“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” is, according to the website sparknotes.com, an important quote from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
A book about a guy that will spend his life digging at his past, trying to make what was lost become part of the present.
I know about such things. I spend all my free time trying to reconcile what was with what is. It never balances properly. A terrible hobby and a waste of my energy.
My uncle Manuel passed away a week-ish ago. He lived his entire life in Argentina and I’d only ever met him once. I mean it was a long meeting – I spent nearly a month with he and my aunt at their home in Argentina, so it was a pretty significant meeting. I remember we went out on a yacht with some of their friends on a river. My memory doesn’t currently produce the name of the river, but I do remember this:
The current was incredible. The fastest passage of water and time I’ve ever personally witnessed.
The owners of the yacht threw a rope off the stern so we could try to swim upstream. I jumped in and by the time I surfaced, I nearly passed the rope. I grabbed it and swam with everything I had in me to reach the boat. I was 18 at the time and not in terrible shape and still couldn’t do it. I gained some ground, but not enough to be proud of.
Manuel did the same swim and he made it back to the boat. From my perspective, he roared out of the river and his arms were able to propel him back like some sort of Phelpsian sea beast.
I never made it back to the boat under swim power alone. I had to pull myself back along the rope. It was such a great day and I wish I could remember more of it.
I was sorry to hear Manuel passed away – but he’d lived well into his 90s. He left behind so many people that loved him.
The days I have spent swimming against the current and the 9 years without Joe and the 2 years without Z I remember so painfully clearly how often I tried to put my boat against the current – my heart borne back ceaselessly into the past. I want to do the impossible – I want so badly to reach across time and pull them back. Pull them to my present. Every molecule in my body (because the body remembers) eternally reaches for the past.
But I can’t, can I? It’s just not something my body can do. I didn’t have the power to swim against the current of the river and I don’t have the power to get them back. But still I try.
I lay awake at night thinking of them and I am borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Zero stars. Do not recommend.