Another golden-eyed morning in the countryside, rinsing the sticky bloom off an armful of ripe plums. Last night I was woken at midnight by my dogs wanting to go out and play in the moonlight. Garden brighter than day, ablaze with blue-white light.
News headlines tell me that more than 1 000 people were killed on South African roads in December. Drunken driving, speeding, reckless driving, drunken driving.
A friend aged 62 stricken by the death of her elderly mother at 89. She says she feels again like a small girl reaching out instinctively for the clasp of her mother’s hand, unsure what to do without that hand squeezing back. Orphaned. From Sandra Cisneros in Guernica:
I think one of the great primordial fears we have once we become conscious of our aloneness as children is the fear of losing our mother. We have that from the moment we realize we can lose her just in the supermarket. As a child, it was more terrifying than arithmetic. When I lost my father, I thought I learned about grief and transition. However, nobody tells you what it’s like to lose your mother. They don’t tell you that you’re going to feel like an orphan at whatever age you are as an adult. We tend to think of orphans as being the protagonists of stories we read as kids, and yet here you are: you’re an adult, you’re supposed to manage, you’re supposed to go on with your life, and you feel like a lost child.
All through December I have been gritting my teeth listening to bouncy jungles and Christmas carols followed by advertisements. Hating tunes I once loved. But now all the fuss is over, I feel able to share one of the most haunting versions of this old beauty: