Saturday, September 28, 2013

TFBT: Master Narrator; Zeus/Homer/Achilles

"But because it's right in the middle of the Iliad, it means that the perfect memory of the muses is channeled by whoever says anything".  Nagy's quote about Phoenix from Hour 8.CB22.1x helped me formulate a vague notion that's floated around my head for a while.  I would suggest that in the Iliad, there is a relationship between Zeus, Homer and Achilles. They are all, at times, aspects of the Master Narrator.  

It can escape no one's notice that on several occasions in the Iliad, the Olympians appear to be Zeus' nectar-swilling extended family gazing down on some entertainment he arranged for the family reunion.   Clearly, Homer is the Master Narrator, the master of the medium.   On occasion, Zeus seems to be Homer's mouthpiece, moving the narrative around like when he sent all the gods to do battle on the plain before Troy.  Achilles with his choice to make, moves the plot as much as Homer or Zeus does. 

I was shooting for a sports metaphor, but that didn't work. Instead let me propose;  Zeus the Master Narrator sitting in the sky boxes with his family watching the concert he produced.  Homer as the Master Narrator is the director and composer standing between the audience and symphony.  And Achilles as the Master Narrator is the star and soloist of the show. (A little aside here, I propose the same relationship between Zeus, Homer and Odysseus in the Odyssey.  The point of mentioning this is I once heard  Prof McGrath once say that somewhere around 80% of the his epic his narrated by Odysseus.).  

The role of the Master Narrator shifts from Zeus to Homer to Hero and back again.  The Master Narrator as Zeus is a god who sees what the other gods are doing.  The Master Narrator as Homer hears from the Muses who sees and tells him, what the gods are doing. Hence the Master Narrator as Achilles accesses the same skill and sees Athena in Book I of the Iliad when no other mortal does.  Likewise the Master Narrator as Achilles uses the dual tense in the Embassy Scene because he is clearly not calling Odysseus; near and dear, so the Master Narrator as Homer does the same.

Kind of a wild theory I know.

TFBT: The God Demophon

(Dēmophōn) was nourished in the palace, and he shot up equal to a superhuman force, not eating grain, not sucking from the breast. But Demeter used to anoint him with ambrosia, as if he had been born of the goddess, and she would breathe down her sweet breath on him as she held him to her bosom. Homeric Hymn to Demeter 235-238

When I read “and he shot up equal to a daemon”, I recalled (Iliad 18) where Thetis says, “I gave birth to a son who was without fault and powerful conspicuous among heroes; and he shot up like a young tree.  Thetis lovingly brought “forth a son, of strength mightier than his father, whose hand should launch a shaft more powerful than the bolt of thunder or the fearsome trident” (Pindar, Isthmian Ode 8)

Demeter was not in a loving mood. But grief yet more terrible and savage came into the heart of Demeter, and thereafter she was so angered with the dark-clouded Son of Cronus that she avoided the gathering of the gods” (HHD 90)  When Hera was once angry with Zeus, she too went apart from the gods and giving notice to the powers below prayed; “ Harken you now to me, one and all, and grant that I may bear a child apart from Zeus, no wit lesser than him in strength--nay, let him be as much stronger than Zeus as all-seeing Zeus than Cronus.’(Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian)  The product of Hera’s terrible, savage anger with Zeus was the giant monstrous Typhon; conqueror of Olympus

Although Demeter appeared to be doing something good in the way she brought up Demophon, not all the gods’ gifts are freely given.  The Titan Prometheus was one of the sons of Iapetus.  These brothers led the second generation Titans in the war against the Olympians called the Titanomachy.  He ended up switching side, becoming the benefactor of mankind and the cause of Thetis’ marriage to Peleus.   In “Hesiod's Cosmos  Jenny Strauss-Clay suggests that Prometheus gifts to us of fire and the best cuts of the sacrifice were not altruistic, but rather "presupposes a reciprocal counter-gift on the part of men, presumably their support of Prometheus in the contest between the Titan and Zeus" (p107)

The poets give no ulterior motive into Demophon’s baptism into ambrosia and fire.  But, what future did this terrible goddess, savagely starving mankind to death, angry with Zeus, standing apart from the gods intend when her foster son, the god Demophon, reached maturity?




