I don’t often get melancholy, but the other day I was sitting in a rather beautiful spot on the Cornish coast just taking in the atmosphere and I sort of came over a bit “Strange.”
Sure, I was happy enough in myself and my life is pretty cool. . .
I am rich in many, many, ways, though I’m not super-wealthy cash-wise, anyway who really needs loads of surplus money?!?!
We live in a beautiful part of the country, in a wonderfully historic house. I’m married to a fantastic lady who totally understands and supports my need to travel. I lead an interesting life that at times gets punctuated with outlandish adventures, some of which I relate here. I think that I’m pretty healthy too. In other words, I’m very happy and content.
So, why have I been feeling a bit melancholy of late?
Well, the truth is that it’s all about the one thing that we all have no control over in life, you know, time.
I’m lucky that I have a cadre of close friends. Most of whom I’ve known for many years and like old wine we have aged well together.
We laugh and joke about how we have changed over the years. We compare wrinkles, laughter lines, hair loss and wonder at how hair that you couldn’t believe could turn grey actually does!
The sad inevitability of time is that none of us can, or will, last forever and just to underscore that one of my friends, if I can put it this way “checked out,” recently.
From diagnosis to “Adios,” took Dave only five weeks, two of which he was in a coma. Bummer!
He was a good pal and we had many excellent times together. We had a common love of steam locomotives and helped to maintain one historic engine in mainline running order. Dave helped me keep my own steam roller on the road as well, I still have the whistle he gave me for it. We worked together when we secured a contract to provide engineering support services for a Cross-Chanel ferry company back in the ‘90s. Most of all we enjoyed each other’s company immensely, sharing a common offbeat sense of humour that often culminated in our infamous double act of the two “Hicks” who used to talk to the trees! Happy and good times indeed, memories that I will treasure for as long as I’m around.
Then there’s my mate G, who regulars to this blog will know is currently undergoing chemo-therapy for leukaemia. He’s doing OK, has ups and downs, but is hanging in there. I’ve got us tickets for one of the Rugby Six Nations games at Cardiff next Spring, so he’d better get himself well by then or there will be trouble!
All this reinforces that the 18-year-old, who many years ago thought himself invincible, actually isn’t that at all!
Around two thousand five hundred years ago the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Everything flows, but nothing abides.” I think he was a pretty on the mark when he established that change was central to the workings of the Universe. What really underscores that, is the growing list of parts of my body that ache every day, but hey if it ain’t worn out it ain’t been used, eh?
Autumn is truly setting in here now, the leaves are falling fast and the first dreary days of the season have set in, which is only to be expected for the time of year. Soon the vibrant colours of the falling leaves will be gone, but like the memories of departed loved ones they will remain etched in our consciousness, bright golden and glowing. That way they never really die, it’s not all bad.
Today dawned dry, cold and bright; time to ride and put things back into perspective.
Of course it was Harls who I rolled out of the workshop. . .
Simple really, start her up, warm the engine, engage first gear, then find a nice twisty road and ride!
Sixty head clearing and spirit lifting miles later, we paused on the edge of Dartmoor to drink in the morning, check the scenery and monitor the life perspective. Yep, everything had been reset nicely!
Riding home was sublime and when I switched off the engine back at H.Q., Mrs Dookes was waiting. “You needed that,” she smiled and knew I was back in a better place. Like I said earlier, she’s a fantastic lady!
. . . and everything else? As the song says:
“It’s better to have loved and lost, than never have loved at all.”
Catch you all soon and thanks for your support.
The quote at the end is so true Dookes.
Feeling a bit meloncholy is perfectly understandable too, there’s been a lot happening around you recently. Sending you good wishes from across the pond.
Thanks m’dear! Means a lot.
Got your message, will reply ASAP. D 😉
I know it is trite, but time stands still for no one. When I turned 50, I had a tough time realizing that I have lived more years than I am going to live. True, one reaches that mark probably by 40, but who thinks about that in their 40’s? Now that I am 2 months away from 60, I have realized that “Hey! We really don’t have all the time in the world!” So I have rearranged my thought process to say”Screw it. If I have the resources to do something I have been wanting to do for a while, I will make the time and do it.” Shift priorities. No more “wait till next year.” Rolling Stones sang it best: “catch your dreams before they slip away.”
Yeah, I get it Bob.
Hated my 40’s, love my 50’s, gonna be uncontrollable in my 60’s!!!!
Fancy a ride to somewhere one day? Could be fun!
Ruby Tuesday could tag along too!
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I hit half century a month ago and was warned prior that I would re-evaluate my life the day came.
I fobbed it off.
Yesterday I met with childhood friend and we both agreed that we wasted more time procrastinating than doing and trying to please others instead ourselves. Neither of us do that anymore.
Everyone reflects. Not everyone learns from that reflection.
Loved this post Dooks
Thanks for your kind comments.
I think that is very true, we do spend more time trying to please others; gotta be time to please ourselves instead!
Catch you on the road!
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Condolences and all the best Dookes! Yes, life flows on… but it’s still a good life as I’m learning… it’s good to feel lucky and do the things we like. 🙂 P.S. had a good day out climbing yesterday so feeling particularly positive. Probably as you feel when you’ve been out on the bike. 🙂
Thanks Lili, yes, I think you probably get the same vibe!
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Life is tough and life is great. Prayers for your friend G. Leukemia is a tough foe; but it can be beat. I know personally how difficult it is to support those we love as they go through the battle. I hope retirement is working out well for you. Most days, I love it! Somedays, I miss my students; but certainly not the politics of school. Have a great weekend!
Thank you my friend.
Yes the R word is working out just fine, though I seem to be as busy as ever, stress free living is certainly to be recommended!
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Just got back from travels and read this post – it’s a tough thing to deal with, always. It’s good to have an escape route to ride, as you do, and get back into flow of life. As we get older it becomes more urgent to capture the moment, but I think we get a lot better at it too. All the best.
Those are very reassuring and wise words Curtis. You are right, we do get better at it! Thanks, Dookes.
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loved your post…I rode on a motorcycle once back in the day….scared the beejeebers out of me. The important thing to remember when approaching old age is–dont just give up, keep on keeping on. The worst are these people who just sit around waiting … when I die, I die.
Thank you and I like your philosophy!
well I know a man who just turned 63 and has decided his life is over…so he will miss out on some good living.
He sure will!
unfortunately, a self-fulfilled prophecy I’m afraid.
Trying to get caught up on my reading and just now saw this. I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend Dookes.
This might be an oxymoron, but I saw something very wise on Facebook (huh??) It was a quote from Michael Kors. He said, “The older I get, the more I realize that the ultimate luxury is time.” It seems a bit cruel that we don’t figure that out until the top of the hour glass is less than half full…
But at least we HAVE figured it out and know that we can’t sit on our bums and just let life continue to fly by without fighting back! 🙂 So you and Harls keep on keeping on, hang out with G as much as you can and continue to have good times with him, and enjoy living in one of the most beautiful spots on earth with evidently one of the most patient women in the world!
You are a man of many blessings my friend!
Thanks AGMA, yes I know I am blessed in many ways . . . some of them a bit strange!