Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Failing To Find Utopia


When I was younger I used to sit on my bed, enjoying the evening sunshine reading bulky novels that would absorb me in their world.  Periodically, as I turned a page, I would watch wistfully as the sun disppeared over the ridge, and vow that one day I would live on the other side and sunny evenings would not be cut short by mere contours.

For the last fourteen years, five months and five days I have lived on the west side of the ridge.  I know precisely how long it is, because my daughter and I worked it out yesterday.  She asked how long we had lived in this house, for she wanted to quantify to her understanding of eternity.  The answer I gave did not match her expectation. A recalculation was requested, as it was expected that the answer must be greater that 15 years and three months.  If the answer does not meet the expectation, then the calculation must be at fault, not the expectation.  But despite her longing, the answer could not provide the permanency she desired and instead revealed an unexpected vulnerability.  A reminder that this is NOT the only house that has been her home.  Therefore, it is also possible that she might not always live here.  Her logic being that if she had alway lived here, then this would continue and could not change.

My living room, with it's large bay window, faces west, perfectly positioned to direct the post meridian rays to a place where I may sit and read and contemplate, just as I desired to do many years ago.  But while the ridge no longer conceals the setting sun, the roof off the house opposite serves a similar purpose and I am forced to recognise that Utopia does not exist west of the ridge.  

The words I read are no longer long and complex novels, which absorb me into their world.  Instead I find myself either tearing my hair out over matters theological, or engaged in social networking in a way that no science fiction could have prepared me for. Sadly sat at my desk in a room that faces east...

I love the evening light - the nuances of shading against darkened silhouettes - the outrageous colours - crimson, gold, purple, orange.  Yet, I do not want this time to end and within me there stirs the desire to chase after the setting sun, and to be forever in the splendour of that moment.  I have no desire for the day to end, and for darkness to defeat the day. Instead I want to journey on for ever westwards, conveniently forgetting that the wise men came from the east...