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Twenty Something - on Tennyson
Crystal J. Stranaghan
The Lady of Shalott
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
One of my favourite poems of all time.
I was rereading this today and it got me thinking...
Don't we all live in a tower? It's interesting that she functions fine in her
tower by herself as long as she has a filter for her impressions. Everything she
sees and processes in her life is reflected in her mirror.
It is when she embraces life directly and actually confronts reality head on
that she destroys herself. Her belief in the curse is absolute and it seems she
is unable to face reality head on without her mirror, her filter cracking.
I think in some ways we are all like this. We filter our experiences through a
lens of perception – our own personal mirror. It helps us understand what we see
and at the same time to distance ourselves from reality a little - soften it,
temper it, so that it doesn't overwhelm us.
So much pain comes from our being confronted with a reality that doesn't agree
with what we see in our own mirror.
How many stories do you hear of people who are destroyed by the “truth”? Coming
face to face with reality can be a hazardous thing, and yet with the possibility
of great pain also comes the possibility of great joy. In that way I guess we
are all cursed just like the lady. If you risk descending from the seclusion of
your tower and facing life head on, you need to accept that the very reality you
embrace with such passion will eventually kill you.
But hopefully your trip down the river will last longer than the Lady of
Shalott's, and that you may actually get to meet your Lancelot before you reach
the end of the journey.
If we could ask her, I wonder if she would say even that brief time when she
experienced life up close and in person was worth it...
What about you? Are you living in a tower or drifting down the river and
enjoying every second of the ride?
Crystal J. Stranaghan © 2006
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