So many years ago; it seems another life, I walked into the sea off the Serbian coast. It was called Yugoslavia then and I was far from home. I was fully dressed and could think of no other way to wash my clothes. The harsh salt against my skin as the garments dried showed me your first idea is not always your best. It was a lesson I was often to forget
I had hitch-hiked across Europe from England,sleeping in ditches and living off carrots and milk. I had no money to speak of, no responsibilities and little or no past. I had anxieties but I was largely unaware of them. Shy and nervous of girls I found solitary adventures to be the most rewarding and energizing activity. The adventures piled high in that trip across Europe and I was treated to sights and moments of generosity which I shall never forget. The boy I was then used to scribble bits of poetry down for no reason at all, other than it helped him meet himself. Some of the lines seem poignant now I look back on them from middle age. I wonder about that boy : rootless, imaginative and with an unexpressed sense of life’s mystery. How would he greet his future if he had known what it was to be.
I am glad to have known myself. It has been fun sharing my life with me.We have many of the same interests! We’ve had some grand scrapes and adventures on the way. It must be said that my valuables are largely in the form of memory but memories, and the way they inform our oldest friendships are often our greatest treasure.
My aunt is 95 and recently had an operation to improve her eyesight. Putting her drops in every day presents difficulties but she faces them with the courage of a mountain climber. Her sense of life and the adventure is still undimmed but now operates in a smaller environment. The pleasure of knowing such people is without limit and I give thanks for everyday that she is amongst us. The brightness in the eyes of a life well lived, light up any room they see.
To those I’ve met in my walk through life, I raise my glass to you in affection. To those I’m yet to meet in person or through words. I look forward to the experience