Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday and Sundry Nostalgia

Remembering, with sadness, my favourite astrologer, whose birthday was this weekend. Jonathan Cainer tragically died, far too soon, at the beginning of May this year. His nephew, Oscar, has taken over his astrological website and follows, very well, in his uncle's footsteps.

This is a sweet little seasonal commerial for London's main airport. Sadly I won't be following the wee teddy bears, there's nobody left, back there, to wait for me with open arms. (Sniffle).

“The past is a candle at great distance: too close to let you quit, too far to comfort you.”
― Amy Bloom, Away.

I've wondered which famous painting best brings out nostalgia, in me - came up with this one. My grandmother had a framed print of it in her "front room", it always intrigued me. After she died I kept the print, but it was lost along with everything else in a fire in 1996.

I wasn't aware of it, those long years ago, but the painting is by Sir John Everett Millais, and titled The Boyhood of Raleigh. Odd, that I ended up over the sea, probably in the direction the character in the painting is pointing.

NOSTALGIA by Billy Collins

Remember the 1340s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent, a badly broken code.

The 1790s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

In ancient Rome today began the long festival in honour of Saturn known, unsurprisingly, as Saturnalia - there are several posts in the archives on this, accessible via the Label Cloud in the sidebar. The festival morphed into a similar shindig in other countries, later on - in England it was known as Lord of Misrule

 Hat-tip HERE


mike said...

I'm not one to succumb to nostalgia by its pure definition. I have reminiscences from my life-gone-by, but I typically don't place an emotional value on my past. My sister mentioned in our last phone call that a friend of hers was suffering long-term depression centered on a string of failures from twenty years ago. My neighbor across the street who also suffers depression, often brings-up her failed marriage that ended thirty years ago and how it ruined her life. I don't understand how individuals can become hostage to their long-ago past or their assessment as victimization. The mind works in strange ways. One would think that pain from the past is best forgotten or used as a measure of progress.

I've mentioned a line from a poem that I read years ago by an unknown author, "life is like coral, always building upon the dead". That's how I prefer to view my personal history, it's deceased, but provided the foundation of my life extant.

I originally accepted astrology as a better explanation of life's workings, the hows and whys of one's path past and present, with a way forward. Religion was too centered on pain and suffering as our birthright, ie gawd's way, and how redemption, faith, and acceptance serve as the only metrics forward. The notion that Geezus died for our sins or that confession clears our karma, separates us from our actions and accountability.

I suspect that transiting Saturn conjunct natal Venus, both trine transiting Uranus, with that t-Uranus squaring natal Mercury, could dredge-up nostalgia, particularly with transiting Jupiter opposing (mid-point of) natal Moon and natal Saturn, while squaring Moon-ruled Asc.

mike (again) said...

Last paragraph above, I failed to mention that transiting Uranus is within conjunction with natal Moon, though transiting Uranus is currently stationary retrograde, turning direct end of the month. Transiting Uranus was conjunct your natal Moon July, 2016, then turned retrograde and will conjunct in forward motion April, 2017.

Twilight said...

mike + (again) ~ Irrespective of planetary transits, Christmas-time is apt, always, to bring on a spot of nostalgia for me, and I suspect for many others. I don't find nostalgia depressing though. For me it's just a matter of warm feelings for things and people remembered fondly.

Current transits aren't signifying much, far as I can tell, though maybe this: on 5 December 3 parcels were stolen from our porch - left there by USPS, out of plain sight from the roadway, as is their habit, and this has always been fine until now, even when we've been out all day, even overnight a couple of times. This time we were gone for around an hour - to town to pick up meds. from the pharmacy and to mail some cards to the UK. I've written the loss off, hoping that the contents (Christmas gifts) have done someone, somewhere some good. Other than that, only thing transits might relate to: I received a fairly inconsequential letter from solicitors in the UK regarding that elusive inheritance they've been promising for over two years now, but it remains, still, just a matter of promises, promises.

mike (again) said...

Sorry to know thieves grinched your Xmas packages. Lots of that going around. There is a bus-stop here on my corner that I continually clean-up, amazed at how irresponsible and inconsiderate people can be with their discards. Last year, there were five empty boxes there and I placed them in my recycle container. I had second thoughts and looked at the address, then contacted the resident at that address. The boxes were stolen from her front porch. She's an elementary school teacher and those were gifts for several of her poorer students' wish tree.

Most shipments have tracking numbers. I always follow delivery dates and I try my best to be available, even if that's all day, on the delivery day. I always provide the tracking number to those I send packages.

I don't know how people can live with themselves as thieves, particularly surmising the packages are Xmas gifts. But, no different than any other theft, or corporate thieves, some politicians, lobbyists, et al. Some people don't have a conscience.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ I, too, check tracking detail and make sure we don't leave the house before the mail/UPS or FedEx has driven past or delivered. On this occasion, we left home thinking the mail had already passed by. I checked porch and mailbox before we left, also as soon as we returned, because I had assumed there'd be at least one item delivered. We assumed there'd been no mail. I re-checked what tracking info I'd received, from several different orders, found one definite and one possible for delivery that date. We wondered if, it being Christmas-time, a different delivery person was on our "rural" route and might either be very late, or have delivered our stuff to another house (not unknown to happen), different street, same number- there are several in our general area. We assumed/hoped that, eventually, the stuff would be re-delivered after being handed back. A couple of days later, after speaking to the local post office people, we managed to speak to the delivery gal herself, our usual one, and she definitely remembered leaving three packages on the porch. She said there had been a similar theft not too far away a few days earlier. Either someone must have followed the mail van, watching for items being left outside; or less likely, someone came to the front door, by chance, during the short time we were out, saw the packages and made off with them.

