Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Precious life

Someone I know, someone I knew, someone I thought I knew, died ten days ago. He took his own life. He was about the same age as me. It was shocking and sad. No, it was beyond words. All of us who knew him are left thinking about the last time we spoke to him. No-one knew he was on the brink.  Why didn’t we know? Had we known, could we have done something to stop him from taking that step from which there is no coming back? 

There was a vigil held for him in the small town where he lived, and what became  apparent to me that night was how loved he was. All these people from all these different groups in the town assembled to mourn and to talk about how much he meant to them. Hadn’t he known? Did he know but it wasn’t enough? All these questions.

At the same time as he left, a real burst of summer arrived - at last - and having been reminded of the tenuous grip we have on life,

Lettering by Elizabeth Forrest RBSA

…I have been packing as much into my days as I can. As a result of that, I was so tired yesterday that I couldn’t even paint. 

The day before, I’d been on a bike ride and we had also been on a double-decker open-topped sightseeing bus from Calver to Castleton, up Winnatts Pass to the Blue John Cavern. There and back. The views were fabulous. We’ve done it twice. If you’re a local, you should go! (I feel like being an ambassador for these buses. You buy a ticket and there is one every hour and you can hop on and off all day if you choose. £5.50 with a bus pass.)

This is me at the terminus enjoying a coffee and the view down the Hope Valley. 

Last Thursday when it was a little chilly

And two days ago, when it was warm.

Last week after a long bike ride my knees ached so much that I couldn’t get to sleep. It was the third daily bike ride in a row and methinks it was a bit too much. I do have arthritic knees, but bike rides, being low impact exercise, are generally good for them.

And there’s another thing - yesterday I admitted to myself that I no longer like driving. Everyone seems to go so fast, and if I don’t go the same speed I am one of those annoying pensioners who drives at 40 mph in a 50 mph limit.

All of this stuff is about getting old. 

I’m not complaining, just aware.

This is a Mary Oliver poem. You might recognise the last two lines.

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