They Didn't Ask: What's After Death
By Mahmoud Darwish
Translated by Fady Joudah
They didn't ask: What's after death? They were
memorizing the map of paradise more than
the book of earth, consumed with another question:
What will we do before this death? Near
our lives we live, and don't live. As if our lives
are desert lots disputed by the gods
of real estate, and we are dust's bygone neighbors.
Our lives are a burden to the historian's night: "Whenever
I hide them they come into my view out of absence . . ."
Our lives are a burden to the artist: "I paint them,
then I become one of them, and fog veils me."
Our lives are a burden to the general: "How does blood
flow from a ghost?" And our lives
should be as we wish. We want to
live a little, not for anything . . . other than to respect
resurrection after this death. And they quoted,
unintentionally, the philosopher's words: "Death
means nothing to us. We are and it isn't.
Death means nothing to us. It is and
Then they rearranged their dreams
in a different manner. And slept standing!
Although we were rudely awoken by the plow, which got stuck on our street at 6 a.m. and had its warning beep blasting for twenty minutes while it was driven backward to try to get it free around the curve, our neighborhood was never clear enough for us to venture out anywhere. We saw nearly everyone out shoveling, but the cars that tried to venture forth did a lot of skidding, so we figured we were better off staying right where we were. We did some digging out, dodging icicles which formed on and then fell off the roof in dramatic fashion, and the kids built snow forts with their friends in the neighborhood after Adam spent the morning sledding down the hill behind our house.
When we got cold, we watched part of the fourth season of Robot Chicken -- it is quite possible that I am the last Star Trek fan ever to find out about the opera Le Wrath di Khan, but that alone makes the DVDs worth the price, plus the opener where Seth Green pitches the show to Joss Whedon and Ron Moore (played by Joss Whedon and Ron Moore) and the former rejects it because it doesn't fit into the Whedonverse while the latter, in a "Frak Me" t-shirt, labels him a Cylon and tries to kill him. We're all sad about Brittany Murphy; I've known who she was since Les Miserables and I saw a lot of her early movies after the fact (Don't Say a Word because of Sean Bean, etc.) but we're all fans of Happy Feet here and were excited when they announced a sequel last week.
...and Daniel Wigle, who concluded that our front yard had bigger piles than his own front yard.
From early in the morning, the sun began to melt the snow and created wonderful icicles...
...even though the temperature remained below freezing.
The cardinals returned to the bird feeder for regular snacks.
And the pine looked very stereotypically adorned for Yule.
The wind chimes only rang when icicles fell off and made them shake.
Isn't it pretty?
We spent the evening of the longest night of year catching up on Merlin, though we're saving the season finale till tomorrow so don't spoil me! We watched "The Lady of the Lake," "Sweet Dreams," "The Witch's Quickening," and "The Fires of Idirsholas," each of which I thought was better than the one before; after a disappointing beginning, the second season of this show has really been a pleasure, and in terms of kick-ass female characters it's pleased me more than almost anything I watch, though the boys are completely adorable and I'd be lying if I didn't say that was a big part of the appeal. "The Lady of the Lake" was mostly enjoyable in terms of the Merlin-Arthur interaction, first the "Are you saying I'm fat?" exchange, then Arthur finding Merlin with women's clothes for Freya and saying that what a man does in his spare time is completely up to him. So Arthur doesn't care if Merlin is a transvestite, only if he does magic (though really I think Arthur must know, and have known for a long time, and he just calls Merlin stupid to remind him to be careful). I wish Freya had been stronger as a human instead of a damsel in distress with all her agency as a magical creature, but the Lady of Shalott ending with the boat was beautiful, and how sweet that it ended with Arthur all worried about whether he was the reason Merlin was upset.
"Sweet Dreams" is a pretty silly episode but has some very entertaining aspects -- the villain understanding why women are crazy for Arthur since he's attracted to him as well -- plus I really like Arthur and Guinevere together, so I liked the way all of that storyline unfolded. If Guinevere and Merlin start fighting over Arthur's attention, I reserve the right to change my mind; I don't like how quickly Morgana's friendships with Arthur, Gwen and Merlin have all been snapped by the writers in ways that seem unrealistic and unfair to me. They aren't trying very hard to keep her sympathetic, which is very annoying because she is so awesome confronting Uther in ways absolutely no one else does -- he says she will go to her room and she says he will go to hell! I love her defiance, but screeching that she wants Uther dead to Morgause just seems beneath her; what she wants is Uther disempowered, shown the error of his ways, forced to admit his own lies. Merlin's immediate idea when they have to disguise Uther, "We could dress him as a woman," would be better -- hahaha, he came up with that before suggesting they dress him as a servant! The look on Arthur's face was priceless. Letting someone like Alvarr kill Uther isn't much of a moral improvement on Uther's own policies.
Yay Ravens, go Pittsburgh, waah Favre, ugh Eagles, and that's all the attention I really paid to football. The county schools are closed Monday, so I'll be going stir-crazy with the kids. Have a joyous winter solstice!