My boyfriend’s favourite word is “Ephemeral”, meaning ‘lasting for a short time.’
When I think of the idea of ‘ephemeral’ I think of this poem (I honestly can’t remember which one) that talks about, if you measure life in years it seems long. But if you only measure parts of life — say, the amount of summers or Christmases or something you have left then it seems incredibly short. When we live day to day, this is something that’s easy to forget. But in some ways, we all run on borrowed time – and how much of that time there is, is completely random.
It’s not about me — I’m not saying it is — but there was a massive tragedy in the town where I live and work this week. And what directly affects a 14-year old girl indirectly affects her friends, her family, her teachers, her family friends and in short, an entire community. I sit here wishing I had answers as to what anyone could have done to be a better village to raise this child to have prevented this kind of thing from happening. I don’t know if there is anything, but what I do know is that we’re all in for a very difficult next few weeks, waiting for everything to become clear, waiting to comb through all the rumours and learn what is true and what isn’t, and what really happened … until then, we’re left to all pick up the pieces and hope that other kids will learn by osmosis about the nature of the shortness and swiftness of life; it’s sometimes so much more fragile than we realize it is.
Whenever this reminder rears its ugly head, I slip into this mode of wanting to stay at home in bed, and let the rest of the world take care of the risks and fears and traumas that I don’t want to have to deal with. But ultimately I know I have to get up, get out of bed and face that music tomorrow, even if I don’t like the tune very much. It’s all you can do to thwart and be more present in a life that is as ephemeral as life can be.