Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fat Karma: Recovery from the Diet Paradigm

My home altar, Prajnaparamita, Peace, and me
This would be as good a time as any to resurrect my Fat Karma series. This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.  To see if I have covered this topic before, I skimmed over those posts and others with a related label, and found this phrase of mine, "recovery from the diet paradigm."  I think it's my own phrase...maybe I picked it up somewhere.  It's certainly how I've been thinking about this for many years.

I have said before that I had a consciousness of diet by the age of six. I would not be surprised if this is the norm, that a child is likely to be aware of good and bad foods, calories, the need not to be fat, and the word 'diet'.  The child unhindered by this consciousness is most likely the exception.  The histrionics of this eating disordered society has become even worse in the decades since my own childhood.

I grew to be a teen who could not believe she was beautiful, sexy, pretty, because she'd always received the message that she weighed too much to be any of these things.  This affected my sex life in college.  Even if given messages that I was sexy, I couldn't quite believe it.  Even though I'd never thought I'd be the marrying type, I settled with one guy and did marry him, because though I wasn't quite conscious of the reason, deep down I was afraid no one else would have me, so I loved the one I was with.

I didn't know it at the time, but the day I started practicing meditation was the day I would begin to love my body.  It would take a few years before I could get a glimpse of this, and several more years before I could believe, and even more before I could consistently act from a place of loving myself, my whole self, including my body, and my big belly.

A defining moment: post-college, in my twenties, with my first husband here in Portland.  I sat down with a plate-full of rice and beans (I'd been a vegetarian since twenty-one).  My husband worried that I would keep getting fatter.  I don't remember precisely what he said, what he started yelling, but I remember the certainty in my response.  I told him that what I was doing, my Buddhist practice, was the right thing for me, and would help me with this issue.  That being fat or overeating was not the problem, it was the symptom.  I knew that meditation gave me access to myself, and that my friends at the Zen Center, who were my mirrors, and my teacher, would continue to help me access myself, and get to the root of the problem.

I still spoke with the language of the diet paradigm, but this was a first step to recovery.  I knew something had happened with meditation: I could no longer diet.  I trusted this practice, though, as from the very beginning it gave me access to something I hadn't had own inner voice.

Now I realize I could no longer diet because what you must do in order to diet is ignore the signals coming from your body.  You mustn't eat when you're hungry, but you must eat only certain things, certain amounts, and at certain times.  You mustn't eat for pleasure, for good taste, but for minimum sustenance and lowest calories, no matter what your insides, your mouth, your eyes, your nose tells you.  To do this, you must separate from the pain, from the hunger, from the body.  Meditation put me back in my body; ignoring my body's voice was no longer an option.  I now know this is a central message of Health at Every Size, that if we listen to our body's signals, eat what satisfies our true hunger, we will be unlikely to be subject to the cycle of deprivation and binging that results from dieting and food restriction.  No food is good or bad.  No food is forbidden (unless you're allergic).  Food that is appreciated is food that satisfies.  In my experience, I then need less of it.

Included with my meditation practice during these years was a recurring vow to Pay Attention.  As part of this, I noticed that even though I worked on my feet eight hours a day, walked to and from work for a total of more than an hour, was a vegetarian, I did not lose weight.  I noticed during meditation retreats when we shared meals, it did not matter the size of people, but some people ate more than me, and some people ate less than me.  While we are to set aside comparing mind during a retreat, in this mode of paying attention I began to get the message that I actually ate normally.

Also during this time I took a temporary vow not to eat chips or chocolate.  This three month period taught me the ways I could squirm around a limit (I ate non-chocolate candy), but the larger lesson was learned after the vow was over. I am so grateful for this tradition at my temple, the temporary vow to intensify one's practice.  I might have benefited from a Catholic upbringing.  When it was over, I made the return to chocolate and chips a special occasion.  While I'd mindfully abstained, after, I mindfully ate, and I found an incredible gift.  I truly enjoyed that chocolate, those chips, and I realized before this vow, I'd never truly eaten them.  Previously, while I ate, I also ate the guilt, and the shame, and the belief that I shouldn't really be eating them. I realized this not-eating happened with all food I ate.  I would never not-eat when I ate again.

When I could be grateful, and love the food I put in my body, I could truly begin to make choices that nourished my whole self.  I could truly begin to choose foods out of love for my body, including my body's health and my body's pleasure.

A very similar thing went on with my view of my body.  I couldn't just look at my body.  I could only see parts of it at a time.  I couldn't like certain parts of my body.  I couldn't include these as parts of me.  Again, with this recurring vow of Pay Attention, I heard it when my inner voice said, "I could be bisexual."  I began to notice, and cultivate an awareness of those aspects of a woman I found attractive.  I noticed that I could like a generously curved woman, appreciate the parts much like the parts of myself I couldn't look at, and I would realize, if she shared parts just like mine, and I liked how she looked, why couldn't I like how I looked?  I learned to lose the warped vision that comes from an eating-disordered society.

Through this process, I finally reached a point where I could believe it when a man, or a woman, told me I looked sexy.  When I am truly in my body, enjoying the ways it can feel, it can move, I am loving my body, and that is sexy.

Once I gave up this language about myself, this hateful self-talk that is the diet paradigm, and I made every effort to notice it, root it out, and change the habit of self-degradation, I noticed how many people disparage themselves with it, no matter what size they are.  It's insidious, how much it is part of our culture.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eastern Oregon Trip: Thomas Condon Paleontology Center

view sheep rock
View of Sheep Rock from the parking lot of the Paleontology Center

It was while we were in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument that we left HWY 26 and turned north on Oregon HWY 19.

I was excited to visit the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, two miles after our turnoff.  I was reading Your Inner Fish for my library book group.  I find the fossil record fascinating.  When I was a kid I had a small fossil collection, several of which were found in my rural Wisconsin back yard.  (I have to ask my mom if that's still around.)

In 1859 Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species.  Fossils were the big thing among a certain set.  A minister and self-taught scientist in The Dalles, Oregon, Thomas Condon, heard about abundant fossils from soldiers in 1862, and in 1865 he began excavating fossils in this area. Condon eventually became a Professor of Geology at the University of Oregon.

IMG_5755_1A few minutes after arriving at the center, a short movie about the John Day Fossil Beds and paleontology was announced.  We learned there are fossil beds throughout 10,000 square miles of Eastern Oregon. The National Monument is 20 square miles of protected area.  The John Day Fossil Beds in particular are very diverse.  Six distinct ages ranging from 7 million to 44 million years ago can be found there. The fossil record is so reliable there that paleontologists around the world "are looking to this formation for correlation."

I'd learned in Your Inner Fish that lava beds were not good places to find fossils because the molten lava destroyed the beings it killed, and that former sea beds were good places to find fossils.  In this case, it was volcanic activity that created these profuse fossil records, but it was mud flow that covered over and smothered everything, and since it was so fast, it was like a snapshot of all the living beings at one time, encased in mud which became rock.

While Thomas Condon must certainly have kept a record of where he found fossils, these days paleontologists can keep notebooks with precise locations, times, and pictures printed on the spot.  In this rich territory in Oregon, a paleontologist can find "an entirely new basin that no one has collected before."

I can't recommend enough visiting this place as part of your visit to Eastern Oregon.  It can't compare to the American Museum of Natural History, but it is chock full of information, and because of the unique fossil record of the area, has a wide range of fossils, post-dinosaurs. Wall murals depicting the animals and plants as they may have looked line the walls (well-done, not hokey as I remember museum visits from my childhood) and the exhibits are displayed as if on exposed rock.  I took a bunch of pictures to look at later but there are plenty of photos and other things to explore at the National Parks website. (I may have more description work to do with those photos of mine, so check back later.)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 8 and Finale


CHAPTER LXXII. Full souls are double mirrors, making still An endless vista of fair things before, Repeating things behind.

