Thursday, September 07, 2006


One of my favourite quotes if from Doris Lessing's autobiography, Part 1 Under my Skin.

When scientists try to get us to understand the real importance of the human race, they say something like, 'If the story of the earth is twenty-four hours long, then humanity's part in it occupies the last minute of that day.' Similarly, in the story of a life, if it is being told true to time as actually experienced, then I'd say seventy percent of the book would take you to age ten. At eighty percent you would have reached fifteen. At ninety-five per cent, you get to about thirty. The rest is a rush - towards eternity.

As an eighty year old woman she is qualified to describe time from the different age perspectives she can remember. I remember those too, though am not sure they will still be so vivid when I am 80! (If I break the family rule and actually manage to live that long!) I think this strikes you most as a parent. When you are a child, childhood takes forever, naturally, but when you see that same childhood from the parental perspective it is over in the blink of an eye. The first 3 or 4 years take the longest but as soon as they start school, year after year flashes by. Yesterday Marcel was a cute little 5 year old in primary 1, now he's testing adolescence in primary 5. Where did those years go? And baby Pudge who has only just arrived is already walking around the room hanging on to the furniture. We watch them grow so we can let them go, but letting them go is the hardest thing in the world.

Even more poignantly, I've just been watching the interview on Austrian TV with that poor child Natascha Kampusch . I guess the perspective thing probably holds true for her too. For the 44 year old captor 8 years will have passed much more quickly than for the 10 year old captive. That makes what is already unimaginable, even worse, if that is possible. I hope she finds a way to live after this.

I must blog another book that I have read and reread An evil cradling, when I get a minute. That is another one to make you think.

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