This is life, the very substance of it. I have to keep reminding myself on days when every bit of action or inaction is accompanied by muscle pain: it all still counts – the fifteen-minute walk along a tarmac road to where the forest suddenly becomes thick and the path slopes down, and back again before it becomes too hard; the squeezed orange juice I drink first thing to help my body wake up after a long and difficult sleep with too many strange dreams (last night I lost my passport, my luggage, a folder containing everything I had ever written); and in particular, the people – the voices of my children, always sweet to my ear, the look on Mr. Signs’ face as he steps across the threshhold, life being busy and good for him these days, but always from wherever, he is pleased to come home.
Yesterday my neighbour-over-the-road who is also a friend came on the short walk with me. Afterwards I sat in her kitchen where she quickly made scones which we had with clotted cream and the home-made jam her daughter made for Christmas. A low carb regime is not realistic now, friendship and carbohydrates go together so well in the winter months.
I am revising old poems. This also, I remind myself, is of the essence. It is easy to feel that it doesn’t really count if one isn’t bashing out something new. It does, though – I have resurrected two or three poems that were just abandoned like lost causes because I thought I could never lick them into the right kind of shape. Instead of doing that, I am just pruning and adding a little here and there and remembering that an imperfect poem can do the job as well as (sometimes better than) the perfect one. Sometimes it is the imperfect poem that gets my attention, and I think: this is life, the very substance of it. I have to remind myself.