 "I feel convinced that his conduct has not been guilty: I believe that people are almost always better than their neighbors think they are," said Dorothea. Some of her intensest experience in the last two years had set her mind strongly in opposition to any unfavorable construction of others; and for the first time she felt rather discontented with Mr. Farebrother.
Dorothea will be a champion for the buffeted Doctor.  She also defies Sir James.
But Sir James Chettam was no longer the diffident and acquiescent suitor: he was the anxious brother-in-law, with a devout admiration for his sister, but with a constant alarm lest she should fall under some new illusion almost as bad as marrying Casaubon. He smiled much less; when he said "Exactly" it was more often an introduction to a dissentient opinion than in those submissive bachelor days; and Dorothea found to her surprise that she had to resolve not to be afraid of him--all the more because he was really her best friend. He disagreed with her now. "But, Dorothea," he said, remonstrantly, "you can't undertake to manage a man's life for him in that way. Lydgate must know-- at least he will soon come to know how he stands. If he can clear himself, he will. He must act for himself."
I like Sir James, but I can't help but feel he is too unkind here.  I guess he's more concerned for harm Dorothea might experience, than that a man's life could be ruined over something he didn't do.  Or would his compassion allow him to let a man sink or swim in a pool full of sharks?
Besides, there is a man's character beforehand to speak for him." "But, my dear Mrs. Casaubon," said Mr. Farebrother, smiling gently at her ardor, "character is not cut in marble--it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do." "Then it may be rescued and healed," said Dorothea "I should not be afraid of asking Mr. Lydgate to tell me the truth, that I might help him. Why should I be afraid?
Whereas once Dorothea was innocent and passionate, insisting on a course that would inevitably be harmful, now she seems to be the only reasonable person due to that same passion tempered by experience.  Why should she be afraid?
People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors." Dorothea's eyes had a moist brightness in them, and the changed tones of her voice roused her uncle, who began to listen. "It is true that a woman may venture on some efforts of sympathy which would hardly succeed if we men undertook them," said Mr. Farebrother, almost converted by Dorothea's ardor.
I wonder if this is a key passage.  Is this the difference between men and women in the public sphere?  The difference between a savvy cleric and a saintly heart?  Why would this kind of effort of sympathy be unlikely to succeed if men undertook them?

CHAPTER LXXIII. Pity the laden one; this wandering woe May visit you and me.

Lydgate mulls greatly, how to present himself?
He would not retreat before calumny, as if he submitted to it. He would face it to the utmost, and no act of his should show that he was afraid. It belonged to the generosity as well as defiant force of his nature that he resolved not to shrink from showing to the full his sense of obligation to Bulstrode. 
CHAPTER LXXIV. "Mercifully grant that we may grow aged together." --BOOK OF TOBIT: Marriage Prayer.

How Middlemarch lets a wife know her place, thanks to her husband's actions:
Candor was one. To be candid, in Middlemarch phraseology, meant, to use an early opportunity of letting your friends know that you did not take a cheerful view of their capacity, their conduct, or their position; and a robust candor never waited to be asked for its opinion. Then, again, there was the love of truth--a wide phrase, but meaning in this relation, a lively objection to seeing a wife look happier than her husband's character warranted, or manifest too much satisfaction in her lot--the poor thing should have some hint given her that if she knew the truth she would have less complacency in her bonnet, and in light dishes for a supper-party. Stronger than all, there was the regard for a friend's moral improvement, sometimes called her soul, which was likely to be benefited by remarks tending to gloom, uttered with the accompaniment of pensive staring at the furniture and a manner implying that the speaker would not tell what was on her mind, from regard to the feelings of her hearer. On the whole, one might say that an ardent charity was at work setting the virtuous mind to make a neighbor unhappy for her good.
Catty, dark, mean, this gossip thing. Cue Kristen Bell, Gossip Girl narrator.  Kristen, read this for me, please?  No one could do it more justice.

Oddly, though, no one wished to tell Mrs. Bulstrode.  They didn't want to be mean to her. And when she does find out, first she mourns, then she stands by her man. One of the most touching moments in the book, I think.
He sat with his eyes bent down, and as she went towards him she thought he looked smaller-- he seemed so withered and shrunken. A movement of new compassion and old tenderness went through her like a great wave, and putting one hand on his which rested on the arm of the chair, and the other on his shoulder, she said, solemnly but kindly-- "Look up, Nicholas."
And in that simplicity, there is still complexity:
They could not yet speak to each other of the shame which she was bearing with him, or of the acts which had brought it down on them. His confession was silent, and her promise of faithfulness was silent. Open-minded as she was, she nevertheless shrank from the words which would have expressed their mutual consciousness, as she would have shrunk from flakes of fire. She could not say, "How much is only slander and false suspicion?" and he did not say, "I am innocent."

CHAPTER LXXV. "Le sentiment de la fausset? des plaisirs pr?sents, et l'ignorance de la vanit? des plaisirs absents causent l'inconstance."--PASCAL.
The sense of the falsity of present pleasures, and ignorance of the vanity of absent pleasures, cause inconstancy.
Meanwhile, Rosamond courts Ladislaw.
She even fancied--what will not men and women fancy in these matters?-- that Will exaggerated his admiration for Mrs. Casaubon in order to pique herself. In this way poor Rosamond's brain had been busy before Will's departure. 
CHAPTER LXXVI. "To mercy, pity, peace, and love All pray in their distress, And to these virtues of delight, Return their thankfulness. . . . . . . For Mercy has a human heart, Pity a human face; And Love, the human form divine; And Peace, the human dress. --WILLIAM BLAKE: Songs of Innocence.

Dorothea follows through:
"Not because there is no one to believe in you?" said Dorothea, pouring out her words in clearness from a full heart. "I know the unhappy mistakes about you. I knew them from the first moment to be mistakes. You have never done anything vile. You would not do anything dishonorable." It was the first assurance of belief in him that had fallen on Lydgate's ears. He drew a deep breath, and said, "Thank you." He could say no more: it was something very new and strange in his life that these few words of trust from a woman should be so much to him. "I beseech you to tell me how everything was," said Dorothea, fearlessly. "I am sure that the truth would clear you."
She is like a balm on his heart.  She even will help him with his marriage, though I wonder at the good that will do.
 following the impulse to let Dorothea see deeper into the difficulty of his life, he said, "The fact is, this trouble has come upon her confusedly. We have not been able to speak to each other about it. ... "May I go and see her?" said Dorothea, eagerly. "Would she accept my sympathy? I would tell her that you have not been blamable before any one's judgment but your own. I would tell her that you shall be cleared in every fair mind. I would cheer her heart. Will you ask her if I may go to see her? I did see her once." "I am sure you may," said Lydgate, seizing the proposition with some hope. ".... I will not speak to her about your coming--that she may not connect it with my wishes at all."
CHAPTER LXXVII. "And thus thy fall hath left a kind of blot, To mark the full-fraught man and best indued With some suspicion." --Henry V.
There was evidently some mental separation, some barrier to complete confidence which had arisen between this wife and the husband who had yet made her happiness a law to him. That was a trouble which no third person must directly touch. But Dorothea thought with deep pity of the loneliness which must have come upon Rosamond from the suspicions cast on her husband; and there would surely be help in the manifestation of respect for Lydgate and sympathy with her.
Oh...if only Rosamond were as Dorothea imagines.

