17.48, Monday 2 Jun 2008

Let me speak seriously for a moment. As my parents die and my grandparents die, I feel progressively cut adrift. They precede me. They tethered me to the past, to the bedrock behind. We see the world in fives: two generations back, our children, and our children's children, and ourselves. Time is a little planet with close horizons. I find myself in the middle generation, almost cut loose with a single rope now. Let go. And it's my job to carry the torch and god help me if I stumble, because I'm it now, those towering experiences behind me have passed the baton on, and that's the burden of the middle. I don't have children and until I do it's a marathon to the far shore, a hard march every step hard won, to clasp hands finally with the next generation who will clasp hands with the next, and they'll steady me, I'll have done my job and I'll be pulled along to the future.

I know a fellow who met a fellow whose mother makes garden gnomes, and when his father died, his mother made a gnome out of the ashes and she keeps it in the front garden of the family home.