Sunday, January 1, 2012

11 Traveling “To Be There”, Not To Look At It.

I had an interesting dream once. I was in Boston, Copley Square, in front of the Boston Public Library. It was night. I know the area well, having lived in close proximity to
Copley Square for fifteen or more years. I used to cross the square every day on my way to work about three or four miles in the direction of the centre of Boston.

It is possible that in the dream, I was unconsciously repeating my daily routine of days gone by. Out of the dark there emerged a man and came towards me. I was quite shocked to recognize him as my grandfather, the AB, who I mention in a number of preceding blogs. Though I know my grandfather from my childhood and the family photo album  (AB died before WW2 broke out), I had not seen him in a dream ever before; nor did my imagination of him behold him in corporeal form. Yet, here he was in Copley Square
, Boston, as real as he could be.

We greeted each other as familiars, and I offered to show AB a little of Boston. He turned to me and said; “Thanks. But I have seen it already”. With that he picked up an object, which had apparently been beside us on the darkened sidewalk. I caught but a quick glimpse of what the object was. It was the upper half of an oblong clay saucer, somewhat like the half a bathtub that the Irish catholics of Boston sink into the ground before their suburban homes, then fill the hollow part with a statue of Virgin Mary or Jesus. In this instance, the saucer contained two eyes, both were protruding like >> spear points from the inner depths of the tub. AB took put his hand on the edge of the bowl, picked it up, and then walked back into the darkness whence he had come.

At this point I awoke, the dream still clear before my eyes, but I was rather puzzled about the answer I had received from my grandfather: “I have seen (Boston) already”.
I surely knew that AB had never been to Boston. So, what did the answer mean? Was it a brush-off? Or was it a statement that I needed to contemplate during my waking state?

The answer came just a few days ago, when someone at the internet portal, where I often post my blogs, wrote how impressed he was with Istanbul, Turkey. He mentioned several well known tourist attractions as especially noteworthy.

Since I, too, have been in Istanbul, and have mentioned it in a blog or two, another reader, remembering this, wrote and asked what it was that impressed me about the city. Since the question suggested (to me) that I give the reader a personal run-down of my favorite touristy sites, the answer that popped into my mind was the one AB had given me regarding Boston: “I have been here before and have seen it already. No thanks, I do not need a tour of it.”

Indeed, when I visited Istanbul , centuries ago known as Byzantium, which name has been immortalized (for me) in W.B. Yeats famous poem “Sailing to Byzantium ”, this poem alone informed me that I should never find there my body in its natural form, but as an artifice of eternity.

One of the artifices of eternity may be found in “The Alexiad of Anna Comnena” , a book written by the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. Anna Comnena describes in Chapter 15, under ‘The Heresy of the Bogomils’ the death of Jesus in a fiery pit, the Inquisition’s favorite manner of execution. .

If the reader reads the pages about the execution, he-she will note that the “crucifixion” is the result of a later rewriting or, better, revisualization of what happened. The cross “set up” by one of the two fiery pits that were lit, later serves as the cross from which Jesus-cum-Basil is hung, though if that was so, he (removed from the fiery pit) was hung there as a charred corpse.

A similar misplacement of time and events occurs in Latvian history. While Latvians have no Anna Comnena, there are enough such pretending to love the country so much, they are ready to become martyrs on Latvia’s behalf. “I love this country too much to ever really leave. Why that is—I dunno.

Well, we shall see who the brave are. Are they of those Latvians, which their elites have driven (and are driving still) from Latvia to seek jobs abroad, or are they of the them who make declarations such as above, and put Latvia in American-Latvian care--a Romanizing tactic if there ever was one.

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