Sunday, November 3, 2013


Archaeologists excavating the Bronze Age palace of Tel Kabri in Israel say the site's Canaanite rulers used a system of obligation to rule their kingdom.(Archaeology Magazine) 
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”—Abraham Lincoln
I’ve been thinking about obligation, since I read about that ancient kingdom ruled by it.  It has that sense of higher good, of choice colored by noble intention, lit by the inner light Lincoln mentions—not just the reek of duty and compulsion which (I hate to say) rules my days now.

noun: obbligato;plural noun: obbligati;plural noun: obbligatos;noun: obligato;plural noun: obligati;plural noun: obligatos
an instrumental part, typically distinctive in effect, that is integral to a piece of music and should not be omitted in performance.

What are the distinctive—obbligato—necessary—lit parts of my life?  Loving a classicist, being the caretaker of his spirit; writing my amuse-bouches and not-quite-serious mysteries; traveling to Italy, England, Mallorca, Quebec city; retreats into silence; explorations of the past; stone struck with sun; spices and herbs; drenched colors; a large community of friends; affinity with dogs both met and glimpsed; a kind of pantheism that includes music and trees and the burning of candlelight in gold and glass.  My obligation to these things rules me, elevates me (like the voices in a choir; like the cottonwood cathedrals on the upper Alameda in a Santa Fe spring).

My obligation is to find that quiet (yet fierce) sort of joy in life.

image:  right-hand lute technique, Nieznany

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