The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
T.H White ‘The Once and Future King’
When I’m lying in my bed, it feels safe and warm. Nestled in under the duvet, it feels like I’m protected from the world and no-one can hurt me. I spend far too much time in bed. In fact, that’s where I’ve just spent the last three days, lying still and prostrate, only getting up to visit the bathroom or perhaps make some toast. If I was feeling like really treating myself, I may have brushed my teeth or even had a wash. I don’t know because I can’t really remember. It’s just like all the other times it’s happened, one big blur. I haven’t cried, or talked to anyone- I just lay there and felt nothing.
It’s been three full days of beautiful, glorious crisp winter weather and crystal clear blue skies. Yet, there I was wasting precious time, time that I haven’t got, huddled in my bed, feeling like sodding doomsday had come. The truly ridiculous thing is that deep down, I know that this is the absolute worst, worst thing to do. The cocoon doesn’t make you feel better. It thinks it does, but in reality, it only makes things far worse. What I think is the thing protecting me, is really the thing that is making me worse. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? (Thanks Alanis.)
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Today I’ve gone into overdrive, I suspect, to make up for the guilt of wallowing around in a pit of my own seething self-pity for three days. But this is hardly healthy either is it? I’ve cleaned the house from top to toe, taken off all my sheets, including my valance and under sheet, to be washed and written to an old friend who is expecting a baby on Friday (we’ve grown apart because of my continued self- isolation and recluse-like behaviour over the years and it breaks my heart.) In short, I’ve tried to wipe all evidence from the face of the earth that the last few days have ever happened. I think I may be trying to assuage my guilt. Who knows though? I’m not a shrink.
Still, I’m going to try to make the most of this ‘being- up time.’ It’s a beautiful day outside and I’ve got some lovely, truly comforting and health- giving soup puttering away on the stove ready to be eaten. Hell, I might even brave the big wide world and go for a walk!
“Blue/Songs are like tattoos/You know I’ve been to sea before/ Crown and anchor me/ Or let me sail away”
This song is so beautiful to me. In these first lines, I love the duality of both wanting to be ‘anchored’ to something (or someone) yet, at the same time wanting to sail away in to the blue and be free. I felt like I wanted to sail away so desperately today.
“In pale moonlight/the wisteria’s scent/comes from far away”
There is a beautiful Wisteria tunnel in my local park, planted, I think in 1901 when the grounds were being constructed. For years now, it has been a nice place to go when calmness and reflection is needed. Sometimes, just to walk through it on a spring or summer’s day (like the day this photo was taken) brings a huge sense of happiness and well- being, however fleeting. It’s a pleasure to walk through the old, twisted, sturdy roots, and at the same time to be surrounded by its sweet, beautiful scent, touch its purple flowers on the bridge of my nose and feel the warm, butterfly breeze on my skin.
But oh, it brings back memories too. Scent- memories, sense- memories, real memories. Memories of our old house. The wisteria crawling up the veranda in the front garden. Our beautiful, old, happy, family home- before the floor became the ceiling and the ceiling became the floor and everything got so topsy-turvy.
I’ve always loved that smell, but it’s bitter- sweet. Even its name reminds me of the precise feeling it gives me. Wistfulness, mixed with nostalgia, mixed with happiness and the past.