When we are young, how quick we are to give credit to our understanding! How strong we think ourselves, and how unfailing. Only time may teach us of our faults and flaws, so that we may bow before that everlasting Master and admit that we have not been all that we should, and have failed at times. It is only with that unfurling length of silk which spins out the hours, painting me into a tapestry of my own creation, that my mistakes and triumphs alike are recognized, on a private tableau which none but myself know wholly.
What melancholy that affords! When granted, at last, a full ability to realize the vast follies that have been mine, I may know shame for a previous self, and simultaneously laugh at an innocence not wholly-fallen. To be only what one is thought to be may in and of itself be high praise or damning, but to realize that one is not what one thought oneself is something different entirely. How perplexing, how confusing it is to confront oneself and realize one's changed nature! And yet, this is the way in which we all begin; we try, we fight, we dance, we object, and at the end, we look upon ourselves in dismay. But having gotten over this dismay, we advace ever onward as we desire to achieve our goal, and to become better in the process.
Life is a dance; it has many figures, twists and turns, and often one does not know the moments where one shall be swept off one's feet, or caught low in a bow. Sometimes the players are masked and frightening; there was the man in the red cape whose fingers burned; there was the little matchstick girl who made a peculiar mix of her goings and disappearances, there was the fairy godmother, the benevolent beneficiary, the grinning skull whose riddling wit confounded; we are matched with different partners as we change. The steps are never the same; the music reaches climaxes and falls, and we ourselves turn and change, donning different clothes, growing taller as we advance. We play at selfhood only to find another unturned page; we are caught forever in a growing chain for which there can be little to no understanding.
Who knows oneself as well as oneself? Who knows the terrifying changes of mood and temper, or worse, of thought? Who knows the people to whom one cannot show oneself, to whom one is forever unacknowledged? We are the only master of our many different selves; in us they reach a unity which cannot be comprehended by another. We seem fragmented; indeed, we seem utterly dissimilar. And often that is because a man can only understand a part, a mere part, of the various faces that are ours, not because we dissemble, but because there is a way in which they are all united, ignited by that fragile soul which holds them fast.
The lamps now glitter down the street;
Faintly sound the falling feet;
And the blue even slowly falls
About the garden trees and walls.