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes 7.CB22.1x

I got to thinking about all the “daughters” that Zeus and Hera gave away;
·                               daughter Persephone to his brother Hades
·                               granddaughter Harmonia to his brother-in-law Cadmus
·                              foster daughter Thetis to his grandson Peleus
·                              daughter Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus
·                              daughter Aglaia to his son Hephaestus
·                              daughter Pasithea to Hypnos; son of Night
And oddly Helen got to pick Menelaus

Back in Forestry school we did a little surveying.  In the good old days, people use to set up piles of stones to mark the corners of their fields.  In the modern era in the United States we drive steel pipes with brass caps into the ground for “corner markers”.  And in places where the surveyor could not drive a pipe into the bedrock, I’ve seen them stack a pile of rocks around the corner marker to keep it in place.  The Iliad is a story about war and the choices we all face.  And the subject of boundary stones comes up twice that I’ve noticed; 
·                     Iliad 12.420 “from the wall now that they had once reached it. As two men, measuring-rods in hand, quarrel about their boundaries in a field that they own in common, and stickle for their rights though they be but in a mere strip,
      Iliad 21.402 “with her strong hand seized a stone (oros) that was lying on the plain - great and rugged and black –which men of old had set for the boundary of a field. With this she struck Ares on the neck” 
Do these mark the plot in someway?

 I found the following words in the dictionary at Perseus; 
  • anthoros; responding boundary-stone
  • dioros; having two boundary-stones
  • messoros, boundary-stone
  • oros, a boundary landmark and in the plural; bounds, boundaries, marking-stones

And the following commentary in Myths of Greece and Rome, by Jane Harrison, [1928], at www.sacred-texts.comthe old Slavonic rites of Russia comes a simple solution. After they had held a sort of "wake" over the dead man, the body was burned, and the ashes were placed in a small urn and set up on a pillar or herm on the boundary line of two properties. The dead grandfather was the object of special reverence, under the title of tchur, which means in Russian either grandfather or boundary. In the Russian of today prashtchur means great-great-grandfather, and tchur menya means "may my grandfather preserve me." On the other hand, the offence of removing a legal landmark is expressed by the word tchereztchur, which means "beyond the limit," or "beyond my grandfather." The grandfather looked after the patriarchal family during his life, he safeguarded its boundaries in death. His monument was at once tombstone and term. Hermes, then, to begin with, is just a herm, a pillar or square stone to keep the dead in memory and mark his grave; in form it is identical with a boundary stone. The mourner hopes and believes that his kinsman, loving; and faithful in life, will be faithful in death. So when; the autumn comes and he sows his seed, burying it in the ground, he believes that his father or his grandfather, if duly mourned and honoured, will look after the seed in the underworld. The herm becomes a giver of increase (charidotes).  

And one last thing; Thetis and Eurynome rescued Hephaestus and kept him with him in the Ocean for nine years.  Thetis is a salt water nymph a Nereid.  Eurynome is a titaness, one of the freshwater nymphs called Oceanides.  How did these two become friends?  See Friendship Among the Gods for further examples

Saturday, September 21, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes from 6.CB22.1x

“They swarmed like bees that come forth from some hollow cave and flit in countless throng among the spring flowers, bunched in knots and clusters; even so did the mighty multitude pour from ships and tents to the assembly” (Iliad 2.88) Pretty image, I thought.

 Priam said  at Iliad 3:185 “When I was in Phrygia I saw much horsemen, the people of Otreus and of godlike Mygdon, who were camping upon the banks of the river Sangarios; I was their ally, and with them when the Amazons, peers of men, came up against them,”  Now they would have been an epic to hear!

 “There are two whom I can nowhere find, Castor breaker of horses, and Pollux  the mighty boxer; they are children of my mother, and own brothers to myself. Either they have not left Lacedaemon or else, though they have brought their ships, they will not show themselves in battle for the shame and disgrace that I have brought upon them.” She knew not that both these heroes were already lying under the earth in their own land of Lacedaemon.  (Iliad 3.236 )  I think this is one of the saddest moments in the Iliad.

 “Still, taunt me not with the gifts that golden Aphrodite has given me; they are precious; let not a man disdain them, for the gods give them where they are minded, and none can have them for the asking”  (Iliad 3:64)   Maybe that is good advice for us all.


