Siege Diaries 4/3/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  Are my plans at war with my other plans?

That sounds a bit abstruse–what this is getting at is the need to not be working from conflicting desires or having goals that are at odds with each other. 

Right now, any plan that is not in harmony with the overall plan of lasting through this current crisis is immediately discarded.  That, strangely enough, has provided more clarity than is usual.  

Today, a hike, with music.   I started out with Shostakovich’s Quartet no. 7, dedicated to the memory of his first wife, Nina.  It’s a short work.  I’d seen the first sprouting leaves on trees on the way in, and stopped to get a photo. But (metaphor!) apparently I was too focused on the dead rather than the living.


That changed. I progressed on to the 8th Quartet, the “autobiographical” one where Shostakovich quotes bits of a number of his works. The quotation from the 1st Symphony came on, and I saw this:

Continuing on, beginning of the third movement.

I am in love with the knotwork of these tree roots as they cling to the dolomitic limestone of the Niagara Escarpment.

4th movement. Looking down the cliffside.

This break is still raw.

Resistance persistent: The icicles have reappeared.

Trees cling to the grey precipice as the stone erodes from underneath them.

The rush of the water underscored the silence and the final bars of the 4th movement.

5th movement. Towards home.

The last image. Seeds for the future.

Coda: I put the iPhone on shuffle.

And it delivered this to me:

Caressing the marble and stone,
Love that was special for one,
The waste in the fever I heat,
How I wish you were here with me now.

Body that curls in and dies,
And shares that awful daylight,
Warm like a dog round your feet,
How I wish you were here with me now.

Hangman looks round as he waits,
Cord stretches tight then it breaks,
Someday we will die in your dreams,
How I wish we were here with you now.

This song is about a noir film with Humphrey Bogart, but it was also one of the last two Joy Division songs that were then recorded by New Order after Ian Curtis’ death (which makes the references to hanging particularly shiver-inducing). The other song was the spectacular “Ceremony”, and together these were released as FAC33 (in the Factory Records catalog of Joy Division and New Order works).

I haven’t seen the movie, but it is apparently very good, and contains the following quote:

“I was born when I met you. I lived while I loved you. I died when you left me.”