Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Carelessness of Youth

I'm deliberately weaving a little web of happiness around myself today, having finished off a particularly downbeat book in the early hours of dawn. The residue of sadness that overlaid me was almost palpable. Recognising that I can slide off down into the Slough of Despond if I dwell on gloomy thoughts too long, I made a conscious decision to Be Happy, buy little treats and act like a jolly mummy today. And happily it has worked. I feel quite perky, particularly as the weather is sunny and breezy. The dog is happily sunbathing in the garden, the children - tired, but not exhausted from their trip into town - are contentedly sprawling about the house listening to music and drawing. I am not going to do any work today: I've decided to give myself time off to anticipate our trip to foreign shores. I've invested in some clip-on sunglasses (not too hideous) so that I can lie and read on the beach without getting a pounding headache from squinting through my untinted readers (like last year). I am far too stingy to pay out for a pair of prescription sunglasses. I also bought a heavily discounted hat, a man's fedora that is big enough for me to wear even when I've got my hair clipped up, which is absolutely essential as I can't stand having a hot neck. It looks, I have to say, rather stylish - in a 'Sissinghurst' sort of way. Daughter #3 bought a bikini, tiny slivers of material that makes me nostalgic for the days when I too could get away with such minimalist clothing. Daughter #2, having produced #1 Bouncing Baby earlier this year, has been more than a little shocked by the way her previously svelte figure has disappeared under a mass of stretched skin. Ah me!Careless youth passes like a golden shadow over our corporeity, ephemeral gorgeousness that evaporates in so few years.

ἐπάμεροι: τί δέ τις; τί δ᾽ οὔ τις; σκιᾶς ὄναρ
ἄνθρωπος. ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν αἴγλα διόσδοτος ἔλθῃ,
λαμπρὸν φέγγος ἔπεστιν ἀνδρῶν καὶ μείλιχος αἰών

Creatures of a day! What is a man? What is he not? A dream of a shadow
Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men
A gleam of splendour given of Heaven,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blesséd are their days.

Pindar: Pythian 8, line 95-8; (courtesy of Wikiquote)

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