Flame flickers in darkness


I’ve noted before that you need to be feeling confident and bold in order to blog.   Mostly this is how I do feel.   But this week, anxiety over Elisabeth and Rob (safe for the meantime in Shanghai) plus horror and sympathy for the Japanese over the terrible events which have overtaken them – not to mention dreadful things happening in many other parts of the world – have laid me low.

Then you no longer feel that the earth is a lovely place which we are privileged to inhabit;    that the guardian spirits of your world stand four-square where they should;  and that all will be well –  which is how I usually feel, more or less.    You think, if you had to choose a country upon which a dire misfortune would fall, it wouldn’t be Japan.   Actually I can’t think of any nation at all wicked enough that you would select, but at any rate, it wouldn’t be Japan.    I found the Japanese polite, kind and helpful, although I am not sure their obedience, respect for authority and unwillingness to lose face, though it means there is no mass panic, serves them well in the present circumstances.   Anyone who has been to Tokyo will share our astonishment at the empty streets of the city, since one of Tokyo’s defining characteristics is its ever present, but orderly, crowds.   So then you realise – you knew this, but you conveniently chose to overlook it – that there is a random quality to events.   Just as they don’t deserve their present difficulties, we neither deserve nor can guarantee our comparative good fortune.

We live our lives as though we would live forever, but this is a delusion.   We are but mortal, and we do not know what tomorrow will bring.    We actually live from breath to breath.     We ought to live each day as though it were our last, leaving nothing undone, all our debts paid in full, for who knows when we may find, like our brothers and sisters in Japan, that disaster and catastrophe have slipped amongst us and are wreaking havoc with our fragile happiness.

I look around me and I think that those very things that bring us most joy – our children, our grandchildren, and the affection of our friends – are where we are most vulnerable.    I feel sad too that anxiety about me must cloud the lives of those who love me.

At times like these I feel that my normal optimism and capacity to remain positive in difficult circumstances may not be a strength, but mere foolishness, like a match flame flickering over  a dark scene of devastation, fleeting, ephemeral, and finally, forlorn.

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

6 Responses to Flame flickers in darkness

  1. Anne says:

    Every cloud has a silver lining and my friendship with you is more silver than cloud

  2. nan says:

    A strength, dear A., which steadies all within your ambit – as the December born Blake in his wisdom said,”He who kisses Joy as it flies lives in Eternity’s Sunrise.”

    • adhocannie says:

      Thank you. Elisabeth rang today feeling what I wrote only more so, and over-whelmed by the kindness of her Japanese colleagues who in the midst of all their difficulties were concerned that, not being like them used to earthquakes, she might have been frightened. As for one’s own strength, I think you just possess that by grace of heaven, as it were, and you don’t feel it really amounts to anything very reliable! But thank you for the kind comment, Love Anne

  3. Clare Collins says:

    Your optimism is in no way foolish. My image wouldn’t be of the flickering flame, but would be of a magnificently strong, firm, bright beacon. Keep on shining. xC.

  4. adhocannie says:

    Ah well, you’re very kind. Am going to escape into a Midsummer Morton – though even that fictional retreat (mind you a surprising number of people seem to be murdered) is under attack these days…

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