CHAPTER LXXVIII. "Would it were yesterday and I i' the grave, With her sweet faith above for monument"

In which Rosamond makes a move for Will, who is thoroughly disgusted, and Dorothea happens upon them at just the wrong moment.  Well, even though he hasn't been cleared in the eyes of his wife, Lydgate shines at what he does best.
"...Rosamond! has something agitated you?" Clinging to him she fell into hysterical sobbings and cries, and for the next hour he did nothing but soothe and tend her. He imagined that Dorothea had been to see her, and that all this effect on her nervous system, which evidently involved some new turning towards himself, was due to the excitement of the new impressions which that visit had raised. 
CHAPTER LXXIX. "Now, I saw in my dream, that just as they had ended their talk, they drew nigh to a very miry slough, that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Despond."--BUNYAN.
We are on a perilous margin when we begin to look passively at our future selves, and see our own figures led with dull consent into insipid misdoing and shabby achievement. Poor Lydgate was inwardly groaning on that margin, and Will was arriving at it. It seemed to him this evening as if the cruelty of his outburst to Rosamond had made an obligation for him, and he dreaded the obligation: he dreaded Lydgate's unsuspecting good-will: he dreaded his own distaste for his spoiled life, which would leave him in motiveless levity.
I wonder if any other of the men would have felt this obligation after a burst of cruelty.  Mr. Garth perhaps.  Would others have even realized how they were cruel?  Not Sir James. Not Mr. Brooke. Mr. Farebrother wouldn't have got himself in that position: I think he'd see enough clues to avoid it.

CHAPTER LXXX. "Stern lawgiver! yet thou dost wear The Godhead's most benignant grace; Nor know we anything so fair As is the smile upon thy face; Flowers laugh before thee on their beds, And fragrance in thy footing treads; Thou dost preserve the Stars from wrong; And the most ancient Heavens, through thee, are fresh and strong. --WORDSWORTH: Ode to Duty.

Ahh...some comic relief via Miss Henrietta Noble.
...when suddenly some inarticulate little sounds were heard which called everybody's attention. "Henrietta Noble," said Mrs. Farebrother, seeing her small sister moving about the furniture-legs distressfully, "what is the matter?" "I have lost my tortoise-shell lozenge-box. I fear the kitten has rolled it away," said the tiny old lady, involuntarily continuing her beaver-like notes. ..."Oh, if it is Ladislaw's present," said Mr. Farebrother, in a deep tone of comprehension, getting up and hunting. ..."That is an affair of the heart with my aunt," said Mr. Farebrother, smiling at Dorothea, as he reseated himself. "If Henrietta Noble forms an attachment to any one, Mrs. Casaubon," said his mother, emphatically,--"she is like a dog--she would take their shoes for a pillow and sleep the better." "Mr. Ladislaw's shoes, I would," said Henrietta Noble. 
Dorothea resolves something in herself that night.
She was vigorous enough to have borne that hard night without feeling ill in body, beyond some aching and fatigue; but she had waked to a new condition: she felt as if her soul had been liberated from its terrible conflict; she was no longer wrestling with her grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.
CHAPTER LXXXI. "Du Erde warst auch diese Nacht bestandig, Und athmest neu erquickt zu meinen Fussen, Beginnest schon mit Lust mich zu umgeben, Zum regst und ruhrst ein kraftiges Reschliessen Zum hochsten Dasein immerfort zu streben. --Faust: 2r Theil.

Google translate and free ebooks to the rescue again...Faust speaking:

And thou, O Earth !—for nature still is true—
Didst, this night, of the common boon partake;
And, breathing in fresh vigour at my feet,
Already, with thy charms of new delight,
Dost in my heart the earnest wish awake
To strive towards Being's unascended height.
Dorothea visits Rosamond, who, thinking others would be like herself, thinks Dorothea comes with a mean purpose.  But Dorothea comes to heal.
"...And I have told Mr. Farebrother, and Mr. Brooke, and Sir James Chettam: they all believe in your husband. That will cheer you, will it not? That will give you courage?" Dorothea's face had become animated, and as it beamed on Rosamond very close to her, she felt something like bashful timidity before a superior, in the presence of this self-forgetful ardor. She said, with blushing embarrassment, "Thank you: you are very kind."
And they share a moment.  A rare true moment.
[Rosamond] withdrew the handkerchief with which she had been hiding her face, her eyes met Dorothea's as helplessly as if they had been blue flowers. What was the use of thinking about behavior after this crying? And Dorothea looked almost as childish, with the neglected trace of a silent tear. Pride was broken down between these two.
And Rosamond gives Dorothea the gift of truth, that Will rejected her due to another woman, Dorothea.
Rosamond had delivered her soul under impulses which she had not known before. She had begun her confession under the subduing influence of Dorothea's emotion; and as she went on she had gathered the sense that she was repelling Will's reproaches, which were still like a knife-wound within her. 
...   "Mrs. Lydgate and I have chatted a great deal, and it is time for me to go. I have always been accused of being immoderate and saying too much." She put out her hand to Rosamond, and they said an earnest, quiet good-by without kiss or other show of effusion: there had been between them too much serious emotion for them to use the signs of it superficially.
CHAPTER LXXXII. "My grief lies onward and my joy behind." --SHAKESPEARE: Sonnets.

Will is devastated but...
 But it is given to us sometimes even in our every-day life to witness the saving influence of a noble nature, the divine efficacy of rescue that may lie in a self-subduing act of fellowship. If Dorothea, after her night's anguish, had not taken that walk to Rosamond--why, she perhaps would have been a woman who gained a higher character for discretion, but it would certainly not have been as well for those three who were on one hearth in Lydgate's house at half-past seven that evening.
CHAPTER LXXXIII. "And now good-morrow to our waking souls Which watch not one another out of fear; For love all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room, an everywhere." --DR. DONNE.

Oh! Miss Noble again, with her tortoise-shell lozenge box from Will. She comes with a message from him for Dorothea.  How cute, that the little old spinster would be the messenger, and brings the two together at last.  Will takes her hand...
Still it was difficult to loose the hand, and Dorothea, withdrawing it in a confusion that distressed her, looked and moved away. "See how dark the clouds have become, and how the trees are tossed," she said, walking towards the window, yet speaking and moving with only a dim sense of what she was doing.
Methinks it is an internal storm brewing as well.
"We may at least have the comfort of speaking to each other without disguise. Since I must go away--since we must always be divided--you may think of me as one on the brink of the grave." While he was speaking there came a vivid flash of lightning which lit each of them up for the other--and the light seemed to be the terror of a hopeless love. Dorothea darted instantaneously from the window; Will followed her, seizing her hand with a spasmodic movement; and so they stood, with their hands clasped, like two children, looking out on the storm, while the thunder gave a tremendous crack and roll above them, and the rain began to pour down. Then they turned their faces towards each other, with the memory of his last words in them, and they did not loose each other's hands.
So classic...these days:
"...I meant to go away into silence, but I have not been able to do what I meant." "Don't be sorry," said Dorothea, in her clear tender tones. "I would rather share all the trouble of our parting." Her lips trembled, and so did his. It was never known which lips were the first to move towards the other lips; but they kissed tremblingly, and then they moved apart. The rain was dashing against the window-panes as if an angry spirit were within it, and behind it was the great swoop of the wind; it was one of those moments in which both the busy and the idle pause with a certain awe.
Cue big sigh.

CHAPTER LXXXIV. "Though it be songe of old and yonge, That I sholde be to blame, Theyrs be the charge, that spoke so large In hurtynge of my name." --The Not-Browne Mayde.

