Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Tea and Coincidence

She wandered into the kitchen with no set purpose. Still early, but a kookaburra nearby had woken her with a start. Her arthritic pain kicked in almost immediately and getting back to sleep was not going to be possible. It was a daily struggle, this rising from the bed, her body resisting the pain by refusing to move. It had taken twenty minutes to get to the standing position. The movement itself was relatively swift, it was the preceding internal struggle that swallowed her time. Like a kookaburra eating a witchety grub. She chuckled at the thought. She didn't even know if kookaburra's ate witchety grubs. She left her husband to his slumber, preferring to savour the peace in the home that his awakening would almost certainly destroy.

A cup of tea then, or coffee. Seeing as though she was in the kitchen. But which? Most people had a clear preference for their early morning hot beverage. There was those who couldn't function without a morning espresso or cappuccino. And those who liked to sip on tea to herald in the morning. She wavered each morning. Her choice depended on a variety of factors. Length of slumber, degree of pain, schedule for the day, mood, weather, presence or absence of her spouse. Today she felt like the cleanliness of tea. With just a sprinkle of sugar, and a dash of milk. In her favourite tea cup with delicate yellow flowers decorating its cylindrical form, contrasting with the large functional handle that even her awkward arthritic fingers could wrap around. She was too young to have these physical ailments. Long term use of Lupus medication was to blame. She'd broken her arm twice this year on two separate occasions, so weak were her bones. Simple little falls, with six weeks of consequences.

Perhaps some eggs for breakfast. A bit of decadence was called for today. Her beautiful twins were turning twenty-five. She could almost gasp with disbelief at how those years had flown by. On the other side of the world they were, living in London, experiencing European life, slumming it a little in low paying jobs, but she knew they were resilient, having spent most of their childhood living under the poverty line. She hoped they were happy and well, it was difficult for her, having them so far from reach. What she wouldn't give to have them both in her arms right now. To make them a beautiful Birthday cake to celebrate their quarter centuries. So bleak life was without them.

The tea was warming, the cup soothing in her hand. It kept the worries about finances and the increasingly volatile moods of her husband at bay. Moods that took most of her day managing. Like walking on eggshells, she thought with a sense of irony as she cracked the first egg into a bowl. She couldn't believe what slid out of the shell, a double yolker! A beautiful coincidence she mused, that some poor little hen had produced an egg with the potential to yield twin chicks, and it had travelled from goodness knows where to her little local store, where she had picked up this particular carton of a dozen, and selected this particular egg on the birth day of her cherished golden girls. An endorsement that on a higher plane, above the struggle of every day existence, all was right with the world. It would not do to make this precious symbolic gift into a simple omelette. A Birthday cake she would make after all. To photograph and upload to Facebook for her girls to delight in. And then she would eat a slice, a large one, and rejoice in her achievements as a mother. With renewed vigour, she tied back her hair and reached for the self raising flour.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Swimming Laps

I'm beginning to understand the allure of swimming laps in a long pool. I've always adored the water, particularly swimming underwater and spinning somersaults and twists and turns. But imagined that swimming laps up and down a pool would be a solitary dull undertaking. And perhaps it is only now that I have begun to seek a touch more solitude that I can appreciate this sport. It's more than that though, it's the change in substance surrounding your body, encasing your skin with its gentle sensual pressure. The resistance you encounter from the water as you slice your arms through its depths. Strengthening your muscles by its mere presence and molecular makeup.

The buoyancy of the water alleviating those normal joint pains and back aches while you move. You scarcely notice these imperfections in the alignment of your body when on land as they are ever present, a constant white noise of sensation, discovered only by their absence in a different atmosphere. Relief from these can free your mind, help it rise above its usual preoccupation with dealing with discomfort and focus upon other matters. It's a slight sideways step into another world, this entry to the pool. And you can see its influence on the bodies of elite swimmers.

During the backstroke I have greater awareness of breath entering my lungs, their rhythmic expansion and collapse. The process of life giving, oxygen conversion to energy.

When the sun is shining and the water cool, the contrasts are invigorating, blessed warmth against alleviating cool.

When you emerge, so many laps later, I currently like to swim 30 laps, moving through the air, feels different, you note it's easy texture, feel it as the substance that it is, instead of the usual nothingness. A changing substance, rapidly shifting composition, we are lead to believe, to the point where we will no longer find its entry into our bodies so pleasant. And we are to blame for this transformation of our atmosphere, for our eventual demise.

Such a tragic turn of events. An ill fated species, unable to stop ourselves from world wide slow burning suicide. Perhaps not, perhaps the revolution is coming, whispered voices advocating a change in our industrial ways, are gathering decibels and we will love trees and the air and each other, more than the fear that keeps us enslaved to this process of planetary dismantling.

Swim and take note, my advice for today.