It is morning again already. The office/study feels like my permanent residence right now. Thankful that the Heath is just up the road. All I’d look at otherwise are computer and phone and TV screens. Yes, I read books, but only over breakfast and lunch and dinner. I often think back to the days when the internet was a new thing, and the one computer in the corner of the room was restricted to being used for a maximum hour a day, because connecting through a dial-up modem was expensive and stopped anyone from calling us on the landline (which was the only line we had), and stopped us from calling out. Occasionally, one of us would pick up the phone without realising the computer was connected and have their ears frazzled by the hiss and static of data transmission. Those days were even more different, even more innocent, than the days before covid-19.
This is not false melancholia, not the standard development of the young buck into a grumpy old man. It’s a genuine yearning for a time when life was richer because there was more depth to it, less choice, less distraction at the touch of a screen. What was distant from us could only be seen and learned about through books or grainy TV pictures, and even TV choice was limited, so there was no endless channel hopping to find something to distract us from real life. We had to live real life, and we had to find ways of influencing our immediate sphere through words and physical action. As a writer, getting my words heard was more complicated than turning on a screen, navigating through to a Graphic User Interface that allows me to type words into boxes, with a computer doing the rest and fixing them into a shape readable by other GUIs. Of course, getting other computers to come look at what I’ve tiredly built at any time is another issue, but that’s a tangent for other days.
When even the children say life is relentless who is to blame?
There are no answers.
I am writing in silence. I’ve not been able to to find the right song to tap out unbidden words to. I have not even felt the urge for music this morning yet. The wind is rising again, and I wonder if it is a sign of things to come, if it’s a sign things will change or if it’s a sign of impending destruction. Humans fight over borders where the land knows no borders. The greed of men (and it is mainly men who are the aggressors) is limitless and ignorant and dangerous. We little people have no say in what they do. Revolutions, especially non-violent ones, are easily quashed. If anyone in power had it in their mind to silence me, it would be easily done. They could find me within an hour, even less, and destroy what I have. This is not paranoia; it’s being realistic.
The signs of the overnight frost were visible in the garden when I walked to the office this morning. It had found its way into places it hadn’t reached before, a white static on the black soil. Soft ridges become sharp. We have a whole winter yet ahead of us, and the warm temperatures of last weekend were nothing but something nature did to lull us into a false sense of security. The weather knows no borders, and the wind brings us the scent of war from all quarters.
Things will never be the same again. Brace, brace!
Ren Powell12th February 2022 at 10:29
I love that you have that space. That you’ve made that for yourself. And these storms – always these storms somewhere. Why not where we are? How long can we avoid being swept up in the real world really? We’re maybe the unlucky lucky ones. Still the lucky ones.
Richard Pierce12th February 2022 at 15:01
I saw this pop up in my emails while I was doing radio. Such a wonderful comment, which made me well up. And, yes, we are still the lucky ones. (and it’s found its way into a poem I started on Thursday morning in the small hours, and finished half an hour ago 🙂