250. The Two Sides

This is written Tuesday 15 August, because the impending storm due to all our commitments have blown and one of the things that got blown away was The Blog.

How odd it must be for Alex Selkirk after he got used to his condition and apparently felt peace. All he had to worry about was when the ship that would save him came, if ever. But on the other hand a part of him must always have feared it would never come. And yet another part, which – according to his storytellers – came to be at peace with his exile … that part may not have wanted it to end.

But those are thoughts and I can never know.

According to Steele it took 18 months for Alex Selkirk to break his melancholy of loneliness:

… the Desire of Society was as strong a Call upon him, and he appeared to himself least necessitious when he wanted every thing; for the Supports of his Body were easily attained, but the eager Longings for seeing again the Face of Man during the Interval of craving bodily Appetites, were hardly supportable. He grew dejected, languid, and melancholy, scarce able to refrain from doing himself Violence, till by Degrees, by the Force of Reason, and frequent reading of the Scriptures, and turning his Thoughts upon the Study of Navigation, after the Space of eighteen Months, he grew thoroughly reconciled to his Condition.

This Saturday I had not problem being preoccupied by “Society” for I was never a moment alone, cleaning, preparing, working a bit, helping look after Jay. But one of the beautiful parts of it was of course that my brother and sister-in-law and my mother-in-law and my grandmother-in-law all turned up to help us make the place ready which we had rented for the party after the baptism. So there was both the feeling that I wanted to be alone and get away from people and the feeling that I was full of joy because I experienced the best sides of people – what they can do for you when you need them.

Selkirk had no choice and I think that must have terrified him and never really faded away. At least I get to choose “Society” even if it doesn’t feel like it some days.