Friday, 24 May 2013

So we beat on...

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

That is the final sentence from F Scott Fitzgerald's book 'The Great Gatsby'. In my humble opinion it is one of the finest 'last lines' in literature - economic in structure and oh so true.

Why do so many of us reminisce and frequently visit the land of nostalgia? This is not something that everybody that I know indulges in. Some people shun it at an act of neediness or a clear sign that the present is not fulfilling enough. I quite enjoy wallowing in the past, and find myself doing so as a celebration of happy times - notice I didn't use the word 'happier'. Today's good moments will, with the passage of time, become tomorrow's nostalgia. When I look back at my own cherished 'natural history' moments, very few are about rarity. They are largely about feeling at peace, at ease or at one with a place, with the plants, birds and/or insects becoming the characters that populate these special moments.All are celebrations of a time that I feel privileged to have experienced. I can look back through my notebooks and conjure up these memories with a joyous ease. A purring Turtle Dove, a winter Red Admiral or an unexpected Fly Orchid can all be stored away for a later date. We all have hundreds, if not thousands of these highlights hidden away, and not to revisit them is, in my mind, a waste.

I will leave the last words to another giant of literature, Spike Milligan, who wrote:

"Is it with the future uncertain and the present so traumatic that we find the past so comforting?"

6 comments:

  1. Perhaps nostalgia is beneficial because we can be selective about it's contents whereas we can not with the present or future.

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  2. I suppose to some, the use of 'substances' to dull the present allows a certain filtering out of events. I think we are guilty of thinking too much about these things Andrew...

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  3. Cheers Steve - I'm not exaggerating when I say that that is the best post I have read so far this year. The fact that I can treasure special memories from the past always gives me hope of being able to create and experience more in the future.

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  4. Thank you for those kind words Jerry. It's good to hear from you - your lack of posting on your own blog has been noticed! Hope all is well with you and your family.

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    1. Thanks Steve, yes as you know we've been rather busy lately on our exciting 'project' (to be resumed this weekend) but also Thomas did have a prolonged spell unwell. Following a nasty chest infection, he had asthma which threatened to go a bit naughty. It says something of our hospitals when the Dr decided it was safest to keep him out of ESH - so I lost over 30hrs from work helping to look after him (I seem to be the best at doing his chest physio and assisted coughing). Oh well, he's completely fine now - and like the rest of us would probably benefit from some much warmer weather! Changing the subject; it wasn't on the SBC sightings page but did you see Graham had a Red-footed Falcon at Holmethorpe over the weekend? Apparently it was heading north - probably right over my garden!!!

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    2. I'm so glad that Thomas has overcome that nasty bout of asthma, and just in time for a summer in Norfolk by the sounds of it! That really is a vote of 'no confidence' in ESH - my experience of the National Health has been very positive, but I do hear horror stories...

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