The past is beautiful
“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf
Reading this quote, I can only wish that Woolf had thought of these words before she took her own life; perhaps she might have given herself time to discover that all was not as bleak as it must have seemed at the time. In any case, she has left behind a wealth of her written thoughts to ponder, and this one rings true for me.
The years do change our perceptions of the past; often they soften and enhance them, so that they grow more beautiful with time. My memories of my grandparents were precious to me when I was in my twenties and thirties, but all the more so now that I am the same age they were during my earliest recollections of them. Conjecture and imagination now add depth to a picture that I was too young to fully comprehend.
Do you have memories about which your emotions have expanded, as Woolf describes? Which of your present emotions may seem incomplete to you later, seen with the benefit of hindsight through the lens of passing time?
One year ago today: