“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I started writing this post on Monday. It began with:
“Devastated. Test taken. Test failed.”
I walked away from that draft to do something too unimportant to mention and when I came back to it this morning, I find myself removed from the lines I’d written. It’s a strange anachronism to be confronted with my very own ‘ghost of Christmas past’ – ‘Nyamazela yesterday’ was ready to give up, ‘Nyamazela today’ has picked herself up again. There is no rhyme or reason to this. I had no hooded visitation to turn me around dramatically away from my Scroogey self, no great revelation, no reverse of my situation, but somehow the sun still comes up the next day and you find yourself getting up with it.
Dickens is my guru on all things moody. He has the most poignant turn of phrase and conjures up vivid scenes in my imagination. I love this quote not only because it is stylistic genius, but because it is essentially the stuff of life. It echoes of truth. One minute all is lost and I cannot see through the mist of tears or fear and the next moment there is a hope and a future – the hope and future is not from Dickens, mind, but oh how well he puts it.
So to coin a British war time phrase, I go on with a ‘wing and a prayer’… especially the latter, propped up by loving friends, family, my husband and of course, tea!