Sunday, March 16, 2008

these mean everything

Just learned an old friend has died. The rest of us are still here, making adjustments on our knees before the mighty grief of everyday life. We're here! It's an insult to whoever has gone before not to appreciate being here. She'd have said it herself: today is the most beautiful day in the history of days. Now is all we have.

"Dear One, How Many Years Is It"

Dear one, how many years is it—I forget—
Since this luminous evening when you joined us
In the celebration of whatever it was that we were celebrating—I forget—
It is a mark of a successful celebration
That one should have little recollection of the cause;
As long as the happiness itself remains a memory.
Our tiny planet, viewed from afar, is a place of swirling clouds
And dimmish blue; Scotland, though lodged large in all our hearts
Is invisible at that distance, not much perhaps,
But to us it is our all, our place, the opposite of nowhere;
Nowhere can be seen by looking up
And realizing, with shock, that we really are very small;
You would say, yes, we are, but never overcompensate,
Be content with small places, the local, the short story
Rather than the saga; take pleasure in private jokes,
In expressions that cannot be translated,
In references that can be understood by only two or three,
But which speak with such eloquence for small places
And the fellowship of those whom we know so well
And whose sayings and moods are as familiar
As the weather; these mean everything,
They mean the world, they mean the world.

—Alexander McCall Smith