“Morning Quasimodo!” Camilla laughed as I hobbled into the bedroom bearing a giant mug of
tea for her. Sometimes as I mount two flights of stairs, I call, “Chai! Chai!” to remind her of Indian trains deep in the night when vendors carrying tea use an irritating high pitched squeal to wake everyone and prompt sales, so to be teased in return shows her mood is rising.
This morning, my body decided to slump and I’m struggling to retain my own optimistic outlook. The Quasimodo comment was due to my left knee bending backwards on itself as I stand or walk and to avoid collapse and pain, I walk with bent knees as if I were creeping around Notre Damme.
Yonks ago, at the foot of a challenging cliff, I said that if I got to the point I’m now at, I’d climb without ropes and when exhaustion kicked in, I’d accept falling from the solid rock and relish my final flight. Ha, the idiocy of the young, we all want life over death. Today, inhabiting that once imagined painful wobbly body, despite the difficulties I don’t want to escape.
For the umpteenth time in each day, this shoots my mind to Mariupol and those interred in the steel works. They know there is no escape yet they refuse to leave. Do they prefer the slow death of starvation to being tortured by Chechen and Syrian mercenaries or Russians? Do they hope for one of those nasty bombs which devastate all life by sucking out oxygen in a split second?
Unlike them, regardless of not having enough energy to do sufficient exercise to rebuild my body, I still have faith that tomorrow, even this afternoon, will be better. They know there is nothing to look forward. How can they keep themselves mentally buoyant? I at least have a certain control of my existence beyond this house. The tragedy of Mariupol.
Hearing Camilla cheerfully greeting the supermarket driver, I rise from this blog to help place the food in our pantry. Crouching and hobbling, the goods I carry turn my mind back to all who shelter across Ukraine - they’ve nothing much to eat. Such gory facts invade my thoughts deep in the night when, woken by pain or spluttering to rid my lungs of infection, I feel upset for those in the war zone who suffer without medical care. Unlike me, they don’t have the positivity of normal life to lift them, as they lie there, all around them the Russians are destroying the lovely world they and their relatives have built up over the centuries.
As these wild streams of consciousness flow and entangle, my conclusion is always the same. Life is incredible precious, yet humanity at large has forgotten this as we desire warmer homes, longer car journeys, food flown in from the far reaches of the Globe and we moan that sunflower oil is now more rare, for it largely came from Ukraine. Our governments, always wanting re-electing, are fearful of the internal revolt which almost toppled Macron. This is why they chose Russian fuel over solidarity, why they’ve not developed renewable power, despite having known about Global Warming since the 1980’s.
If only I still had the strength to get out and fight the politico-environmental fight, but without energy to socialise, creative tasks help me avoid mental sagging. How, I wonder, do they in Mariupol rise from the inevitable depression of their hopeless situation? And in the steel works they hang on, fearful of how they would be treated by the Chechen and Syrian mercenaries surrounding them, and, if they got past those characters from hell, by the Russians themselves. Are they filled with an animal desire not to give up their homeland? Or is it pride? Or confusion due to lack of food and constant bombardment?
If only those invaders would allow their humanity to step forwards, in the end, this catastrophic war is as pointless as the destruction of Syria. Incidentally, the country these same soldiers ‘liberated’, has become the drug manufacturing and distribution centre of the Middle East - Assad and his ‘firm’ are spreading misery to surrounding countries.
What is wrong with humanity? We can over-ride the animal within, cast aside our inner Putins and care for each other and hence ourselves, and for the environment we so desperately need to protect. We’d be happier all round, as was Quasimodo towards the end.