From Time by Ursula Bethell
Those that come after me will gather these roses,
And watch, as I do now, the white wistaria
Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath.
Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected,
Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder
At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage,
And say ‘One might build here, the view is glorious;
This must have been a pretty garden once.”
[Warning! Post 301: some maudlin thoughts involved.]
Some months back, Seth of Sethsnap asked this question, What “sound”(i.e. legacy) do you hope to leave?
It’s an intriguing question but certainly not new, for it belongs to the ages. It is also not an easy one to answer. One of the hardest, I am guessing. Yet, assuredly, it will call to each of us, at some stage, in our life’s journey. Will you be ready to reply? I have only the merest tinkle of a response running through my mind.
Here is what I am hearing ~
For some, like Seth, their legacy may be in their photography. For others, like Sophia (teamgloria) or Juliet or Vickie or Helen (Tiny), their legacy may reside in their books; in their written/spoken words. Yet others, like Lynley and Kerry, may leave us, and their families, the richness of heirloom garments and quilting. Still others, like Lisa, may bequeath us their creative art and special ‘thank you’ smiles. Legacies exist in a myriad different forms.
Just as each of us has our own instantly recognisable swish of sound ( the one the dog hears, the cat knows and your loved ones sense as you try to creep upstairs in the dark of night), so, too, do we each have a legacy that is only ours to give. It may be intended and specifically chosen, or it may be accidental and unplanned, but we all have our unique envoys/legacies that will carry us forward into the millennia in some form or other.
Since I am unlikely to leave a legacy of beautiful poems, as did Ursula Bethell, or a treasured Writer’s Residency in my name, I may have to settle for something more modest ( though, potentially, equally valid ); something like Everyday Kindness; the kind espoused by Stephanie Dowrick , in her book of that name.
Wouldn’t that be a lovely legacy? ” Here lies Gallivanta~ known for her everyday kindness, (especially to caterpillars 😉 ). “ Mmmmmm…. though carved in stone, a little ephemeral, perhaps? But I like it.
I also like the slightly more tangible legacy opportunities given to us by archives. In November 2013 Ruth mentioned, in this post , her Deed of Gift to the Canterbury CEISMIC project. I thought this was a wonderful idea and, after making some enquiries, discovered that some of my blog posts were suitable for gifting too. Just prior to Christmas, and after much hard work by CEISMIC staff, my work was uploaded to the digital archives. And I received this letter
Legacy in a letter
from the University of Canterbury CEISMIC Co-ordinator.
My Alma Mater
The CEISMIC legacy
To say that I was thrilled barely scratches the surface of my feelings. I was moved to tears, and beyond tears, that my experiences, my life mattered; that someday it might, just possibly might, matter to someone else. And not because I did anything great and famous, but simply because I existed, and I let my existence be heard.
Now, although, I was lachrymose in the extreme, on account of this one small legacy of mine, I did have to laugh, once I had wiped away my tears. Because one unintentional legacy from my digital whisper, (not footprint, please, my imprint is more delicate than that ), is that if, in years to come, someone looks more closely in to my archives they will find that, of all my posts , the one which receives the most views, on a regular basis, is this one, “It’s all turned to custard”.
I find that very funny. And, as a legacy, even funnier; ” Here lies Gallivanta whose life all turned to custard.” Considering how much I love custard that could be a good thing. Or not. But to return to Seth’s question, “What sound (i.e. legacy ) do you hope to leave?”. Perhaps part of the answer, in my case, will have to be ‘Custard’.[ Just for fun…google “It’s all turned to custard” and see what you find…..bet I am near the top of the page! ]
By the way, what sound does custard make? ;).
Favourite creamy custard
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
[The title translates, from the Latin, as
'The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long'
and is from a work by Horace]
Ernest Dowson 1867 -1900 http://worlds-poetry.com/ernest_dowson/vitae_summa_brevis_spem_nos_vetat_in