A friend of mine sent me a video that was really moving. It captures the life of a 93 year old man living in solitude in a remote log cabin out in the forest.
At one point he mentions that life out there is the same as it was eighty years ago when he was a young man visiting there for the first time. He built for himself a world frozen in time. It’s a rebellion against the most powerful force of the universe.
Some argue that in life you have to learn to let go. Change is inevitable. The natural progression of things is dissolution and decay. Each day has to be a new day, born from the ashes of yesterday. I’m not saying I disagree with all of that, but if you’ve ever really loved something or someone, it’s not so easy to be flippant about it all. People will tell you to go out and meet new people, find new things, and create new experiences, as if everything can be replaced by something new and better. There are many things which are irreplaceable and some moments are so beautiful that they’re hard to ever forget. You don’t want them to pass away, lost to time.
Seeing how old this man is, it got me thinking of my grandmother. When she died, I remember sitting on the front row during the funeral, thinking to myself, “There won’t be many people in this world who will love me like she did.” Other than my parents, my brothers, and possibly a future wife (if I ever do get married), I just can’t see it happening. Granny was irreplaceable. You don’t get a second go. I can’t go pick up a new grandma at the grocery store, or download an app on my phone and find a new one with a few finger swipes.
The older you get, the more things you see come and go, and it has a lasting effect on you. When you’re young, it doesn’t even cross your mind that things change. You haven’t experienced it yet. The transitory, ephemeral nature of this world hasn’t worked its cruel magic on you yet, but it will. Once you see people you love pass on, when special places and landmarks which you’re attached to are torn down, and the world and culture around you rapidly changes, you’ll come to understand this for yourself.
But not everything changes. I like how the video begins, showing these expansive landscapes, standing still, almost frozen in time. It really captures the feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. Unlike in the city, as the sun sets and night comes, the red sky gives way to this giant black dome of stars, a vast glimmering, seemingly timeless expanse. Jack English lives in his own private castle.
As I’ve experienced more and more of this flow of time, seeing things around me change, I’ve been more drawn to finding a partner in life. Though I may have to move around for different research positions, and homes would change, coworkers change, and everything changes, at least she’d be same. There’d be someone who knew me, understood my story, and understood where I come from. She’d know me and I’d know her and we’d look out for each other. I’d have something which would be consistent. That’d be nice, though it’s not easy to find.