And so they will be married, despite the despicable will, or because of it.
"Oh, there is usually a silent exception in such cases," said Mrs. Cadwallader. "The only wonder to me is, that any of you are surprised. You did nothing to hinder it. If you would have had Lord Triton down here to woo her with his philanthropy, he might have carried her off before the year was over. There was no safety in anything else. Mr. Casaubon had prepared all this as beautifully as possible. He made himself disagreeable--or it pleased God to make him so--and then he dared her to contradict him. It's the way to make any trumpery tempting, to ticket it at a high price in that way."
What she said.

CHAPTER LIXXV. "Then went the jury out whose names were Mr. Blindman, Mr. No-good, Mr. Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. Heady, Mr. High-mind, Mr. Enmity, Mr. Liar, Mr. Cruelty, Mr. Hate-light, Mr. Implacable, who every one gave in his private verdict against him among themselves, and afterwards unanimously concluded to bring him in guilty before the judge. And first among themselves, Mr. Blindman, the foreman, said, I see clearly that this man is a heretic. Then said Mr. No-good, Away with such a fellow from the earth! Ay, said Mr. Malice, for I hate the very look of him. Then said Mr. Love-lust, I could never endure him. Nor I, said Mr. Live-loose; for he would be always condemning my way. Hang him, hang him, said Mr. Heady. A sorry scrub, said Mr. High-mind. My heart riseth against him, said Mr. Enmity. He is a rogue, said Mr. Liar. Hanging is too good for him, said Mr. Cruelty. Let us despatch him out of the way said Mr. Hate-light. Then said Mr. Implacable, Might I have all the world given me, I could not be reconciled to him; therefore let us forthwith bring him in guilty of death." --Pilgrim's Progress.

Pilgrim's Progress...never read it, and this doesn't make me want to.

Mr. Bulstrode is done for.  The sad part, Mrs. Bulstrode must be done for with him.  This is what harsh judgments do...they slay the innocent as well as the guilty.  No matter what, no matter who.  But together, they manage to do some good, and arrange for Fred to take over the running of the Stone Court estate, the very estate he thought he might inherit.

CHAPTER LXXXVI. "Le coeur se sature d'amour comme d'un sel divin qui le conserve; de la l'incorruptible adherence de ceux qui se sont aimes des l'aube de la vie, et la fraicheur des vielles amours prolonges. Il existe un embaumement d'amour. C'est de Daphnis et Chloe que sont faits Philemon et Baucis. Cette vieillesse la, ressemblance du soir avec l'aurore." --VICTOR HUGO: L'homme qui rit.
"The heart is saturated with love as a divine salt that preserves it; of the incorruptible adherence of those who are like the dawn of life, and extenders freshness of the old loves. There is an embalming of love. It's Daphnis and Chloe are made as Philemon and Baucis. This old age the likeness of the evening with the dawn. "- VICTOR HUGO: The Man Who Laughs.
And Mary indeed ends up with Fred.  Poor Mr. Farebrother.

Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning, as it was to Adam and Eve, who kept their honeymoon in Eden, but had their first little one among the thorns and thistles of the wilderness. It is still the beginning of the home epic--the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union which makes the advancing years a climax, and age the harvest of sweet memories in common.

We get to find out what happens to everyone! I like that part at the end of dissatisfying to be left wondering.
When Fred was riding home on winter evenings he had a pleasant vision beforehand of the bright hearth in the wainscoted parlor, and was sorry for other men who could not have Mary for their wife; especially for Mr. Farebrother. "He was ten times worthier of you than I was," Fred could now say to her, magnanimously. "To be sure he was," Mary answered; "and for that reason he could do better without me. But you--I shudder to think what you would have been-- a curate in debt for horse-hire and cambric pocket-handkerchiefs!" 
Lydgate's hair never became white. He died when he was only fifty, leaving his wife and children provided for by a heavy insurance on his life. He had gained an excellent practice, alternating, according to the season, between London and a Continental bathing-place; having written a treatise on Gout, a disease which has a good deal of wealth on its side. His skill was relied on by many paying patients, but he always regarded himself as a failure: he had not done what he once meant to do. His acquaintances thought him enviable to have so charming a wife, and nothing happened to shake their opinion.
At least one good impulse from Rosamond over the years:
Why then had he chosen her? It was a pity he had not had Mrs. Ladislaw, whom he was always praising and placing above her. And thus the conversation ended with the advantage on Rosamond's side. But it would be unjust not to tell, that she never uttered a word in depreciation of Dorothea, keeping in religious remembrance the generosity which had come to her aid in the sharpest crisis of her life.
And Dorothea...

 Still, she never repented that she had given up position and fortune to marry Will Ladislaw, and he would have held it the greatest shame as well as sorrow to him if she had repented. They were bound to each other by a love stronger than any impulses which could have marred it.

Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful.  They were the mixed result of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it. A new Theresa will hardly have the opportunity of reforming a conventual life, any more than a new Antigone will spend her heroic piety in daring all for the sake of a brother's burial: the medium in which their ardent deeds took shape is forever gone. But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know.    ...
But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.       [The End]
Must go back and look at those beginning lines about Theresa...and maybe find out more about Theresa.

Must think about "unhistoric acts."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eastern Oregon Trip: Kam Wah Chung Museum


Sheesh, I've been busy. Here it is almost two months later and I'm almost done with my travel chronicle.  After a leisurely morning, breakfast in our room, packing and checkout by noon (love that noon checkout time), we left Baker City on Oregon HWY 26 East.  If we stayed on 26 it would get us back to Portland, but our destiny took us north sooner than that.

IMG_5686_1First stop, the Kam Wah Chung Museum.  Ever since we read Midnight at the Dragon Cafe for Everybody Reads in 2007, I've been interested in visiting John Day, and viewing the encapsulated history of Doc Hay in this museum.  Included in the events for Everybody Reads were lectures on the history of Chinese and other Asians in Oregon.  More recently, OPB's show Oregon Experience covered the history of the museum and Ing Hay and his business partner Lung On.  Video here. It happened to air again before our trip, and my sweetie and I watched it together.

It turned out we couldn't visit the museum except in a guided tour, as too much damage was done when too many unescorted people wandered in the small space. We were lucky to arrive just a little before a tour...just enough time to use the restroom, buy a piece of Chinese calligraphy art, and view the displays in the visitor center.

IMG_5699_1In 1862 there was a gold rush in Oregon.  At the same time the Civil War was preventing an influx of workers, so foreign workers were relied on to fill the gaps.  As I mentioned before, only men were allowed.  Doc Hay and Lung On left their families behind.

In 1882, no one but scholars were allowed to enter the country from China.  After a certain point, even if they wanted to, the two men didn't dare return to China because they might not be allowed back.  They remained in their adopted home of Oregon.  Doc Hay wrote letters faithfully and sent money, and according to our guide, appeared to love his wife, though it was a traditional arranged marriage.  Lung On, though, was apparently glad to leave his arranged marriage.

I found myself wondering again, what about their sex life?  Did they have any once they moved to the U.S.?  Did they dare?  Could they have been lovers?  If that were the case this could never have been hinted at for the history books.  I like to think they were partners in more than the business sense, hiding their companionship in plain sight.  I also wonder if the sexual revolution has indeed made us more sexualized, and if it was entirely common for unattached women as well as men simply to have no sex life.  Lung On liked to gamble, and both liked to host a cadre of visitors.  I can imagine them smoking, tossing coins, tiles, cards, shooting the shit, laughing at low humor, easing the unexpressed libido through innuendo and crude jokes.

In 1921 electricity arrived in John Day, and Ing Hay got it the first day. One later addition was a bedroom for Lung On, with its own entrance.  This way Lung On wasn't disturbed when Doc Hay received a late night patient, and Doc Hay wasn't disturbed when Lung On returned from late nights spent drinking and gambling.

