Dear Di,

I want a knight just like the one in your photo. I would put him in the corner of my bibliotekette, and on cold mornings like today I would glance over and think of you, and I would remember what it’s like to sit and write in the heat of sunshine. I’d remember then the warmth of metal, and the monkey bars on a playground in Las Vegas so many years ago. I’d be reminded on how small and beautifully varied the world is – and how there is no such thing as the perfect place. But there are perfect moments.

I have yogaed, and walked Kiri around the block this morning. It’s still dark. Tapering for the half-marathon on Saturday, so no run. But the space heater is blowing on my ankles, the rosemary oil burning on the desk, and I keep to my rituals. They stitch me into the days.

You write about finding a tribe. Isn’t that what everyone says these days? All the gurus? “Find your tribe.” I have come to realise I’m just not a tribe kind of person. Or, perhaps, like you, my tribe is nothing more than a loose assemblage chosen from among the dead. Certainly there is D.L.D., to whom I still write after all these years. I believe I’ve talked about my necromancy before.

This year I stopped trying to do things accord to form.

 

 

 

How the days bump into each other in these dark months. I experience a touch of concern each morning when I try to grasp the day of the week, the day’s plans. Is this normal?

The asphalt safe when it glitters under the street lamps. And unpredictable when it is as black and matte as spilled ink. I strap the metal coils to my running shoes and try to trust their grip. I silently beg the dog not to pull as we head out of the driveway, where the plough has shoved fresh snow over frozen rain.

The grass is ice-stiffened from last week’s rain. And covered with snow. Walking on it, I sink – deliciously – with each step. A cellofane-covered mattress. Weirdly, sensually satisfying.

Again then: this touch of concern. Am I normal?

I laugh at the hare’s tracks that look like adolescent-obscene graffiti. And the dog buries his snout under them, winding himself up like one of those flipping toy puppies on display at a toy store in a mall oh-way-back-when, somewhere.

Yap. Yap. Yap.

How it all rises and falls in consciousness to take us by surprise: the weaving of time-traveling moments that make up our present.

 

Maybe the moon and the stars want to take us by surprise. It’s that simple.

I broke my own rules this morning to read the news headlines, and to learn what the scientists can predict. Posted at ten thirty p.m.: Tomorrow morning will bring the chance of a lifetime.

So I am up and out the door. But the blood moon has rolled over and pulled the thin blanket of clouds with it. The sky reflects a sickly orange spill from the green houses in Bore.

I feel that I’ve written that sentence before. I’ve written about how we impose on the world.

But still, this morning was once in a lifetime.

Sporadic hail through the tree branches.
The dog tugging the lead,
still unlearning to hunt. 

 

 

 

I haven’t run in 5 days. Last Monday I felt flat, and I felt the fear rise.

The last time I felt this lifeless just 2 kilometers into a run, I had a blood clot in my pelvis and spent two weeks in the hospital.

I couldn’t get to sleep on Monday night. I lay awake, wondering if every twinge was a symptom. If I should go in and have yet another dimer test. If this time were a heart attack.

“If I should die before I wake.”

My mother/grandmother had picked the harsher of the two versions of the bedtime prayer and it rises like an ear worm from a deep layer of memory.

“We will, we will. Rock you.”

My life doesn’t flash before my eyes, it seeps in with a thick stew of awkward emotions.

I finally sleep in the early morning hours and dream that my children are wading through my filthy house and can’t get the mud off their shoes.

*

I notice the blue sky on Thursday because I called in sick and am only working a half-day.
*

A prescription for Vitamin D.
And a hot bath.

Finally a thin blanket of snow to brighten the morning. I run with metal coils strapped under my shoes, and a slight tension in my gut: the bridges can be icy under the powder, and the dog can dart suddenly between the trees. Everything is new again for him.

For me.

All things bright perhaps. But not necessarily easy.