one Friday morning
Written on Friday.
8.42 am. Whoopie! I am between projects and it feels strange to have nothing to sit down to first thing in the morning. For once, I don’t feel too ill nor do I have too much pain and the trip up the forty steps into the garden is easier, although I'm soaked from the driving rain. Stood on our elevated terrace watching dark clouds shoot from the south to consume the surrounding hills with walls of water, I realised how little sunshine we’ve had this winter, half a day here, maybe a spot in the evening there, but how often the nights have been clear and starry: sunny at night, rainy all day, hmm.
9am. I sit at our table, a little damp and chilly with a strong cup of breakfast tea warming me. What a pleasure life freed from the usual blanket of illness, to be without the mental heaviness of brain fog. I can glide upon the moment, enjoy this cup of tea with the ease I once used to.
9.30am. A knock at the door and in steps a young friend to collect something she’s borrowing. She looks utterly angelic, her natural beauty helps, but it is her bright soul beaming from every pour of her face. I have loved M. since, before six in the morning on the first day of our honeymoon, she and her sister H crept along the hotel balcony joining our bridal suit to her mother’s room. Leaping onto our bed, they pulled us from deep sleep and demanded more of the story I had told them as we were being photographed outside the church the previous afternoon. Having left our wedding bash up the road past midnight, Camilla and I were bogged-eyed, but we responded and wove stories to suit that unusual first morning of marriage.
For thirty three years, Trompy Troll, a cheeky, clumsy beast from dark northern forests, invented that first morning of our honeymoon, has erupted in to the world each time a young mind demands a story and several children have grown up to tell their own offspring about this furry ball of fun and trouble whose morphing age relates to that of any child aged between five to nine. And this very morning M tells me that her seven year old daughter hasn’t stopped talking about that silly Troll who teases the imagination.
10am. Stories have grown our brains and fuelled our intelligence since the beginning. I used to sit around a fire listening to my tribal heroes tell stories about the boy with a lizard skin which he learns to slip from, of the sly antelope who fooled the lion and of how brilliant Day fights sly Night to generate each dawn. Stories help the mind deal with the world; the reason we feel urged to jump off a cliff top is not that we are inherently suicidal, but because our minds create a story to prepare us for the worst so that we don’t jump. Putin is using the mythical story/essay he recently wove/wrote about the bond between Ukraine and Russia to justify his army’s current barbarity. Last week in hospital, medical consultants revealed their own interests when describing my situation, one said I was a car that’s been in too many accidents, another said I was a beach ball sat upon too many times before its had time to re-inflate.
Children who aren’t fed stories have been shown to have less flexible minds, maybe Putin wasn’t … but there’s still hope for the world as the mind, even his, is amazingly adaptable and can catch-up even in old age, given the desire to improve…. Let’s hope our diplomats can weave such a tale. Ha! My next project - Trompy for adults? Maybe not.
12.45am. Camilla just drove away with M and H and other inspiring women for a fun three days. Those stimulating conversations in which M and I discussed how I could help with her extraordinary work took away my day’s power. The brain uses 20-25 percent of our energy, usually you don’t notice, but anyone whose is ill finds mental activity depletes the battery. Whatever our health or life situation, the trick is to set aside time to recharge, even if you’re a busy international expert in great demand like H, we need potent little moments to regain our equanimity.
Bye bye for now, a spot of calm ‘settling’ calls….