Dream the impossible dream.

A friend of mine, interested in reading Don Quijote de la Mancha, wondered if anyone wanted to join her in the quest. Being a good friend, I said “Yes!”  In the vein of a true masochist I delved into the pages of this very old book, and reintroduced myself to the genius of Miguel de Cervantes – to his complex use of the Spanish language and natural wit to recreate the dreamy character, Don Quijote de la Mancha.

I remember the story fairly well.  DQ, off on a mission to reconstruct his life as a knight in shining armor, is in reality the opposite from what he conjures in his mind – a middle aged decrepit old man who has gone mad reading too much literature: stories like “El Mio Cid” and “Amadís de Gaula,” depicting heroes of the Spanish Medieval Age.  Don Quijote emulates everything about these characters, and aims to be like them.

In chapter two, Don Quijote, departs from his humble abode to travel under the heat and dryness of the day.  Cervantes satirically wrote: (my own translation)  “The sun ardently beat down forcefully, enough to melt the brains of anyone, if they had them at all.”   In his travels, DQ comes upon a castle, and of course he arrives wondering why he is not received with regal pomp, and circumstance.  In search of a place to rest his head he’s greeted by the keeper using words reminiscent of the piqued sarcasm of Cervantes, and paints a picture of life that is far from luxurious:  “the beds of your honor will always be hard rocks and your hours of sleep, forever wakeful.”  It’s a warning of the worst to come, for the knight-errant who just began his journey, carries only visions of grandeur in his head.

DQ continues his journey in Chapter 3, riding his skinny horse named Rocinante, on the look out for his fairly unkempt princess, Dulcinea. Soon he meets his fat and faithful side kick, his ‘escudero’ Sancho Panza.  Sancho is a faithful companion. Traveling with Quijote throughout the story, Sancho tries to convince his lord of Reality, but the hopeless Don Quijote insists on dreaming the impossible dream.

My friend and I soon concurred that perhaps we wouldn’t read the WHOLE book, in one fell swoop, for we have much else to do, but we’ll honor Cervantes in creating this great masterpiece, and plan to return to the story, in some shape and form, for to abandon Don Quijote is to abandon the truth he sought.  So like Sancho Panza, we will in spirit accompany Don Quijote through his journey, to pursue the impossible dream, for it’s the journey of all of us, and aren’t we all together, in this quest?

 

March

March

Before it goes out like a lamb, it’s time to talk about the month of March.  Looking back in history we’ll remember this month, in 2020, as the time when the Coronavirus grew exponentially in the U.S.A.  Not that we weren’t forewarned, by the explosion taking place in Europe, preceded by China, and Iran, etc., etc.. in previous weeks. Covid-19’s here to stay for a long time; forty five days until we see a peak, eighteen months before life goes back to normal, if it ever does.  In the long haul a positive outcome to this situation can be found within ourselves; find ways to beat it psychologically, remain optimistic, and use it to be more creative and productive in our personal lives.  Take up painting, the piano, reading novels, writing as much as we can.  How can we reach out, and help others, and bring them into our lives?  What special talents do we have that we can share?  There are certainly people living in a more precarious habitat, in which I’m living.  Selfishly I hope I don’t catch the virus, or be a carrier and less selfishly, pass it on to someone else.  So, where do we go from here? The answer seems to be nowhere, nothing versus something, and now being never.  What is true is we are all vulnerable.  No-one is exempt.

Back to March.  What do we know about this third month of the calendar year, which during Roman Times was the first, and not the third of the year?  A month named after the god of war, called Mars. Special days in particular yearn to be celebrated.  Such as St. Patrick’s day, on the 17th, especially by the Irish, but even if you haven’t an ounce of Irish in your blood, you’re always welcome to partake in Irish generosity.

On the 15th of March, back in Roman Times, an old woman warned Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.”  Against his wife’s best wishes Caesar ignored the oracle and ventured out into the Roman forum only to be assassinated, and find moments before he fell to his death that his best friend had betrayed him; thus the famous quote “Et tu Brutus?”  The circumstance is a reminder to follow the wisdom of Shakespeare spoken in one of his plays “Love all, trust a few, and do wrong to no-one.”  And, in the wake of the Corona19, to listen to the oracle; Stay home, protect yourselves, and others.

Since I am a curious person, who seeks novelty in all things possible to brush away the the sins of idleness, and boredom, I have a trivia fact for March.  Does anyone know what September, October, November and December stand for?  I found this out the other day through a post by the Farmer’s Almanac.  The meaning of the prefixes of these months in latin follow suit with March being the first month of the year, for Sept means seven, Octo, eight, Nove, nine, and Dece, ten.  So whatever happened to January and February?  There is an answer, but at this moment, I can only say; “I do not know it.”  Just like there are answers surrounding the mysteries of the Coronavirus, but for now uncertainty reigns, and only time will tell.

