Tuesday, 28 August 2007


At a meeting this morning, someone commented that I was behind on my blog writing. On my return home, my inbox reminded me that the Woolcock book is nearly due. I didn’t actually need either of these reminders, as my research and book are heavy on my mind at the moment. Unfortunately consciousness doesn’t always translate to real world action. Some of it is just busyness, some from dealing with life, some just from tiredness and some a combination of all the above.

Mortality has brushed its trace over my family recently. Family illnesses have reminded me to grasp the moment and spend time with people. Yesterday and today, instead of writing, I took my son to the park; picked up the telephone and spent some long-distance time with family; played on the floor with my children; baked cookies for old and new friends. I spent the time thinking about how you make plans then never get to see them fulfilled.

Imagine packing up your entire life, stepping onto a ship and travelling over what one writer called 12,000 miles of “unfenced salt meadows” then dying on board ship before making it to your new home. One family packed their possessions, children, and elderly mother and set off on the trip. The mother never made it. When I think about it though, I think that would be better than having to leave her behind and hearing news of her death months or years later. Other migrants made the long trip and died shortly after arrival of heart attacks, cancer or the other diseases of late-middle and early old age. I don’t think the voyage hastened their end, but it does seem difficult to have come so far to die so soon in a new land.

The image of unfenced salt meadows stays in the mind though. It conjures up the very definition of adventure – stepping out into the unknown and accepting whatever may come with the belief that it can only be better, or different, from what one already has.

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