Day 13

The rhythm of the day is beginning to lose its pattern. Middle of night interruptions to sleep come without pressure to return to dreamland. Distance from others is becoming accepted; is there any point going out there?

Eschewing television as formulaic, lacking originality, dull, I choose to listen to music. Lyrics bore me. Orchestral compositions, quartets, quintets, pieces for solo instruments, jazz. The Nau Ensemble’s interpretation of Joy Division tracks holds fascination.

A day within, with only the most cursory contact with nature and that being the cool north wind as I put a banana skin in the compost bucket. I see the fresh greens and yellows of cowslips through the window. A small brown bird flies into the depths of the roadside hedge. The sun pops out before more clouds darken the sky.

I finish “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari. The last chapter is about meditation. It makes sense. As I read it you are meditating in your apartment near the lakeside. I smile at the coincidence.

Come evening, the excuse to draw the curtains and shut everything out is welcomed.

I study cricket statistics online after supper, reviving specific memories of seven summers. Particular incidents return to mind vividly. How much of what comes back to me is true? Which of my stories correctly align with the figures on the scoresheets? Some stories I carry in my head are exposed as myths by the numbers.

Team mates and opponents come back to life; even one recently deceased. He provokes mixed responses. My recollection of him not entirely squaring with the eulogies posted on the club website. He was more complex than what is being written there.

Each person I recall produces a string of stories, emotions, connections to other people, places; often nothing to do with the cricket at all. My emotions twitch in response to what I read, revive, recall.

Before sleep comes again we share pillow-talk from our distant pillows. You laugh heartily tuning your soft, lilting voice into rich, base notes from your belly. It is that deep laugh of yours, the one that I feel in my stomach too.

We take care with our words. We know not where our conversation leads, but for now we are are going nowhere. There is no tomorrow.

CLP 31/03/2020

On Separation

Boxed heart stays constant

Old fears prowl; rattle casket

Rhythm misses beat

.

Contactless eyes dumb

Imagination finds voice

Tremors felt in gut

.

Misunderstandings

Fill up conversation voids

Muddy evidence

.

Dig gently for truth

Listen to answers; reflect

Retire to consider

.

Never forget this:

Distance forms Hall of Mirrors;

Boxed hearts stay constant

.

n.b. We are not alone. Keep the faith.

CLP 30/03/2020

On the Inside

Thoughts held tight

Multiply in solitude’s echo chamber

These flies hatch from eggs laid deep

Kept cool by winter

Until Spring’s first warmth seeps in

Here they are

Buzzing, banging on glazing

Repeating knock out blows

Frenzied attempts to pass the glass

Crashing time after time

Despite concussive impacts

Leaving sickness, giddiness

Confusion.

.

See the window is open!

Let them fly free

.

n.b. We are not alone.

CLP 25/03/2020

Day 6

Sat on the front doorstep, mug of tea to hand, the cool breeze is worth enduring for the joy of sun on my face. I listen to the birds, a buzzard’s cry easily distinguished above them all.

No traffic, no aircraft. All that can be heard are these birds in song.

Later a dog down the street barks from a backyard for a reason only he knows. It draws responses from another, who according to its owner, is deaf.

At the simple metal feeder blue tits, great tits and coal tits flit to and fro in an endless chain. Some are tidier than others with their feeding. The great tits are able to neatly carry off one nut at a time, while the blue tits peck furiously, spraying flakes in their haste to get to the kernels they seek.

A lone starling clatters onto the wire feeding cage, clears the stage. Flapping its wings to maintain temporary balance, it displays the multicoloured, luminous beauty of its feathers.

Collared doves waddle around in the grass below, picking at the fallen crumbs. A chaffinch joins their scavenging; then a robin.

On the borders of the garden blue-bell plants approach maturity, but for now only a few stalks carry buds with hints of colour.

The hazel is sprouting soft, ribbed leaves, but there is more cane wood than foliage. At this time the trees offer incomplete impressions of the full-bodied canopies they will carry.

Today’s highlight is the fleeting visit of a Red Admiral that touches down on the grass, opens its wings for a second, kisses them together, then flickers up again. It quickly disappears into the dazzling mid-morning light.

We speak as you walk up through the vines above the lake. You join the regulated queue at the supermarket. I return to my work at the makeshift desk, by the window. Your voice as delightful to my ears as the butterfly to my eyes.

My eldest son texts me. He is returning to the hospital. Duty calls him.

CLP 23/03/2020