25 February 2012

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Just do your shit.

Paddy Considine in today's Guardian.

24 February 2012

23 February 2012

almost spring


forest at midday, awake and very noisy - in the evening with just a glimmer of light left in the western sky I feel safe cycling here again

22 February 2012

Ten days after my 16th birthday. Fresh snow in the night and I am late for school, my bus was stuck in traffic and I missed the tram. When I sneak into the classroom all eyes are on me. The seat next to me is empty, M must be late, too. I know she went away for the weekend with her family. Maybe they didn't make it back in time with all that snow.
A in front of me turns around, beckoning me to move one row up. I sneak next to him and he takes both of my hands and I notice he is crying, that almost everybody is crying and staring at me. 
She is dead, he says, in the car, no, no accident, her neck it sort of snapped when they hit the brakes.
I see M's neck, her blond hair touching the collar of her favourite blue shirt, like the one I am wearing myself. We bought them last week on a mad shopping spree, giggling and running through town. 

Mustn't go into details of the day, no. Nothing about the teachers turning their eyes away, about a bunch of crying teenagers sitting on the stairs, about her big brother, the one I had a serious crush on, hugging me. Her big brother, who drove the car, who hit the brakes. The one who killed himself a couple of years later.
In the end I just walked out of school and sat at my bus stop staring into the dirty snow. A woman living on our street picked me up thinking I was drunk or had fainted. She held my hand on the bus and walked me to our door.

When I let myself in, my mother
my mother
my mother

she was mad because I was early and I must have upset her careful morning schedule of resting in her hazy valium world and doing nothing. Oh, I don't know. I have come up with too many versions of my happy childhood, imagining emotional scenarios, excuses, trying to accomodate the fact that all she did was tell me to go upstairs and stay out of her way until lunch was ready, and to clean that trashy mascara off my face.

But this all happened a long long time ago.

20 February 2012

lifelong learning

This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have.
 Pema Chödrön

18 February 2012

17 February 2012

no snow, no frost, no wind, just fog, for a moment the air is still except for the birds, I can almost hear a long haired Germanic warrior shouting abuse from his hilltop across the river to his enemies on another hilltop, long before the Romans arrived building harbours, aqueducts and sewage pipelines, cultivating the hillsides with vineyards, and now, the tuk tuk from the barges, a heavy goods train speeding along behind the trees on the other side, builders' noises from one of the large villas behind me, this is a very busy place, all the world lives here, it seems

15 February 2012

Looking out of our kitchen window into the wet and messy garden.
In about four weeks time, R said, trees and leaves and budding lilac.

14 February 2012

This nasty little war between the person I think I am (the healthy superfit person I so desperately want to be) and the woman with itsy bitsy pain and itsy bitsy discomfort and a catalogue of agonies, general agonies, way too supersensitive towards potentially dramatic symptoms and all that shit. 
Get off it. 
Waste of time.
Let's see.

(Infinite space expands.)
From the window of Klaus Staeck's gallery in Heidelberg.

13 February 2012

Last Sunday I read this article in the Observer and my heart stopped for a moment here:

When your tools for interpreting the world stop working, you cease to feel like the same person. You are not the same person. Not really. And you know that things may well get an awful lot worse before they start to get better - if they're to get any better at all  - and who's to know what "better" might mean, because no one's telling you anything anyway. "Better" might just mean "no worse". And that's when words like "disabled" start to incur on your thinking.
You then stop thinking.

And here:

What do you learn from such experiences? From losing faculties? You don't learn anything  - you just do the losing and then carry on. For sure, you discover that words like "better" and "worse" have infinitely more calibrations than you ever thought possible before, and you become almost infinitely patient in your study of what those calibrations reveal. But there isn't anything to be learned; only endured.

Yes, I have been there. I am there.

Today, the immunologist sends me her latest conclusions on my state of health. Precise wording, a neat list of the various shortcomings and irretrievable changes, history of medication and trials, suggested proceedings etc. etc.

While I am standing there in my kitchen with the letter in my hand, watching the snow falling from a grey sky, my house of cards comes tumbling down. For a while. With a heavy dose of self pity.

12 February 2012

09 February 2012

today it started to snow, -14°C

08 February 2012

Don't go into the tangled jungle
looking for the great elephant
who is already quietly at home.
Nothing to do,
Nothing to force,
nothing to want -
and everything happens by itself.

Lama Gendun Rinpoche
Heavy frost for the last ten days and more to come. Stories of frozen canals and schools closing due to burst pipes, while ice breakers are clearing the waterways to the coast. And records: coldest night in 20 years, thickest ice under this bridge ever, etc. I find it too cold to cycle. Good grief, this is the weather of my childhood winters, we simply walked to school when the air was too icy for the downhill runs on wheels.
I am fraying at the edges with stiff muscles and painful neck movements, another eye inflammation, sore throat and a general feeling of yuk. Ophthalmologist warned me yesterday that the immune suppression will have to be upped if I continue to have these inflammations. Ah please no!
So I watch the clear bright frosty world from indoors, shuttling my sore body to and fro in the car, waiting this out.
In a dream last night, Jenita walked up towards our house under the mango trees, Ki i dir?  she shouted all the way with a big grin on her face, her kids running along beside her.  Aw, mwan fatigue!   I replied.

02 February 2012

This day sits half way between midwinter and spring equinox. The ancient Celts called it Imbolc and celebrated the beginning of the light, spring, the first lambs etc., the catholics obviously had to have their own spiel on it and made it into the feast day of an elderly abess, Brigid/Bride of Kildare, Lá Fhéile Bríde. The various rituals overlap and whatever you feel like doing (weaving the straw cross, dipping your hands in the well, dancing at sunrise or having a drink...) remember it's all about the light.
(Luka always makes me cry.)