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Sunday, November 28, 2004

November Rain

I must say that I'm surprised at how relatively mild the weather has been so far this season on the North Yorkshire coast. Someone told me that it will get rougher but at the same time Scarborough tends to have less wintry weather than most inland places around this area of England, simply because it's by the sea.

I've been waiting for a powerful north-eastern storm to hit us. A classic Maltese-style grigal, like the one that supposedly brought St. Paul's shipwreck to Malta. Those things are spectacularly terrifying and always remind me how fragile everything really is. And this brings me to something I wrote on this blog a few days ago. I'm referring to the thoughts of impermanence that have saturated my mind over the past several weeks.

My friend Joe Meilak from asked me whether this meant that I was thinking of leaving Scarborough to return to New York. Well, that's hardly what I had in mind...even though I miss Christine and Dina very much.

Thoughts about impermanence always come to me at this time of the year. Some years are more intense than others. It hasn't been this intense for the last couple of years. These thoughts and feelings come from two things mainly. One relates to my childhood associations with November as a month in which we remembered the dead. The other comes from the work I do with Mario Axiaq at about this time every year on writing obituaries about Maltese personalities who passed away during the year. (More on that in a few weeks time.)

Don't think for a second that I've submerged myself in morbid thoughts. Death is an essential part of life. It's one of those things that make life even more precious than we say it is as a matter of fact. My thoughts on impermanence are also very much informed by my understanding of the important place this idea has in Buddhist belief systems.

Nothing lasts forever. That simple thought can alter the shape, colour, smell, size, texture, and all other dimensions of anything I come across these days.

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