March 23, 2010

To distant shrines

Lately these opening lines from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales have been going through my head:

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.

Don't worry--I'm not about to go on a long Chaucer jag, although that could happen someday. Rather, when this April comes with his showers sweet, El Cabrero too will be going on a pilgrimage. Destination: the Holy Land, which is to say Okinawa, birthplace of karate, where I'll have the rare chance to study a bit with some of the greatest living masters of the traditional styles.

In this case it will be a pilgrimage in the old sense of the word since this has been pretty much like a religion to me for decades. I've been planning this since some time in February and have been trying to get into shape for it so that I won't be a total disgrace when I get there, but I have a feeling this one is gonna hurt real good.

WATERLOO, BUT FOR WHO? Here's an interesting take on the politics of health care reform by an influential conservative.

I PREFER COFFEE, CONTINUED. Some tea baggers acted pretty ugly this weekend in Washington, something that could cause the movement some problems.

BOX ON! In case you missed the story about WV's oldest boxer in the Sunday Gazette, it's here and worth a read. I can relate to this guy. Bill Taft, the gentleman in question, a retired professor, took up boxing as a way of dealing with mortality after a heart attack. Sample quote: "If I have another heart attack, I'm going to own it."



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