A wise person once said: “No man ever steps in the same river twice. For it is not the same river. And he is not the same man.”
I love this quote.
It comes from Heraclitus, an Ancient Greek philosopher who would have been known and loved by the glass blowers of Rome (who passed down the craft that our artisans still use to this day, more than 2,000 years later).
It’s only when I started to get older, as I saw my son and daughter grow up and leave for university, that I truly understood what he was saying.
Life is so… fleeting.
And time stands still for no one.
I’ve always enjoyed sharing a glass of wine with my neighbors over the wall, or meeting with friends for a dram of whiskey, or inviting them to dinner.
Like most folks, I took it for granted.
Before the pandemic hit us, it happened many times that my wife and I would share a wonderful evening with a couple we knew or a neighbor that lived across the street, thinking we’d do this “every month or so” for years.
It’s been more than a year since the laughter of friends graced our dining table. I miss it more than almost anything in the world.
A few days ago, one of our close neighbors was buried. Lockdown restrictions meant that none of us could go to her funeral. We watched the hearse respectfully from the end of the driveway, unable to hug her daughter or offer our condolences in person. She was an old lady. But we all thought we would get to spend at least another few Hogmanays in her company.
I have several friends who underwent a major life change during the pandemic. Soul-searching, a change in employment circumstances, or the career opportunity of a lifetime meant they needed to move out of town.
If only I knew a year ago what I know now.
James Dean could have been an Ancient Greek philosopher.
He once quipped:
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
I’ve made it my New Life Resolution to never again take an evening with friends or family for granted. From now on, when I welcome somebody into my home and beckon them to our table, I will hope that our drinks or dinner will be the first of many wonderful evenings to come. But I’ll treat that evening as if it were the last time we will ever get together around the table.
I will bring out our finest Aurora glassware.
Even for a beer over the wall.
The pandemic has taught me that an evening with family or friends is such a precious, precious thing. It deserves nothing but our absolute best.