I miss the swimming. This is a good sign because it means that I must have short periods (moments) of feeling up for doing it. But if I actually did I would be back in the crawling pits again. It wasn't only the warm chlorine - regular, sustained exercise is not something that PWME can do. I already knew this but made myself believe I could find a way. Does anybody, in any case, get it all right? Life, I mean, and how to live it. My aunt, nearing her death and not yet particularly old, confessed that she had never been particularly "wedded to life", and I felt surprised by this, and to some degree shocked, as thought it were a disavowal of something that we all come with, this bond that weds us unbreakably to life, until life itself is gone from us. But my aunt was, I only realised this later, probably depressed for much of her life - the signs were there but not obvious to anyone who didn't know her intimately. She was passionate about the arts and particularly about getting to know people who were something or other, who had made a name for themselves. She was a fine cook and courted them with boef a la ficelle and Grand Marnier souffle. She collected famous names and even had affairs with some of them. This, and Fortnum and Masons, made her feel much better about life. We all need things that are better-making.
I'm sure this post was going somewhere, but a couple of phone calls, my neighbour's knock on the door with coffee and walnut cake and a pressing need to have something to eat (boiled eggs and soldiers) interrupted the flow. Never mind, because what I was going to talk about was the particulars, and how they above all can wed one to life, particularly when life is constrained by chronic illness or any ongoing situation that is difficult to bear or robs one of life-force. But then, I am not depressed. I am many things that one might (and please don't!) give a clinical name to - but not that. And I know this, because there were two short periods when I almost certainly was, and anyone who has been there knows about the difference between that dark beast and all the other mind-creatures one has to battle or negotiate with. I am wedded to life, the better and the worse of it, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, especially to the particulars of coffee and walnut cake, pleasant interruptions, the magpie who has found temporary lodging on our apple tree, and even, or perhaps particularly, an almost redundant yellow HB pencil, its india rubber worn to the metal rung that holds it, the lead almost blunt - I must remember to sharpen it later, restore it to some kind of usefulness. And an old leather cricket ball that has sat on the desk this many a year, the tough stitching around its red middle still good. No use for it at all in our lives, but there it sits, placing itself in the list of particulars that we may or may not find in heaven but can only properly relish here on earth, to which I am wedded.
This being so, why am I smoking again? Must stop before it takes hold. There is always that.