The BBC has just rung 11:11:11 and Big Ben has called all for one minute of silence. I wonder if the cannons and artillery barrages stopped in Ukraine. I doubt it.
I have received several messages from optimistic friends telling me that 11:11:11 is a new portal, my body is going to regenerate and the world is my oyster if I can set my mind to it.
Only, as I sit there contemplating the rain pouring down the windows of my study, I am not feeling it. Another huge storm coming over from the Atlantic. Nothing compared to whatever is happening over there. it must be pretty bad as people are marking themselves "safe" on Social Media.
The skies are laden with silent menace in Europe at the moment as refugees fleeing the droughts of Africa get pushed back into the sea and humanitarian boats get refused safe port in Italy. Fascism is on the rise again. Nothing much to celebrate there.
During the minute of silence, I remember my Grand-Maman telling me of her joy at the 11th November 1918's Armistice. How they danced in the streets dizzy with freedom. The Great War is over. The War to end all Wars. She described scenes of joyful abandon. People hugging people they did not know. People sharing food and drink. A day she would remember forever. She was a very young woman then. She had spent the war working in the munitions factory in Marseille. Discovering her freedom for a brief few years. She did not realize as yet that there would be very few men left to marry and that she would have to settle for my outrageous Italian Grandad whom she would choose because in her own words "There was nothing else to do."
All that was in front of her and thanks be to The Gods, she had no idea about any of it.
In the same way, I do not know what lies in front of me as the winds of winter batter our land.
I also need to tell you that my other grandmother danced also but she used to say that she danced with so much enthusiasm that people could see flashes of her underwear! How this was achieved with the fashion of the time, I have no idea but I loved that story as a child. My beloved Mamie creaked ominously when she hugged me, she still wore corsets! So how she lost all inhibition somehow gives me hope that all is not lost and that we will dance again with joyful abandon.
As I write this, I understand why all these messages of hope for 11:11. We cannot let hope wither whatever happens in front of our eyes. As we say in French "On y va. On sait pas ou on va, mais on y va quand meme." We are going. We don't know where we are going but we are going anyway!
So tonight, I shall join my friends online and cast tarot cards, marvel at mysteries that I cannot comprehend, and generally hope for the best. Maybe, just maybe I shall attempt a little dance in memory of my young grandmothers.
I will not however show my underwear!
There are limits.
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