It is the New Year, says the Owner. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! I say, but where has the Old Year gone? I liked it there.
It was Taken Away at Midnight, says the Owner. Now it is in the Past.
Can I go back to the Old Year for a few minutes? I ask. I left Squeaky Cat’s Ears there.
It does not Work Like That, says the Owner, we are Journeying to the Future. It is a One Way Journey. Like rolling down a Hill.
I can climb back up a Hill, I say. I would do that for Ears.
There is no way back, says the Owner. Not even for Ears. Although the Past is still With Us.
Oh, I say. Does that include the time when I ate the Man’s Christmas Sock?
When he was wearing it? Yes, says the Owner. Even that.
This at least explains why I still have indigestion, I say. Is the Prime Minister also journeying to the Future?
Allegedly, says the Owner, although I sometimes wonder.
What does the Future look like? I ask.
It is a Mystery, she says. Full of Possibilities. Some of which are Cheese.
The Future sounds exciting, I say, although I am worried that Squeaky Cat will not hear much of it.
We all leave things in the Past, says the Owner. For some of us it is our Ears. For some of us it is our Youth. For some of us it is those blue remembered hills.
What are you talking about? I ask. Hills are not blue. And you do not have a Youth. I would have Seen Him.
Regrettably that is true, says the Owner. But I am quoting A E Housman, as One Should on New Year’s Day. Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows,
What are those blue remembered hills?
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
That is Very Poetic, I say, but it does not help Squeaky Cat with his Ears. If the Past is still with us could we Ask It for the Ears?
Sadly, said the Owner, we cannot Change the Past, we can only Feel It.
I suppose Squeaky Cat could feel his Ears, I say, but this does seem to offer only limited practical usefulness. I begin a Howl, which seems the right way to approach the Loss of the Past and all the Good Things In It, particularly the Ears.
Do Not Howl, says the Owner. Squeaky Cat will not need his Ears in the Future. Indeed I think you may find he looks Somewhat Reborn the next time you see him. Almost as if he were New, in fact.
I am Pleased for Squeaky Cat. But I still Miss the Past. There was a lot of Cheese in it.
It is the Role of the Moral Dog to Remember the Past, to Live the Present and to Look Forward to the Future, says the Owner. This is the Nature of a Moral Life.
I stop Howling. I suppose the Future does sound delightfully Cheesey, I say. Are we there yet?
No, says the Owner. We will never reach the Future. We are always in the Present.
This is an Absolute Blow. Then how will we reach the Cheese? I ask.
When the Future becomes the Present and the Present becomes the Past the Cheese will be There, says the Owner, Always Assuming that the Moral Dog is not already full of Socks.
This is very Confusing, I say. When when did the Present become the Past.
After it was the Future, says the Owner. In the Blink of an Eye. That is the Beauty of Life.
So the Present hardly lasts any time at all? I ask.
Thats right, says the Owner. Why are you Howling Now?
I am Howling because the Future will Never Arrive, I say, and the Past is Gone and, given that we have Only the Present to Comfort Us, it seems Particularly Unfair that it passes too quickly to allow Time for Cheese.
The Present lasts no time but also for Eternity, says the Owner. Because the Present becomes the Past even as we live it, and the Past Lasts for Ever. The Past is Yours, Hergest. With all the Cheese and all the Ears you could ever need.
So Everything becomes the Past in the End? I ask.
Exactly, says the Owner. And we get to Keep It All. For Ever.
This is the Best News I have heard All Year.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.