Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive with something called a Blog Off. A Blog Off is an event where bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic on the same day. The topic for this round of the Blog Off is "The Edge of your World".
When we are children, the edge of the world is represented by the limits of the world we know - the comforting scent of a mother, the bars of a play pen or cot, a garden wall, familiar rooms - and perhaps this is why so many of us scream at our first children's party at another house or on our first day of school.
For most of us, there is always a loving adult policing our surroundings when we move from that edge
and if we feel we are alone, even for a moment, we become pretty miserable:
However, I think I wanted to test the waters from an early age
and go off on the big ships
but always come back:
As a member of Churchill's "island race" it is not surprising that I am drawn to islands
|Me, Elba-bound in 1977|
and one day, more than half a century after the black and white photos above were taken, I flew to the biggest island in the Mediterranean and knew that I would not turn back:
|In Donnalucata, Sicily - 2005|
I've written before about how, even then, leaving the comfort zone of my house in Britain was scary but tonight I want to think about one of the things you lose when, having stepped off the edge of your world, you arrive in your new one: you lose what Alexander McCall Smith calls your "anchor-points". He puts it thus:
"Just as Freddie de la Hay was missing him, so too was he experiencing that sense of incompleteness when a familiar presence is suddenly no longer there. Such feelings can be profound and long-lived..... or they may be less substantial, more transient, as when a shop or coffee bar we like closes down, or a favourite office colleague is transferred. These may seem little things, but they constitute the anchor-points of our lives and are often more important than we imagine."
- Alexander McCall Smith: The Dog Who Came in from the Cold
If this is the case even in a city where you have lived all your life, imagine how important such "anchors" are when you change not only your city but your country. You find new ones, as I wrote here, and you have to cultivate them but when you in turn lose one of these, you can feel quite disorientated for a while. Perhaps that was why I was so upset when Mr T shut up shop. Yet this regret, for the loss of landmarks in an unfamiliar place, also means that you have integrated, so can be celebrated in a way. These days, though I still miss Mr T, I have become used to the new folk in what used to be his shop, and the butcher who occupies part of it has turned out to be a treasure - an "anchor", in fact.
So for me, stepping beyond the edge of what was my world has meant finding new anchors and it is still an adventure!
I couldn't find a suitable picture of an anchor, so here is my paternal grandfather in naval uniform, complete with anchor on his cap:
Below is the full list of bloggers participating in this week's theme:Note: This is my last "Let's Blog Off" post as the project has now been wound up. I have enjoyed participating and would like to express particular thanks to Paul for inviting me to do so and for his unfailing support and courtesy. I've made some new friends along the way and I hope we can keep in touch. The "Let's Blog Off" archive can be viewed here.