Friday, March 02, 2012

Wine cannot cure all ills

“So they took their departure, leaving me still staring, and we resigned ourselves to wait for their return.” -Robert Louis Stevenson (The Silverado Squatters)

It has been a week since we were coddled back in the arms of our home state. A week back in Texas and the realities that awaited us when we returned. Some weeks are good ones, some weeks are better forgotten.

Wine is a fun beverage, but it cannot cure all ills. It cannot make politicians act civilly towards one another in the service of the citizens they were elected to work for.

It cannot prevent a young man from going into a school and harming his classmates.

It cannot extend the life of a pop star or an internet wunderkind.

It can only do so much towards how we live among our fellow travelers.

The rest is up to us, humanity, to forge a course in the direction of greater clarity and compassion.

Last week we took a hike on the Stevenson Memorial Trail towards Mt. St. Helena and came upon the spot where Robert Louis Stevenson set up a cabin, where the granite marker now is.

Still thinking with the sweet memories of California and the words Stevenson wrote upon that place:

“As I recall the place – the green dell below; the spires of pine; the sun-warm, scented air; that gray, gabled inn, with its faint stirrings of life amid the slumber of the mountains – I slowly awake to a sense of admiration, gratitude and almost love. A fine place, after all, for a wasted life to doze away in – the cuckoo clock hooting of its far home country, the croquet mallets, eloquent of English lawns; the stages daily bringing news of the turbulent world away below there; and perhaps once in the summer, a salt fog pouring overhead with its tale of the Pacific.”

5 comments: said...

I like what Stevenson poignant. But as a native Californian, there is so much more to say. A wasted life , living here ? I think not. California is a place of rebirth, creation, new beginnings, possibilities, opportunities. One just needs to tolererate it for a while and that soon becomes apparent. And I can imaguine standing on a rise above the beauty of the land below, in the quiet and peace of that time in space, maybe I would have felt the same.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Perhaps the wasted life was the life he had led up to that point?

Or maybe he was a a state of melancholy, which in those days was a popular emotion to express in writing?

thanks for your comment, sis

Ron Washam, HMW said...

One could argue his "wasted" life was a reference to his respiratory illness that brought him to Calistoga in the first place. Right before he joined The Monkees.

Alfonso Cevola said...

no doubt...

Thomas said...

I believe that Ron has got it:

"...for a wasted life to doze away in..."

It's those last three words that are the key to the "wasted life" phrase. In other words, he was forced to rest in that certain spot in California, and he liked it.

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