A Way of Keeping Aging in Perspective

Summer                                      Waning Strawberry Moon

A week ago last Thursday I got my ticket in Roseville.  I want to pay it, but the damn thing still hasn’t shown up on line.   This is past ten days (usual maximum time for a ticket to get into the system).  Is this another revenue builder?  I get frustrated, forget about it and get picked up later for a bigger buck item?  I’m tempted to say yes, but that accords a degree of intentionality to our courts system that I doubt exists.  So I’ll wait.

“We Americans are the best informed people on earth as to the events of the last twenty-four hours; we are the not the best informed as the events of the last sixty centuries.”- Will Durant

Though I can’t say why I have had an abiding interest since junior high–yes, that’s what we called it back then–in the ancient past.  Anthropology/archaeology scratched that itch in college and even much of the work I did in seminary had ancient history as a living part of the discipline:  biblical studies, greek, hebrew, (full disclaimer:  I had the short course in both), early church history, even some of constructive theology.

Art history allows occasional forays into the arts of the ancients.  The bronze collection of the Shang and Zhou dynasties at the Institute is wonderful as is our small collection of Greek, Roman, Cycladian, Near Eastern and even Paleolithic art.  I’ve read with great interest many classics, in part because they give a picture of ancient cultures that it’s not possible to get any other way.

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in spite of its provenance in the late 14th century, is about the much earlier Han dynasty and its demise around 220 a.d.  Celtic early history is seen through either the eyes of the Romans, the Catholic Church or the British, so it has filters put on by its detractors, yet the ancient Celts shine through anyhow.  Of course there’s the Odyssey, the Iliad and for me, as you know by now, Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

I loved the history of Egypt lectures from the teaching company as I did the history of China and the history of Rome.  You’d think with all this that I’d have some idea of what went on, but I don’t have much of a gestalt yet, not even after all this time.  My gestalt about the West has better form than mine of, say, China or India or Japan, but still, it’s pretty weak.

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