Photo: The Canadian Rockies, February 2021, E Gilbert photo
515 words/ 2 ½ minute read
Geography was so important to Martin. It was not only the history of a particular moment in time that counted, but that moment was inextricably linked to the place where it happened. This formed the basis for the events created by people, at that particular moment, in that particular place. Does geography have the same impact in a world of cyberspace?
These newsletters have been produced in London, beginning in 2015. They grew out of emails to family and friends and – fans of Martin’s – updating them on his medical health during a very fragile time in his life. Five months after Martin died, the emails evolved into these monthly newsletters. Estelle Botsman, who came on board after Martin became ill, redesigned the website and continues to do the technical work on the newsletters. She lives now in Spain, enjoying the sun, the sand and the glistening waves of the Mediterranean Sea.
I came to London seventeen years ago when Martin and I married. The years of our marriage were an amazing time in my life, meeting the great and the good in many lands, having Martin as a guide through history, geography, the writing and publishing of these studies, and most importantly, as a loving companion in life. During the years of his illness and the years since, my focus has been to be true to him, to his work, to his legacy. It is a labour of love and the continuation of an opportunity to do something for Martin, who has done so much to give us our human history while always reminding us of the fragility of civilisation, and the frailty and resilience of life.
One of the changes wrought by the pandemic in the wider sense and the lockdown specifically, has been, for many of us, an opportunity for introspection. After all, where else could we go but inside! What have we been doing? Has that brought fulfillment? What is really important in life and how can we focus on that? As many of us looked inward, we looked outward and felt geography also has a place in our lives. With zoom and email, cyberspace will be constant whichever part of the globe we inhabit. So, after seventeen years in this great city of London, I am returning to Canada, to the West, to the mountains, to fresh air and spectacular vistas and being closer to my family.
Continuing the work I am doing with Martin’s legacy, both through his work and these newsletters, and through the Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre, will continue and with your help will thrive.
This coming Saturday, Jews around the world will celebrate the end of the cycle of reading the entire Torah, the Five Books of Moses, and begin reading it again, from the beginning. The first book, Genesis, is called in Hebrew “Bereshit” which is the opening word and translates as “In the beginning ….” This weekend will begin a new chapter in my life. I look forward to you continuing that journey with me as we explore and appreciate Sir Martin’s work.
By Esther Gilbert