A Georgian Terrace


Imagine the world of Jane Austin: a Georgian terrace sweeps round in a gentle curve with a soft green lawn laid out before it. Across the lawn nannies push prams full of  treasured young from the pampered homes of the families who employ them. In side those homes the families, and those who grind away their lives caring for their needs go about their business. Little groups are gathered in clusters chatting about this and nothing. Outside the fence along the road,  gentlemen ride their horses,  moving round or escorting the carriages were ladies in bonnets sit plotting their strategies for the dinner dance they will attend that evening. Everywhere is bustle and movement as a community goes about its daily life. Everyone  knows everyone so that privacy is at a premium.

Now sweep to today and another Georgian terrace. Mind you, this one was built in this century but the curve of the buildings and the grass before them is almost identical. The houses are now split into flats, of course, and the stables are alloted car parking spaces with a number set aside for visitors. The neatly cut grass outside it is empty of people and the numbers of the inhabitants who can name more than two of their neighbours can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  The quality of the residences implies prosperity although, in this day and age, we can never be sure if some are not clinging onto respectability by the thickness of a credit card.

None of them are local and  all moved into the development recently and work for companies and industries as remote from each other as it is possible to be. Or perhaps they work in the same industry but, never speaking to each other, no one would ever know. No one resident is bound by necessity to another and their independence gives them the opportunity to achieve introspection without the knowledge or interest of their neighbours. Many have moved there  from other localities and are now far from family and childhood friends.

Are these modern residents happier or sadder than their historic forbears. Has the invention of the mobile phone or satellite television allowed them to achieve a more fulfilled or peaceful life, extended by the many marvels of medical science. We are not sure. The moon which passes overhead has seen many changes, or perhaps , on some levels, has seen no changes at all. The power of choice is more certainly ours, but the uses we make of it leave us wondering at the innate wisdom of our species.  Unlike other animals, we have been given the ability to understand the things we destroy, whilst living in the hope of a better future.

Some years ago, while on a journey of discovery I came across the grave of a relative who died in the 1880’s. The discovery was strangely comforting and I remember touching the stone and looking around me at the view. “We’re still here” I told him.  I wondered how similar or different our lives and thoughts would be. Would our common ancestory be evident in our approaches to life.

So here we are, wriggling this way and that, saying our generation is the first, then possibly the last, or even insignificantly in the middle as, with age, the awareness of our own mortality grows. To be alive, for me , has always been a privilege. Somewhere along the line I have met people who place a value on my existence. Sometimes, if you are lucky, the sense of space around you grows till man with his whole history and the earth on which we live can seem to sit patiently at your side. In the night sky, in the eyes of someone who you love or in the courage of a child both I and my ancestor could find a common theme regardless of the age in which we were born. At that point you look up at the moon and say. “Hello, you. Were still here: different wardrobe but the same spirit”

Advertisements

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in childhood, community, faith, Life, Relationships and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Georgian Terrace

  1. says:

    Hello kind writer.
    What I got out of this post was the idea that things tend over time, although people move and grow, they continue to be interconnected in some way or another. I see what you mean about telling your ancestor we are still here. Yet, I must say, I truly believe that with technology being what it is today our lives cannot remain the same as they were yesterday. The only constant is change. Of course, people move and look for a better lives.

    I did even if I had a good life before. To remain stagnant is worse, don’t you think? The Georgian home represents to me a Utopia that’s perhaps not even real. It’s nice to look at but for some reason I ike today better. I think!
    Happy writing.
    Julie

    Like

  2. Jeanna says:

    I completely relate to this post… at the end of April several tornados went through the area that I live in. This left us without power for over a week. Although that was kind of rough when it came to showering etc… it did make people go outside, meet their neighbors… kids were playing outside because their precious video games were off… neighborhoods were having big block party BBQ’s because food was spoiling due to the lack of power… it was a flash back to a slower time… where life was really appreciated and no day was taken for granted. By the way, I love Jane Austen.

    Like

  3. Big Al says:

    What a thought-provoking blog! You nailed the essence of what I think our lives are about. We are nothing if not the sum total of our heritage, warts and all. We should never forget that. What we enjoy today is because of what they did with their lives. And not just materially, but culturally and morally.

    Someone once said to me, “live so that it will have mattered.” If my children and grandchildren make a good choice in their lives because of something I said or did, I will have mattered. Who could ask for more?

    Like

  4. Caroline says:

    What a lovely thought-provoking post. Thank you. We are ‘touched’ by those around us and we touch those around us too.

    I just hope that I’ve always had a positive effect and that in some small way I will have done some good.

    Like

  5. Miss Emm says:

    This was a great post. Thank you for sharing. Often I wonder if we are being watched by those before us. I know its a weird thought to have. But I am curious if we are fulfilling the dreams of our ancestors, or failing them altogether.

    Like

  6. I love reading this story.. but for me this line summed everything up “To be alive, for me , has always been a privilege”.

    Like

  7. eof737 says:

    Yes, I see you and we are all still here… telling isn’t it? That the cycle of life continues to churn and churn is comforting. 😉

    Like

  8. I’ve always wanted to live in JA time!

    Like

  9. None of us are islands. You posted an articulate, compelling essay on what makes us human.

    Like

  10. backonmyown says:

    Sometimes I wonder if days-gone-by really were the good old days. I guess I’m a romantic. Good post.

    Like

  11. Kirri White says:

    I must admit to not really caring about the days gone by or the people that were here before me. That was when I was the centre of the universe, seemingly untouchable and Jane Austen novels were a form of escapism based from ‘quaint’ times in history. Then my dad died, someone whom I had thought would be with me forever….and I slowly realised how significant AND insignificant we all are.

    How we are all connected in some kind of collective consciousness and how we have just one moment to live a life that can either improve or diminish the nature of this collective consciousness.
    I feel fortunate to share in the experience of someone who is obviously in the former group.
    Beautifully written, as always
    ~Kirri

    Like

  12. Beth says:

    I think one can argue that life is both easier and harder now…

    While many technological advances have eased many challenges, they have also created a phenomenon in which people actually interact less with others. Sure, we may blog, tweet, post status changes on FB, text, and email, but are these really the best ways to invest in the lives of those we love?

    I envy many of the simplicities of ages past. Is it really so awful to be inaccessible when you’re out and about? Why is it a cardinal sin to ignore your cell phone? Will the world *really* come to an end if you avoid these annoyances for a while? Nope… the world will continue to spin on its axis. At exactly the correct speed to keep you from being flung from the planet or being stuck to it like a magnet to metal… at the exact speed necessary to let us walk away and go on about our business. Maybe if our lives were a little simpler, less convoluted by all these ‘conveniences’, we might take the time to stop and smell the roses… notice the people around us… play with the little ones… and basically, live fuller, richer lives.

    Thanks for bringing this up! 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s