Sunday, March 16, 2008

Half a Century

Fifty years old today. I never thought I'd live this long: I had an intense conviction, in my youth, that I would die young. I still could, of course. One's notion of what "dying young" means is revised upward, as the years go by; and I suppose all of us, in our own private opinions at least, die young.

It's such a strange visit, this human life. We arrive in a stranger's house, and never really feel at home; we painfully learn the customs of our hosts, but they never really make sense; we learn to speak the language well enough to ask the way to the bus station, but not well enough to be able to unburden our hearts. And then, embarrassingly, we become sick, and impose the burden of our care on our unprepared hosts; and finally we leave, abruptly -- for home, maybe, or maybe for a stranger place still, or maybe for nowhere at all. What's the sense in all that?

I woke up longing. It's not yet light. Swinburne's lines came unexpectedly to mind, when I remembered I had a milestone birthday, today:

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives forever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

I missed Larissa's knitalong, yesterday. I meant to go, but the time slipped away. Maybe someone would have taught me to knit, there. I learned once -- at least, how to continue; I don't think I ever learned how to cast on.

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