“The rhinoceros went on, ‘I was very interested in the comparison you drew between Spinoza and Thomas Hobbes. I would enjoy continuing our discussion.
‘I do not think I can,’ the Professor said at last. ‘I do not want to talk anymore.
‘In that case, perhaps we should be on our way,’ the rhinoceros said. ‘I have lived in your house for a long time. We have talked together, days and nights on end, about ways of being in the world, ways of considering it, ways of imagining it as a part of some greater imagining. Now has come the time for silence. Now I think you should come and live with me.’
- excerpt from Professor Gottesman And The Indian Rhinoceros, by Peter S. Beagle.
This short story is one of my favorite from my tied-for-favorite-author-with-Robin-McKinley-author Peter S. Beagle. His work always has an exceptional balance of sadness and joy; in such a way that the sadness doesn’t counteract the joy, but somehow enhances it and adds a poignant radiance.
This story has quite a range of themes, remarkable considering how short it is, and manages to cover not judging by appearances, accepting wonder and awe, healing and moving on, to name a few. And with the new year upon us, the healing and moving on feels appropriate to bring up now.
It seems just about every person with a blog is tempted to write an end-of-year summary, and I am not immune to such desires. The last year was certainly very difficult for many reasons. It was perhaps the worst health year I’ve had since my body started falling to pieces with ME almost five years ago. I’ve been tracking my daily fatigue on my wall calendar for the last couple years, to denote how tired I am each day. A good day is blank, a bad day gets an X. A day that I’m so tired that I feel I could be a danger to myself or others while driving, or find myself secretly wishing just a little bit that I would get in a car accident, just so I don’t have to do whatever I’m going out to do, that gets a skull an crossbones. There are a few other designations for when it gets even worse, but you get the idea. This year I’ve had about 20 blank days, most near the beginning of the year, and far more skulls than X’s. As I said, it’s been a rough year.
But through it, I’ve made progress, and have come to see some new doctors who I feel hopeful about. And while the struggle was there, there was also overcoming the struggle. I’ve had wonderful experiences with my friends and loved ones that I hold close to my heart. I moved into a new home that I absolutely adore, and which is an incredible step up, both for Geoff and I and the animals. Calantha now has a doggy boyfriend with the Australian kelpie next door… they do lots of snuggling when she isn’t running circles around every living thing. I’ve had another year to spend with my sweetie, sharing new experiences and growing closer. I achieved some artistic goals; I had a great gallery show, got on the cover of a book, and I won some contests and awards. And of course, I took lots and lots and lots of photos. Through everything, there is always art. I’ve spoken much about the power and healing found in art, and this year it has been more evident to me than ever.
Speaking of the wearying health year, I will keep this entry on the shorter side. But I know this new year will bring wonderful new adventures. There will be more growth and change. And, I hope, healing. I would very much like to move on from the part in my life where I am chronically ill. I don’t know if that will ever happen. But I can hope. The story of Professor Gottesman And The Indian Rhinoceros brings me hope. Healing and moving on is always possible. Though the body I inhabit, the part of me everyone sees, may often fail me, my spirit is strong. Even if my body never changes, my soul always can. Good will come.
I am genuinely bubbling over with excitement over the projects that I have planned for the near future. A great deal of work needs to be done before they’re ready to be seen, but they are underway… and I can’t wait to unveil them These upcoming photos will, on the whole, be the most detailed, labor-intensive works I have yet produced, but I am loving the whole process of creating them. It makes it all the more meaningful and personal.
What are your hopes and goals for the upcoming year?
I hope you all find this new year to be magical and full of delightful adventures