Monday, May 3, 2010

what I'm reading: on nostalgia from Places we love

I'm a nostalgic person, a collector of memories.

I deliberately fix scenes in my mind - a child's face, a favourite view - so I can recall them at will. When we leave a place we've stayed on holidays, I look back through watering eyes until I can't see it anymore. I even feel nostalgic about things which haven't happened yet, like the year my children all go to school.

If worry is the art of living in the future, nostalgia is the art of living in the past. Neither equips us for serving God in the present. Living in the future fills me with anxiety and fear; but living in the past fills me with regret for the mistakes I've made, longing for the things I've lost, and discontent because the present can never live up to my idealised memories.

Which is why I love this quote about not lingering over things which are past. It's from Ivan V. Lalic's poem Places we love, which I found at the head of a chapter in Cornelia Funke's Inkdeath.

When you go, space closes over like water behind you,
Do not look back: there is nothing outside you,
Space is only time visible in a different way,
Places we love we can never leave.

image is from uhhhlaine at flickr

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