I feel tearful this morning and my chest is aching with grief. Luckily my housemate & host made us both laugh just now by describing, with infinite wryness, the ruthless player she is partnered with today (“I have to go all the way to Zurich & then it’s like the Olympics”) before leaving with her tennis racquet strapped to her back. She’s been playing tennis for sixty years and hasn’t tired of it yet.
Sitting in the sun I think: how long will we be able to go on? There are big valuables at stake. Our generations have melodrama imposed on our lives. I’m not even counting the nuclear-fizzing bully boys chucking tantrums, the banker boys stealing from the public: there is no room in my heart for them, I am grappling with my grief about the slow death of everything.
The tremendous, repetitive work involved, in keeping it human-sized, staying awake, conducting one’s own modest, moral, individual life; the effort of planning anything at all (‘get out of bed, revise the poem’), of keeping hope lit. A gigantic assembly line, you have to keep fitting a million tiny metal and plastic pieces meaninglessly into place, just in order to glimpse the holiday of a corner of blue sky from out of the window. We’re all bound to it together, but it is somehow the loneliest thing. I can’t describe it at all. What I wanted to say, to somebody – anybody! – when I woke up this morning and heard the bird heralds of Spring, is: there are the big griefs of mourning lost species, and the missing wild places, the shaven forests and the lopped-off hills; and the deterioration of our daily bread, air, soil, fruit, eggs, and water. There is the horrifying fear of the future, overwhelming, paralyzing: a fear we must put aside and act on at once if anything is to amount to anything at all. There is the frustration of having sung this song too long, the boredom with it, the continual assaults from hopelessness. I get on with it. I rinse the poisonous dishwasher gleam from my cup, and make tea. I look all the big questions in the eye and tell them, I’m not afraid of my fear of you, I know you, I know you are there. But today the worst thing is the tiniest thing: my resentment at the pollution of my own daily dreams and the way I try to plan my day, by the wailing of the world’s biggest questions in context of history’s biggest mess. The siren interruption of alarm, that is the call not of sodden & beautiful temptresses but of ever-growing emergency.
Ambulance. Ruined police. Fire!
Self-pity, so small and overwhelming, fades out as I type these words. The sun has settled on my neck. The traffic from across the hill hollers, the birds are exhorting, exhorting. “This is my tree,” they say: “fuck off!” Or, “Hey, wanna root?” Or so an ale-drinking friend once translated for me as we sat on my verandah and listened to the trees. He has since sunk into brain-damaged tremor for he could not stop loving his escapism. I have wrestled with that. I try to remain clear and whole. Love is impatience and patience mixed, love is a bicycle in an airplane, love is endurance.