In the dark forest…

In the dark forest…

…the moon is the guiding light.  The air is crisp, birds are none to be found. Autumn hangs on, like the last leaves to fall. Muted green of olive bushes, alone reflect golden beams.  The clock has spent its time. Alas! the days are longer, the light is stronger, and winter won’t be far.  Sleep deeply under the evening stars.26930768309_bb2b393c95_o

Gathering Together

Gathering Together
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On the Ground

People gather together – Friends, family and maybe strangers, too, like autumn leaves, on the ground. Behind each visage, within each beating heart, lie dreams, fears in life and death – and loss. Loved ones are reminisced, and tears fall, while the void of loneliness is filled. Time stands still, like it does, for fallen leaves, and each person, surrounded by love, forgets, for a moment, who they are, or want to be.

David and His Violin

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Meadow

The decision is made! The drive to move on in search of a new horizon will happen.   New land with predictable contours, for plowing, planting and cultivating, will be had.  The last winter in Wisconsin had settled in for the Garland’s. On a visit to Grandad McClintock’s, in the dead of winter, where family gathers round the fire and the romantic Uncle David plays the violin with his Celtic fervor, and mother sings along, dissent is heard by the news that the Garland family will be settling in Winneshiek on the edge of Looking Glass Prairie. Going to Iowa!

Grandpa McClintock doesn’t want to see his daughter go. He says, to Mr. Garland,

Ye’d better stick to the old coulee, ‘…a touch of sadness in his voice.’  Ye’ll find no better here. …ye belong here. It’s the curse of our country, -this constant moving, moving. I’d have been better off had I stayed in Ohio, though this valley seemed very beautiful to me the first time I saw it.

The conflict between staying and leaving continues, as the mother in singing, “O’er the Hills in Legions Boy,” is subdued by the prospects of separation, and her husband, the ‘explorer, pioneer’ can only see the opportunities ahead, in a new land. Hamlin says, “life is a struggle, love a torment,” as the mind set for preparations is formed.  Even Grandpa  knows deep down the heart wrenching feeling of leaving your loved ones behind.

Hamlin’s autobiography is beautifully rendered in a poetic language, imbued with contrasting tones of light and dark, reminiscent of the true romantic spirit of the author and the times.   His descriptions of the land, and the mood they cast are indelibly etched in his memory. It is in his darkest poetic thoughts, where true meaning is found.

The reader is constantly reminded of the perspective of the author of “A Son of a Middle Border,” looking back in time. Remembering the bittersweet experience of being torn from the land of his blood, and his undying search of his childhood roots.

It all lies in the unchanging realm of the past-this land of my childhood. Its charm, its strange dominion cannot return save in the poet’s reminiscent dream. No money, no railway train can take us back to it. It did not in truth exist-it was a magical world, born of moaning winds-a union which can never come again to you or me, father, uncle, brother, till the coulee meadows bloom again unscarred of spade or plow.

Isn’t it what we all yearn for, to return to the ‘impossible past’ and relive the sweet magical scent of the fragile dreams that never really were?

Journey

Wandering down a country road,

in search of clarity and purpose,

A man saw a barn.

It was a landmark in rural decline.

A place of broken dreams from the past.

The day was dismal, and stormy.

Forlorn thoughts clouded his mind.

He paused at the crossing,

and stood in the wind and the rain.

All around him, time was moving fast.

Cindy

Always had a smile,

My very best friend,

A little older,

At times, my mother hen.

You gave me a name,

I still keep today,

You were the one,

with whom I wanted to play.

But now, like then,

We have to part ways.

 

Others frowned at our friendship,

But little did they know,

You and I lived like sisters

Through our fun, and our woes.

Under the falling stars,

Those warm summer nights,

Blessed Mary, the only witness

of our dreams, to unfold.

 

Yes!  Young, you have gone;

But you got your wishes, too,

With your horses, and children, and husband.

Their love is true.

Go peacefully,

knowing, I loved you, as well,

and in my heart,

our memory dwells.

For if not, pray tell;

What is the meaning of life?

Your friend,

Greta

TiffanyCreek

 

A Spanish Dance

You will find her in a garden,

in Andalusia,

Dancing the dance of Spain.

You will find her absorbed in the breeze,

Where the scent of the orange blossoms reign.

With sensuous fingers and hands,

As if grasping a ripe pear,

Gently, they trace her curvaceous form,

Moving high, into the air.

The arm undulates, to the ground.

Invisible fruit is released.

Mournful eyes of the dancer follow,

As her head inclines.

This is Flamenco,

A Spanish dance.

TiffanyCreek

Dedicated to my friend María, from Galicia,

who TRIED to teach me to dance Flamenco.