I’m too tired to write this standing up. I almost got up at 5, then procrastinated and fell asleep again. The bin collection is already doing its rounds down our street and those around us. Wednesday morning. Mid-week. So many people I speak to feel trapped in a never-ending circle where nothing seems to change from day to day, where, although they find some satisfaction in what they’re doing, they find themselves without a purpose. Every day the same, even weekends. Covid has done this to us. And still is. All we’re doing right now is drawing slightly larger patterns in slightly larger circles.
Are birds land animals? I watched a small one, could have been a thrush, speed across the roofs of the street just now. They must be faster than humans. Must be faster than cheetahs. My mind went to migratory birds, and the physical miracle of their travels. They know no borders, they know no xenophobia, unless you count the nets that still catch millions of them every year as xenophobia. They carry no passports, not even tiny ones strapped to their tiny legs, so they can gain entry into the countries they visit. Priti Patel isn’t trying to get them deported to Rwanda if they so much as set a feather into the UK. I saw a rotund pigeon bullying a sleek magpie the other day on the Heath. That answered my question as to why I’d not seen the magpies again that were building a nest in the huge cork tree two doors down from me, a tree no seemingly dominated by one rotund pigeon couple. They were obviously channelling Brexit Britain’s xenophobia.
Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a picture of himself that I took 10 years ago in London and which he used on one of his chapbooks. I took it in South Kensington tube station, where the pedestrian tunnel towards the Natural History Museum takes an elegant bend to the left. A decade since I saw him, which is really very odd. At the beginning of that tunnel, as you step down into it, there was a massive promo poster of Dead Men, a poster I never took a picture of myself of in front of in situ, and which is now sitting in a cardboard tube in this study. I should stop measuring my life in missed opportunities. Because there are more opportunities ahead. Always. It’s just a case of spotting them.
I have now written over 100k words in this space since the beginning of the year, and we’re not even a third of the way through it. Imagine printing that when it’s done. Then putting it through a shredder for New Year’s Eve confetti and starting all over again. This is how life is.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 67