Acknowledging Medusa

The little timer begins with a chime. Returning to these quiet minutes in the library with Leonard snoring on the rug beside me. A cup of coffee, a clear head. A sense of openness – knowing that some things will hurt.

The lithium has been out of my system for a couple of weeks now. In some ways it is like having lifted a bandage from a wound. A sense of lightness, a stinging contact with the air. Awareness shifts. But it is good. A kind of healing process. As long as one keeps in mind that “healing” does not mean returning to a former state. Any former state.

Six months have passed in a frozen moment that was something like a swift slap to the side of a television set to stop the vertical roll. But the world is never frozen entirely. Things shift imperceptibly until they are perceptible. You step back and find yourself in the middle of a new program.

I know that is an archaic metaphor. I know that. And I wonder what all these technological changes in the world have done to people like me, who’ve straddled a revolution that seems like magic. That encourages magical thinking?

I think about those years of my slowly-twisting fingers on knobs. These still slowly-twisting fingers that make me self-conscious. Age-conscious, which is nothing more than death-conscious. I think about the last six months, and what has happened along the edges of the bones in my left shoulder. The build-up of minerals within my body. I try to make sense of competing metaphors. My turning to stone, my falling to dust.

Tomorrow I head back to the physiotherapist who will press a bit of metal against my bruised shoulder and send invisible shockwaves through the skin to shatter the build-up of calcium that is biting into my tendon every time I lift my arms into a sun salutation.

I did my homework on the procedure. The statistics for “success”. For an easing of the inevitable transitioning from one body to the next. The non committal language of my GP: “You can try it.”

I have been thinking about the distinctions between organic and non-organic material and our definitions of life causally tied up with these definitions. About the presence of the inorganic elements in our bodies. The necessary presence. The growing presence.

I haven’t seen the moon since Sunday: cloud cover. But I know it is there, huge and low and signaling the harvest. Already my morning and evening walks with Leonard are in darkness. I run late in the day when I can now, to get some sunshine.

Let myself go.

And there goes the final chime from my timer. Just as Medusa enters.


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  1. Beautiful, listening. Odd thing to say? Asking myself. But yes, beautiful. Been thinking better to exclude more of my dire thoughts about having a body – but exclusion… that’s a lie. You make more visible. Thankful for the lessons your living teaches. Now – morning coffee and a bench on the street.