Thursday, 24 February 2011

From Magdalene Bridge

I crossed Magdalene Bridge every day, often many times a day, when I was a student in Cambridge. So crossing it now is like looking down a telescope at all the other times long ago - an inevitable introspection intrudes into a moment that may not be introspective at all. I stop and worry about being too introspective here - rarely anything else, really. I don't live in a vacuum: the recent popular revolts and natural disasters, as well as all the other huge, ongoing global and less global suffering and dilemmas, are daily in my thoughts and feelings, along with the British weather (it's stopped raining!) and the weather in my own mind. Those thoughts and feelings are doubtless typical of any middle-aged Western liberal - nothing new or startling, but I do have them, and do question this small, continual maundering on about my own immediate environment. What I end up thinking, I suppose, is that noticing, reflection, self-reflection are necessary in all circumstances. Otherwise we scarcely exist and can't imagine how things might be better.

4 comments:

Lucy said...

Oh Jean, me too. Coming in full of personal gripes and concerns the other day and then looking at the news and I felt somehow furious about the petty things that I fill my head with.

But then that's really what those people in those situations of extreme contingency probably long for, time and space to get back to the trivia of their own personal concerns, which sometimes they were just in the middle of the moment disaster struck.

And actually even when people are in quite extreme circumstances, their internal lives, their small concerns, their loves and hates and worries and laughs and things to look forward to, still go on, still matter to the individual. It takes a lot to make us switch off from it, I think, and when we do it's only temporary.

I don't know if this is at all relevant really, but please don't ever think that your reflections are not important or worthwhile.

Jean said...

Thanks, Lucy.

Of course, I guess we only have these qualms about ourselves. I NEVER, EVER think that you are too focused on yourself - it's people who reflect on and make art from their everyday experience that I long above all to have contact with, and all the more so when times are hard.

Dale said...

(laughing, shaking my head.)

I think this photo is more real than the swirls of political passion and hope, and will last longer.

I have my fallings out with the old man, but Tolstoy, you, know, he's still my Pop. :-)

liliannattel said...

Wonderful photo and reflection--pictorially and verbally.