There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
So, I am amazed that I have arrived at another Saturday in one piece and upright, that I did loads of work, clearing my inbox, fat and full last Monday morning, step by step or rather manuscript by manuscript before falling asleep before dinner last night.
The garden is all tulips still, what usually is a week at most before they collapse under the sun, has stretched for another and another cold week, there's also lilac everywhere and a tiny show of wisteria, but for the rest, we are weeks behind or maybe we used to be weeks ahead for years. It will, no doubt, all explode soon enough, the garden blossoms I mean. My baby apricots are coming along nicely, at least that.
This is a picture I took a few years ago, but the same tulips are flowering right now.
I have been immersed in Jack by Marilynne Robinson, forcing myself to read slowly because, well to me it's a gem. And this morning I actually did a google search for Jack Boughton, hoping against hope to find a hidden picture. In the movie version of the book, which I have directed in my mind, he is played by Sam Shepard, a disheveled Sam Shepard and Della is played by, maybe, Lupita Nyong'o. Only their age doesn't match and I do have a problem with movies where older male actors are paired with much younger female ones. So I had to develop a kind of time shift in my mind, bringing a younger Sam Shepard back to life and so on.
Reading Marilynne Robinson is a unique experience, as I am not the slightest bit religious and this book, just as her novels Gilead and Home and Lila, is at times a sermon, a prayer, a hymn book, albeit with an observed distance, nothing preachy. Often, I have to think of the Dutch Calvinist outlook that to this day is reflected by the uncurtained large and sparkling clean front windows of Dutch houses, allowing anybody to have a good look inside, as a metaphor for the honest soul that has nothing to hide.
I read out this bit to R (and he, the good catholic boy he once was, got a bit of a fright, asking, what have I done wrong now?):
You are not good for your own sake. That probably isn't even possible. You are good as a courtesy to everyone around you.
Other than that, I work hard ignoring the ongoing low level aches and super high level exhaustion. Had a nice chat with our GP about ageing and chronic illness. I told her, it first happened so gradually, without me noticing until one day when I could not
remember what being healthy felt like. And how I should have known this
was going to happen, should have paid attention. But she just shook her head and said, nothing stays the same for anybody.