  “My own three favorite cities,” answered the ox-vision goddess Hera, “are Argos, Sparta, and Mycenae. Destroy them whenever you may be displeased with them. I shall not defend them and I shall not care."(  Iliad 4:50) Was Mycenae already in ruins by the time  Homer sang of its doom?




Sunday, September 15, 2013

TFBT: The Unrighteous Request

“the unrighteous prayer that Thetis

had made of him, Zeus” (Iliad 15:599)

Thetis is just a mother, trying to do the best for her only child.  She is a Nereid, a gentle wave-goddess of the Mediterranean Sea.  Homer call her, Thetis the “silver-footed”.  So, I was somewhat surprised to find her request characterized by “presumptuous in some translations of the Iliad (A. T. Murray) 

 I find “unrighteous” surprisingly judgmental for a poet so famously non-judgmental.  In the Iliad there are no bad guys, just people, some of them quite honorable, doing the best they can in a bad situation.  Contrary to popular belief it isn’t really about the Trojan War.  It is about the anger of Thetis’ son, Achilles, That is often the subtitle of the Iliad; “The Wrath of Achilles”.  Her son Achilles is the greatest hero of the age and in the opening scene of the Iliad he is unrighteously insulted by Agamemnon the leader of the Greek forces at Troy.  Her request to Zeus the king of the gods, is simply that he right this wrong. 

 That doesn’t seem too “unrighteous”.  Plus, the wrath of Achilles is pretty much the story line of the Iliad.  When his wrath is quenched in mutual tears with King Priam the story ends.  The plot line of the Iliad turns on “Thetis’ unrighteous request”.  Without her request, there would be no story for Homer to sing.    

 So I decided to look at the Greek version  to better understand why Homer called her request for justice; “unrighteous”.  If I read the Greek correctly, (If!) the word in Homeric Greek is  ἐξαίσι-ος .   Which means; beyond what is ordained or fated,   This is the famous “beyond-destiny” the “hyper moron” I’ve discussed elsewhere.   TFBT: Hyper-moron or Beyond Destiny, Part II

 “Beyond-destiny”  is an event the gods cannot allow to happen for their own sakes; an event contrary to the Will of Zeus or whatever little side plot one of his kinfolks has going; or contrary to the decrees of Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the three Fates.  So, regardless of the English translations, Thetis’ request is not unrighteous, it is just outside the scheme of things.   

 And what is the scheme of things?  What is the Will of Zeus?  In the lost epic “Cypria”.  Mother Earth begs Zeus to relieve her of the burden the tribes of demi-gods living on her surface.  In answer Zeus and the goddess of order Themis, mother of the Fates conspire to wipe the heroes from the world with wars at Thebes and Troy.

 So who is Thetis to overthrow the decrees of destiny?  She is the foster  daughter of Hera, the sharp tongued Queen of Olympus.  It was Thetis who rescued King Zeus when his enemies bound him, and they dared not raise a finger to object.  It was Thetis who rescued the smithy of the gods Hephaestus when he was tossed from Olympus .  It was Thetis who rescued the wine god Dionysius.  And it was Thetis who could be mother to the next king of the gods.  Instead she was the mother of Achilles, star of the Iliad and the plot of the Iliad seemed to center on the Will of Thetis.


 For further information on Thetis, I would recommend  Laura Slatkin’s  book The Power of Thetis.




Saturday, September 14, 2013

TFBT: Randnom Notes from 4.CB22.1x

Iliad 17: 426 “The horses (Achilles) stood out of the fight and wept when they heard that their driver had been laid low by the hand of manslaughtering Hector. … they would neither go back to the ships by the waters of the broad Hellespont, nor yet into battle among the Achaeans; they stood with their chariot stock still as a pillar set over the tomb of some dead man  or woman and bowed their heads to the ground. Hot tears fell from their eyes as they mourned the loss of their charioteer (Patroclus)”  Just something beautiful to share.

