Monday, December 14, 2009

Beware the Ides of December

I'm writing on Monday evening, the 14th of December. The temperature here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 is 62 degrees. Sixty-Two as in the year my little brother was born. It would have been a great night for Hallowe'en, when the temperature was in the 30s.

I was outside looking at the brood of clouds moving across the skies thinking it would be a great night to go hiking along some trail, maybe in Cherokee Park or out in the Jefferson Memorial Forest. Parks officials frown on such things - hiking in the parks at night and alone. It is, however, the best time go out and mingle with nature. And it is best done away from the city, away from the airport, away from the interstates. Cherokee works for two out of three. The forest works for one out of three if your hiking on the north front of the line of hills stretching across southern Jefferson County from the Dodge Hill Pass eastward to South Park Hill. Hiking on the southside accomplishes all three.

In recent liturgies the priest at church has been using the expression "the moon, the stars, and the wind." Or something like that. I should pay more attention if I am going to quote him. These are the sights you see when out on an enchanted evening like tonight. Every time he does I'm reminded of a few lines from an Irish play I read in college, Sean O'Casey's 1925 Juno and the Paycock, which is technically a tragedy, and the storyline is indeed tragic, but two of the characters - "Captain" Jack Boyle and "Joxer" Daly are rather comical at times - a pair of drunken buddies with no real occupation or preoccupation except spending time in either Ryan's or Foley's tavern.

The "Captain" has created an image of himself as an old sailor whose early life was spent upon the open seas of runs between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, something we know is not the case. At one point, telling a story to his pal Joxer, he comments

"I ofen looked up at the sky an' assed myself the question -- what is the stars, what is the stars? An' then, I'd have another look, an' ass meself -- what is the moon, what is the moon?"
That's what I was doing outside tonight, looking at first my porch, with two pumpkins still guarding the doorway and a wreath adorning the door itself, looking up at the skies and saying something loony "what is the stars, what is the moon?" Frankly, it is an astonishing looking evening outside. I may go back out and smoke a cigar. I'm down to my last one - time to make a run up to Kremer's.

It has been a weirdish kind of day. I've upset a few friends, made up with another one, and have been somewhat absent-minded all day, something some people accuse me of on a regular basis.

Thus, beware the Ides of December. Even in that sentiment, I am off. We all know from Shakespeare that the Ides of March fall upon the 15th. In the old Roman calendar, that was the case in only four months - March, May, July, and October. In the other months, the ides fell upon the 13th. Thus it was yesterday to be wary of, not tomorrow. I was weary yesterday, though not wary. I am growing wary of things as we approach the end of the calendar year. Like so many years, I will be glad of its passing. 2010 should make for a better year, albeit the one in which I will turn 50. I'm not prepared for that.

So for now, we'll just turn the page to tomorrow. To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow creeps in this petty pace . . . . .

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.