Saturday, September 13, 2008

Musings and Mulling On Hermes Tohu Bohu

Tohu Bohu in black is one of my recent gifts to myself. I love the name of this design. I also like the wonderful fanciful border and contrast lime green hem.

Recently a fellow scarf collector discovered that in the history of Hermes they had used the word "Tohu Bohu" once before in a scarf designed by Hugo Grygkar in 1946. The scarf was Pour Eviter les Accidents de Voitures (Photo courtesy of the ATHI photo gallery, if it looks familiar that is because the same artist did Accidents d'Equitation pictured above in the header of this blog)

The words "Tohu Bohu" appear on the right side of the scarf.

The Oxford dictionary defines "Tohu Bohu" as “That which is empty and formless; chaos; utter confusion.” Ahh, this idea sounds familiar. It is in fact the description given to the Earth moments after the start of creation, recorded in Genisis 1:2. It is in fact the compound of two Hebrew words (tohu v’bohu).

W. H. Auden of which I am a fan of his poetry, used the word in a self reflective piece titled "In Sickness and In Health" in 1942.

Auden wrote:
“Beloved, we are always in the wrong,
Handling so clumsily our stupid lives,
Suffering too little or too long,
Too careful even in our selfish loves:
The decorative manias we obey
Die in grimaces round us every day,
Yet through their tohu-bohu comes a voice
Which utters an absurd command – Rejoice.”

"The decorative manias we obey..." humm sounds a little like scarf collecting. And the whole feeling of Auden's piece here closely describes how I see the tragic events of this weekend. Between the train wreck in LA and the storm in Texas. It is as if the whole world succumbed to chaos this weekend. And yet inside myself my feelings are all Tohu Bohu, as for me personally I have so much to rejoice for this weekend. A little bundle of joy was born so far away, but so loved and so welcomed by so many. Perhaps Tohu Bohu is a good remembrance scarf after all, even though I really wanted to find a blue "Rocking Horse" scarf....

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