The grocery was closed down when Lung On died, and the business closed completely in 1948 when Doc Hay could no longer run his healing business. After his death, the building was closed completely. When the building was opened back up in 1969, they found items from the twenties to the forties.  They also found Kentucky bourbon under the floorboards dated apparently this catch-all business that served both Chinese and whites also was prepared to be a speakeasy, or provide the speakeasy's liquor.

Erhu: Chinese violin
Erhu, or Chinese violin, on the right
There were pasted red papers with Chinese writing on the walls. I'm guessing this had something to do with New Year's celebrations.

These two men were the only Chinese to remain buried in the town.  Everyone else had their remains sent back to their homeland as their tradition enjoined. Lung On didn't want the job, but he was the one who would dig up the bones and send them back to China.  Doc Hay was buried with a Mason funeral.

 Altars graced every room.

More details and photos here.

altar detail

Monday, October 10, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 7

Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life (Broadview Editions)BOOK VII. TWO TEMPTATIONS. 
I presume the two temptations are a continuation of the story of the widow and the wife.

CHAPTER LXIII. These little things are great to little man.--GOLDSMITH.

Mr. Farebrother noticed that Lydgate seemed bored, and that Mr. Vincy spoke as little as possible to his son-in-law. Rosamond was perfectly graceful and calm, and only a subtle observation such as the Vicar had not been roused to bestow on her would have perceived the total absence of that interest in her husband's presence which a loving wife is sure to betray, even if etiquette keeps her aloof from him.
Poor Mr. Farebrother.  Is he who notices the subtle details of the relationships of others doomed to have no intimate relationships for himself?
"Ah, there's enormous patience wanted with the way of the world. But it is the easier for a man to wait patiently when he has friends who love him, and ask for nothing better than to help him through, so far as it lies in their power." "Oh yes," said Lydgate, in a careless tone, changing his attitude and looking at his watch. "People make much more of their difficulties than they need to do." He knew as distinctly as possible that this was an offer of help to himself from Mr. Farebrother, and he could not bear it. So strangely determined are we mortals, that, after having been long gratified with the sense that he had privately done the Vicar a service, the suggestion that the Vicar discerned his need of a service in return made him shrink into unconquerable reticence.
Ah, the control.  For some it is easier to dispense help rather than receive.  To receive help means one is not in control and on top of things. To give help means others are obligated to you, to receive help means you are obligated to others.  I don't think that bothers Lydgate so much as that his life is out of control, but if he can take care of it himself he maintains the illusion of control.

CHAPTER LXIV. 1st Gent. Where lies the power, there let the blame lie too. 2d Gent. Nay, power is relative; you cannot fright The coming pest with border fortresses, Or catch your carp with subtle argument. All force is twain in one: cause is not cause Unless effect be there; and action's self Must needs contain a passive. So command Exists but with obedience."

Who has the power?  And even if they have the power, it cannot exist without those who are obedient.  So do the obedient ones have the power, as without their passivity, the power could not exist?
It was because Lydgate writhed under the idea of getting his neck beneath this vile yoke that he had fallen into a bitter moody state which was continually widening Rosamond's alienation from him. After the first disclosure about the bill of sale, he had made many efforts to draw her into sympathy with him about possible measures for narrowing their expenses, and with the threatening approach of Christmas his propositions grew more and more definite.
It appears Rosamond has the power, and Lydgate gives it to her.  She would go to London, a pie in the sky idea, but there's no getting around her will.
"To do what? What is the use of my leaving my work in Middlemarch to go where I have none? We should be just as penniless elsewhere as we are here," said Lydgate still more angrily. "If we are to be in that position it will be entirely your own doing, Tertius," said Rosamond, turning round to speak with the fullest conviction.
While we, the reader, can see that she had a big hand in it with her spending on her trousseau, no one in the book, that I can remember, tells Rosamond she needs to take responsibility.
He had long ago made up his mind to what he thought was her negative character--her want of sensibility, which showed itself in disregard both of his specific wishes and of his general aims. The first great disappointment had been borne: the tender devotedness and docile adoration of the ideal wife must be renounced, and life must be taken up on a lower stage of expectation, as it is by men who have lost their limbs.
Rather than talk about this, Lydgate bears it all silently as his lot.  What he thinks is her negative character is her stubborn willfulness.  He doesn't get that she willfully does what she does, and that she has no respect for him. I wonder if the mere case of his falling in love with her due to her distress would make this inevitable.

CHAPTER LXV. "One of us two must bowen douteless, And, sith a man is more reasonable Than woman is, ye [men] moste be suffrable. --CHAUCER: Canterbury Tales.

This is about the power again...since one must bow before the other, and a man will be more reasonable, he must bow before the unreasonable woman?  Or he's operating on a different system than she is, so he gets the shorter end?  This seems to be the case with Tertius and Rosamond.  He shouldn't underestimate her.
 Lydgate paused in his movements, looked at her again, and said, with biting severity-- "Will this be enough to convince you of the harm you may do by secret meddling? Have you sense enough to recognize now your incompetence to judge and act for me--to interfere with your ignorance in affairs which it belongs to me to decide on?"
Lydgate shouldn't consider Rosamond incompetent.  That seems more benign than she deserves.  She wouldn't care about her ignorance, she thinks she can make things happen the way she wills.
Lydgate flung himself into a chair, feeling checkmated. What place was there in her mind for a remonstrance to lodge in? He laid down his hat, flung an arm over the back of his chair, and looked down for some moments without speaking.
Darn right he's checkmated.
"It is so very hard to be disgraced here among all the people we know, and to live in such a miserable way. I wish I had died with the baby." She spoke and wept with that gentleness which makes such words and tears omnipotent over a loving-hearted man. Lydgate drew his chair near to hers and pressed her delicate head against his cheek with his powerful tender hand. He only caressed her; he did not say anything; for what was there to say?
And her conquest is complete.

CHAPTER LXVI. " 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall." --Measure for Measure.
Some of that twice-blessed mercy was always with Lydgate in his work at the Hospital or in private houses, serving better than any opiate to quiet and sustain him under his anxieties and his sense of mental degeneracy. Mr. Farebrother's suspicion as to the opiate was true, however. 
Will Dr. Lydgate fall from this?  I find it hard to believe. Is this one of the two temptations?

And Fred?  Is gambling to be his temptation again? He had...
ten pounds which he meant to reserve for himself from his half-year's salary (having before him the pleasure of carrying thirty to Mrs. Garth when Mary was likely to be come home again)-- he had those ten pounds in his mind as a fund from which he might risk something, if there were a chance of a good bet.
Nope, not Fred, but Lydgate, gambling.
Fred felt a shock greater than he could quite account for by the vague knowledge that Lydgate was in debt, and that his father had refused to help him; and his own inclination to enter into the play was suddenly checked. It was a strange reversal of attitudes: Fred's blond face and blue eyes, usually bright and careless, ready to give attention to anything that held out a promise of amusement, looking involuntarily grave and almost embarrassed as if by the sight of something unfitting; while Lydgate, who had habitually an air of self-possessed strength, and a certain meditativeness that seemed to lie behind his most observant attention, was acting, watching, speaking with that excited narrow consciousness which reminds one of an animal with fierce eyes and retractile claws.
And Mr. Farebrother seals the deal of Fred's reformation.
Perhaps Mr. Farebrother's might be concentrated into a single shrug and one little speech. "To think of the part one little woman can play in the life of a man, so that to renounce her may be a very good imitation of heroism, and to win her may be a discipline!"
CHAPTER LXVII. Now is there civil war within the soul: Resolve is thrust from off the sacred throne By clamorous Needs, and Pride the grand-vizier Makes humble compact, plays the supple part Of envoy and deft-tongued apologist For hungry rebels.

