METAPHORS OF THE DEEP
When I Grow Old and Wear the Bottom of
My Trousers Rolled:
Filling My Treasure Chest
Â I grow oldâ€¦ I grow oldâ€¦
I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled
~ T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Hmmm, when I reach that bittersweet age at which it becomes clear that I have little time left and what time I have is best spent looking back, what defining moments will write themselves upon the final slate of my reckoning?
Will it be the bolt-from-the-blue events that I didnâ€™t see coming and left me at a loss for words?
Perhaps January 28, 1986â€¦ The space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after take-off and disintegrates taking the lives of its seven astronauts with it. Will I recall the disconcerting realization that even the most brilliant scientific minds sometimes do not fully comprehend the power within the technology they have developed?
Perhaps September 11, 2011â€¦ An act of unimaginable terrorism that toppled the World Trade Center, killed 2,800 people and sent shock waves around the globe. Will I relive the chilling awareness that evil had been unleashed and that we would never again be able to awake completely free of fear?
Or will it be the quantum leaps forward in technology that changed the very fabric of human life?
Perhaps I will look back upon the creation of the World Wide Web marvelling at how it made the world seem suddenly small and wondering how we might have better used that interconnectivity. Will I wonder what might have been if we had not gone down that information highway?
Perhaps I will reflect upon the amazing strides in medical research that mapped the intricacies of the human body and the brain that is its nerve center â€“ and be humbled by the knowledge that we still cannot cure cancer.
Or will it be the small moments that did not register on the Richter scale of human history but sent a shiver or a thrill down my spine?
A thicket teeming with song birds in May, as rain drizzled off my Tilly Hat, and I stood transfixed by such abundance of colour, sound and the scent of spring.
A sudden strike on my lure, line screaming off my reel, the back and forth battle and the sight of a 30â€ Pike materializing out of the water.
The stirring and majestic sight of a Lake Superior sunset illuminating the evening sky with shades and hues I had not imagined were possible.
Or will it be simply the fact that I lived to see all of these wonders? Perhaps I will look back upon the years of my life and see it as the sum of its parts â€“ each defining moment dependent upon, and inseparable from, the other.
What metaphor will then come to mind that defines the whole and praises the thousands of moments that comprise it? I shall have to wait for the answer to that question. But this I know: I must live within those moments as they happen for they are gone all too quickly.
When I grow old and wear my trousers rolled, I hope my treasure chest of memories is full. Then I will be able to look back without regret and go joyfully into the hereafter. Onward now, for I have some treasures to gather yet.
~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of â€œUntil the Deep Water Stills â€“ An Internet-enhanced Novelâ€ â€“ double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michaelâ€™s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
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