My funny Valentine

Played out, splayed out, sleeping on my desk.
Sweetest little pea in the pod.
Keeping me company as I work, lying on my printer under the warmth of the green lamp.
Sleeping on the windowsill.

My funny Valentine

No-one is immune to despair. Indeed, the malaise can settle upon one like a morning mist, penetrating every nook and cranny of the psyche, sending tendrils into the deepest reservoirs of mind and body.

And unless the metaphorical sunrise brings with it sufficient heat and light to dissapate said gloom, it can resemble a Sisyphean task to try to shed the mantle of sadness… brought about by the state of our lovely, beleaguered planet; the machinations of mankind (less the “kind”); our apparant incapacity to find cohesion and common purpose.

It seems that the more we capitulate our inherent navigational systems, and rely upon manipulative, outsourced algorhythms to direct us in our choices, our narratives, our consumption and our ideologies… the more polarised we become, seeking only echo chambers to reinforce our perspective (and, often, prejudices).

For all the great strides made by humanity, we seem to have gone retrograde in many ways, and for all the idealistic sentiments in John Lennon’s Imagine, I yearn for a world where the emphasis on our differences wAS less rigid; where (cultivated and encouraged) fear was not at the core of how neighbours were perceived; where resources are shared with greater alacrity; where everyone from politicians to priests set aside their respective dogmas, and embraced the potential of what life in service could, should, be.

The past year has been a bitter pill, and we have never been as medicalised in our dialogue, in our thoughts and conversations, … and the horizon doesn’t look much different, at least in the short term.

Having dug deep into my reserves, I found myself also slipping into a state of numbness, the weight and weariness of a global threat few have any frame of reference for; the longing to be able to hug the ones I love; witnessing the sorrow of loss, and the upheaval and devastating challenges to so many, especially those lacking in social, physical or financial buffers.

Constantly speaking the positive, and seeking out the good stories, eventually started feeling contrived, hollow, in the face of such suffering and travail.

And yet, the mist cannot withstand (for long) innate and inherent good cheer… which is at the heart of my being; I was a child of sunny disposition, of empathetic orientation, and intrinsic belief in the ultimate greater good that shall prevail, despite the conditions of the day. I reclaim that.

I give fervent thanks, for the fact that my vocation requires nothing less of me.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Raithby to drop off copies of Bolander for the kind-hearted Rico Pentz, who’d saved a poisoned owl, and chatted to his mom, Rosa, whom had also saved a little injured bird I’d taken to her sanctuary last year.

Lo and behold, there was a little scrappy kitten, which had been found starving on the streets of Macassar, and nursed to health by Rosa, and in need of a loving home… so guess who didn’t leave empty-handed!

And now little Ruthie lives with us, sharing hearth and home, dare-devil and tree climber of note (my ladder is still precariously balanced against a tree in my garden, where I’d been forced to scale its heights to retrieve said kitten, and yes… I’m smitten.

My 8-year-old cat Olly, adopted during lockdown last April, and my 16-year-old cat Max, who has walked a journey with me since he was a few weeks old, have taken some time to woo, but they’re coming around, enchanted by her winsome ways.

Thank you for bringing the sun, little Valentine; for getting me to look upwards, outwards, onwards.