Monday, 15 July 2013
4.30 a.m. and dawn breaks outside my bedroom window. I am woken by the light, and then alerted by a cat stand-off in the road. Two of them contesting each other's right to be there. Vocal protest, postural threats, neither able to break eye-contact. Luckily, no traffic. Then a distant dog-bark gives them the excuse they need to turn simultaneously and run in opposite directions, dignity and social position more or less intact.
It is already warm, and I think of getting up and doing the ironing before the real heat of the day kicks in, for it does feel like a kick.
We are not used to this in England. The odd couple of days, yes, but not for any length of time. Not with temperatures over 30 degrees and the sky dotted with little clouds that barely move.
I think about the ironing, and then I think about not ironing.
My son is staying for a few days before heading off to distant lands again, so I think about food instead, and how I can prepare meals without cooking.
Then I go back to bed and try not to think of anything, but instead am unexpectedly swamped by sadness
I miss people.
I miss people who have moved away geographically, and those whom death has taken. I miss loves requited and unrequited and the complexities and richness they brought to my life. I even miss myself when young. I think I'd like another go at being young and try to do it better.
But then I see the complex web of cause and effect, and see that I could make very few changes without altering the essential pattern, and there is nothing I would want to change in the essential pattern.
I didn't expect it to happen, this getting old business. It crept up on me when I wasn't looking.
Like the cats, I was posturing, keeping eye-contact, maintaining my status and all the time age was creeping stealthily up behind me, so that when I turned to flee I couldn't.
I could walk with a certain dignity, but it had got me and I couldn't run anywhere.
So now I suppose I walk towards it, hoping that, like the dawn, it brings promise as well as threat.
On the whole, it would have been better to get up and do the ironing.