Iliad17:119. Ajax knew the hand of the gods in this,

2CB22.1, Class-mate mateuszkulesza  says “While both Meleagros and Achilles share lots of similarities, the circumstances of each hero's actions make a decisive difference in how the story would be interpreted. Achilles, insulted by Agamemnon, chooses not to fight on the offensive. Meleaos, however, choses not to help DEFEND his people from the attackers. It is this distinction that, in my mind, justifies the actions of Achilles but makes those of Meleagros shameful. Agamemnon had to power to save the lives of all his men by simply going home. The attack of Meleagros' city, however, could not have been ended by a simple retreat. Meleagros, therefore, had the DUTY of absorbing his pride and taking action, Achilles only had that as an OPTION.

 Lots of talk in CB22.1 of Achilles as a sprout in and orchard.  So check out; Lycophron, Alexandra 856 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) from"The recesses of Lakinion (Lacinium) [in Italia] wherein a heifer [Thetis] shall fashion an orchard for the goddess Hoplosmia [Hera], furnished with trees. And it shall be for all time an ordinance for women of the land to mourn the nine-cubit hero [Akhilleus, Achilles], third in descent from Aiakos (Aeacus) [grandfather of Akhilleus] and Doris [Thetis' mother], the hurricane of battle strife, and not to deck their radiant limbs with gold, nor array them in fine-spun robes stained with purple - because a goddess [Thetis] to a goddess [Hera] presents that great spur of land [Lakinion] to be her dwelling-place."

 Iliad 17: 570 “for one of the best men among the Myrmidons was killed, radiant Epeigeus, son of noble Agakles who had once upon a time been king in the good city of Boudeion; but presently, having killed a valiant kinsman of his own, he took refuge with Peleus and silver-footed Thetis”  This is like the third of Achilles comrades who were killer of kinsmen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes for 3CB22.1x

Iliad 9:115 And the lord of men, Agamemnon, answered, "You have reproved my derangement (ate) justly. I was wrong. I own it. " and also "But Zeus of the aegis the son of Kronos afflicts me with bootless wranglings and strife. Achilles and I are quarrelling about this girl, in which matter I was the first to offend; (Iliad 2.376)  but later when Achilles is present Agamemnon can’t bring himself to say it again or be so gracious at Iliad 16: 919 “But I am not responsible. No, those who are really responsible are Zeus and Fate and the Fury  who roams in the mist. They are the ones who, at the public assembly, had put savage derangement [atē] into my thinking on that day when I myself deprived Achilles of his honorific portion.  But what could I do? 

Suicide watch? “I could not bear to stay in my father’s house with him so bitter against me. My cousins and clansmen came about me,  and pressed me sorely to remain; many a sheep and many an ox did they slaughter, and many a fat hog did they set down to roast before the fire; many a jar, too, did they broach of my father’s wine. Nine whole nights did they set a guard over me taking turns to watch, and they kept a fire always burning, both in the cloister of the outer court and in the inner court at the doors of the room wherein I lay; but when the darkness of the tenth night came,  I broke through the closed doors of my room, and climbed the wall of the outer court after passing quickly and unperceived through the men on guard and the women servants. I then fled.”  Iliad 9: 464

Just writing I find beautiful; “Thus [Agamemnon] spoke. And the son of Peleus  felt grief and the heart within his shaggy chest was divided whether to draw the sharp sword at his thigh and make the others get up and scatter while he kills the son of Atreus or whether to check his anger and restrain his heart”.  Iliad 1:188-192

3CB22.1 Lenny Muellner: “There's another one that's more complex to unpack. But in the expression "same as a maenad," mainadi isē, which itself is a play on another, as one of the members of our board of readers, Sean Signore, has shown, it’s a play on another expression which you apply to heroes at the climax of their valor— daimon isos”  I believe I saw “mainadi ise” written as “maindais”.  I hope to find Signore’s comments.  “Daimon isos”; godlike is often used of heroes about to meet their end (telos).  I believe the topic at hand when Muellner shared the quote was Andromache fainting away at the sight of Hector’s corpse.  I’ll be looking for similar examples elsewhere.

Halo?  “Zeus seated on topmost (Mt.)Gargaros with a fragrant cloud encircling his head as with a diadem." Iliad 15: 153

“Had he (Poseidon)  not done so those gods who are below with Kronos would have come to hear of the fight between us” . Iliad 15:224  Is this the first hint in Greek literature that the Titans though bound in Tartarus could revolt?  In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo Hera slaps the Earth and prays, “‘Hear now, I pray, Gaia (Earth) and wide Ouranos (Sky) above, and you Titans   who dwell beneath the earth about great Tartarus”. How uneasy rest the crown upon Olympus!

