A thing not done
One week of the year past and not much achieved, apart from not being stupid.
It is odd. Thinking about the things you wish you had done, but never did. It is odd.
In terms of travel, self-financed visits to projects in the middle of Africa satisfied any wanderlust.
Walking across the Rwanda-Burundi border for the first time was one of those moments that remain forever in the memory. The friend who had come to meet me stopped and looked down into the waters below, ‘During the genocide, this river was filled with bodies. They threw them in and said the river could carry them back to Ethiopia where they belonged’.
The words could bring no response other than silence. Crossing the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco two years later was a moment not one fraction as profound as that hundred yards or so of African roadway
Wealth never seemed very inviting and the notion of success always seemed wholly contradictory. There is no sense of having missed out on anything material.
The one wish I had was inspired by a moment as an eighteen year old. Walking a village road on a summer’s evening, darkness had fallen but the air was still warm. Voices came from a garden to the left. Visible through light shining from the house at the end of a garden, a group of four people, two couples, sat at a wrought iron table, glasses of wine in hand, their animated conversation punctuated by bursts of laughter.
The memory remains. It is odd. No more than a few seconds. Nothing extraordinary, just people sat in a garden drinking wine with friends. Unremarkable.
Perhaps in 1979, drinking wine seemed sophisticated. Perhaps the thought of sitting in conversation, wine glass in hand had about it a touch of the cosmopolitan in a rustic community. Perhaps it was the thought of sitting out on a summer’s night when everyone else sat watching News at Ten. Perhaps it was having friends who would call and sit in the garden in the dark and who would talk and laugh about whatever subjects might have caught the imagination.
I would have enjoyed such a moment. One’s own garden, one’s own house, one’s own time. No fear of comment on the propriety of drinking wine in the open air, or laughing so loud that it was audible from the road.
It is odd, the things you wish you had done. Perhaps there is time enough for it.
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