. . . . . . . . . . but more along the lines of ‘All Passion Spent’;
Men grow too old to woo, my love,
Men grow too old to wed;
physical companionship, friendship and mutual goodwill between two people is a wonderful thing in itself; we leave the highs and lows of unbridled passion to those who have the energy. Peaceful co-existence may not be to everyone’s liking, but having experienced the opposite, this harmonious way of life is the one for me.
But there is something else we are no longer passionate about, something probably far more controversial,
Men grow too old for love, my love,
Men grow too old for lies;
and that is physical protest of any kind. Fighting the same old battles, over and over, to protect the environment, save the planet, take away from the rich and distribute to the poor, stop wars, stop hunger.
Perhaps this is the unpleasant cynicism of age but, apart from making contributions in monetary terms, joining online pressure groups, and keeping our own footprint as light as possible, we now do nothing. When I watch those with two homes, a flat in the city and a house in the country, families with more cars than necessary, tourists flying to all corners of the world on short breaks and a couple of holidays a year, wailing over that poor polar bear stuck on his melting ice floe, I need to turn my back and bite my tongue. While we want to eat cheap and plentiful beef, the rain forests will continue to be destroyed. While we want to wear cheap t shirts, more and more people will have to work for hunger wages. While we want to own ever more gadgets, natural resources will have to be exploited until none are left. Someone, something, somewhere, always has to pay.
I don’t say that we, Beloved and I, have become indifferent, by no means, but we can do very little beyond what we do and for the sake of our own peace of mind we now leave protesting to the ones who will need this planet long after we have left it.
We accept our limitations.
Just any old kind of food.
Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
2014 has seen the number of private social events shrinking too. And we don’t mind at all. Large parties are usually pretty boring, with all that standing around and shouting at each other; small gatherings are less so, but only if the assembled company is easy to get on with. I used to do my utmost to ‘sparkle’, now I can barely muster a dull glimmer. The selfish gene has kicked in and I want return value for my effort. We still enjoy small lunch and supper parties for no more than six, both giving and receiving them. Even so, when we are the hosts the concentrated hard work before and afterwards requires at least half a day to recover.
Health problems come in to it, of course. If your heart is liable to set itself off in violent protest at having to cope with excitement you soon learn to keep yourself subdued. It’s been a good year though, I’ve managed half a dozen episodes of AFib without having to be admitted to hospital.
Having to remain calm in the face of extreme provocation, i.e. “L’enfer, c’est les autres'', is something I have come to accept.
A thrill of thunder in my hair,
Though blackening clouds be plain,
Still I am stung and startled
By the first drop of the rain:
Romance and pride and passion pass
And these are what remain.
But the year has also been extraordinarily good to me . . . . . . . . . .