As daylight stretches later into the afternoon, I have found myself avoiding the light, craving the comfort of the fireside and a warm blanket. Icy pavements discourage walking, although my knee has almost fully recovered. I am happy to draw curtains and blinds and retire to bed early with my book. January began with news of deaths, two of them people I was close to, more or less contemporaries. The loss of those who remember us when we were young is significant. I’ve been playing Leonard Cohen and remembering happy evenings over many years, here and in the US. Then deaths from Covid reached 100,000. Perhaps unsurprising that I had this vivid dream:
I had watched some footage on the news of graves being dug and I think this image must have stayed with me. A friend told me about a very old lady, in hospital and close to the end, who confided
I’m joining that club
What club is that?
The one you join when you dee
After the dream, I was sure today’s Tarot card would be Death X111. However, when I turned up The World XX1 , I was surprised and pleased. The dancing woman holds life in balance. She is surrounded by new growth and colour, a living wreath, a safe asylum for the newly emerging self with no purpose other than being. It would be good to think that life can be this joyous after the year we have had. The number 21 leads us back to 0 and The Fool, where our journey can begin again. The vaccine (the hot topic among my contemporaries) may bring a return to freedom, to family visits and even holidays. Biden’s inauguration two weeks after Trump’s riots was a celebration of democracy, a day which lifted spirits and gave us a reason to open something fizzy. My whole soul is in this, he said, quoting Abraham Lincoln. Lady Gaga’s voice soared above the commemorative flags. Amanda Gorman’s poem was heartfelt and impressive.
My reading on a Gothic theme continues:The Unforgetting by Rose Black, The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick. I was excited to pick up my copy of Laura Purcell’s new book, The Shape of Darkness. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is an interesting take on the idea of alternate lives by a writer who tweets regularly on mental health. I finally reached the end of Stuart Macbride’s Logan Macrae series then discovered an audio version of the standalone A Dark So Deadly. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Booker prizewinner) had to be read. Set in the West of Scotland in 1980s, it is the story of a sensitive boy doing his best to support a mother suffering from depression and alcoholism. Well written, and not as grim as it sounds.
Television has had new stuff to offer - the entertaining Lupin and Bling Empire on Netflix, The Great and It's a Sin on 4, and some old favourites, a stunning last series of Spiral with an unexpected ending (no spoilers) on BBC4 and the welcome return of Snowpiercer on Netflix. Even being in lockdown seems preferable to hurtling round a frozen world on a high speed train for ever!
Sitting on a hard chair
Hands sticky from sanitiser
Tongue finds the gap from broken bridge
Can the dentist fix my crumbling teeth?
Like these anxiety dreams
Where teeth fall out
Maybe a full set of wallies
Is the answer?
I feel apologetic
50's Dentistry Fillings then Extractions
Too much sugar
Update: gap is filled
I grin beneath my mask
I loved this image of WeeBoy and his WeePal in the snow, after an afternoon of sledging and snowballs. Back to home schooling, with very limited contact with family and friends, they manage to be happy in the moment, lost in their own adventure, enjoying being together. In the unmarked snow, there is a promise of infinite possibilities.
This seems a good place to be. There’s a jigsaw to be completed, music to play, books to read, films to watch……
Thanks for reading and responding. Apologies if you got a partial draft sent last night. I hit a wrong button somewhere and published before post was finished!