Monday, August 1, 2011

behind the mask

There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes his whole universe for a vast practical joke.
Herman Melville (1 august 1819 - 1891)

ah, so much for my intention in mid-july to try and get back into a blogging routine; i even stated that i was going to go long on snaps and short on sentences in order to get back in to the swing of things. it turns out i did neither. golly, i didn't even register into the double digits i only put up 8 measly posts for the entire month, which makes july 2011 as a historic low since the mouse began in february 2007! hey, but who is counting but me!

okay, so, today is august 1 - a new month. still summer so no promises. but there are no wanders scheduled and so far only one set of visitors scheduled for a stay at casa mouse. maybe, just maybe i'll be able to break 10 posts for the month!

ah, like i've said before summertime and the living is busy!

speaking of busy, how about these snaps of some busy bees! i took them at the family reunion picnic when a mob of honey bees came in and crashed the party! it was pretty amazing to witness this mass movement of bees; i assume the bees were on the move in order to establish a new hive somewhere - and despite my fondness for honeybees i don't know all that much about their traveling habits.

i was very proud of my extended family the bees came right up to the area where we were hanging. with the exception of my nephew who decided to run with the bees, everyone was calm and curious as the bees moved in, danced about and finally gathered up into a great ball and settled in on a tree at the edge the patio.

i haven't heard how long the bees hung around - one fellow at the gathering who witnessed a similar event a while back said he thought they'd be gone by the next day. when we left the picnic at nine p.m. the big ball of bees was still there.

today's writer's almanac reported that today is the anniversary of herman melville's birth. last year while visiting nyc, i made a pilgrimage to woodlawn cemetery, among the graves i visited was that of melville. i regret that i didn't jot down what were on the notes that people left on melville's headstone - although i did successfully capture part of one note by someone named megan spencer is signed "with love and --ation... 'strike through the mask.'

in college i took a course on melville; the class fostered a great fondness and respect for this amazingly complex and remarkable writer, and explains why i can truthfully state that i finished moby dick!

that megan knows her melville - the phrase, "strike through the mask" comes from a passage where starbuck tells ahab that he is mad to be so obsessed with moby dick; ahab retorts and states that all things are but masks, to truly know something we must understand what is behind the mask and thus must strike through the mask!

by the way, for all you curious book mice, there is a biography of melville by elizabeth renker entitled strike through the mask: herman melville and the scene of writing. i haven't read it but it sounds good, so it is now down on my ever growing list!

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. - Herman Melville
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event--in the living act, the undoubted deed --there, some unknown but skill reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall. To me, the white whale is that wall....
(p. 144 of my 1967 norton critical edition of moby dick)

eric clapton, phil collins, and what appears as a cast of thousands performing behind the mask - the person who shared this on youtube didn't date the vid, but based on the hairstyles, it's safe to assume it was made in the early to mid 1980s.

photos: top 3 - on carla's farm, new ringgold, pa july 2011; bottom two - woodlawn cemetery, bronx, ny june 2010


Tom said...

summer is not a good season for blogging!
wow- those bees

Betty said...

Kim, you beat me by 7! I managed a pathetic 1 post last month and none at all in June.
Loved the pictures of the bees. Would like to think I could have stayed that calm ...

karen said...

I've been on a down slide with posting as well...summertime is for reading books...blogging kind of keeps me from reading...So I try to balance that. The gardens are another factor. Taking care of both the inside and outside of the homestead, and babysitting for the grand kids leaves me a bit worn out. Blogging in the summer IS slower.
I'm glad to see the bees. They seem to have left the state of Illinois. Instead the annoying Asian beetles are in full force skeletising the foliage. Must were brave to get so close to that cluster of bees off the patio. Good shots!

Rubye Jack said...

What a trip those bees were. I'm afraid my family would have fallen all over each other running for the house.
I need to try reading Moby Dick again.

Watson said...

I'm so glad to see the honey bees, mouse. They have suffered a sharp decline due to a virus or fungus or some darned thing. We need them.

The photos are as always, marvelous!