Computer duplicating corrupted files and I will be offline for another day or two. There is a new book out from philosopher Simon Critchley entitled How to Stop Living and Start Worrying and that fits my mood quite aptly. A dear friend has relapsed and sends me long drunken political rants I can’t bear to read. Why do we think we can change the world when we are drunk and at our most inept? Don’t answer that.
On the other hand, a sober life is a thing of beauty. The moon is almost full and brighter than a searchlight in the evenings. The wild roses are just opening in apricot, pink, cream, as spring races past. Another dear friend is celebrating 35 years sober, year after year of solid unstinting service to AA in gratitude for having his sanity and life saved at the end of the 1970s.
I am fishing tiny new-born spiders out of pools of water and kitchen sinks and buckets. Little pearly orb spiders with no instinct for self-preservation. Since childhood I have loved insects and creepy-crawlies, the tiny darting creatures all around us. Some lines from JM Coetzee:
“He thought of himself not as something heavy that left tracks behind it, but if anything, as a speck upon the surface of an earth too deeply asleep to notice the scratch of ant feet, the rasp of butterfly teeth, the tumbling of dust”
As I get older, it seems to me I cannot tread lightly enough on the earth, each new simplicity is a source of happiness. Later today we will go around to wish my eccentric neighbour a happy birthday. We can’t go until late in the afternoon because this gnomic 77-year-old has only one pair of trousers which he will wash, dry and iron, so we mustn’t catch him when he is all knobbly knees and blue-veined calves. What do you give to someone who wants nothing? So I shall take along some blueberries and ice cream.
Sun coming through the rainclouds at last, shafts of luminous golden sunlight – reminding me of a favourite poem from the crusty but visionary Welsh poet RS Thomas:
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.