A distorted Reflection


Just thought I’d provide, for the benefit of anyone who cares (and the several billion who don’t), a little rumination on the title(s) and similar identifying marks of this blog the blog where some of these posts originated.

The blog ID, as in, subdomain in the URL is chance-meeting: chance-meeting.blogspot.com.
The blog title is “dancing on the edge of doom”
The blog owner is identified as “Over the Left Shoulder”

I’ll take these in reverse order.

Over the left shoulder” is, by some accounts, the location of that invisible companion, Death, who accompanies the wise on their earthly journey; I should say, accompanies all of us, but the wise get their wisdom (again, by some accounts) from an awareness that he is there, which is to say, that life is short, fragile, and terminal. Presumably there is some connection with the left shoulder being the one on which our Savior bore his cross, and thus there is a link to the call to discipleship specifically as relates to the continual awareness and constant embrace of one’s own mortality, which results, strangely enough, in the overcoming of the morbid fear of death which, though unspoken and ofen unacknowledged, so often otherwise has a tendency to rule our lives: “If any one would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me; for whoever seeks to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the good news, shall find it.”

dancing on the edge of doom” is wonderfully ambiguous as to its origins, but aficionados of J.R.R. Tolkien will recognize it as evoking the image of Gollum, holding aloft at last the Ring, still encircling Frodo’s finger (which has been bitten off) —dancing madly a victory dance, just before losing his footing…. and plunging into the Cracks of Doom, thus destroying himself and the Ring together, and despite all, fulfilling the Quest of the Ringbearer.

Those without an intimate knowledge of that scene may instead get an idea of a reference to an unbridled optimism which celebrates life no matter how immanent the impending demise, whatever form it may take, might be.

Both of these together, or either one, could be taken as a metaphor for the precarious situation in which our world, geopolitically speaking, now finds itself; and might indeed also be seen as a defiant affirmation in the face of all obstacles that life is still worth living; even that the worst disaster, as that which indeed befell Gollum in the midst of his victory dance, can lead to unanticipated benefits, the defeat of evil, a changed world…. hence it is intentionally, whatever else it may seem to be, an image of a perhaps irrational, but nevetheless incontrovertible, hope.

Finally: “chance-meeting” is another LOTR reference. Sometime when all the action is past, one finds Gandalf and Aragorn reminiscing about the first time they encountered one another, at the inn in Bree, setting in motion a confluence of events that led ultimately to the protection of the hobbits on their way to Rivendell, the formation of the fellowship, and the Quest itself, the fall of Sauron and the beginning of a new age. The narrative of that encounter is summed up with the words: “A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-Earth.”

And thus entangled with the irrational hope of this blogger is the possibility that in such a humble corner of cyberspace as here, just as in a back-room of the inn at Bree, something might yet be set in motion that could save the world.

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