From the icy slopes of New Mexico – I have returned, with sore muscles, a loud cough, and a bunch of great memories!
It was a very restful, peaceful time, even though I think just about everyone in my family came down with a nasty cold. That didn’t hold us back much from the steep ski slopes, the cute little shops of Taos, New Mexico, or the Rio Grand Gorge, which I will be doing another post on shortly.
The mountains were dark when we first reached New Mexico. For some reason, my mind started to run wild – maybe all my bronchitis medication, or the 12 hour trip had something to do with it – and I started to sketch a ‘scary’ story in my head. This happens when you are a teenager author, I guess! At any rate, all the shadows and snow and prickly trees had kind of a sobering effect. But it was all so beautiful, too. The next morning, of course, the sun came out, and all the ice and snow heaps looked like pure sugar, and the mountains looked more whimsical than rugged. The sky is so blue in New Mexico – I really don’t know if I’m imagining it, but I do think it’s bluer than it is in Texas (of course, Texas has a much more temperate climate, and doesn’t give you altitude sickness – Texas is the place for me!)
Anyway, I’ll stop talking about it and just show you a few pictures:
Those ski lifts still seem so dangerous to me!!!
Sipapu Lodge – a wonderful place! You should try it, if you ever go skiing. It’s not as blurry in real life 🙂
We found a marvelous book store in Taos – known as Op. Cit., which is a literary term that Kafka and Conrad and probably a few other scholarly amphibians know the meaning of. The bookstore allows dogs inside – I know, right! – and has a lovely attic space where you can just sit and read a good book in peace. Aren’t the diamond windows precious? That’s paradise, right there.
In some ways, New Mexico feels very similar to Texas. Wide, in some places. A big sky. A slower, expansive, earth bound pace. In some ways, though, it seems older, and more connected to the traditions of Native Americans, and the mountains themselves. Texans are Cowboys. New Mexicans are Earth Dwellers.
Anyway, I’m not a philosopher – that’s what Kafka and Conrad are for – and, for the first time, Kafka and Conrad will now share some of their thoughts on the book we most recently finished – Hamlet. By the way, I really need to find a good dramatized version of this tragedy – it was a bit of a wordy read, and I REALLY prefer to watch Shakespeare. If you have any suggestions, please, leave them in the comments… put me out of my misery!
the profound froggy thoughts of Kafka and Conrad on Hamlet.
Me: So, guys, can you provide a break down of the symbolism, philosophical influences, and literary devices that Shakespeare employed in this tragic story?
I can see the profound thoughts oozing from their gelatinous pores…
Well, personally, my favorite part were the soliloquies of the main characters, though I was really relieved when I realized Hamlet loved Ophelia after all, even though it was too late to do her any good. Otherwise, I would have thought Hamlet was a complete jerk. I finally got to read the context of ‘to be or not to be’, and I thought I’d share that thought provoking speech down here…
‘To be, or not to be, – that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, – to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, – ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die; – to sleep;-
To sleep! perchance to dream! aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.
-Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the New Variorum Edition edited by Horace Howard Furness, Dover Publications Inc.
It is odd to me, that though Hamlet refused to commit suicide for fear of the consequences of breaking the rule of the Almighty, he did not take equally seriously God’s promise that anyone who repents of their sins (such as murder!) and trusts in His love and forgiveness will go to heaven, eternal joy, when they die. It probably has something to do with the Church and the common theological beliefs at the time, and shows the danger and despair that ensues when we try to fulfill our own sense of right and wrong, rather than relying on the Gospel to make us right with the Lord. At any rate, wouldn’t it have been a great plot twist if Hamlet’s father’s ghost had merely been an actor sent by Fortinbras, to convince Hamlet to murder his uncle, in order that Fortinbras could accede to the throne? After all, Fortinbras just HAPPENED to be in the area when the King, Laertes, and Hamlet, all possible successors to the throne, killed each other… coincidence? I think not!
Here’s my last blues-buster, for those who made it to the end of this post:
Courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology!