ubi sunt

noun
1.

a poetic motif emphasising the transitory nature of youth, life, and beauty, found especially in medieval Latin poems

And, this from Wikipedia:

Ubi sunt (literally “where are… [they]”) is a phrase taken from the Latin Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt?, meaning “Where are those who were before us?”

Ubi nunc…? (“Where now?”) is a common variant.

Sometimes interpreted to indicate nostalgia, the ubi sunt motif is actually a meditation on mortality and life’s transience.

As I mooched about the annual Canal Cavalcade at Little Venice, London I think I indulged in a little of the ubi sunts. I quietly wallowed in a melancholy ‘Where am I now? / Where has the time gone?’ reflectiveness.

I used to say that the ‘me-ness in me’ was closest the surface when I held the tiller of the boat, that it was my happy place where I felt most at ease with the world. And yet, as I eyed the boats, the flags and the tie-dyed partying of the Cavalcade, I had to acknowledge that these days I so rarely find time to think boat never mind actually turn up and live the boat as much as I once did.

My canalside walk brought a bittersweet combination of guilt (for not – yet – achieving the dream of the boat becoming a central part of family life) and longing for what’s no longer within easy grasp – namely sufficient time and space to savour and enjoy calm afloat.

Perhaps I should have got my latest canal fix by watching the ‘slow TV’ experiment on BBC 4 in the same way that people salve Seasonally Adjusted Disorder using bright ‘daylight’ lights, rather than spending the evening amongst the boat?

That said, it didn’t half bring back a rush of good memories and a longing to return to the boat – soon.

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