-West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Great words. If you haven't read that book I suggest you pick it up and read it. Ernest Hemingway described Beryl Markham by saying:
"She has written so well... that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers."
So I don't say it lightly when I say it's a good book. It's the story of her life, growing up in British East Africa and it's just amazing. She's attacked by lions and baboons and warthogs, she learns to train horses and fly in planes and all of this as a woman in the 1930's. It's excellent. But not the entire reason why I quoted her.
I have a saying that I keep in my purse... and I'm sure I've quoted it before in some blog, as it's my favorite saying and I live by it, or, well, try to live by it.
'Oh that I could go; yet stay. Have tomorrow, keep today; cherish, hold my yesterday. My yesterday, now treasured dear, was once tomorrow seen with fear.'
It's so easy in life to remember how things were and wish they were again. But sometimes we forget the hard parts. If you really think about it, it's kind of funny how memories can be broken down into two categories:
The Good and The Bad.
A great example of this is old friends. When we run into old friends and begin to reminisce, we can spend hours upon hours laughing and talking about the crazy things we did.
'Remember that time we.... and then when my mom found us...'
The laughter bursts forth, everyone shares in the excitement of the past moment. No one mentions the consequences. No one mentions waking up with a hang-over, or screaming fights with old boyfriends that left both people in tears.
I have plenty of good memories, I have plenty of memories I'd rather forget. That's, perhaps, why I like what Beryl Markham says.
Past years seem safe, because they are filtered into categories and moments of strong emotion. The future is a cloud, an unknown. Terrifying in it's uncertainty. I often am frozen by the fear of the future, just ask my family, and perhaps that's why I carry that quote with me.
'My yesterday, now treasured dear was once tomorrow seen with fear.'
Is it okay to dwell in the past? I think there are certain experiences in ones life that should not be forgotten, I think there are experiences that you cannot help but dwell on with out some sort of outside help to walk you through them, but in the end, we should view the past as we do a good meal. Something that was great at the time, often filling and worth savoring every morsel, but forgotten the minute you leave the table. Life is far to short to watch it pass by in a series of wishes, desires and what-if's. If you really enjoyed the memories, write them down so your posterity can know how much they meant to you. Then move on in search of new memories; new flavors to add to your palette.