Why is it that rememberings of hours-already-passed stir our souls with more power than any of the minutes our futures may hold? Perhaps because memories hold the plotlines of the lives we have lived. And there is not a storyteller alive who can predict how the tales of our present will unfold. Not one of us knows whether the last time we shared a glass of wine with a friend, the last time we rode a carousel, was actually the very last time. I heard a song on the radio the other day which reminded me of one such last time, a sultry August Saturday at Knebworth where Stephen and I spent our first anniversary weekend as spectators at the last ever performance of Queen with Freddie Mercury fronting the band. I had never experienced anything like it before, nor since, and just the timbre of Freddie Mercury’s voice is enough to sweep away all the moments that have ticked and tocked my youth into the past, the moments that have brought me from a wrinkle-free present into the future that turns out was always the present.
We might wish for a magic door that takes us back to where we have already been, we may long for an enchanted window whose view overlooks the landscape of a future not yet spoiled by the mistakes we haven’t yet made. We may even dream of a button that suspends the present so that we can savour the moment just a little longer. But time is a gift we breathe moment by moment, it is a gift that cannot be exchanged or returned. We cannot hold time, or save it up for later or bank it somewhere that has a great interest rate. It is a gift that I become more grateful for every single day.
Over the next few weeks, the present will slip into the realm of memories as I take a holiday for a few weeks and begin in earnest the novel I have been researching and plotting these past months. My blogging voice will grow quiet for a time, but for anyone who is interested in occasional updates on my progress, you will be able to stay in touch via Facebook or Twitter.