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.