The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Comfortable friends

Sometimes science gets it right. It’s the smell of the memory that comes back first. The image is over-exposed and strangely tilted in my mind, as if some vast projector behind my eyes has buckled somehow and swept the image half off the screen. But the smell is as sweet and as distinctive as it was that morning, that soft January dawn we tumbled out of the manse door and struck out together to see the sunrise.

We were city folk, unused to the lazy burr of the countryside, scents compact and pungent - lavender, poinsettia and the scarlet long stem roses that bordered the peace garden at the end of the drive - ambushed our nostrils with bullish sensitivity. We were unused to the landscape and equally unused to each other, unused to the freedom we found in each other’s company. There were six of us -- or seven or five the image is still faded, water-damaged and treacherous -- a gaggle of loose limbs, high voices and wide smiles. We laughed a lot, I remember that and hugged even more, giddy with the ease, the sheer length of time we could hold each other without judgement or rebuke. Exciting times where nothing was pinned down or uncovered or investigated but haltingly. We didn’t know anything for sure yet, it was all up for grabs, it was still all to play for. Empty country roads, shuttered cottage windows and the sky like pulled velvet above us. Light on the horizon, we danced and jumped and balanced on crumbling stone walls as we made our way towards the park.

Helen let out that laugh, god I remember that laugh, like a dying animal that was inexplicably happy about its fate. Beside her Nic smiled and I wanted to go and hold her hand but the gesture would have seemed uncomfortable and forced and anyway Jon and I were soon racing through the dust of the car park towards the wooden adventure playground, quietly rotting into a public safety liability in one corner of the park. And there we hung upside down and watched the inverted sun drip slowly from the fields down into the sky. It was January the first, the world was new and so were we, I think Elisabeth started singing, I think Nic quoted Auden or Larkin, I know Jon got attacked by an inquisitive horse.

Because that’s what that morning’s become now, a 10 second anecdote, a nostalgic laugh about the sudden appearance of a hungry equine. But I remember more, I remember the hope and the wonder, I remember the heat in my cheeks and the utter certainty that this moment was sacred and untouchable ...

I remember the long stem roses that bordered the peace garden ...


Blogger urban cowboy said...


feckin' horse

1:58 pm  

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