When I contemplate my youth and how differently I relate to my friends today and how men relate to one another as we grow more set, I am sometimes saddened and recognize that it’s often reflected in what I shoot and how I shoot it—more often than not, feeling and sensing my own isolation, feeling men’s isolation from one another. Yet, in those wondrous moments when threat is forgotten and fear gives way to connection, a brotherhood, if you will —hope outshines despair. The possibility that we might not be alone. That we might only have to reach. That we might only have to try. That maybe we can hold those likewise days of old together again.
On May 22, 2014, at 2:02 PM, Henry Lohmeyer wrote:
Hello Jack, my friend,
I’ve been thinking so much of you lately, and me. I turn 50 next week and it weighs on me more than I had hoped. I shamefully see more of an end and I’m not quite ready to give up on more beginnings. I long for beginnings. Somehow loss of innocence tragically takes away all of them.
I came across the poem Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas and it helped, a lot. A “poème de la résistance” if you will. With these words…
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Thank you always my friend for just that, a chance to call you friend.
On May 22, 2014, at 4:30 PM, Jack van Heugten wrote:
Dear Henry, dear friend,
I share your feelings, about getting ‘older’, but at the time I was turning 50 years old—three years ago now—I didn’t. It’s only recently that I started to realize that the past is taking more space, and the future becoming more fragile, and smaller. People start dying. Just like that. It makes me sad, it makes me vulnerable. There seems little or less time left than I thought. And, what is worse, I haven’t even started my life yet!
I feel an emptiness, and I haven’t found a way of dealing with it. I’m sometimes very irritated by people’s ‘superfluous’ ambitions, ‘supercool’ belongings, and sheer vanity; I sometimes just can’t stand it. I’m angry. Not an ‘angry young man’ but an ‘angry old man’. Misanthropic, more and more. I’m talking to a kind of shrink at the moment, about my fears, about death, about my being angry, about getting older. I feel an intense desire ‘to go away from the world’; to retire, to retreat, to abstract, to back off. I had that same feeling when I was ten years old, but only now it gets unbearable, sometimes. I’m still ten years old, by the way.
Still thirty or more years to go if one is lucky, that’s a lot of time. But never will return the days with the healthy black hair, the strong indefatigable body, the feeling of invulnerability, the naive optimism, et cetera, et cetera. We have no choice but to carry on. To cope with it, one way or another. Best is to at least try to cherish the child within; best is not to look too often in the mirror (no more selfies!) but to feel the heart still beating; best is keeping refusing to grow up; best is to back off from the worldly appearances, and to walk ones’ path, imperturbable and neglecting any feedback.
Well Henry, I realize this doesn’t sound too optimistic. I’m still enjoying life, but more and more on an individual basis, alone, and without too many illusions. Yes, a man can seem, and be, very alone. But Henry, you will notice new and beautiful things as well; actually, more peace of mind will come your way as well (I’m not really sure about this, just saying it to keep you going).
I’m off to bed. A new day tomorrow. I will enjoy the sun as much as the rain.
Can’t believe it when I see those numbers!
On May 22, 2014, at11:13 PM, Henry Lohmeyer wrote:
Never apologize for your honest expression. I’m afraid I’ve come to depend on it.
This emptiness you speak of, I feel it too. Honestly, I’ve become accustomed to it. It seems like a welcomed stranger that you’ll never quite know, but somehow has become fond company. And, like you, I am finding it harder to accept mankind. Not in that one-on-one sense—those trusted exchanges that seem honest and transparent—but rather man’s general direction.
When did so much of us get left behind? When did we stop longing for 10,000 tomorrows and now will sadly settle for just one good one? When?
However, turning 50, I do value the blessing of a lovers kiss. I do love my roughest of edges and feel less inclined to apologize for them. And, Jack, dear friend, I do value a friendship such as ours. So, I say let us stay young. You that 10-year-old musketeer and me that 8-year-old highwayman—robbing stagecoaches and stealing hearts, leaving the gold behind. Let riches be beneath us and love surround us.
In my hopes, we meet one day. We simply meet at a corner cafe, walk towards one another quietly and sit down together as though we’ve done it every morning for the last 25 years. Maybe that’s my one tomorrow. I hope.
Henry (soon to be 5-0)
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