Siege Diaries 3/23/2021


Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: How can I treat my greedy vices?  How can I heal my sickness?

I had to remind myself of what the curing virtue of the vice of greed, avaritia, is, and then I had to thwap myself upside the head for a minute–because it’s iustitia–justice, the true north of my own moral compass.  Why?  Per Simon de Hinton:  Iustitia, que que sua sunt unicuique tribuit, eliminat avaritiam, que aliena retinet et rapit–Justice, which gives to each his own, eliminates avarice, which holds back or steals unsuitable things.   Avarice is a desire for things that are not naturally due to you, where justice is giving each person their due.  You’ll notice that avarice involves things, while justice involves people.  That’s important–justice will never be obtained by obtaining things, but one way to justice is to share what you have.

So it seems that the cure for avarice for things might just lay in turning your attention to people–specifically, the people who are closest to you, and your community in general–and investing your energy there.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  But just as not all “things” are vices, time spent with people is not all virtuous.   It all comes down on what they do for your soul.

Starting off on my next embroidery adventure–cartoon is drawn and the stitching began tonight.  This will be the last piece for my marginalia vest.  The gold-coloured area behind the cats will be done in couched gold thread.   And what this also means is I start planning for the piece that will follow that one, which will be the next Shostakovich portrait–this one likely a still from a famous video of him speaking about Symphony no. 7 and playing an extract on the piano.

A commission I made over a year ago just arrived and it’s gorgeous.  I wasn’t super worried about how long it was taking as I had no real place to wear it, but I love how it turned out.


Another spectacular early spring day today.  The daffodil shoots are getting longer, the red-winged blackbirds are whi-chirring all along the creeksides, and I spotted a chickadee and a blue jay today, as well as hearing cardinals singing.  For some reason, the music I decided to play was in decided contrast–the spare, hollow, attenuated world of Shostakovich’s final string quartet.  But in many ways it worked–the trees are yet leafless, and the world is mostly shades of brown.  By Felker’s Falls, some last remnants of snow are clinging to the shaded undercut, defying the double-digit temperatures of the last week.


Perhaps this is why the 15th spoke to me. I feel caught in this liminal space between death and life, between what is now and what will be. The light at the end of the tunnel has been there for awhile, but it doesn’t seem to be getting closer or brighter. I know the folly of wishing time to pass more quickly, because each day should be precious. There has been something, though, about passing that one-year anniversary that has been exhausting. I feel as if the lessons that were to be learned have been, but apparently not; there are more to be had about how to press on when each fibre in your body screams about how tired you are, when your mind drifts off if you don’t focus your concentration completely, when you keep reading the same page in a book over and over because you keep losing your place, when the tricks you have learned just don’t seem to want to work any more. It’s a little like being at a banquet where they let people up by table, and they seem to always bypass yours. You see others eating their fill but your plate is empty, and you despair that you will ever be called (even through you know you will). It seems petty and greedy, but it is reality.

I’m tired. Last time this year, I had no idea what was coming. I know now. I’ve lived through that. We all have–those of us who have. And yes, there is hope–but not for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be like today. There will be small joys–and the weight of stasis, with fingers crossed that stasis is the worst of it.