Lydgate asks for Bulstrode's help with his money owed.  He is declined.

CHAPTER LXVIII. "What suit of grace hath Virtue to put on If Vice shall wear as good, and do as well? If Wrong, if Craft, if Indiscretion Act as fair parts with ends as laudable? Which all this mighty volume of events The world, the universal map of deeds, Strongly controls, and proves from all descents, That the directest course still best succeeds. For should not grave and learn'd Experience That looks with the eyes of all the world beside, And with all ages holds intelligence, Go safer than Deceit without a guide! --DANIEL: Musophilus.

Gah, these old wordings can be difficult to interpret.  To think that once upon a time I read the original Chaucer and apparently understood it.  This chapter is about Bulstrode...that gives me a clue.  Ahh.  His fortune begun in vice, in the end, he will get his, even though he wore the suit of virtue, to cover up, or repent, of his ill-gotten beginnings.

CHAPTER LXIX. "If thou hast heard a word, let it die with thee." --Ecclesiasticus.

While Bulstrode hoped Raffles spoke to no one else, the man did, and consequently Mr. Garth quits.
"No," said Caleb, lifting his hand deprecatingly; "I am ready to believe better, when better is proved. I rob you of no good chance. As to speaking, I hold it a crime to expose a man's sin unless I'm clear it must be done to save the innocent. That is my way of thinking, Mr. Bulstrode, and what I say, I've no need to swear. I wish you good-day."
In other news, Lydgate seems to have hit bottom.

CHAPTER LXX. Our deeds still travel with us from afar, And what we have been makes us what we are."

The chapter in which Bulstrode repents of his treatment of Lydgate, and he somehow needs to shut up Raffles. Dr. Lydgate treats Raffles (with no knowledge of the true connection to Bulstrode) and Bulstrode gets instructions on the man's care.  The innocent view: Bulstrode repents and helps Lydgate with his money problems, and the mistake with the instructions is just a mistake.  The guilty view: Bulstrode bribes, and Lydgate looks the other way.  The truth: somewhere in between, with a bit of unconscious desires mixed in.

CHAPTER LXXI. Clown. . . . 'Twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit, have you not? Froth. I have so: because it is an open room, and good for winter. Clo. Why, very well then: I hope here be truths. --Measure for Measure.

Hmmm. The second quote from this Shakespeare I have not read.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll get a chance to read it before I read Middlemarch again someday.  If gossip is involved, little chance of truths here.
Hence, in spite of the negative as to any direct sign of guilt in relation to the death at Stone Court, Mr. Hawley's select party broke up with the sense that the affair had "an ugly look." But this vague conviction of indeterminable guilt, which was enough to keep up much head-shaking and biting innuendo even among substantial professional seniors, had for the general mind all the superior power of mystery over fact.
You can't get more public than a town meeting. So were the two temptations more about these men than about Fred or Rosamond?  If they yielded to temptation, it doesn't appear to have been entirely conscious...and if unconscious, can it be said they did yield to temptation?  And does it matter if the public has tried them in the gossip and found them guilty?
Lydgate felt sure there was not strength enough in him to walk away without support. What could he do? He could not see a man sink close to him for want of help. He rose and gave his arm to Bulstrode, and in that way led him out of the room; yet this act, which might have been one of gentle duty and pure compassion, was at this moment unspeakably bitter to him. It seemed as if he were putting his sign-manual to that association of himself with Bulstrode, of which he now saw the full meaning as it must have presented itself to other minds. He now felt the conviction that this man who was leaning tremblingly on his arm, had given him the thousand pounds as a bribe, and that somehow the treatment of Raffles had been tampered with from an evil motive.
Lydgate seals his fate as an accomplice, yet as a doctor he still cannot turn away from a man in distress.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

He's a Big Cat, I Cannot Lie

My cats are big cats, and Sandy is the larger. Like me, he believes in conservation of movement. If he can reach it without having to get up, he will not get up.  He doesn't like to get into things and get in trouble, like Zigzag does. I play with him with a variety of toys.  Together they do that cat chase thing, jumping over tables, just one paw touching, flying over chairs and the couch, zipping in a second from one end of the room to the other.  So while Sandy would lie down rather than come to you, he does play and get plenty of activity.

I bring this up because when I took them for their annual checkup last month, their vet tried to scare me into thinking I needed to put them on diet food.  Last year, she wanted me to limit their dry food, and only let them have the food for a limited time each day.  Both visits, she said, "These cats are big-boned and tend to weigh more, and you have to be careful about them getting overweight."

I think this is a sad example of our societal eating disorder.  Excess weight is so scary, such a bad bad thing, that pets are put on diets before they've even reached full adult age.  They aren't even overweight yet, but in the attempt to start those good eating habits, I as their caretaker am told to limit their calories or the big bad will happen.  If they are big-boned and genetically prone to weigh more, why this fear of letting them weigh more?

I told her I'd tried the year before to separate and limit their food, but separating them made them too anxious.  She interrupted me, "You mean it made you anxious? You couldn't listen to their meowing?"  I stopped, confused.  Oh, she thinks I couldn't bear to make them go without food.  "Nooo... they wouldn't eat because they were anxious when I tried to separate them."  I don't think she really heard me, as I suspect she looks at me and thinks I am transferring my own "eating disorder" to my cats, while I likewise think she is putting this irrational fear of weight that Americans have onto my cats.  Don't get me wrong, I think she's a great vet, except for this.  She did say, check it out, do your research, make your own choice.  Perhaps she is paid to hawk their products, but doesn't necessarily believe in them.

She handed me a brochure for Purina Overweight Management food with valuable coupons.  So just like the societal eating disorder for humans, the one for animals is brought to you by those who would make money over it...much more money than for their regular food.  Sorry, but I'm not buying it.  I don't trust Purina.  I've always bought good health food for cats, and Purina doesn't qualify.  This brochure had a "success" story about a cat that lost a bunch of weight and was so much happier.  Not a word about ingredients, about nutritional information, but only about weight loss and calories.  So I looked it up. First ingredient?  Corn gluten meal.  Second? Wheat gluten.  Finally, the fourth ingredient is poultry by-product meal.  Hey, I'm a vegetarian, but I don't expect my cats to be!

Compare that to my Trader Joe's brand, first ingredient chicken meal.  Even that is not quite as good as the dry food these cat experts found, in which the first ingredient is unadulterated chicken.  My vet did say that cats don't get overweight if they eat only wet food.  When my kittens found me, I wanted the best for them.  I tried giving them only wet food.  For a while, they really liked it. Then they started eating less, and they started eating my books, eating electrical cords, shoelaces, anything plastic.  They wanted to chew and crunch.  They were weaned on dry food with a little bit of wet, and that is what they prefer.

So within the first year, I broke down and started buying dry food, but only the good stuff.  I looked at ash content (the lower the better), at protein percentage (the higher the better, obviously) and moisture content.  I used to swear by Science Diet, but Bench and Field Holistic Natural, at Trader Joe's, stacks up even better.  It even has blueberries in it.  TJ's now has its own brand of healthy cat food as well, and I can't really see a difference, except the first is in a star shape, and the second, a saucer shape.

It took a while for the cats even to be interested in wet food again. They wouldn't touch Trader Joe's brand.  I started getting a variety, small cans only, and only the healthy brands.  If it was the same two days in a row, they wouldn't eat it.

