This morning I worked in Karen’s garden uprooting the six foot tall stands of hemlock. I wore a mask and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves. I don’t know if I was being overly cautious or completely foolhardy. I cut up the maculate stalks and put them in brown bags for green recycling.
Know thyself. That was one of the maxims inscribed at the temple of Apollo in Delphi, and it is a unifying philosophic concept in Socratic dialogues. Of course nobody can say for sure what knowing yourself means. It is understood as a directive, a pointer toward self-reflection. Phaedrus asks Socrates his opinion of the truth of the myth of Boreas and Orithunia, an abduction of the latter by the former that supposedly happened near where they strolled, and Socrates says, (I paraphrase) “Why bother with irrelevant things when I still don’t know myself.”
Know thyself. The Greek inscription is sometimes used as a memento mori, inscribed under the figure of a skeleton. Remember. Where this all leads.
Eight hours later, I’m still on the top side of the dirt line, that much I’m pretty sure of.