Total value of items lost, including shipping costs etc was around $80. Happily the rest of the items I'd ordered have now been safely received.

mike (again) said...

Since this post on nostalgia has included package theft in the comments, my mother had a story about her worst Xmas that we children didn't know about until we became young adults.

My parents never had much money, but our Xmases were special, always with nice presents and lots of wonderful food. My dad was self-employed and did more business as Xmas neared, so money for Santa gifts wasn't available until Xmas Eve. My mother always dressed-up, then disappeared the day of Xmas Eve...she was out buying our gifts that she would leave at my father's shop...then she'd come home exhausted late afternoon to find four very hungry kids over-excited with Xmas anticipation.

My dad would load the presents into his car when he closed-up Xmas Eve, then stop at the grocery store for stocking stuffers of fresh apples and oranges. All of our presents were stolen one year from the grocery store's parking lot.

I remember that year, because my dad came home, then both Mom and Dad disappeared for several hours, not returning home until about 10 PM. It was a custom in our house for my mom to bake cookies and all of us kids decorated them. She'd just managed to get the cookies baked, so we were occupied during their absence.

That was one of many fine Xmases and I was none the wiser that a major theft had occurred. It must have been financially devastating for them and I don't know how they managed to find stores still open so late on Xmas Eve to replace the stolen items. That Xmas was seamless from my perspective and I didn't learn of the theft and parental hardship until years later.

mike (again) said...

BTW - Corpus' water contamination deepens. The city received water quality complaints from several businesses near the site of contamination as early as December 1st. The effected businesses state they noticed water issues as early as Thanksgiving. The complaints were discounted, because the city didn't find anything wrong with samples taken by standard analytical techniques, though acknowledged discoloration. The city was contacted two more times about poor water quality in the ensuing two weeks. An official alert wasn't issued until December 14th.

It appears that the chemical contaminant, thought to be toxic, has made its way into my zone's water system. Four people from my area are reported to have symptoms consistent with this chemical's toxicity. Will this become the Chernobyl of water contamination?

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks for sharing that story of a Christmas of your childhood, and of your parents' efforts that you and your siblings should not be disappointed, no matter what. Lovely memory - and, dare I say - a taste of sweet nostalgia? :-)

Re the water poisoning in your city - dang! that is so BAD! Could your own health problems, or GiGi's, be linked, do you suppose?

I see a class action suit in the future of some of the city's population (and a shrewd lawyer).

mike (again) said...

I'm sure my long-term health issues aren't related, as the problem has existed for the past year-and-a-half, but coincidentally, I started having stomach-intestinal issues accompanied by sore throat that started on Thursday. I'm inclined to think it's either allergies or some contagion, as a number of my neighbors have similar complaints. BUT, perhaps we are all suffering from this toxic water issue. GiGi seems to be doing fine and she has a particularly sensitive stomach and intestines...she'd definitely be the canary in the coal mine on this contamination issue. So, for now, I'll assume I'm slightly under the weather with some phenomenon unrelated to water quality. Oddly, I never suffer from stomach-intestinal complaints, so this is unusual for me.

No new statements from the city. Testing results from our system flush-out are due sometime this afternoon. All of the pipelines and water towers have been flushed several times, so I'm hopeful the water will test clean. The larger issue now is how long has this toxin contaminated our water system, as there is conjecture that it may have begun prior to Thanksgiving. It definitely started by December 1st, when the city was called about inferior water quality reported by surrounding businesses near the contamination site. It appears that those of us on the same pipeline as the contamination origin have probably been drinking and using contaminated water for at least several weeks.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ I hope you have good news from the water testing today. The "for how long" question will no doubt be fudged or shelved for as long as possible.

I also hope your additional under-the-weather feelings clear up soon. Allergies are a good bet upon which to pin blame. For some reason this year seems particularly bad for allergens. We're both sneezing more than usual, and anyjazz hasn't been nearly as prone to this until now (or prone to it at all), and Fall has been worse than Spring this year.

mike (again) said...

The all-clear was given, so back to normal usage. Wowzers! It's cold here...39*F right now with a very stiff wind. GiGi and I just returned from our evening, longer walk and my fingers are very cold, even with using gloves. Supposed to have an overnight low of 34*. Talked to my sister in KS and it's 5* right now, with an overnight low expected of -9*...brrrr. You must be pretty cold in OK, too. Yes, allergic reaction is an appropriate culprit, as is Trump...LOL.

Twilight said...

Oh good news! Jolly hockey sticks - as somebody used to say!

19 degrees here at present down to 12 overnight tonight - lower last night. It has been frigid all day. Seasonal-ish. :-)

Re Electoral College - tomorrow will tell a tale - or not!