I’ve always sympathized with Canute, and the bad press he gets. Accused of trying to hold back the tide, overcome the powers of nature, instead he was demonstrating the paucity of his kingly powers compared to the might of nature. He was demonstrating humility rather than pride.
But that’s not what popular myth records. It records him as a fool, a prideful fool who exercised his kingly powers to hold back the encroaching tide and drowned for his delusions.
And that’s not what i was thinking yesterday standing on my own shore, trying to hold back the tide. Eight weeks medication free i lost my cool, a very public fool. Striding home bathed in self-righteousness, searing an angry path of life-rage i heard the waves crash on the shore and listening then, heard them clearer, closer still.
I thought of Canute then, and his humility. I recognized the power of the dark tide washing over me. I accepted my frailty, scared at the damage i could have caused, awash with guilt i accepted the inevitable.
‘Help’, i called, ‘ i am drowning’.