Rumination, or call it reflection perhaps. Free of the destructive connotations of the former, the latter seems more wholesome. A liberating appraisal of a life lived less well than it could have been.

If we led our lives again, how many things would we change. How much thoughtlessness would we leave to others, how many errors of omission would be reversed. And those many things which we ought not to have done, what a fine thing it would be to erase them as if they had never happened.

Rumination we are told is a pointless pursuit, especially when its subject is something which we have no power to change. And yet, while it may be true that we are none of us given the power to rewrite the past, can it not be that salvation may be found in the present. Today we are given the chance to put right the mistakes of a less wise past.

I do not believe that my core personality has changed over the past six decades. But in younger days some of us may be inclined to try and fit ourselves into round holes. Which is not at all wise for square pegs.

Tolkein may have brought all this on. I found myself in the Shire recently. I seemed to join that party as it left Bag End and crossed fields and forests which I had last visited aged 11. I saw the trees in their green finery, I smelled the damp morning mists rising in the gentle sunlight from the grass. I stayed with Tom Bombadil and hid from the dread Black Riders.

People talk of visions and lucid dreams. They happen.

Childhood memories resurface later in life, it is said. I have found myself back again at glorious Christ Church Oxford more than once in recent weeks. And instead of carousing with owners of stately homes, I found myself singing in the cathedral choir at evensong. And mixing with quiet and bookish sorts. Eating dinner in the exquisite dining hall, rather than frequenting pointless and expensive dining clubs.

Living in ancient libraries and listening to erudite lectures on topics as diverse as I could find. Music and art and learning. Not childish and indulgent debauchery.

And commerce and money and power and ambition. Where and when did all that start I wonder. Certainly that 11 year old who read of Gandalf and Bilbo and Frodo was a stranger to all such base concepts.

Songs of Innocence and Experience, wrote Blake. But does it have to be thus. Must childhood necessarily be corrupted. Do we have to grow up, or like JM Barrie’s hero, can we fly to Neverland and never return.

Written a while ago, spring has mellowed these rather melancholy winter thoughts.

Perhaps I will write of spring.


  1. Welcome back, I have missed your musings.
    Heart felt, and I felt my own heart in this lament. I LOVE that you sang at evensong, even if you abandoned faith many years ago. One never knows what memories or words of a hymn might touch a spark in the heart and renew what seemed burned out.
    You are in my daily prayers, my friend.
    If I ever get back to England, you will have to take me to Christ Church Oxford. 😉
    And I love pics of snow!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Anita and I were privileged to attend a Queen’s Six while in Austria a few years ago, and the acoustics in the cathedral made one swear (uh-oh, am I allowed to do that in church!? 😄) that you were listening to angels sing! Somehow the Dolby and technology of groups in modern church meetings just doesn’t match up to the quality of vocals in a cathedral built for real sound.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Regrets, I’ve had a few” sang our Frank, but if we really did revisit those chaos points of the past, how that would shape us in the present, could be a lot worse than where we actually are, and bereft of the wisdom we clearly have know.

    Who knows we could be a pair of hedons larging it up on a yacht in the Mediterranean without a care in the world, that would be awful, wouldn’t it?!

    I’ve often thought about this concept, and whilst there have been several regrettable incidents in my life thus far, I don’t think I would go back and change them, as the outcome and reflections have shaped me into what I am today. Karma seems to have a way of making up for those transgressions, certainly in my case, and karma doesn’t knock at my door much these days which for me means the positive actions I today make up for those negative actions of yesterday (I hope).

    Fellow Wirralian Anthony Peake posits some interesting concepts in his book Is There Life After Death and The Daemon, which I enjoyed as they made me ruminate quite differently about life, the universe and everything, could be worth you checking them out.


    1. I’m sure you are right – perhaps we have to learn from our mistakes. Although it would be nice to be one of those folk who never seem to make them. I will look up Anthony Peake. I would like to be persuaded although it would hopefully have to be an upgrade on life in this damaged world!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Far from being a discouragement or source of regret, it seems your descriptions point to a fairly enviable lifetime of opportunities and lessons in large part. I think there are probably a few missteps along the way in my life that were only a confirmation of what I already had learned, but simply refused to accept the first time around. Trials and tribulations provide a ballast against overconfidence or thoughtless actions at some point, and can be valuable in that aspect anyway.

    You have a marvelous way of making ambivalence seem beneficial, and even when recalling regrettable parts of certain experiences, your ability to reflect meaningfully on them NOW seems to affirm the benefit of having them in an important way.

    Moving on to Spring!

    Liked by 1 person

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