A date always remembered

23rd April 2022

Saint George’s Day. The patron saint of England. Shakespeare’s birthday. Also the day he died.

The reason I always remember the date, though, is because it was the birthday of someone I cared for deeply, many years ago.

Still do, though he’s long gone.

Have you ever met someone and felt instant recognition? As if you’ve always known them?

That’s how it was. Strange. Lovely.

During my two years of schooling back in England, I was required to study in depth two of Shakespeare’s plays, Julius Caesar and Macbeth.

Sixty years later, I can still recite just a few lines.

It’s not that I made an effort to memorize them.

Back then it cannot have meant to me what it now does, but somehow this particular speech of Macbeth registered and etched itself into my brain:


“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” 

A trifle gloomy and I don’t feel more than usually glum.

In the hundreds of years since Shakespeare’s time, not much about the human condition has changed.

People speak of being “evolved”, as if we have become more civilized. We have not.

We make grand gestures with our United Nations and our War Crimes Court. What do they really accomplish?

Life is so short and we are gifted with a beautiful planet which we could spend our days discovering and nourishing.

Some people do.

Most of us get caught up in all manner of complications, the “strutting and fretting”.

God knows, I did my share.

To be fair, my heart told me I should be doing something different but simply graduating college, I had already acquired responsibilities, loans to be paid.

People to please.

Poor excuses, but at the time, I thought I would one day break loose and have time for something else.

The longer you stay though, the more you get inextricably tied up into the system of survival.

In the end I did break loose, abandoning a life that had become stressful and exhausting and meaningless.

Accomplishing the break was costly and extremely difficult in many ways, but there was only one thing that would have stopped me.

The 13 cats I was still responsible for.

There was never a chance I would have abandoned a single one and passing them on to another rescue organization was not an option I would consider.

Maybe there is truth to the belief that positive thought will bring results. In my mind I saw the cats being transported to New York. It was going to happen.

So, at the age of 70 I broke loose. Not entirely, of course.

There’s the house to maintain (for the now 11 cats!), the taxes and utilities. At my age and state of health, living “off the grid” would be hard.

But I have found myself living in a place of great beauty that gives me deeper satisfaction than anything in the material world ever could.

My life could so easily have ended without ever having the peace and contentment I now enjoy.

And for that I am extremely grateful.

8 thoughts on “A date always remembered

  1. There is no visible celebration of St George’s Day here now. The day, and the flag, were hijacked long ago by the National Front, The British National Party, Column 88, and other Far-Right, neo-Nazi groups. I doubt anyone under 35 would even know what today was.
    I also did Macbeth at school, as well as Henry IV Parts One and Two. Quotes from them live in my head, 54 years later. “Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That, when he please again to be himself, Being wanted, he may be more wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapors that did seem to strangle him.”. Prince Hal.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I am so glad that you achieved peace and contentment Carolyn, albeit it is sometimes strained by factors outside your control. I am also fortunate that I am content and long ago determined that I would no longer recognise the term regret. I may wish that I had done some things differently, or not at all, or that I had tried something different, but I will not regret any of those. I always wore a red rose and suitably decorated tie and socks on Saint George’s Day when I worked (after I left the army!) but now I just grow as many roses as possible! Love and hugs to you and yours.

  3. I’m impressed that you remember such a long speech from a Shakespeare book – I can barely remember the book we studied 🤔. Yes, to break free from a system is not easy (we know), but we’re glad we did it 3 years ago – we needed balance in our lives … and the best place to find (and keep) that balance is in nature. I’m happy where we are currently in our lives – maybe not with a lot of money in the bank, but content.
    Lovely pictures of those “white stuff” – it looks so soft and fluffy!
    Oh, and I just remembered the book we studied – it was Othello, but I can’t remember much of the story line (my English teacher won’t be pleased with me).

  4. Oh, what a wonderful post! On so many levels.
    You are a heroine, indeed.
    Robert Rabensteiner (no Shakespeare, but a wise comment) said “The ultimate luxury in life remains nature.”

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