Sunday, December 29, 2013

small matters of late

Another Sunday, this one grey, but less insistently cold than other recent days. Nick and Bram have indicated they will come to sit in the zendo this morning. I mopped the floor and turned on the heat yesterday. I don't clean as well as I did once, but the cushions are there and I don't imagine anyone will contract a tropical disease.

A couple of days back, I ran into my across-the-street neighbor Joe in the spaghetti-sauce section of the supermarket. I hadn't seen him of late but had chalked it up to the higglety-pigglety nature of the Christmas season. He told me he had been in bed the better part of a month, walloped by some sort of coldy-flu-y something or other. His white blood cells are not up to snuff, given either the cancer he suffers from or the treatment of it. His daughter lives in Joe's home with her baby and the baby is prone to one sickness or another -- things that will make the baby strong in time, but sap the life out of Joe.

Joe looked good. His smile was in place, his voice was strong, and he pushed his grocery carriage as well as any man. Our conversation had a kind or relaxed understanding below its eddying course ... both of us on the soft down-slope of the mountain, neither so much in need of the social controls that once ruled the convivial roost. Protecting and fixing things took too much energy for too little result, so we could just talk about whatever we liked, without urgent overlays... softly.

Somehow it put me in mind of the rocking, soothing, wry and go-gently music of the old, anonymous nursery rhyme:

Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end of
Solomon Grundy.

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