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

Non-contact Sport

Only game I know

In which there is no reason

To touch is cricket

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n.b. But if the ball makes contact, it will mark you.

n.n.b. Doh! A ball bowled from a bare hand then hit in the air may be caught in a naked grasp. So a risk…

n.n.n.b. Someone had cut the field this afternoon; it smelt beautiful, just beautiful.

CLP 16/03/2020

Salix Alba Caerulea

Deep roots draw strength

From river banks; soggy fields

Pink shoots top out crown

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n.b. This willow, from which cricket bats are made, thrives in fresh water zones of temperate lands. In the early part of the year the tips of this salix tree bring a refreshing light red hue to winter, a hope-filled indicator of better things to come, such as the cricket season.

At Havant station yesterday I looked over to the adjacent cricket field where a bulky chap was mowing the square. I could smell the chlorophyll on the breeze from the grass cutting. It released a butterfly cloud of cricket related memories in my head. Heaven!

CLP 01/03/2020

On The Front Foot

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Eyes level, focus

Backlift, then swing through the line

Lead with head, not foot

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n.b. If a batsman always leads with the front foot there is the serious risk of being yorked by the bowler adjusting the length of a delivery to pitch the ball underneath the bottom of the bat. What a good batter does is watch each ball’s line and length and play each delivery on its merits, whilst taking into account the match situation.

n.n.b. Alexander “Boris” Johnson, currently Her Majesty’s Prime Minister and Minister for The Union, prattles on about being on the front foot all the time. He purports this to mean he is being positive and setting the tone. Superbia et ante ruinum exaltatur, as they said in Rome, before it fell.

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CLP 27/07/2019

On the Field

Man versus Nature

Blades of steel v. blades of grass

Cricket’s the winner

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n.b. The smell of cut grass releases various plant chemicals into the air. They signal the start of the English cricket season, even though there are weeks to the first coin toss and the first delivery.

In the picture above the light green patch of grass is the hallowed turf of a cricket square.

CLP 14/03/2019