Long, quiet, solitary days with Emma and the kids at school. I move around the house at a leisurely pace, less wraith and more cautious charlie now. I feel very much better. The stigmata - the five symmetrically-placed holes via which the robotic operation was managed - have all-but healed and strength is returning generally. I have a series of basic household tasks that I perform in gentle ritual sequence, sometimes in company with BBC Radio 4, sometimes just within the rustling silence of the house. The weather is at worst mild and the big skies over the fields across the road cast a limpid light across the green uncultivated grass and the thick lacy border of cow parsley. In the garden there is abundance as secret buds suddenly burst into variegated flower and trees blossom. To wander slowly up and down the hillocky gradients of our new territory is to be ambushed constantly by some new growth.
I make a fleeting visit to town for shopping (my first bit of driving in early a month) and discover to my faint surprise that people are walking the streets much as before. This time I watch them passing in ones and twos and wonder what dramas are gathering up their lives. Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, Thoreau tells us. But nothing is revealed behind the social animation or solo impassivity of their faces.
Alone again, I consider my strange, intermediate state with a degree of wry detachment. Things are as they are, the trite little Buddhist in the corner repeats quietly but insistently. Is it too early to reflect on what I may have learned from all of this? Yes, too early. Briefly I wonder if I have passed some rite of passage whereby now fear and dread have lost much of their corrosive power. Maybe that at least.
Tomorrow Bill and Paul are visiting with guitars and harmonicas and we'll play up the some of the material from the blues band days and try out some new stuff too. Bill has a charity gig in Basingstoke on June 6th - a memorial concert for a local musician - and he wants the three of us to play parts of it together as of old.
All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls! (Thomas Carlyle)