Being face to face with history humbles. How very much others have achieved! How very significant their special lives. And they had offspring who married yet other’s offspring and those begat too, and so forth from the loins of soldiers and gentlemen and their chosen female mates did a whole host of others come. Haunting. And they shall persevere. Does Picasso’s offspring paint? Does the son of Rodin exhibit sculptural inclinations? Do you get your looks from your mother, or your father? And when your turn comes, and your coffin goes down-down, or your ashes waft and drift, what will you leave behind that will have become more-better for your passing?
How do we account for our time? Perhaps it is too long. Great deeds are done in relative instants, and fill the mind like an out of the ordinary episode; different! Recall seeing the hot springs dam cleave its way in a trickle down a Montserrat beach, quickly to gouge out a trench, and then to boil and gurgle its way in a torrid rush to the sea? But it too became spent. The greatest of things, the very smallest of things, they each have their time. But we preserve them as long as we can. We stick our artifacts in the museum. We mount them in photograph albums. We label and notarize and Will our treasures beyond our own lifetimes, and we write our memoirs. The bursting of that hot spring might now make it into history; or might this essay not disappear into the ether too ?
Yet we are driven to record. Our cities have statues. Our libraries have history books. Our museums get progressively expensive. Yet there are a great many youngsters who no longer care about the first Yardbirds album, nor even the Beach Boys. Why should they? We treasure that with which we identify. Memorial Day has not much significance for those not really affected.
M’Lady likes John Denver. She plays his CD almost daily. She also has tape-cassettes of her brother, Pat, announcing his favorite songs and then playing them. Her eldest brother, Douglas, made tapes too. One of his Memorial Day services he dedicated to her. And all the while she collected their things, their memories, and recorded the accomplishments of their lives. Her Memoir is not so much about her as it is about life itself. And when seen through the eyes of her brothers, Doug, Pat, Denys, or those of her war hero husband, Denys Sinclair, life takes on a grander meaning, a more significant meaning. Denys and Denys; both were pilots. Both were shot down.
We spend much of life filling up ordinary time because we have no Great Goal. It seldom thrusts itself at us. Nor do we create it. Yet it is those who persevere, who go beyond the distractions and the temptations to be mundane that experience the extraordinary. But sometimes we get shot down.
There are no accidents, only lessons. No matter what we are engaged in the lessons repeat and repeat until we are ready to release into yet more lessons. And that is the interest of it. That is the invigoration! Since there is no escape one might just yield, keep learning, and find it interesting!
I type under duress. The physical limitations of endurance and comfort and capability hound me. It is not easily admitted. But to give in or to stop now in this marathon that has an established finishing line is untenable, an anathema. Still, even aeroplanes if they are not shot down, and if they do not refuel, run out of gas. To sleep, to dream, perchance to rest for yet more. Persevere!