Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sunshine and Shadow
You know how there are times when everything seems like either a cliche or a metaphor? well, here's a picture illustrating exactly that. Yesterday morning, first sight as I came downstairs, lovely sun painting images inside the living room. Definitely something to get up for. Metaphor for life at the moment. Or any moment. That's where the cliche comes in.
More planting of daffodils yesterday, this time with HS, a token group out front where everyone can enjoy them in the spring. And he accepted happily the collection of knives and the caliper, and a lunch of soup and homemade bread. Asked what kind of soup it was, it was good, and when I launched on the list of ingredients, tomatoes, garlic, onions, cabbage, yellow split peas, chickpeas, sage pesto, Italian sausage, etc., said, oh, it's just soup, not any particular kind. Which it is, since my soup is usually the whole meal, containing every known food group! plus croutons from homemade bread. I've decided that an identifiable soup, asparagus, or mushroom, or something, is the first course before another course. My kind of if it's there throw it in soup is a major meal in itself.
Food of another kind, for thought, is the latest discovery I made in writers, probably the last person in the hemisphere to have found Jenny Diski. I hugely recommend her as a very intelligent, incisive writer who simply gets it, very readable except where you have to keep putting the book down to think a minute. Strangers on a Train is a wonderful documentary of a circular train journey she made around the US, after a long sea journey on a freighter, great insights into traveling alone and the metaphors it forces on you.
I just started The Sixties,a short thoughtful book written about her experiences as a boomer in London, born in 1957, so the war years were only history to her, but the experience of the sixties her own life and times. She makes the terrific point that to the people of the age to have taken part in the times as the "right" age for them, it was very much like the twenties revolt against the hardships and tragedies of the previous war. The swingers of London were like the Bright Young Things of twenties London. I was a bit older than she, had already left England by the mid sixties, so this is documentary to me, rather than memory.
And almost at the same time as starting this book, I picked up the mail and found an invitation to a special service for families and friends of people who were cared for by Hospice recently, as if they form some kind of special group. I suppose it's a nice thought, but why on earth would we be grouped like this? I have no connection with any other patient or family, largely because of patient privacy rules, and just can't see what point there is to this. Aside from the fact that just as I'm starting to recover, this invitation tore it all wide open again, oh well.
It's one of those groupings that dismay me, exactly like the groupings of the Sixties, where an accident of time and place, or condition, or ability, is supposed to link people. Like, to name another false grouping, that well meaning organization Mensa. Not sour grapes here, I'm eligible to join it, but honestly how does success on IQ tests, measuring a few specific mental abilities, create a meaningful bond between human beings? I've always thought it oddly unintelligent to assume that it does!
I do see how kindred spirits can enjoy each others' company, knitters, spinners, readers, writers, that kind of thing, where there's a shared interest with forward movement. But I don't see at all how life experience does that. Well,maybe it's just me.
One of the funniest groupings is the massive universe of People Who Claim To Have Been at Woodstock! millions and millions of people who can safely say they were there because nobody can challenge it. Not unlike the 17,000 original Rembrandts in various collections around the world, except they can be challenged if the owner lets it happen.
It may just be that my inner hermit doesn't need to reach out frantically for groups. I bet there's a Hermits Anonymous group out there somewhere, though...