Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Saturnalia!

Ah the miracles of modern technology. While you read this I'm back in the sea! (I hope)

Why Saturnalia? Well, as a card carrying atheist, I think it would be mildly hypocritical of me to celebrate Christmas in the manner in which it ought to be celebrated and so I celebrate the pagan Roman festival which is the reason Christmas is roughly where it is in the calendar. It was so much easier for the early Christians to hi-jack an existing festival than to try to create a whole new one. What's interesting is that with every passing century Christmas comes to resemble Saturnalia more and more. Overeating, indulgence in too much alcohol, a lot of tomfoolery and exchanging gifts so that for many people in the west the whole point of Christmas is exactly that! All we need now is to introduce Saturnalian role reversal (masters served slaves so read ruled get waited on by rulers) and we would have come full circle.

Below is an e-card I received from MG (he sends 'home-made' ones every year) and the Penguin couldn't agree more!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

There will now be a brief interlude as we allow certain ideas to permeate the crevices and cracks and settle in dark pools deep beneath the ground

Only a few weeks to go now. Some of the chicks are starting to get restless and keep their eyes ever northward as though sensing the sea. Perhaps we do, even that young, sense something we have never seen, felt; even just an unexplained longing for something, we know not what. Although I followed Havelock and Myfanwy that first year, still, it seemed to me, I think, that I knew the way; that I knew where the sea was. Perhaps I shall try this year and keep my eyes closed some of the way, see if I can smell the salt; not for too long, I wouldn't want to get lost now, would I? That unfortunately is only too easy down here, the ice can be a little disorientating sometimes; it does have a habit of appearing the same in all directions. :) Still, navigating by the sun is not so difficult for a penguin nor by magnetic field, although, given the way it sometimes fluctuates, it's not to be relied on.

We are aiming for 14 December for Cozy's little show. We've persuaded most of the adult penguins here to remain until then so that as many chicks as possible can see what he has planned, although Cozy still refuses to tell me what exactly he has got in mind for the two flares and the two pieces of string, still buried in the snow; except to say he thinks I 'might like it'. We'll see. Although he has often been a sore trial these past months, I do hope that this goes well for him. Cozy, like all of us, gets no younger with each passing year and perhaps this will be the last opportunity he has to impress the youngsters; I sense that he thinks so. That even if he survives to haul himself up onto the ice again next year and make his way here, his body will not be up to performing again, well unless he finds a willing partner. :) It would be nice to think that, if this to be his swan song, it might be remembered, down the years, by those who never saw, just heard from their parents. In the creche. A latter day 'Thundering Penguin'. 'Catapulting Cozy'? Ah well, we shall see. Nothing is certain here, no matter what we might wish and it is forever so easy to fall from a knife edge.

It is strange here, as we near the year's end. So much appears to have happened in your world but I think that those events are your concern, not mine, although no doubt they will impact down here and we will suffer, as we always do. It is only the small things, the corona, the halo around our struggle for survival, that matter to us here. The pride I feel in once more raising a healthy and fat chick through the long hard winter; the joy in Fricka's return once more; the contentment that other penguins can feel as I do, be not just automatons, that friendship is possible whatever it might cost here; even the sadness of Havelock takes on a hopeful hue when viewed in the light of what we achieve here, in the face of almost insurmountable hardship. Although it is much to hope, perhaps one day you will come to realise the immeasurable sadness you will feel when we are gone, forever. Perhaps you will find it in yourself to, just once, refrain, to exercise a little self control, a little compassion . 'Tis but a tiny hope, but a hope nonetheless.

I think I will try to 'post date' some posts for while I'm away, just in case. Strange tho' it might seem to this penguin, perhaps some will miss the rambling musings of a sad and oft tired bird, however imperatorial :) MG has agreed to do more QED posts if we do not get to photon absorption and emission by the time I have to leave tho' I doubt he will explain it as well as I. Probably come back next March to a mailbox full of whinges and moans about having to do the words AND the drawings, poor lamb! :) And no-one to point him in the right direction so it will be even more wrong than it otherwise might be.

Interesting thing happened just then, in that last paragraph. The mutability of consonants (and vowels). How 'p' and 'b' mutate around each other in words. 'Absorb' but 'Absorption'. I had trouble spelling the noun, tho' I know a little philology. Lazy speakers the English! But that's probably the Norman French inheritance. Never could cope with Anglo-Saxon, the Norman scribes, forever twisting it in ways it was never meant to go. The roots of a conquered nation go deep!

The muse continues to prod and perhaps I will be permitted to post. The allegory will fly past you, but it is there nonetheless. Perhaps my biographer will explain all in fifty years time. :)

Odd, do you not think? To write a valediction at least two weeks before 'Farewell'. Perhaps in two weeks I will not be able to write one.