Good proverb, “A man does well to listen to the advice of a friend.” Iliad15:404 

A moving speech; If any of you is struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies with honor who dies fighting for his country; and he will leave his wife and children safe behind him, with his house and allotment unplundered  Iliad 15:495

“the unrighteous prayer that Thetis had made of him, Zeus” (Iliad 15:599)  These are Homer’s word spoken as the narrator.  I find them surprisingly judgmental for a poet so famously non-judgmental.  I’ll have to think on this.   

  This is Achilles speaking to that compulsive liar Odysseus.  This one of the thing I find likable about the son of Peleus.  "As hateful to me as the gates of Hades is on who says on e thing while he hides another in his heart; therefore I will say what I mean.  Iliad 9:313 

Monday, September 9, 2013

TFBT: Certificate of Completion!

Here is my certificate of completion from Harvard for my online class.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes from 2.CB22.1x

Professor Nagy reports that 36,000 people in 170 countries signed up for the version of this course.  So far 9,000 for round two.  I am still loving every minutes of “The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours” the online class from Harvard through edX.

Iliad 3:105 “ Moreover, you shall bid Priam come, that he may swear to the covenant himself; for his sons are high-handed and ill to trust, and the oaths of Zeus must not be transgressed or taken in vain. Young men’s minds are light as air, but when an old man comes he looks before and after, deeming that which shall be fairest upon both sides.”   Now there is a complement to us gray-hairs.  (Sorry young men!)  But I wanted to share, that in my community, when I started getting gray hair, the high school kids started getting even more respectful.  I got used to being call “Sir.”

Iliad 3:155  Homer referring to the elders of Troy; they said softly to one another, “There is no way to wish for retribution, that Trojans and strong-greaved Achaeans should endure so much and so long, for the sake of a woman so marvelously and divinely lovely.”  Talk about super-human beauty!

Iliad 3:236 Helen speaking from the ramparts describing to her father-in-law Priam the Achaean (Greek) warriors below; “but there are two whom I can nowhere find; Castor the breaker of horses and Pollux the mighty boxer; they are children of my mother, and own brothers to myself. Either they have not left Lacedaemon, or else, though they have brought their ships, they will not show themselves in battle for the shame and disgrace that I have brought upon them.” She knew not that both these heroes were already lying under the earth in their own land of Lacedaemon.  How heart-breaking for Helen and how human that she thinks the worse of her brothers.

Iliad 6:145 “High-hearted son of Tydeus, why ask me of my lineage? Men come and go as leaves year by year upon the trees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when spring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines. Even so is it with the generations of humankind, the new spring up as the old are passing away.”  Glaucus words so remind me of Apollo’s comments about mankind to his Uncle Poseidon insignificant mortals, who are as leaves are, and now flourish and grow warm with life, and feed on what the ground gives, but then again fade away and are dead... “(21.462-66)

 Iliad 6:356 Homer speaking of Paris and Helen “…both of whom Zeus has doomed to be a theme of song among those that shall be born hereafter.”  Paris doesn’t seem to care much about his reputation in Troy or in eternity.  Helen on the other hand seems shamed in every scene by her “doom”.

“What is amazing in Homer is the purity of the works he produced, the depth and breadth and the contrasts. Mostly its seems without voicing an opinion, but rather the illustration of an observation.”  CB22.1x-participant Iain Davie.

Gregory Nagy; “he (Iphidamas son of Antenor) died because he wanted to get into the action, he wanted to get into the kleos of the Achaeans. Not the kleos of the Trojans --the kleos of the people whom he was fighting! It's as if you're ready to give up your life to get into the medium of your enemy.
Jeff Emanuel: And he died for this one line.
Gregory Nagy: He died for this one line, to be a bit player.



Friday, September 6, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes from 1CB22.1x and Jim Thorpe

As I am sure most of my readers know I just completed CB22x, The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours, an online course from Harvard through Edx.  Reviews talk about the course being a life-changing event.  I agree and that's in a good way!  So I am taking CB22.1x  These are my random notes from Hours 0 and 1. 

