Tuesday, January 05, 2016


Alas [such an archaic word, which is apt in this discourse obliquely touching upon a land with an archaic language; cf. earlier post], there are some who take umbrage at the idea that I [that I in particular, not "I" generically or as a nondescript impersonal personal pronoun] should have the bravado, the chutzpah, to gallivant off northward to ice-laden shores (i.e., Iceland), given my alleged or perceived or declared financial circumstances and my perceived duties, roles, and obligations. Ah [another archaic term], there's the rub. Perceived. As the Buddha asks us, can we trust our perceptions? [You know the old saw that when you "assume" you make an ass out of "u" and "me"; amen.] For these naysayers, doubters, and umbragettes [good one!] assume much in matters financial, fiduciary, spiritual, circumstantial, motivational, mental, physical, metaphysical. Which is perfectly fine, and to be expected. Is the so-called equation [are all things calculable?] altered if, say, a diagnosis of terminal illness enters the fray, posing a last fling, reckless and hapless? What if a traveler were on the verge, the Arctic ledge, of quasi-caregiving breakdown, craving, needing, begging for a respite, a literal re-creation? What if a wealthy benefactor is subsidizing this Icelandic journey, as someone generously did for my trip to the World Series in San Francisco in 2014? Who knows, perhaps our would-be Reykjavik wanderer lent himself money by using one of those low-interest "convenience" checks that come in the mail, or maybe our prospective boulevardier dipped into his 401k. What if. What if our putative sojourner sees utterly no need or cause for explanation (relatively speaking or not speaking), no reason whatsoever to defend, explain, or justify -- especially to an umbragette? (As in less than zero need.) Back to umbrage. It is the gorgeous delicious word for this monologue (or dialogue or trialogue for those who went to chime in aided by the north wind cleansing our souls). Umbrage denotes fancied (as in imagined) slights or insults or resentments and comes from the word for "shadow," which is utterly pertinent because the shadows shrouding perception spawn conclusions spurred by suspicion and what-not. Which is fine. We all do that. And Iceland is the lush, dramatic, and stoic cure for all this and all that, its northern lights, stark terrain, volcanic volition, crisp cleansing, and bubbling pools percolating with history.

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