I found my photo of a Sekhmet in stone, which ended up at the Villa Melzi d'Eril. It is tempting to quote the paragraphs I wrote on her the first time, but old posts live at old addresses and I am struggling to keep within the frame and binds of the present. And I feel like stone, as if that Sekhmet of war took to my throat, or as if I had become the solid representation of a war I could never fight because the outcome was taken from my control, like Sekhmet was stolen out of Egypt and left to ponder Lago di Como, what does it all mean, look at her there (at the left), her angular arms almost in argument with the plainness of the lake: does she really look like she belongs there?
But people do not like it when others take flight to too much metaphor. Though people also seem very pleased with equally abstruse language, such as innovative, pro-active processes to rethink the world through corrective, youthful resources. That, however, has nothing to do with my Sekhmet.
Drawing up the lines of our parallel existence, I write that I was stolen from my dissertation. Where am I? My dissertation is in limbo. I had handed the work in a year ago and was since told stories to its demise which now sound false because I learned that the topic had never been approved (despite my having been told otherwise years ago and been given instruction to write it). Let us give all involved the benefit of the doubt. But after such a large personal investment, one becomes that Sekhmet, the one snatched away and left to ponder a lake in which everyone seems to own a pair of water skis except Sekhmet.
A rock enters the throat, or the mind, it can be the same thing. I was never going to write here again (this blog associated with Study, however indirectly), except that I learned at survival camp at the age of nine that giving up is more bitter than failing. It was not any survival camp but Kurt Matthias Robert Martin Hahn's. His words have become a series of memorable quotations, including: "Your disability is your opportunity" and, "Education must enable young people to effect what they have recognized to be right, despite hardships, despite dangers, despite inner skepticism, despite boredom, and despite mockery from the world."
I remember one of those camp experiences so vividly. Being left in the wilderness (as usual) but being the only girl and also the only one who knew how to make pancakes from the provisions we had with us. Spending a night in a heavily rocking boat during a storm, being so cold as the rain came through the holes in the boat cover bow and not being able to huddle up for warmth.
Here is Sekhmet, to the bottom left. She is displayed beneath photos of a mirrored gazebo from the other side of the lake, not in her line of vision. Say what you will of the furniture of yesteryear, but I think that some of it is quite magnificent and inventive and fail to understand the mania behind having such things outmoded.
Maybe I am that thing of the past, me and Sekhmet. Like Goethe's Faust holding up the symbol of the macrocosm. Who looks to such things anymore? I also brooded that my dissertation would be insidiously kept from the light of day as it is mined by others but so that my old-fashioned view point is silenced. You do see my sarcasm? What is old-fashioned: the craziness for the seemingly new and rootless is not new either. Those had been some passing thoughts until I decided that: Sekhmet is not responsible if her image was stolen and removed to the villa. People will do what they will and it is their responsibility.
If the world is rather larger than some people would have it, this is also a reason why it is really not necessary to worry about whether or not one receives a degree after having done "the work" for surely such work is not an end in itself. If I am smarter now, I should see for myself a way forwards. I can stay, I can go, I can stay and become a wise and patient person minus paper laurel. I choose the olive branch.
To abstract out from a pile of photographs, one can see lines. The lines can be extended, shortened or set at different angles to make openings where there were closings. There is suddenly a window in the wall - perhaps filled with clear, shining stones like rock-crystals, as were Caligula's, according to Josephus (viz. Adams - though his reference to "precidus stones that were transparent" I found only here) and Philo (365). I was poring over books about things this evening, like Finger Lore and Conversations on Art and Nature - the latter with the epigraph, "Je n'étudie pas pour devenir savant, mais pour me rendre meilleur". Through the lines of the things, one is led back to the self, if indeed that was what one was looking for.
I am beginning to think that we have a permanent address in life that all the detours bring us back to - the address inside of our suitcase in case of loss. Returned to me, I don't think that I was ultimately after anything else than trying, if unsuccessfully, to become "one of those wise people".
This evening without realising it I was retracing my trip to Bellagio, which also included a trip to Lucerne, where my aging friend whose husband had just passed and I watched the pigeons improvise shelter from the rain from the window in our hotel. Our shopping trip was to a bookstore tucked mysteriously into a modern office building. The volume I went away with was a white leather-bound book on Bijoux. I wondered how many ideas of a life are stored in those colours and shapes as confined by culture (like the class that asks you where your credentials are already). In the evening, at our budget dinner in the hotel restaurant with its unoffensive palm tree and streamlined Breuer chairs, we talked about Larkin's "High Windows". The sun-comprehending glass. If the mind cannot, the thing can, reflecting - through it's uninterrupted lines. This is also the effigy of respect.