Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Both with those that loved me and alone

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone...
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson

It's raining again. Hard, cold rain. Strange to think that it's February. It should be hot. I guess it matches my mood. It's hard to believe it's February. I feel as if I've been living in a bubble for so long. I was making plans the other day and it struck me that I'll be over 30 by the time I finish the next little phase I have planned and can really start working. It comes as a bit of a shock. I don't know where the last two years have gone. I feel as if I've lost time.

It has me thinking about time and change and people. "I am a part of all that I have met". Over the years, you meet people and find people and lose people. I suppose in the process of losing the past couple of years, in the bubble of limbo, it's easy to lose people. But it happens anyway.

Over the years, there have been so many people who have been so important at various times. Some of them have remained important for years. Some are still there. Others I have lost. In some cases, we have simply drifted apart. Things have changed, people have moved away and the friendship has drifted slowly into memory. In some cases, one or other of us has moved on and the friendship becomes slowly less important, fading gently, like an old photograph. Sometimes there was a falling out. Some of these I regret. Some I don't.

Some days I miss the people I've lost so much. Sometimes something will happen and I want to turn to a friend and share the joke or the moment of horror, but they're not there anymore. What we had isn't there anymore. A lot of the people around me now - in this little bubble of the moment - are the type of people who have never been away from home, the type who grow up, go to school, settle down and raise families all in the same place with the same people. The idea of a succession of friendships, some lasting forever, some more fleeting, is so completely foreign to them. That desperate feeling of missing someone - just for a moment, just missing a closeness, a shared perspective, some in-joke - is something they don't know.

For all the bravado and hope of Ulysses, it's a lonely, empty poem in many ways. "
I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move". The people I have lost are part of me and part of that arch. Some days I miss them a lot - their wisdom, their insight, their sense of humour. Some days the nicks and smudges, the sparkles and finishing touches they've left on my life and my perspective make me smile. I am more because of them and less because of them. And some days, especially when I'm feeling introspective and it's raining, wet and cold, I really, really miss the people I have lost.

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