Then, again

Smoky 18th July 2023

Yesterday’s vista was smoky.

It adds a challenge to my opinion of Summer but I will not go so far as to complain.

As we drove to Clifton Park we saw swallows on the power lines and swooping about over the fields.


Waiting for me in the car, Grant heard the patter of tiny feet.

So this morning he went mouse hunting without success. Where are they?

Meanwhile, I have my fly-trapping kit close at hand. The beast buzzes past my ear periodically but has so far eluded me.


Last summer, flies drove me mad and my pursuit of them was a little obsessive, so I resolved this year to take a different attitude. I still trap and put them outside but I don’t chase them around.

The wretched things are not awfully cooperative and sometimes the capture doesn’t work out well which makes me feel bad. I really do not like killing things.


Yesterday morning was taken up with the trip to Clifton Park but after lunch I had time to consider constructing a post.

Then as I sat down to begin, the phone rang and I learned that another great old friend is gone.


The person he worked very closely with for many years died less than a month ago. They were a team, both quite wonderful. Gone in much the same way.

I picture them somewhere beyond, still bickering like an old married couple and laughing.


When I moved to Seattle in 2000, I detached myself from some very good friends.

It was the right thing for me to do, but it was a very sudden decision that I would not have had the courage for if I had taken the time to think.


In 2000, I had lived 36 years on Long Island.

With the deaths of my aunt and uncle, I no longer had any ties to the east coast and the Pacific had always called to me, so when the opportunity arose, I seized it.


There were plenty of times during those 36 Long Island years when I longed for a change but there was never a moment when I couldn’t talk myself out of it.

Pros and cons always cancelled each other out, so I plodded unhappily on.


Perhaps I’ve always been impulsive, allowing my heart to take me where my brain said I shouldn’t go.

Yet my impulses never steered me wrong.

Maybe sometimes I have had heartache, but without it I would not have felt alive.


The result of these impulses is that my life has been in chunks, as if each part happened to a different person.

This is mostly because I was different in each of those periods. I suspect that each time I was escaping.

From my early boarding school days, I have always had difficulty with relationships. Running away was cowardly but less painful than staying.


One shouldn’t need to make excuses for one’s choices, but sometimes friends have not understood and I don’t like to offend people, especially when I know they have my best interest at heart.

But how do you explain impulse?


The first time I lost a friend I was 12 and we had had an unresolved disagreement.

Along the way I seem to have lost all sorts of people, but when you reach a certain age, it happens with regularity and inevitably, it makes you reminisce.


It isn’t death itself that is hard to bear. It is the way of all things, to die and to be re-cycled.

What has always been painful to me is separation. Although I have been separated from most of the people I love for most of my life, knowing that they were still alive, that there was the possibility of being together again, made it alright.


Today, the smoke is clearing and the view is recovering.

Smoke casts a strange, almost sinister and unsettling light .

Then again, perhaps it’s just my screwy eyesight.

4 thoughts on “Then, again

  1. Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It never gets any easier, in my experience.
    As for flies, trap them and they come in again.
    Best to kill them, in my opinion. No loss whatsoever, filthy things.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Carolyn, you are a great photographer, raconteur, and philosopher. I feel very fortunate to have found your blog.
    These losses do pile up as we travel along. If we are lucky, memories stay with us, and while sometimes are bittersweet, they offer consolation, and keep the friends alive in you.

  3. Nothing wrong with your eyesight Carolyn – smoke in the air is a bit ominous to me. But you did well with your last photo. That cloud is stunning! We make friends wherever we go, but only have a handful of very close friends. And these are the people we really care about. Even now that we’ve moved away from them all, we know we’ll see them again the next time we visit Cape Town. But yes, it’s hard when they are no longer in this world 😔.

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