I spent a lifetime working with words, reporting on what other people say or have written. Now, whenever I try to write something for myself, I am left with the questions: ‘What do I want to say?’ and ‘Have I said it?’ The challenge grows as I dwell on it. The more I consider the second question the more I am likely to find out about the first.
At this moment my preoccupation is fifty years of marriage, which Mrs Llew and I reached today, but the celebration of which began yesterday. As I contemplate this, the two questions fill me with awe. With wonder indeed, at the milliseconds of our time together over half a century. And their meaning: discerned, grasped, lost or maybe missed at the time. And reviewed and remembered as well, with new meaning discovered.
On my desk I have a seaside snapshot, taken last month. Three generations play in the surf. The sky is full of clouds. A grandfather, in a navy blue plastic raincoat clutches his shoes at the water’s edge. His wife is close by. Their firstborn looks back smiling. And HER firstborn races across the yellow sand: a sprite, all life and movement.
One moment among the millions. I am the grandfather.
What did I want to say and have I said it? I don’t know. But I hope it implies thankfulness: and a tribute to the mystery of a marriage.