Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tilting At Windmills
I find recently that I feel as if I am spending my days tilting at windmills. Like the legendary Don Quixote I am growing older, with the faded memories of the glories and the battles of my youth behind me (real or imagined) and the prospect of dementia and senility staring me squre in the face. (Of course, some would say that these too are in my past rather than my future, but that's only those who know me best.)
Like Alonso Quixano (the main character of the story) I am often obsessed with what I see as the end of chivalry in the world. I deplore that Grace and Manners have all but faded from society and willingly accept that my rigid adherence to these outmoded concepts may make me nothing more than a relic of a past age that maybe never was. This quixotic outlook on life, choosing the ideal over the practical may in fact explain a great deal about both me and this blog, and is one that I freely choose.
For from here have I often set out in search of adventure (from the comfort of my desk chair and keyboard, of course), tilting at the windmills of what remains of society and the tainted shadow of what has become politics around me. Unlike the famous story by Miguel de Cervantes however, the giants that I do battle with these days are far too real. Their danger to the world around us is far greater than many comprehend and their necessity to be conquered is likewise more important than my own humble efforts, and far more than most comprehend. At stake are the very freedoms we so often take for granted, conditions that make those outmoded concepts that I hold so dear possible. The battles fought with this elusive and vaporous enemy are often tortuously difficult, always exhausting, and many times seemingly to no effect.
I sometimes fear that try as I might with these efforts here, I may well be trying to hold back the tide. The incremental victories of my foe continue to march forward, swallowing the land that I once trod freely and making even the simplest journey more difficult. The apparent uncaring of most of those around me to this increasing confinement makes the losses even more painful. Stab and swing as I might in the cause of right, I find that my arm at times grows weary, my heart weak, and the inevitable victory of my relentless foe more apparent.
Though I have no Sancho Panza to ride at my side, nor a Dulcinea to hold as a romantic ideal (the comparison had to fall apart somewhere, didn't it?), I continue to fight however. Buoyed by the knowledge of a few good friends out there similarly engaged in this Armageddon-like struggle against these forces of evil, I will continue to strive with my enemy until my strength is gone. My hope is that we will at least end up better off than brave Don Quixote; melancholy, disillusioned, renouncing of chivalry, and oh yeah ... dead.
(There are undoubtedly a number of you who have only barely managed to make it here to the end without visible symptoms of violent illness, Congratulations. It was not originally my intention to make such a lofty attempt. Once I found the picture and did a bit of research on the subject however, the rest could almost be seen as inevitable.)