Posted by: ritagone | April 22, 2015

Plus Ca Change Plus C’Est La Meme Chose

When I was yo826444_8a76f3d5unger, I used to fantasize about packing up and moving to a place that held my interest for many reasons: Italy, England, but especially green and lovely Ireland. Just disappearing for months at a time, with a stack of books and enough wood to keep a fire going in the fireplace (and there would have to be a fireplace). Food would magically appear, because of course I wouldn’t have to cook it…or go pick it out in a grocery store. The cottage would stay clean because I wouldn’t be moving around much to make a mess. (Or the fairies would clean it magically at night while I slept. It’s a fantasy. Go with me. Somehow it’s magically cleaned, okay?) Perhaps a stray dog from the local village would wander in and adopt me, curl up at my feet and be a companion when I wanted someone to talk to or a head to pat. Easy. Comfortable. Safe.

No phone, no television, no distractions. Just whatever was in my head at the time that I could spend a lot of time sorting through. And those delicious hand-picked books to keep me good, solid company.

Now, however, that scenario is not nearly as appealing. I like my routine in my own home (and I love my house a lot), I appreciate the television programs that have become a part of my regular schedule, and I don’t relish the thought of making new friends in a new community. And too many of my friends are alone too much now not by choice, so that aspect of my fantasy isn’t nearly as appealing as it used to be.

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree” is the opening line of one of my favorite poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats, a beautiful, tender, haunting poem that in 1999 was voted by readers of The Irish Times as their all-time favorite work of Irish poetry, and it’s the line that I would recite out loud whenever that urge to explore and land somewhere else would strike me. “I will get up and go somewhere else, somewhere magical” was what that phrase meant to me, and so I said it like a prayer, like an incantation, a vital part of my fantasy.

It’s a short poem; let me quote it for you in its entirety:


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket


There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.



Who would not pack a bag and get up and go after reading these words out loud, especially if you were 20 or 25 and had your whole life out in front of you and the thought of an adventure was just too overwhelming at times?

But now packing and going usually involves air travel, and that’s just not that much fun anymore. And there’s all the stuff I have already mentioned, about liking my own stuff and my routine. That’s what age does to you, in part, and I used to think it was a bad thing. But I don’t think that anymore. I think it’s kind of nice to be happy where I am.

So things do change. Attitudes change. Desires change. What we like to do changes and where we want to go.

And that’s all okay.

I still have the poem, and my love for it has not changed one bit. It’s a poem that I will always hear in my “deep heart’s core.” Thank you for that, Mr. Yeats.



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