Saturday, January 07, 2006

Someplace between Ryoanji and the Alhambra?

It was still dark when I woke up the other day. I had a couple of hours before I had to rise and I did not feel like sleeping. I had had a dream and, though I no longer recall it, this was enough to put me in the mood to consider where I was in my life. As the sky slowly grew brighter I thought back to when I was a teenager in high school and then at university. I thought about how seriously I treated any relationship I had back then – seeing them now as joyful lessons in life, learning about other people and myself. It was somewhat vertiginous to realise that half my life now lay between me and those days. Still, there was a definite pleasure to lie with eyes shut and think back to the time when I seemed to spend most of my time sitting in some cafe with my friends. I had been involved in a number of different things going on at the university so that it was impossible for me to walk across the campus without meeting a dozen different people I knew. One time, a few years later, I walked across that same campus passing strangers and feeling as if I was in some foreign town. For that reason I do not have much desire to go back to see that university again – the university I went to no longer exists, in a sense.

A while ago I had heard an interesting question – Which do you regret more: the fact that there are places you have never seen and that you will never see or the fact that there are places you used to go that you will never go back to? It seems to me that I am still young enough that it does not feel real to me that there are any places I will not go to. On the other hand, I am old enough to know there are places I will never go back to.


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