I love the world Tove Jannson created with her wonderful Moomin books. The writing and illustrations are top notch, full of subtlty and wistfulness and the complex emotions we don’t always allow children to have, or forget they have. Her works are up there with Edward Gorey to my mind, and the beautiful animations made of Charles Schultz’ Peanuts gang (especially the Christmas special).
The other week I showed a friend my pencil animation in progress and he said it reminded him of Edward Gorey meets Peanuts; as you can imagine it made my day 🙂
Happy Saturday, readers!
We endure. And in the strength we needful gain in our small hero’s journeys, we encounter the requirement of meaning. Neither the smallest nor greatest of trials are endurable without that ineffable, elusive thing we all seek: for life to be meaningful.
It’s the only way to make sense out of the chaos that resides in the spaces we all (humans, gods*, nature) share. Time gives it and robs us of it. All is ever. Change is the greatest weapon of the gods; we convince ourselves the we are in control, but it’s they who pull the strings.
The gods love(d) us for our plodding predictability; made games for their amusement of disrupting and manipulating us. Some of the meaning we seek can be found in the ways we regard, respond to –and endure– these disruptions.
. . .
*I use this word in the sense of the gods as we’ve always invented them; stories of the forces which we do not understand made fathomable, endurable.
Also: read The Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony. It’s an incredible, applicable unpacking of Greek mythology, full stop.
Returned from the snow farm for the last few days of the year’s closing book. Serene here, too— quiet and white-blanketed. Few people are on the sidewalks, chilled and brittle. The emptiness of the playground today: a witness to the mercury, its height diminished despite bright sun.
And here we meet our fabricated bookends for time, believing we can hold or control it; we note it and name it to preserve the illusion. All is change, even the end of things, like the dying year to be replaced or born anew this midnight. Supplanted by new hopes, optimism in the dark corner of the year. Rebirth, Springtide: a crocus fighting her way up through a crust of snow.
Her bloom and demise are written in the maths that make her. Only we personify it, make a mirror of her. We with our imagined souls are infinitely fragile. So we make of her a beacon.
We’ll wait for her in the darkness yet to come. We’ll look for her as we burn through the woodpile, stacked under the eaves last fall. And as we watch the icicles melt, painting the days toothless, mild, and green again.
*from the poem ”To the New Year” by W. S. Merwin
Convolutions and subtext slip away like shingles from a roof during high winds. Faced with the elemental force of cold, our needs simplify. Just as hunger renders food delicious merely by filling a need, warmth does same after a spell of shivers; muscles convulsing in their toil of keeping the blood from slowing in our veins.
The simplification is good. Makes us thankful for the ease of milder days. Which at length leads to contemplation; to philosophical meanderings and resolutions. We will never take anything for granted again!
But we tend to be creatures of reaction more than of action. So, always the ebb and flow: seasons without, seasons within.
We will be relieved when the plumbing returns. In the meantime, we recognize the relative ease of most days. We hope the pipes hold and do not burst. And we wait for things to thaw, to soften even a little, in their intensity.