Friday, April 16, 2004

Love's Hindsight

There comes a point after the most painful divorce/breakup/separation of your life, when for the first time you can begin to look back at it with hindsight.

Breaking up is forever hard to do. The infatuations of adolescence were painful, if short-lived. The romantic disappointments of being twenty-something were like punches in the face that told you to harden up and wise up. Then if you're lucky and persistent, as I was, at last you find real relationships that last years, and you discover that making Love work is like cooking. You can make the most divinely delicious meal that you'll both remember on your deathbed, or it can turn into the worst gruel that shouldn't be served to a serial-killer in prison. The cookbooks aren't there, the recipes aren't there, the food technology isn't there. Rick Stein isn't there to guide you, nor is Prue Leith. The materials for your cooking aren't nicely laid out in aisles in Tesco or Waitrose. So what can you do? Listen to the Beatles? Go and watch Love Actually? Join an evangelical Church?

There are three stages in a breakup, and any one of them can be the worst. There is the period before the breakup, which I call the build-up, and this can last years. There is the actual breakup, when the decision is made and the separation gets under way, and this can last months. Then there is the aftermath, which can last the rest of your life, if you can't get over it. (I know of a family acquaintance who is still embittered at his ex-wife, and is becoming a hermit ten years after their divorce).

In any case, spring is in full swing. The sap is rising, not only in the trees, but in the animals and humans. If you're not feeling frisky, it's time to get out to an old-fashioned farm (they're harder to find nowadays) and get connected to nature. The daffodils are mostly finished and the tulips are already opened up. The weeds are showing why they are weeds, because they can take over so easily. I always let the dandelions show their flowers until the first seed-head comes, and then I rip them out where I can. I reckon that gives everything in the garden an even chance, and no need for weedkillers ever. Notice how similar people are to plants, and how managing a garden is like balancing society?

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