I was curious, just how "overweight" is my sweet boy Sandy?  I didn't know when I adopted them that they are part Maine Coon, as their mom was slender and small-boned, normal hair.  According to the chart on this web page, the average weight of a Maine Coon is 16 lbs.  Male cats can range from 15-25 lbs.  It seems my Sandy could be just above average weight, with his big bones, yet I'm supposed to start depriving him of calories, and limiting how much food he gets.  Zigzag is currently 12.8 lbs, and Sandy, 17.0.

Rather than buy a cat food that bulks up by adding grains that cats aren't able to digest (is this weight management via adverse food reactions?), I'm going to continue to give my cats all the dry food they want, the stuff that at least starts its ingredients with a form of chicken.  I've started giving them a small can to share morning and evening, instead of just evening, and they are liking that.  They also seem to like the food more with the addition of probiotic powder (oh...another Purina product).  I'm figuring, more wet food means they will naturally eat less dry food.

While I researched, I discovered according to some it actually is good for cats to be able to nibble unhindered, and that is better done with dry food, as the wet food will go bad.  I knew too much ash content is bad, but didn't know why.  It has to do with urinary tract disease.  Regular grazing, rather than segregated amounts of food, keeps the pH level of the urine from fluctuating too much.

All of that to say, I'm sure I'm doing the right thing for my cats.

Zigzag shows his belly
Zigzag shows his belly, Sandy looks on.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 6

It was my plan to be reading Book 8 this week. I was a book behind last week, but now I am indeed on the last book of this large tome, though I am still catching up with the blogging part.

In my search for annotations which might include translations, I found this list of websites on Eliot. I may want to visit it when I am done with the book.  Soon now, soon.  I found the translation, incidentally, by first using Google Translate, and then searching for particular words in the particular book in Google Books.  Ahh, isn't life grand these days? (So yes, these blogs take me a little while, as it's not just about reflecting and writing.)

Middlemarch (Penguin Classics)BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.

CHAPTER LIV. "Negli occhi porta la mia donna Amore; Per che si fa gentil eio ch'ella mira: Ov'ella passa, ogni uom ver lei si gira, E cui saluta fa tremar lo core. Sicche, bassando il viso, tutto smore, E d'ogni suo difetto allor sospira: Fuggon dinanzi a lei Superbia ed Ira: Aiutatemi, donne, a farle onore. Ogni dolcezza, ogni pensiero umile Nasee nel core a chi parlar la sente; Ond' e beato chi prima la vide. Quel ch'ella par quand' un poco sorride, Non si pub dicer, ne tener a mente, Si e nuovo miracolo gentile." --DANTE: la Vita Nuova.


My lady carries love within her eyes
All that she looks on is made pleasanter
Upon her path men turn to gaze at her
He whom she greeteth feels his heart to rise
And droops his troubled visage full of sighs
And of his evil heart is then aware
Hate loves and pride becomes a worshipper
E women help to praise her in somewise
Humbleness and the hope that hopeth well
By speech of hers into the mind are brought
And who beholds is blessed oftenwhiles
The look she hath when she a little smiles
Cannot be said nor holden in the thought
Tis such a new and gracious miracle. Dante's The New Life
Is this saying all a man needs is the love of a good woman?
but to an aunt who does not recognize her infant nephew as Bouddha, and has nothing to do for him but to admire, his behavior is apt to appear monotonous, and the interest of watching him exhaustible. This possibility was quite hidden from Celia, who felt that Dorothea's childless widowhood fell in quite prettily with the birth of little Arthur (baby was named after Mr. Brooke).
This is the second time Celia's baby is referred to as a Bouddha, the first referenced hair, or perhaps the lack of it, I wasn't sure.  Certainly, he appears to be meant to provide comic relief.
"Good God!" Will burst out passionately, rising, with his hat still in his hand, and walking away to a marble table, where he suddenly turned and leaned his back against it. The blood had mounted to his face and neck, and he looked almost angry. It had seemed to him as if they were like two creatures slowly turning to marble in each other's presence, while their hearts were conscious and their eyes were yearning. But there was no help for it.
The two appear to be falling in love, for all the wrong reasons as it often seems of characters in this book.  Or is this how we always fall in love? Is there no escape from the blindness of our own projections?  These two see each other, yet do not. They don't know the full story, and respond to another story in the other.  I think nowadays there is a help for it.  There is the possibility of radical honesty. There is the possibility of speaking truth in intimacy without judgement, without censorship.

CHAPTER LV. Hath she her faults? I would you had them too. They are the fruity must of soundest wine; Or say, they are regenerating fire Such as hath turned the dense black element Into a crystal pathway for the sun. If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new. 
   We are told that the oldest inhabitants in Peru do not cease to be agitated by the earthquakes, but they probably see beyond each shock, and reflect that there are plenty more to come.

The Widow: Dorothea pines for Will Ladislaw, now especially that he is forbidden. Celia carries the idea to Sir James that Dorothea thinks never to marry again.  This fits his view of widows, even though she's a young widow.

Sir Henry Wotton
CHAPTER LVI. "How happy is he born and taught That serveth not another's will; Whose armor is his honest thought, And simple truth his only skill! . . . . . . . This man is freed from servile bands Of hope to rise or fear to fall; Lord of himself though not of lands; And having nothing yet hath all." --SIR HENRY WOTTON. [friend of John Donne]

The rail is coming to Middlemarch, and the people in their usual resistance to change think it will be a bad thing.  The scene: rabblerousers would run off the rail suveyors.  Fred Vincy and Caleb Garth see this and assist the rail workers and deal with the locals.  Fred gets job with Caleb.  This looks good for Fred, with regards to Mary.

CHAPTER LVII. They numbered scarce eight summers when a name Rose on their souls and stirred such motions there As thrill the buds and shape their hidden frame At penetration of the quickening air: His name who told of loyal Evan Dhu, Of quaint Bradwardine, and Vich Ian Vor, Making the little world their childhood knew Large with a land of mountain lake and scaur, And larger yet with wonder love belief Toward Walter Scott who living far away Sent them this wealth of joy and noble grief. The book and they must part, but day by day, In lines that thwart like portly spiders ran They wrote the tale, from Tully Veolan.

Mrs. Farebrother, mother to the cleric who would woo Mary, talks to Mary of her feelings toward clergy.  To be fair to Mrs. Farebrother, it does seem a rather inane reason to leave clergy out of the running:
"I don't like their neckcloths." "Why, you don't like Camden's, then," said Miss Winifred, in some anxiety. "Yes, I do," said Mary. "I don't like the other clergymen's neckcloths, because it is they who wear them." "How very puzzling!" said Miss Noble, feeling that her own intellect was probably deficient. "My dear, you are joking. You would have better reasons than these for slighting so respectable a class of men," said Mrs. Farebrother, majestically.

CHAPTER LVIII. "For there can live no hatred in thine eye, Therefore in that I cannot know thy change: In many's looks the false heart's history Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange: But Heaven in thy creation did decree That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell: Whate'er thy thoughts or thy heart's workings be Thy looks should nothing thence but sweetness tell." --SHAKESPEARE: Sonnets.

The Wife: Lydgate and Rosamond squabble over the visit of his cousin the Captain.  She enjoys the attention, he sees the sparkle dim from his infatuation. He must deal with the tremendous debt from their marriage, she would refuse to make any changes. This does not bode well.

CHAPTER LIX. They said of old the Soul had human shape, But smaller, subtler than the fleshly self, So wandered forth for airing when it pleased. And see! beside her cherub-face there floats A pale-lipped form aerial whispering Its promptings in that little shell her ear."

