I often think of you all, one cannot do what one wants in life. The more you feel attached to a spot, the more ruthlessly you are compelled to leave it, but the memories remain, and one remembers - as in a looking glass, darkly - one's absent friends.
How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I've come to believe.
Let us drink together, fellows, as we did in days of yore. And still enjoy the golden hours that Fortune has in store; The absent friends remembered be, in all that’s sung or said, And Love immortal consecrate the memory of the dead.
The man who backbites an absent friend, nay, who does not stand up for him when another blames him, the man who angles for bursts of laughter and for the repute of a wit, who can invent what he never saw, who cannot keep a secret -- that man is black at heart: mark and avoid him.
I observed once to Goethe that when a friend is with us we do not think the same of him as when he is away. He replied, "Yes! because the absent friend is yourself, and he exists only in your head; whereas the friend who is present has an individuality of his own, and moves according to laws of his own, which cannot always be in accordance with those which you form for yourself.