Reflections this side of The Undiscovered Country

by Glenn Fairman2/26/17

The world contains more sorrow than our hearts can bear. And yet, against all reason, we persist in our struggle for love and light. Indeed, it is all about love and loss in this place of fragile humanity – where we take our stage cues and recite our couplets for a brief time, only to fade from the floodlights and recede inexorably into the wings.

Some people are like fixtures in your life. They have always been there and you assume that they will always be. Their very presence, even if you are not connected, makes the planet a more tolerable place—lends an air of stability to a life that grows increasingly bleak, as those precious to us fall and pass on to that undiscovered country. As we age, those departures become more unpalatable, as the vertigo of time afflicts first those whom we have loved, and finally, ourselves.
But there are better days ahead than we perhaps know.

Amidst the crescendoing tragedy encountered while contemplating that opaque veil of sorrow, there is a light—at first dim, but certain. And if the best among us seize hold of it, — who abide in that Grand Hope when all flesh falters, then let us take heart, mourn, raise our eyes, and be comforted. Be thou at peace, Dear One.


Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca.
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6 Responses to Reflections this side of The Undiscovered Country

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Elizabeth and I have known each other for less than 30 years, but I can see what you mean. If one of us dies, the other is not only going to be hard pressed to survive alone, but probably won’t really want to. When Elizabeth was taken off initially, I thought we’d probably see each other again. This left me in a very poor mood. We have a CD image titled Suicide LIsten full of songs such as “Alone Again, Naturally”, “Goodbye to Love”, “I Am a Rock”, “Dust in the Wind”, “If You Could Read My Mind”, “Paint It Black”, “If I Can’t Have You”, “I Who Have Nothing”, and “Suicide is Painless”. That was one of the first I played — well out of the normal sequence.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Being a conservative, and me just being me, I don’t like change. I don’t mean regarding gadgets and stuff. I adopt that kind of stuff readily enough. But I like the apparent permanence of one day bleeding into another and the sun always coming up.

    But the sun doesn’t always come up. There is The Undiscovered Country. The is the growing awareness — not of our own mortality, per se. We don’t really believe in that. But awareness grows that not all of our anchors will stay permanent. Life moves on. We lose people. We gain people. And we’re torn apart and rebuilt in the process, like it or not.

    Whether our final port-of-call in The Undiscovered Country is complete, deserved, and recognizable is anyone’s guess. The sages have always suggested that we find and embrace the eternal in the temporal. They are not likely wrong. But how to be right about such a thing? That conversation is all but extinct these days.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I learned that long ago, when my father was killed in Viet Nam. I still remember my high-school principal telling me, at least after the first sentence. (“He lost a lot of blood, and early this morning, he died.”) Still, it was several months before I fully accepted that this time he wasn’t coming back.

  3. Glenn Fairman says:

    Question for Timothy Lane:

    Oh, help. This is for my friends who know a bit about science fiction and science fantasy. I am revisiting my long search for a particular novel which was published (I believe) in the mid-70s. It had a lot of black and white illustrations in it, but it was NOT a “graphic novel” as we think of them today; IIRC, it had similar dimensions to a “standard” paperback, or might have been slightly larger.

    The plot was about twin boys separated at birth and sent into two different dimensions (and, I think, also different from their “birth” dimension). One twin had magical affinity and the other technological. The main focus was on the boy, now grown, who had the magical talents, and (I think) how he had somehow accidentally returned to his natural dimension and learned to use his magic (again, I *think* this was over a fairly short period of time). His brother, on the other hand, I can’t recall how, had developed his tech and was trying to invade the magical birth dimension and take it over.

    I keep thinking that an author similar to Pournelle, Saberhagan, or perhaps Andre Norton might be the author (and admit I could be completely off base with this notion), but I haven’t been able to find this particular book in spite of years of googling.

    Any suggestions?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Sorry, but this doesn’t ring a bell at all. If it were Pournelle I’m sure it would be familiar to me, and probably Saberhagen as well. But Andre Norton wrote so many books that there’s no way I could possibly be sure about her. And there are plenty of other writers, many of whom I’ve never read anything by.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I Googled the heck out of that and couldn’t find it. That’s a tough one.

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