Monday Morning Musings:
“In all the universe nothing remains permanent and unchanged but the spirit.”
Anton Chekhov, The Seagull
“There is only one really serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”
–Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
“One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage If no one is thinking of firing it.”
Anton Chekhov, Letter to A. S. Lazarev-Gruzinsky, November 1, 1889.
“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” John Keats, Letter to his sister, Fanny Keats, 28 August 1819
On a beautiful day in early fall
we go to see a play,
a play about love and loss.
of life and death and sorrow and hope,
a play that discusses not only whether
life is worth living,
and can one enjoy life
without actually being happy,
or happy, but not very happy,
a play that breaks the fourth wall
and invites the audience to participate
(Perhaps with a little prompting–
because that seagull does need to make an appearance)
with characters who know they are fictional,
but are nevertheless real.
For all its existential angst
the play is funny
though of course, a gun on the stage must be used,
or must it?
And balloons that appear
will be popped,
it’s a question of when,
I suppose that is like life, too.
(Though being me,
I wonder how many people hear “Chekhov”
and think of the Star Trek character
and how sad is it that Anton Yelchin who played
Chekhov in the movies died in such a freak accident?
It seems more Twilight Zone than Star Trek, doesn’t it?
In a Star Trek world, there would be a way to bring him
back. And so this has me pondering a whole different set of philosophical questions about life and death. But not during the play, you understand,
(But really that whole killing a seagull thing. Isn’t that seriously psycho behavior?)
My husband and I have a lot to talk about after this play—
which we enjoyed, by the way, in case you couldn’t tell,
great acting, some funny songs, and a well-designed set.
It is a beautiful day,
and we sit outside drinking coffee,
a little cobble-stoned Philadelphia street.
People walk their dogs.
there is the man with three—
like Papa Bear, Momma Bear, and Baby Bear
They have smiling doggy faces amidst tufts of hair
that attract a gaggle of women.
We look at the buildings around us
and the birds hunting for crumbs,
we walk back to our car
observing the people,
the coffee crowd morphing into the Saturday
night drinking crowd
(two women talk about where to get moonshine
is that a thing now?)
and the police officers on their horses,
watch the people,
one horse, unconcerned, gives herself a bath
A character in the play asks what is the point of creating
and producing more stories and art
when so much exists already?
The answer, of course, is that we have a need to create.
Since prehistory, humans have created
multi-breasted earth mothers–
to go with the stories we create
to explain our existence.
Music, art, poetry,
to express and honor beauty.
We imitate and create
old and new
invented and inventive
We are complex creatures,
but also simple
We go to a wine festival the next day,
wine also a human creation,
though perhaps its existence came about by accident,
grapes left to ferment,
and we eat cheese
perhaps also an accidental creation–
because we learn by experiment—
Eat it, drink it, and see what happens.
And I think of ancient humans discovering that food
can be cooked, spices added,
the appreciation of complex flavors and aromas
and that food and wine
become even more pleasurable when shared with loved ones.
And so we do just that at this wine festival.
I think of the stupid fucking bird,
that stole my daughter’s sandwich right from her hand
at the beach this summer.
It is funny now, a story
I can share with you, Reader,
in verse here that I feel the need to create.
My spirit flies high like birds
though sometimes I may be stupid,
I may stumble a bit
(well, there was that wine)
life is worth living,
life is good.
Thanks to Elusive Trope for the Camus quote. (And for the philosophical explanations.)
We saw Stupid F**king Bird by Aaron Posner at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia.
We went to Old City Coffee
And the Heritage Wine Festival in Mullica Hill, NJ.