I was looking at the word “virus” the other day and realised that I didn’t really know what it is. I use the word virulent a lot to describe something that is aggressive, unpleasant and destructive. I think of it as something alien and unfriendly to the place it comes into. My body behaves as thought everything is a virus and must be fought with all the resources it can muster. I am a poor country always at war. The army has taken over and has held the country in its grip for many years. It cares nothing for the land or its people. It cares only for war. At this very moment it is calling on its demented soldiers to fight against this activity of tapping words onto a screen.
My mother called me the other day. It was a bad day, I was struggling to remain upright, the army has perhaps got wind of plans afoot to take back the land and is fighting with all the weapons at its disposal.
“I have been hearing all about M.E. on the radio,” she said, “isn’t it awful! There are all sorts of people who have it much worse than you. I’ve been hearing all about David Puttnam.”
“David Puttnam,” I said, “is still able to work. He gets a bad spell every so often.”
“Well I’m just saying, I’ve been hearing all about it on the radio. You sound well.”
I’ve asked her if she and partner would like to come for Christmas lunch. She says,
“Oh no, we don’t eat.” She does, of course – big meals, roasted meats, organic vegetables, cake and wine and cheese and fruit. And just as well, really.
I have been reading about people who give up all food and drink and claim to live on air and light alone. They might take a bite of something like celery or chocolate, just to experience taste or texture, but they don’t eat as such, or drink. I am engaged by the idea of living on light. Can’t help wondering, though, how this would work if one lived in, say, Finland, where it is pretty dark all through the winter. A woman was quoted as saying that she had the sense that food was somehow poisonous to the system and that breatharianism could and should be achievable.
Consider: there would be no shopping to do because no meal times. No breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, snacks. Nothing to offer people when they come to visit but the light from your windows and, presumably, yourself (for you would be existing at a much higher vibration). You would be, I suppose, like the angels. No need for toilet paper because with nothing going in there would be nothing to come out. And appetite all gone. What about the companionship that comes with sharing food? The word companion has the word bread in it. It is a person with whom you break bread. We don’t just hunger for something to fill us up but for everything that earth can give here and now, while we breathe in it, which includes turkey with trimmings, flaming pudding with spiky holly on a white plate, crunch of toast just burnt at the edges. I picture sitting around a table with people I love or wish to know better: I have no food to offer you, just my breath and my words. And to my mother I would say: “well, here is a table full of light, then. Have that.” I don’t think so. No, it wouldn’t suit me at all.
Virginia Woolf, in her last diary entry, said:
“And now with some pleasure I find that it's seven; and must cook dinner. Haddock and sausage meat. I think it's true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down.”
I have just eaten a baked potato with grated farmhouse cheddar, leek and chive sausages and broccoli. I think that one gains a certain hold on life by relishing and eating them.