“For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide unto another brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.”
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen
This is one of my favourite quotes but it drives me nuts. Every time I think I have it in context the phrase “ships that pass in the night” pops into my head. Perhaps it is the tide reference but for some reason I feel the two are linked. How often, when the ebb and flow of life gets us down do we seek something out deliberately to give ourselves a quick comfort fix, a shot of caffeine, a slug of gin or a new pair of shoes? Used to numb the bad day or the soaring stress levels, these sought out ‘passing ships’ can provide that instant high but the next day, when our heels are sore and our feet bleeding from the tight shoes, we can quickly realise that we perhaps need to looks deeper than the surface of the tide that is flowing in towards us.
Listening to Alan Rickman’s wonderful voice reading this quote in the film version of Sense and Sensibility brings it into a new light. When we ‘fall’ we often find that where we land may not be where we imagined, but like a message in a bottle, the tide may take us to something new and different that we may not have chosen ourselves. Our lives ebb and flow, we carry with us what we need and have to leave the rest behind on the beach. Leaving anything behind is a difficult decision, losing a part of our lives hurts and can affect so much, but perhaps, as the quote says “ for there is nothing that is lost, that maybe found, if sought” it leaves space for us to look for a new chapter, a new place or a new feeling.
We may lose many ‘ships’ but if we look hard enough beyond the horizon, trust the tide and a good compass seeking that new adventure could be there where X marks the spot!