Leaving things as you found them
By Parson Thru
“Well, if I go down dyin’, you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.”
Written by Bob Dylan.
Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music.
Mmmmmm. Background (foreground?) sound to some big thoughts.
After five months of getting by on my own, first my daughter, then my partner / other half of the sky dropped by within a week of each other. My mother and my son, on the other hand, are not likely to pass this way. That’s ok.
It’s Thursday night, 14 April. School’s over for the week, and tomorrow N and I head for Valencia. Our next new city. I hope the sun shines as it has today – love thrives in sunshine and the food tastes better.
We’re holed-up in Lavapies. N is asleep – still recovering from her wearying deployment. I’m enjoying her company and trying to keep the inevitability of her return at bay for a few more days.
I’ve got Dylan rolling through my mind like a big-old Greyhound diesel. He’s keeping me going as he’s been doing for months.
My daughter left her stamp here, too. A lot of joy, and a lot to think about afterwards. Life.
I think it was the actor, Paul Eddington, who said in an interview just before he died “I just hope I haven’t caused too much harm.” In my case, it’s a bit late. I just hope the harm isn’t enduring.
I’m still trying to work out where to start this piece. I usually find that the only way to resolve the problem is to start writing – so here we are, halfway down the page.
I played the BBC’s “Desert Island Discs” interview with Dustin Hoffman to a student today. I had to introduce some new vocabulary when he related the tale of walking along a beach on his father’s eightieth birthday (they shared the same birth-date). They’d stopped by the water’s edge and Hoffman Jnr spoke to his father: “Dad, you’re eighty now. Do you have any words for me?” Apparently, his father looked him in the eye and said “It’s all bullshit.”, then walked away – the summation of a life that never lived up to expectations. I found myself wiping tears from my eyes in the class – some language teacher.
I’m relieved that my own life amounts to more than simply bullshit. It might be many things, some rewarding, others disastrous. It’s a life of trying and sometimes failing and maybe there’s still time to address some of the failures – or their impact.
I suppose life is about people. If I’m honest, it’s taken a lot of mistakes, pain, and not a little selfishness to equip me to see that. But you can’t turn the clock back.
God, I wish I didn’t keep on biting my tongue and the back of my mouth. It’s fucking painful.
Too many teeth? Or too much anxiety?
I never used to think of myself as an anxious person but, with the passage of years, I’m realising that’s just what I am. Seeing it in others is allowing me to accept it more and more in myself. I’m scarred, just like everyone else. When will we stop fucking-up our kids?
We’re all looking for love. Some of us find it, many don’t. We’re all trying to give it, if only we could. The failure to meet this need is what often hardens us. That’s one reason I believe so strongly in cooperation, collaboration and working together, rather than the flawed opinion that humans need to function according to some “Law of the Jungle”. That idea is so wrong and those who promote it are so hypocritical. They know the benefit of working together – it’s why they form associations and cartels. Humans are at their best when they cooperate and share. In fact, the most successful animals in the jungle cooperate.
Tomorrow, N and I will head off in search of yet another horizon, in search of sun, in search of another shore – two hours by fast train. I know how fortunate we are.
We’ll be chasing another dream, and a dream within a dream – a beach; a dog; a wood-burning stove – well, we all have our own vision of heaven.
Heaven exists in the context of realities, our own and everyone else’s, in all their complexity. Achieving it is an uphill battle. In the midst of battle, I think of the harm I’ve caused and how I might ameliorate its impact.
Paul Eddington’s words still echo in my mind. Could it be that they relate to something called love?