View from Castle Dunluce, Irish Coast
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.” ~ Tom Stoppard, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
I thought that I should probably post tonight as our Internet service will likely be going by the wayside anytime now. I’m just hoping that it stays on until Monday since Brett has a statistics paper that he must do, and he really needs to consult a few sites in order to complete it.
Corey has realized that even if Congress passes another extension on unemployment benefits, he will not be eligible as he is at the highest tier, meaning he has exhausted his time-limit. I really didn’t realize, or perhaps I didn’t pay that much attention, but unemployment figures are calculated by the number of people who file for unemployment. Right? Well, in order to keep those figures skewing lower, the government does not count those individuals whose unemployment benefits have expired but are still unemployed. If they did, then the figures would be much higher.
Also, some Congressman (don’t remember who) was saying that there really isn’t a need to extend benefits since the statistical trend is for people to find employment once their benefits expire. Well duh. Of course they find employment, but it is usually underemployment. For example, let’s take an individual who normally earns $50k a year. During the time in which benefits are available, the individual can keep looking in his or her field, trying to match or at least come close to a normal salary; however, once benefits end, that same individual is forced to take absolutely anything because absolutely anything is better than nothing.
Underemployment. Such a term. Such a slap in the face.
All of that being said, Corey hopes to hear from the port security folks by mid-week, and with any luck, Vane Brothers will complete their new vessel and have a need sometime this spring. All we can do is continue to hope as the alternative is grim.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. We must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~ Anatole France
I am feeling terribly melancholy today, not exactly sure why. It has been a very rough week emotionally, what with Alexis’s health, facing the next few months with a decided drop in household income, both Brett and I needing medicine. Sometimes it’s all just too much, and sometimes, it’s all just not enough.
That old saying about never being given more than you can handle? Bah, I say. I have been faced far too often with more than I can handle, and I can attest that it diminishes the self each time that it happens. The question becomes how to continue to throw oneself into the fray knowing that a battle may be won, but the war is far from over. It’s at times such as this that I wish I had a Henry V to rally me with a rollicking St. Crispin’s day speech: “We few. We happy few.” Oh well.
Corey and I were talking about age the other night, and I said that being in your twenties is almost worse than being a teenager because you still think that you know everything, only now you have some power behind you, which makes you dangerous. This statement was preceded by the declaration that I would not be in my 20’s again for anything. Corey said that if a good fairy came and said I will make you 20 again, that I would jump at the chance, and I told him quite honestly that I would not return to my twenties for anything, my thirties perhaps, but definitely not my twenties.
As I told him, I was pretty much insufferable in my twenties, head-strong with no wisdom to make me pause before speaking or acting. I’m not entirely sure that my current self would have been able to tolerate my 22-year-old self. But then, reflection does give one pause, doesn’t it?
“All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” ~ Jalal al-Din Rumi
My friend Maureen and I have been bolstering each other with the sentiment that 2010 will be our year—a year of good change, a year of better circumstances, a year of repair and restoration for the body and soul. I try to remind myself of that, but with it going into the second week of March, I realize that so far, 2010 is no better than 2009. I’m hoping that some of Maureen’s good fortune makes its way across the world to our abode. ‘Twould be nice.
And so I continue to move through the days, mostly aimlessly, often wearily, thinking myself much put upon, not really knowing what it is I am doing. The dust continues to settle about me, growing thicker with the days, a potent symbol of my disuse. The house continues in its decay, and I with it. We are linked, this house and I, in more ways than I care to admit: built during a time in which things were made to last, but not so well-tended in recent years; a solid foundation, but with chinks and cracks reflecting the settling of time, the encroachment of nature. With some care, we could possibly be bright again, but that care has been postponed and put on the back burner to await a time that is more convenient.
And as I so often find when I am melancholy, I think of the sea, its constant movement, the immense power, the vast stretches of nothingness. I think of my father, who spent almost his entire life on the sea. I think of the cerulean blues of the Caribbean, and the muddy greens of the Atlantic. I remember my graduate school office mate who came from Wisconsin and had never seen the ocean before, how we brought her to Norfolk for Thanksgiving and took her to the oceanfront, and how amazed she was by something I took for granted, and how I tried to see it through her eyes.
I remember my father telling me once that many men who used to work on the water would not learn to swim because they did not want that unendurable wait for exhaustion to overtake them before the sea finally swallowed them. I remember my mother’s neighbor fumbling into our house one December and crying out that she had just gotten the news that her husband had been lost at sea.
I think of Isolde looking out to sea from the windy Irish cliff, searching the sea for signs of Tristan.
Why do I think of these things now? I do not know. They just come to me, and then they recede from memory again like the tide. And all that is left are fading footprints in the wet sand where someone walked but a moment ago, the foamy edge of the receding water, and the stark cry of gulls in the air above.
More later. Peace.
“My Face in Thine Eye” from Tristan and Isolde movie soundtrack