Tuesday 20 January 2009


Lately, I have been pondering the legacy of loss. Not loss of possessions-though I'm still mystified by the inexplicable absence from my wardrobe of an exquisite broderie anglaise dress, DVF as if re-imagined byGrace Kelly- but of people.

Some of this loss is merely change: The tectonic plates of relationships shift perceptibly over time, subtly accomodating a changing environment. And the emotional geology moves so gently, so imperceptibly, so accomodatingly, there's no reason to pause,to articulate the difference.

But occasionally, there's rapid climate change, precipitating a catastrophic landslip. The familiar landscape one understood is gone forever. One's compass no longer points north. The map is missing. All one can do is acknowledge the disorientation until one determines to negotiate the new geography.

But whilst blundering about without a theodolite, one occasionally stumbles upon recognisable territory. Astonishingly, the landscape has regenerated in a richer, more fertile form. What was lost is reimagined as a brave new world. This is rare, of course. And precious. And whilst one is groping around trying to find a piece of paper on which to sketch a map of this eden, it's useful to consider what an arse Proust was when he wrote 'the only paradise is paradise lost'.

But of course, there is are things and people one can never regain, and when searching for their traces, there's more to be gained playing archaeologist than mapmaker.

All these weighty and much over-metaphored thoughts were inspired, as ever, by the superficial. One would never normally expect to start an archaeological expedition in Ferragamo, but that's where this meditation on loss and its legacy began.

Despite Mr Wilde insisting that only the truly serious could ever be deeply trivial, the substance of that meditation will have to wait for the next post. I've pulled something over-extending that metaphor, so I'll have to apply deep heat and take a handful of nurofen before I can summon the strength to kick out of the pretentious, oblique and portenteous prose I seem to have trapped myself in tonight. Hmmmm....


Waffle said...

I love your prose, Mrs T and I am sick of catastrophic landslips. I wish we could do without for a while.

I also often meditate on what an arse Proust is. A man who spends 20+ years in a cork lined empty room in bed is unlikely to have many insights. Alain de Botton got nuthin' on me.

Helen Brocklebank said...

My dear mrs jaywalker, I was so sorry to read of your own natural disaster: it's unimaginably hard on you, and I was much affected by your post. Though I began this on Tuesday, as I finished it yesterday evening, your horrid situation was very much on my mind as I was writing (and the losses mixed and various that had inspired it felt very insignificant.

Proust is a total shower, self-indulgent and self-regarding. I used to think the same of Eliot but have lately found The Four Quartets most consoling. And Donne too.
Mrs Trefusis
PS: I'd definitely post on a saturday had Mr Trefusis not turned our computer into our telly. Haven't been on it since. Quite hard to write a heartfelt anything on a 52 inch screen...grrrr...