Friday, April 11, 2008

Carthage (4)

The years have been rolling-by. As one grows older, time
seems to move faster. It has been more than a decade since
I moved to Carthage. And lots of water has flowed under the
bridge. I still am astounded that I became a philosopher
and essayist. Still, I have to remember that some of the great
Stoics were also military men--even emperors like Hadrian,
who considered himself both a Stoic and an Epicurean.
Perhaps there's a contradiction here?

Regardless, no matter any rules or regulations--even in the
Stoa--we humans probably will never be perfect beings. More
likely we will be contradictory in many ways. I am surely such
an example; but, fortunately, I rarely have felt that I need
apologize for my imperfections.

Well, I meander. Just to bring my journal up-to-date, I must
make mention that both my nephews here in Carthage married
Phoenician women. Their offspring now share a new infusion
of ancient mariner blood that surely compliments our Roman
family's shipping interests. These marriages, too, pretty much
guarantee our family now being "anchored" in Carthage.

Eventually, though not surprising, my older brother decided to
retire in Carthage. No doubt he wanted to play with his grand-
children, but just as likely he wanted to play in our Carthage
office. As for our middle brother, he and his older sons are
now running the Ostia office. It would seem that our shipping
corporation, though integral, is now split permanently between
the two cities.

I was pleased to hear that one of the younger generation up
in Ostia desired a military career. He is going the same route
as I followed years ago. I wish him good fortune. Over my
years as a military tribune, then as a Praetorian, I had the good
luck living in a mostly peaceful era. Our emperors, thus far,
have been fairly decent men. And Hadrian had the good sense
not to expand our imperial borders, which more than often led
to conflict in earlier times.

As for Hadrian, he died a few years ago. He was succeeded
by his adoptive son, our Emperor Antoninus Pius, who also has
proved to be a connoisseur of the Arts. Like his predecessor,
he has built theatres and temples. He even has granted prizes
to philosophers! Most important, however, thus far he has kept
the peace!

Marc's landscaping business has flourished. He even acquired
a small farm full of groves of olive trees. Though an absentee
owner, he manages to visit his farm frequently. For both the farm
and his business, he has hired many locals who seem to share
his enthusiasm when it comes to both horticulture and agriculture.
Over the years I have been very pleased with my cousin. He is
a man of good taste, full of vigor when it comes to his interests.

Me? Well, I have been winding down slowly. I still teach at the
Stoa, and I write an occasional essay. Maybe I'll get back into
my writing more prolifically--some day--but right now it's all on
a slow burner. I guess that I have become a man of leisure, in
that I quite enjoy sitting around reading, taking walks, attending
the theatre and musicals, enjoying lectures, or visiting the city
forums. Most of all, I love going down to the seashore--just
relaxing, watching the waves crashing onto the beach.

I have even made friends of our local birds. When walking in
the atrium, or sitting on our hillside, I have discovered the most
sweet little birds. And over time they, too, have discovered me!
Some sit nearby and sing. Other birds perform acrobatics for
my pleasure. And the hummimgbirds constantly mistake me for
a food source, sometimes nearly bouncing into my head before
realizing they have made a mistake.

Life in Carthage has been good. And I will never be sorry that
I made my home in this fair city!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hummingbirds in Africa? Is this an alternate history?