I won’t write an ode to my old hiking boots, no, I won’t. Nor to the paths trodden, forest, mountain, coastal, city-wide; the scents encountered, the views, the people; the shared or solitary pleasures; soundscapes, silences. The intense but never deadening tiredness after walking in all weathers, mile by snaking mile; the blisters, scratches, bruises, nature’s exuberant citations; lungs filled with yonder; real hunger; deep and satisfying sleep. No use retracing steps. Much is forgotten.
Here’s to embracing a culture of horizontal hierarchies (while needs must). At my lying best I reside on the sofa in the living room; next down the rungs: on floor, on bed, rock bottom: in. If only I could read and write all day – life in the mind might do me. In the end prostration is all-pervasive: one’s gaze streams like lengths of string, the river of words runs dry. Sorrow grows, flows out the door, the town, the land, frets by the sea (where I most want to be).
My sitting flies over the ocean, mostly. Hallway rambles count as strenuous exercise. Dreams thrive in early morning light, bold visions that scare and scatter soon as energies wane. For best returns: watching and waiting are detrimental/instrumental…
How do you envision a meaningful future, how do you connect, engage, compete, keep learning, when all you manage is minute-work? Patience is like a predatory beast. If there’s an Order of Perpetual Pining – I belong!
I have a carer now, and suddenly there’s help with food and baths and room to bloom a little. Time to draw capers in the air. Junctures. Chances. Curled on the carpet I aspire.
As fatigue deepens, anatomy folds, as if it were a collapsible thing, a canny feast of planks and poles. The energy-exclusion zone stealthily expands. Listening to the radio is the ultimate effort of a desperate hanger-on. One zealous ear upturned I huddle close lest sound disperses. Dedication is absolute and strangely physical, as if a large elongated bubble coupled speaker with outer ear – a warm, veined caul through which companionable voices travel. At some point the connection fails and storylines wash over me. When cadence turns cacophony, the last notes catch on my brow, slick as kiss-curls.
A house, filled to the roof with cobblestones, as places, pathways, passages unbuild themselves. A book, where faces bide and others turn. A term to take a hammer to (sledge, mallet, gavel, cow, and splitting maul): in spirit.
After. Bull-clipped to batter-time. Fused to the mattress like a semi-sentient tuft. Pain a high-pitched jingle, endlessly rewound; tiredness a throbbing hum. A cumbrous weight bears down, as if all the clothes you ever owned were piled on you. Fibre strata. Underneath you moor, bald and bony. Eyelids hang on rusted hinges. You do not lust after anything, nor wish, nor hope. You know nothing but this, here, ego’s primordial outpost. And when, after a long-drawn, graceless sway, fatigue begins to lift, ever so slowly, a kind of restoration starts, incremental, fitful, stiff. Soon consciousness feigns fluency, prepares to preen its hide: hot pink, like a conch shell’s jowls.