve feed to the angel when he visits to caution them against pride and disobeying g_d's command not to eat from the tree of knowledge, which surely he knows is not going to go very well w/ adam & eve given their insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge. even as the angel cautions them, they are pestering him to learn more of heaven, and g_d, and how things work.
perhaps there is a metaphor there, too, eh?
well, i am going to take my warm and full core, lie it down on the futon and wrap under a blanket, and read "paradise lost." i hear that it doesn't end well. but, we shall see. i am reading right now about milton's/the angel's/g_d's notions of human free will, and what it portends if mans' decisions do not strictly adhere & cohere to divine views on matters, and the portents of disobedience.
and, we must inquire at this point.--
when do transgression cease being trivial, or is there no such thing as a trivial transgression from the path set forth by g_d. remember the sons of aaron, serving as priests in the temple, who are consumed by g_d in flames for offering a ritual before g_d in his place in the temple, the form of the ritual not following proscription? make a misstep, and poof, you are gone, consumed in eternal flame.
i am mindful of something the ayatollah khomenei is reputed to have said, about there being no humor in islam, and that islam does not have a sense of humor.
why, then, did g_d endow us with a sense of humor?
and, what is there about formalized systems of belief, posited in the bedrock of truth, that makes them antagonistic to qualities imbued in humans by the g_d that created us. this seems to me, a very likely grounding and source for error, at least for antagonism between human behavior and that posited as truth. is not attaining such conceptions of truth a ground for punishment, a posited evil?
well, on cold and stormy days when one is house bound, such considerations are likely to pop up. we'll see what milton has to say, what g_d and the angels have to say, and what adam and eve do. and, the workings of satan? is satan any less bound by inevitability than the rest of us?
there is a wonderful passage just at the very end of the confrontation between gabriel and satan just after he is apprehended whispering in eve's ear. the conversation between satan and gabriel has not gone well, and it looks as though gabriel & the cherubim are going into battle against satan, who has taken umbrage to the challenge to what he views as his royal prerogative. at that moment, gabriel bids satan to look up, and apprehend the limits set upon him by g_d's scales, and suggests quite forcefully to satan that the outcome of any battle is foreordained. satan glances to the heaven(s), and sees in the "writing on the wall" that his challenge to gabriel (and to g_d) is foredoomed, that the "scales" are against him, and he files away in surrender to the inevitable.
for that moment. our better halves are determined. our corruption is no less determined to hold sway.
satan will be back.
for just as g_d, satan is eternal, and so it would seem is his lust for power over the heavens, and over the rule of g_d's favorite creation. so, the struggle between g_d and satan is eternal, as is the struggle between g_d and satan within us, and satan knows that we have to weaken just once and he gains sway, not just within us, but in the sum total of things, in the scheme of things.
satan will be back, and, so will i. we shall continue this discussion, of good and evil.
your choices in the matter, by the way, shall have some bearing on our collective paths, doncha know. i happened to think the matter not just academic, but to have real life application in your/our political choices, and how we view the world and our rightful place in it.
and, how we view the aims and policies of others. in my view, ba'al still has adherents: you don't think there is a pun or two, a message from jesus, a point to be made, when he tells the story of the "good" samaritan?
and, i will tell you something else right now. i do not think ayatollah khomenei's remarks about there being no sense of humor in islam a trivial observation. i think that it is frightfully insightful, and revealing of the inner most and deepest motivations and aspirations of islam. nor do i find satan a particularly jovial or humorous fellow, totally devoid of that human quality: satan's motivations and preoccupations are singular, and they are singular desire to rule and impose his will upon all of creation, all of g_d's creation. satan, as islam, has no sense of humor in these matters.
there is no love in satan's heart. there is only dominion. if not over heaven, then over hell, and over us.
john jay @ 11.26.2010