The Widow:
Now Lydgate, like Mr. Farebrother, knew a great deal more than he told, and when he had once been set thinking about the relation between Will and Dorothea his conjectures had gone beyond the fact. He imagined that there was a passionate attachment on both sides, and this struck him as much too serious to gossip about. He remembered Will's irritability when he had mentioned Mrs. Casaubon, and was the more circumspect.
The Wife:
She was oppressed by ennui, and by that dissatisfaction which in women's minds is continually turning into a trivial jealousy, referring to no real claims, springing from no deeper passion than the vague exactingness of egoism, and yet capable of impelling action as well as speech.
CHAPTER LX. Good phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable. --Justice Shallow. [old friend of Falstaff's, Henry IV, part 2]

Uh-oh.  Raffles makes an appearance again. The sale, like a fair, is a fun scene.

 CHAPTER LXI. "Inconsistencies," answered Imlac, "cannot both be right, but imputed to man they may both be true."--Rasselas. [from The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson]

Like a pearl, Mr. Bulstrode's good works have grown around a flaw, a dark seed coming from a lie.  His money first came from questionable pawnbrokers, then he withheld knowledge of his wife's daughter, a daughter who would inherit her money.  Instead he did. And this is what Raffles has on him.  And this is what propels him to good deeds with his fortune.  In a way he's pathetic, but he is also just trying to maintain his family's position.

CHAPTER LXII. "He was a squyer of lowe degre, That loved the king's daughter of Hungrie. --Old Romance.

OK, now Dorothea and Will both know the conditions of their divide.  And so they part. "She put out her hand, and Will took it for an instant without speaking, for her words had seemed to him cruelly cold and unlike herself. Their eyes met, but there was discontent in his, and in hers there was only sadness." 
How could he dream of her defying the barrier that her husband had placed between them?--how could she ever say to herself that she would defy it? Will's certainty as the carriage grew smaller in the distance, had much more bitterness in it. Very slight matters were enough to gall him in his sensitive mood, and the sight of Dorothea driving past him while he felt himself plodding along as a poor devil seeking a position in a world which in his present temper offered him little that he coveted, made his conduct seem a mere matter of necessity, and took away the sustainment of resolve.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 5

This figure hath high price: 't was wrought with love Ages ago in finest ivory; Nought modish in it, pure and noble lines Of generous womanhood that fits all time That too is costly ware; majolica Of deft design, to please a lordly eye: The smile, you see, is perfect--wonderful As mere Faience! a table ornament To suit the richest mounting."

When Mrs. Casaubon visits the doctor to learn about her husband's health, we get a glimpse into Rosamond's thoughts. She realizes even though she is married, she can make conquests.  Could it be she is the table ornament?

CHAPTER XLIV. I would not creep along the coast but steer Out in mid-sea, by guidance of the stars.

With his age, do Casaubon and Dorothea ever have a real chance?  His paranoia widens the rift: "He distrusted her affection; and what loneliness is more lonely than distrust?"

CHAPTER XLV. It is the humor of many heads to extol the days of their forefathers, and declaim against the wickedness of times present. Which notwithstanding they cannot handsomely do, without the borrowed help and satire of times past; condemning the vices of their own times, by the expressions of vices in times which they commend, which cannot but argue the community of vice in both. Horace, therefore, Juvenal, and Persius, were no prophets, although their lines did seem to indigitate and point at our times.--SIR THOMAS BROWNE: Pseudodoxia Epidemica.

Gossip about the outsider Dr. Lydgate: he wants to cut up bodies willy-nilly; he never ever dispenses drugs; and is ">disagreeably inattentive to etiquette."
That last bit is probably true.

Advice from Farebrother: don't get too close to Bulstrode; don't get into debt. Can you say "foreshadow?"

CHAPTER XLVI. Pues no podemos haber aquello que queremos, queramos aquello que podremos. Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we can get. --Spanish Proverb.

Wo, what? Or how about "You can't always get what you want/ And if you try sometime you find/ You get what you need" or "and if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with..."?

You hurt me very much when you look so, Tertius." "Do I? Then I am a brute," said Lydgate, caressing her penitently. "What vexed you?" "Oh, outdoor things--business." It was really a letter insisting on the payment of a bill for furniture. But Rosamond was expecting to have a baby, and Lydgate wished to save her from any perturbation.
So the one she's with doesn't make enough money, and the one he's with is a flibbertigibbet.

CHAPTER XLVII. Was never true love loved in vain, For truest love is highest gain. No art can make it: it must spring Where elements are fostering. So in heaven's spot and hour Springs the little native flower, Downward root and upward eye, Shapen by the earth and sky.

Will Ladislaw in his smitten state finds a loophole in Casaubon's order to stay way: church! But one should be careful what one wishes for.
Will walked out after them, but they went on towards the little gate leading out of the churchyard into the shrubbery, never looking round. It was impossible for him to follow them, and he could only walk back sadly at mid-day along the same road which he had trodden hopefully in the morning. The lights were all changed for him both without and within. 
CHAPTER XLVIII Surely the golden hours are turning gray And dance no more, and vainly strive to run: I see their white locks streaming in the wind-- Each face is haggard as it looks at me, Slow turning in the constant clasping round Storm-driven.

Casaubon would shackle Dorothea from beyond the grave.  She has some small will to choose for herself left, and takes some time to decide whether to promise.  Perhaps the cosmos is smiling on her after all...he dies before she can say yes.

CHAPTER XLIX. A task too strong for wizard spells This squire had brought about; 'T is easy dropping stones in wells, But who shall get them out?"

But Casaubon extends his suspicions from beyond the grave.  Sir James continues to be the knightly gentleman as her brother-in-law:
"I say that he has most unfairly compromised Dorothea. I say that there never was a meaner, more ungentlemanly action than this--a codicil of this sort to a will which he made at the time of his marriage with the knowledge and reliance of her family-- a positive insult to Dorothea!"
CHAPTER L. "`This Loller here wol precilen us somewhat.' `Nay by my father's soule! that schal he nat,' Sayde the Schipman, `here schal he not preche, We schal no gospel glosen here ne teche. We leven all in the gret God,' quod he. He wolden sowen some diffcultee." Canterbury Tales.
Her world was in a state of convulsive change; the only thing she could say distinctly to herself was, that she must wait and think anew. One change terrified her as if it had been a sin; it was a violent shock of repulsion from her departed husband, who had had hidden thoughts, perhaps perverting everything she said and did.
Dorothea is transformed by the knowledge of her husband that his death brought her.  Relationships change even after death, and a person is affected.

CHAPTER LI. Party is Nature too, and you shall see By force of Logic how they both agree: The Many in the One, the One in Many; All is not Some, nor Some the same as Any: Genus holds species, both are great or small; One genus highest, one not high at all; Each species has its differentia too, This is not That, and He was never You, Though this and that are AYES, and you and he Are like as one to one, or three to three.

Mr. Brooke tries his hand at politics...not very good at it, but Ladislaw is, whom he has taken on.

CHAPTER LII. "His heart The lowliest duties on itself did lay." --WORDSWORTH.

Mr. Farebrother as cleric has the unwelcome task of acting as go-between for Fred and Mary.  Will she have him? But Mr. Farebrother cannot say he likes her himself.  What a soap opera!

CHAPTER LIII. It is but a shallow haste which concludeth insincerity from what outsiders call inconsistency--putting a dead mechanism of "ifs" and "therefores" for the living myriad of hidden suckers whereby the belief and the conduct are wrought into mutual sustainment.
Mr. Raffles had pushed away his chair and looked down at himself, particularly at his straps. His chief intention was to annoy Bulstrode, but he really thought that his appearance now would produce a good effect, and that he was not only handsome and witty, but clad in a mourning style which implied solid connections.
Mr. Raffles is not just visiting Bulstrode to blackmail, he's there to blackmail with panache.