Friday, April 12, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 04/11/19: Maggie Update, The Masters, *Henry V*

1.  Every day, I keep a close watch on Maggie. I'm watching as much of the Masters golf coverage as I can, so I bring Maggie into the tv room. She can't jump up on her favorite tv room chair any longer, so I lift her up on it. Likewise, in the last few days, Maggie has lost the strength to jump up on the bed. Maggie is starting to have a little trouble walking on the parts of the house's floors that are bare, just like Charly is. Maggie is sleeping a lot, or at least lying still. She continues her gradual decline. Her decline, however, is not affecting her appetite -- she eats her whole bowl of food and is drinking plenty of water. As long as I'm home, she's been good about going outside to do her business. She's had a few accidents indoors when I've been gone. She had at least one when I was in the house. It made me wonder if, temporarily, she just didn't have the energy to go to the back door.

Maggie could surprise me in the next few days and leap up on the bed again or on the chair in the tv room. She might hold steady. I hope not, but her slow slide could continue. The best I can do is continue to nurture her, watch her closely, and keep her nearby.

2.  As the technology used in the manufacturing of golf clubs has changed, professional players are able to generate more club speed. They use golf balls designed to be hit a long way. Watching the Masters today and listening to the experts talk about the Augusta course, the challenges the players face, and the state of the game of golf in 2019, I marvel at how far players can strike a golf ball. The most compelling thing, though, about watching the Masters is that the players who do well can't only rely on their strength, club speed, and distance. The stakes in this tournament are so high, the course so challenging, and the weight of its history and tradition so heavy, that success also depends on each player's self-control, how they keep their minds clear and their nerves quiet. It's this mental aspect of golf, the way golf tests a player's character, that I enjoy the most. It's why I can spend hours watching golf on television. Along with the Ryder Cup, I enjoy watching the Masters the most of all.

3. I finished watching Henry V this evening. It stimulated me in multiple ways, moving me to tears while also kicking my racing mind into overdrive. I ached for someone to discuss the play with. I would have loved to discuss anything, but most of all I wanted to talk about Falstaff, Nell Quickly, Auncient Pistol, Nyms, Bardolf, Robin the Luggage Boy, Williams, Bates, and Fluellen, how smartly and beautifully the actors Judi Dench, Richard Briers, Michael Williams, Ian Holm, and others played these roles and how the scenes featuring these characters of the tavern and grunts on the battlefield mirror and deepen the great philosophical and political questions explored in the world of King Henry's court. In their scenes, these characters of the play's underclass express the pain of loss and their conflicting thoughts and feelings about war; we see their valor and their corruption, their bravery and their thievery -- just as the play explores King Henry's grief, his valor and his corruption, his bravery and his thievery. (He steals the country of France.)  I love how the court world, tavern world, and the world of the battlefield echo each other, portraying how the play's whole world is shot through with concerns and conflicts about war, fear, death, national unity, and love, love of brother, love of country, love of king.

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