Monday, August 6, 2007

Wanting to be held, but not had…

“To have and to hold…”, so the wedding vows (used to) go. (I say, “used to” for as we all know, the holding part has become increasingly difficult – especially “until death us do part”). Today, this vow smacks of wanting to have your cake and to eat it, which could be considered unreasonable, I suppose – two mutually exclusive actions, against the natural laws. If you’ve been had, you surely can’t also expect to be held. Or is it the other way around? You can be held, but don’t expect anyone to have you for too much longer than that?
How exciting it is to be discovered, like some unexplored continent, full of surprises at every turn. Exotic plants, unnamed as yet, fresh sounds and sights assail the senses and the mind leaps with the sheer excitement of fast-paced activity. A compelling quest ensues. Will there be more? Will it be different, even from this? How much is there? Ah, you will have to journey on, dear traveller.
What if it turns out to be more of the same; if you round the bend and it looks just like your backyard in the old country? What if this is just a little showpiece to lure world-weary travelers deeper into the unknown, when they will be too far away to run to their boats when danger appears? What if you wake up one day and long for home but your boat is gone? What if the quest is what it is all about?
It is a strange thing about explorers who liked what they saw and then settled – they invariably sought to recreate the first situation in the new setting. (Look no further than the many Victorian buildings in Africa.) Ja, well, maybe they just wanted the same thing again but with the sunshine…

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chased any bunnies lately?

Is anyone really happy? This question arose on Friday evening over supper with friends (a supposedly happily married couple). It was something I had been musing on for a while, as I contemplated the number of friends in their fifties and sixties who seem to be depressed, in the process of a divorce or some other relationship breakdown, on the one hand, and many much younger people who simply can't get through the prospect of an evening without a few stiff drinks. Why does joy so elude us?

Career changes, fitness regimes, vitamins and daily pep talks don't seem to have the desired effect any longer and even deeply religious friends who for years have drawn strength and comfort from their faith seem to falter.

Our dog who passes most days uneventfully alone at home, quivvers at the prospect of a walk. Any walk, even the one we have taken hundreds of times around our neighbourhood. Pulling wildly on the leash with the force of an untrained puppy, our twelve-year-old black bullet strains forward, senses abuzz, ever optimistic that a hunt is just around the next corner. Sometimes she is lucky. A pet rabbit runs loose on the corner plot and occassionally strays through the wide bars of the fence. With a squeal, Jessie is off. The bunny is used to this, but knows she shouldn't take chances and hops with amazing speed through the nearest bars. Exhausted but satisfied, Jessie trots on homeward, happy just to have chased (but not caught a bunny).

I wonder what my bunny is?