Monday, 22 August 2016

'Parting is such sweet sorrow'

No, I'm not going anywhere. I've just been thinking about the parting cup. That is the last cup we share with friends for one reason or another. This is one of my favourite songs, written by Bob Dylan a long time ago. Do read it slowly and take in the words. It always brings a tear to my eye.

Restless Farewell – Bob Dylan

Oh all the money that in my whole life I did spend
Be it mine right or wrongfully

I let it slip gladly past the hands of my friends
To tie up the time most forcefully
But the bottles are done
We’ve killed each one
And the table’s full and overflowed
And the corner signSays it’s closing time
So I’ll bid farewell and be down the road

Oh ev’ry girl that ever I’ve touched
I did not do it harmfully
And ev’ry girl that ever I’ve hurt
I did not do it knowin’ly
But to remain as friends
And make amends
You need the time and stay behind
And since my feet are now fast
And point away from the past
I’ll bid farewell and be down the line

Oh ev’ry foe that ever I faced
The cause was there before we came
And ev’ry cause that ever I fought
I fought it full without regret or shame
But the dark does die
As the curtain is drawn and somebody’s eyes
Must meet the dawn
And if I see the day
I’d only have to stay
So I’ll bid farewell in the night and be gone

Oh, ev’ry thought that’s strung a knot in my mind
I might go insane if it couldn’t be sprung
But it’s not to stand naked under unknowin’ eyes
It’s for myself and my friends my stories are sung
But the time ain’t tall, yet on time you depend
And no word is possessed by no special friend
And though the line is cut
It ain’t quite the end
I’ll just bid farewell till we meet again

Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time
To disgrace, distract, and bother me
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face
And the dust of rumors covers me
But if the arrow is straight
And the point is slick
It can pierce through dust no matter how thick
So I’ll make my stand
And remain as I am
And bid farewell and not give a damn

It is adapted from an old Scottish traditional song called 'The Parting Glass' which was sung at the end of a gathering of friends before Robbie Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne. The song is also popular in Ireland and amongst Irish communities.

Here is Sinaed O'Connor's beautiful version:

As we get older, we can't help but wonder if this or that will be the last time we ever do that thing or see that person. Life creeps up on us and suddenly there is more sand in the bottle of the hourglass than there is at the top! This isn't necessarily a bad thing because we have stored up so many memories over the years and we are able to dip into them whenever we feel like it! They come to us unexpectedly sometimes and give us pleasure in the remembering.

So what do you do to remember? Do you just sit and think or maybe look through old photo albums? Perhaps meeting up with an old friend who has shared the same memories as you opens the channels of memory. I do all of that and more. Music, smells, all those things bring back those lovely times of the past, which are all the better in the looking back!

Walking along the canal path at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England, recently, I came upon this interesting looking plant, which was new to me. It was growing abundantly along the side of the canal, separated from the path and reminded me of a small orchid.

When I got home, I looked it up and this is what I found:

'Indian Balsam

Impatiens glandulifera

Introduced as a garden plant from the Himalayas in 1839, and naturalised along waterways and in waste places, this tall, stout-stemmed species grows 100-200 cm high.  It is hairless and the stems reddish. There is no mistaking the rather orchid-like, mave, dangling flowers.

Flower: purplish pink, 2-5.4 cm, petals 5, forming a broad, lower lip and hood; sepals 3, lower forming a mauve, spurred bag.

Flower arrangement: long-stalked racemes arising from leaf-axils.

Flowering time: July - October.

Leaf: opposite or in threes, 5-18 cm long, elliptic, toothed; reddish glands along basal margins.

Fruit: capsule, club-shaped, opening by 5 valves, which spring into coils, shooting out seeds.'

Information from 'Illustrated Guide to Wild Flowers' by Stephen Blackmore

The Indian Balsam flowers were just behind me as I stood admiring the lock keeper's cottage below.

You can see more of my walk along the towpath here.