The Ancient Greek tragedy, "Oedipus at Colonus" by Sophocles reenacts the death of Oedipus, King of Thebes and slayer of the Sphinx.  Both Thebes and Athens wanted to be his burial site. Jim Thorpe seems to be in the same situation, with his sons and city battling for this body.
The Athenians hid the body, I wonder the people in Pennsylvania are as smart.

Achilles speaking of that Asian war; “I have no quarrel with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my horses, nor cut down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia; for between me and them there is a great space, both mountain and sounding sea.  Iliad 1:154.

“When (Iphidamas) reached the stage of adolescence, which brings luminous glory, ( Kissēs) wanted to keep him at home and to give him his own daughter in marriage,  but as soon as [ Iphidamas] had married, he left the bride chamber and went off seeking the kleos of the Achaeans  along with twelve curved ships that followed him."  Iliad XI 225-28  His story sure sounds like Protesilaus the first of the Achaeans to die.  “warlike Protesilaus, while yet he lived; howbeit ere now the black earth held him fast. His wife, her two cheeks torn in wailing, was left in Phylace and his house but half established” Iliad 2. 638

Iliad1:525 “See, I incline my head that you believe me. This is the most solemn act that I can give to any god. I never retract my word, or deceive, or fail to do what I say, when I have nodded my head.”

“The blessed gods laughed out a loud approval as they saw him bustling about the celestial dwellings. Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun they feasted, and all had their full share, so that everyone was satisfied. Apollo struck his lyre, and the Muses lifted up their sweet voices, calling out and making response to one another. But when the sun’s glorious light had faded, they went home to bed, each in his own abode, which lame Hephaestus with his consummate skill had fashioned for them. So Zeus, the Olympian Lord of Thunder, hastened to the bed in which he always slept; and when he had got on top of it he went to sleep, with Hera of the golden throne by his side.”  Iliad 1.599-610  I hope your life is just as sweet.

Internalizing in this context may perhaps be compared to planting seeds in our subconscious. We are entering a new, (yet very old) dimension. We cannot expect to understand what is really happening on first contact. We must suspend "rational" judgment and allow the song to sing. Through slow reading we are opening the door; we are planting suggestions that will in time flower to allow us a deeper understanding of what Homer is really trying to tell us. It is indeed an epic journey. We are told that if we are patient, and if we can endure, we will be well rewarded.”  Fellow student “Flying Cloud” in CB22.1

VftSW: Derby and the Rubáiyát

“Wow!” look at the mountain I shouted to my wife, while indicating Mt Kupreanof standing over her shoulder.  In the sharp morning light of a cloudless September morning you could see the fall colors of the alders hidden in the Sitka Spruce covered slopes.  Here and there a white tree stuck out.  I thought frost at first, but there was no snow line at the head of the mountain. 

That’s when Derby ran off!  As I stood there in awe of the aged mountain, her leash slipped from my hand.  I thought she would run excitedly to my wife, but my Black Labrador got distracted, veered off course and then turned to give me the “look”.  The “Chase me!” look.  I also know the look of heartbreak and disappointment when I don’t chase.  So I gave chase until she stepped out of sight into the tall grass.  But you can only chase so far through the muskeg and “strip of herbage strewn, that just divides the wilderness from the sown,” when you are wearing flip-flops.  So, I loudly departed.  When I caught up with my wife, she wisely suggested I take her dog Hilde and make mine jealous.  Derby follows the same route every time she “runs away”; front door of the neighbors kitty-corner behind us, visit the dog three house up from there across the street, cut through the neighbor’s yard behind us, play in the pond, jump up on the deck and peer in the windows and then go out front and look for me.  We hadn’t reached the first stop on Derby’s route when she popped out of the bushes and I snagged her leash. 

We all returned home and I got ready for work.  Stepping out the door of the house into the garage, I found Derby panting heavily and rocking excitedly.  She was all set to spend the day outside in the backyard, reveling in the sunshine and memories of this morning’s adventures.

As I stepped into the road, ahead of me a cottonwood caught my eye.  Its crown shown more than the rest of the tree.  Behind it stood Mt. Kupreanof again, those silver spruces still shining near its crown.  In fact they were recently deceased spruces; needles gone but gray branches and twigs still intact.  It occurred to me that they were like gray hairs.