Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another bad taste in the mouth

DON'T TALK TO ME about superstitions; I find them too useful to abandon them to the embrace of science. No sooner did I write about Harry's memorial service than I have another brush myself. Mortality's in the air.

A blog is no place for intimate personal details: enough to say that massive chills and high fever sent me to hospital, where the service was wonderful though the food not quite inspired; after six nights, including a last bounce-back following too optimistic a release, I was back on Eastside Road a week ago. I'm on the mend, but warned: seventy-five has more physical limitations
than sixty-five.

So why bring the matter up publicly at all? Because it turns out some of you readers care about these things. I appreciate that. There were long nights when I contemplated all sorts of things -- night thoughts after hearing Mahler, someone wrote once somewhere, the title of a book I think. I saw Goyas behind my closed eyelids; that damn dog gazing up out of his pit. Oddly, no aural hallucinations that I can recall. Much thought of Montaigne: how I'd love to converse with him, in his tower of books. 

I thought of the ghost community of readers of this blog, and I thought about freinds and family. Community means more and more. I think of those citizens of Paestum, 2500 years ago, and what their life must have been like, mediating between agriculture and trade; negotiating class and economic differences; attending, often privately, to the public shrines of the gods who meant the most to them; meeting in the market place and the temple; citizens, family members, individuals.

We feel too often, I think, that we aren't subject to similar preoccupations; but for me another look at death, even though not all that close, brings out the universality of life -- universality and continuity. Modern man thinks he's a private individual, and to an extent he succeeds at that. But before and behind that we've been governed by the same instincts and desires for thousands of years; strip away technological advances and not that much changes. 

(And we're also not individuals at all, of course, but immense populations of cells many of whom act as little sub-units of their own: but that's another story.)

Thanks for the good wishes, everyone. I hope to get back to Sicily soon.


Curtis Faville said...

You must be in the "Sicily" of your life.

Think too about how much slimmer all our chances would have been, just an hundred years ago.

At 75 you've beaten all the odds, and then some, including the yawning void of poverty. Life under the yoke can be no life at all.

Think positive, the man said.

Hallelujah to that.

Charles Shere said...

I am mindful, and grateful, daily.

louann said...

I'm glad you're okay and recuperating. Just reading about the food, gardening and travel you and Lindsey are doing is a gift for me, and I'd bet for a lot of others.

John Whiting said...

Charles, your report from the Outer Edge (which I've only just caught up with for boring technological reasons) sounds a loud buzzer. I make no claims to clairvoyance, but at the time I was thinking about you rather often and vowing to renew contact. I'm grateful that you are in fact still there.

Mindful of mortality, I've recently started a semi-autobiographical website in which, one by one, I'm thanking some of the people who made a substantial difference in the direction and quality of my life. It's here: http://www.thankyouoneandall.co.uk