The Dragon

Today I felled a big, dead oak. It was one I had considered dropping last year, but decided was too dangerous. It was still up this year, and must be well-seasoned. I always prefer to cut standing dead wood or at least badly damaged trees, so as to provide warmth for my family in winter without hurting the living forest. But dead wood is dangerous. The loss of the organic process means that there is no longer a living principle that is ordering the tree as a whole, keeping it together and repairing its flaws. The desiccation that follows death means that cells shrink, which produces fissures and weaknesses in the whole. It can splinter, shatter, collapse in unexpected directions. A big oak, even in death, is far stronger and vaster than you.

I had skill, strength, and a 55-cc chainsaw to serve for an enchanted spear. The oak came down, hard, and I am no worse for wear. I took a moment before I tackled it to prepare my soul as well as I could in case I failed, but in truth all days are like this. Some day the dragon must win.

Today you may have read of a young man killed on the return leg of a charity bicycle trip. I have met, almost, his wife. She was at the Red State Gathering that I attended with Uncle Jimbo, and is a long time friend of his. She came up and talked to him several times while I was with him, but being a bum he never thought to introduce us. Nevertheless, I know from their interactions that she is even now expecting a child with what is now her late husband. For what it is worth, from an almost acquaintance, I extend my deepest condolences to Mary Katharine Ham and her family.

We forget, how readily we forget, the dragon that lurks in wait for us. Memento Mori. Live better in the awareness that you will die.


Anonymous said...

"Dragon" I like that.

I called it the "under toad" with my wife as she was fighting cancer,

Ymar Sakar said...

She came up and talked to him several times while I was with him, but being a bum he never thought to introduce us.

Some insects may like to chew on that dead organic stuff as well. But as for manners, one of the things that struck me first about Japanese customs is how they do introductions and self introductions, every single time.

And I was like, "oh, is that how it was in 1950s America before the culture got corrupted".

Reading about the abstract history is very different from seeing people actually behave as if they believed it.

Stranger-danger was what these introductions were supposed to break through the ice with, from one dynasty to another, one social group with protector A vs another social group with protector B.

Grim said...

"Dragon" I like that.

I borrow the use from Tolkien's famous article on the Beowulf. He was very interested in the monsters, and what they represented.

Texan99 said...

I'm familiar with her from HotAir. Jim Geraghty mentioned her husband's accidental death in his newsletter this morning--such a young man, with young children and one on the way. Ms. Ham wrote a very sweet statement about how impossible it was to be optimistic at a time like this and how obligated she felt to try, because of her late husband's unusual gifts in that direction.