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Alternate title: The Ant And The GraceHoper Wannabee
The busy weekend is over and presently I am driving the backroads of rural Alberta surrounded by newly mown fields, all stubble and bared black earth and the smell of manure. The season, with its toiling combines and baled hay reminds me of the old Aesop Fable of The Ant And The Grasshopper. Only, I prefer James Joyce’s ‘GraceHoper’, from his unreadable uber-epic ‘Finnegans Wake.’
Everyone knows the tale: the industrious thinking-of-the-morrow ants busily gather and store provisions for the coming cold while the dreaming artist-poet grasshopper idles away his time.
Where would we be without those laboring ants, tilling the soil and filling our stores with the provisions of life?
But then, aren’t we all ants: toiling away to put food on our tables and play a role as cog in the vast and complex system that is our society’s economy? Even our priests and ministers are ants, bending the Word of God contained in the Bible to the greater spiritual good of the community as a whole.
Should a percentage of individuals fail to integrate into the group don’t forget the psychiatric ants and law ants and police and correctional ants.
Nowadays the money-minded ants seemed to have gained the upper hand. They build and inhabit great towers at the heart of the colony. Or I should say colonies, for these teeming seething agglomerations have spread across the globe in their insatiable lust for resources. Thousands upon thousands of colonies, containing millions, indeed billions of ants.
However, it seems there is an unease, a dissatisfaction among the ants these days. Work might be getting to them. A sort of creeping existential malaise is spreading.
Enter the lowly, misunderstood, reviled and ridiculed GraceHoper. The singer of songs, reciter of poems. The fashioner of rituals designed –as if by God or the Holy Spirit, The Grandfathers, or whatever name you wish to call it–to integrate and harmonize all aspects of the colony’s existence with the world about. The balance restorer.
“Balance has been lost,” Xenon has said: “and it won’t be restored for a long time. In pockets, yes, but collectively, we have a long way to go.”
“Christianity was the rebalancing of the decaying Roman Empire,” he has said. “As individuals fell away from the once prevailing system of sentiments, the spiritual and emotional bonds that linked them to the group eroded. The Story of Christ, as interpreted by Paul and the Fathers of the Church, captured their lost wandering souls set adrift by the general collapse.”
Wow. Crazy poetic words of a GraceHoper!
That’s Xenon, and this is his Omphalos Cafe. GraceHoper Academy. A refuge, an oasis, a sanctuary. Hail to the ever dreaming GraceHoper!
GraceHopers of the world, unite!
PS: Employed in this post: The Gospel According To James Joyce (more commonly known as Finnegans Wake); and an exegesis by Joseph Campbell and Henry Robinson (or A Skeleton’s Key To Finnegans Wake).
Cayman Thorn said:
More dynamite stuff. Hey, do me a favor and throw yourself at the New York Times, will you? It would make my Sunday morning read MUCH more pleasurable.
You sir, have that thing.
Geeze, thanks for that. Means a lot, coming from you, Cayman, who write with such beautiful jazz-like fluency. And keep the schooling’ going, I love it! Though, reading your latest on the Yankees, which I don’t really follow, I thought ‘even the playing field, bring back Steinbrenner!’
As a loyal follower of your blog, but infrequent commenter, I felt that this time I had to say something. I love this post, and I have never heard of Gracehoper, but how marvelous.
I feel like an ant, and I want to be a Gracehoper, with my tiny bursts of creativity here and there, drawn from the faint energy I have left after a day in the colony.
Can I be a muse, an encourager and supporter of Gracehopers and still feel satisfied? Can I be other than an ant? Can I get through Finnegans Wake?
Keep writing Brother, and I will keep reading.
Wonderfully put, Lu. Not my place to answer any questions, except to say I in no way would recommend tackling Finnegans Wake. Who has the years it would take to decipher it? But would highly recommend Campbell and Robinson’s ‘Skeleton Key To Finnegans Wake’ for an overview into what an immense and amazing work it is.