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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lines on lines. By John von Daler

                  It starts with the #lassos. Throwing them ahead in time, trying just for a second to reel in a new age, an ability, an experience. The wish to capture and hold on to the future catches hold of you: you wanting to be four when you are two, ten when you are eight, sixteen when twelve. You cannot wait to grow older.

               The lassoing lasts until around your thirtieth year. Then comes a period of watchfulness, which rope to use, where to connect, what to hang on to. Maybe there are twenty or thirty years when the lariat does not work for you. You are where you are. You loop and hang up the rope. Your longing finds other ageless forms.
                At fifty or sixty you need the rope again, but this time as an anchor. You hang on to it. Looking back, you eye some bygone age and hope to harbor there, to stop drifting forward, to hold the line and stand still. You hate growing older.
                Towards the end you get to be aware of people and their ropes; you see the foibles of the various ages and live yourself into their mindframe. You know the whole gamut.
                One late night in Haslemere in Surrey we arrive at the dark cottage. We had flown from Copenhagen to Heathrow, taken the bus to Liverpool Station, taken the train to Haslemere, and driven by taxi up into the tangled and darkened woods, the stone walls, the sleeping houses. The cab turns into the long driveway and lights up the locked cottage. We ask the driver to wait a minute. Nobody seems to be home, even though they should be expecting us.
                We ring the doorbell once, twice. Finally a light comes on in the back. We can see some of it around the corner of the house. Then lights come on in each progressing room as we hear the old couple shuffling toward their front door. Now there is light in the front hallway and we hear my father say, "Now you be careful Muppi. Wait to hear who it is before you open the door". We see the old man behind the old woman through the opaque glass as she yells out, "Who is it out there!"               
                As I answer, "It's us, Mom. Did you forget we were coming today?" I am thinking, This is getting old. This is the fear and the vulnerability that will be mine in thirty years or so. And I look into the wet woods as the taxi winds its way back to town, its lights picking out trees, walls, leaves, even a rabbit. I draw back an arm and throw out my rope with its anchor into that stagnant forest and then for the first time I start to hold on for dear life.

                My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click to buy Pieces at the top of the blog. Please feel free to write a short review of the book in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!


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