Archive for July 2011

The most unexpected of things

29.7.11 § 4 commentarii

I recently had the old riah zhooshed and idly inquired whether the cape around my shoulders had been shaken out since the last customer, as there appeared to be more than a few grey hairs down my front. Johann, the surly mitteleuropäisch barber, assured me that no, it was in fact all my own hair, and proceeded to point out exactly what bits of my scalp they came from. I may have made a rather undignified noise. It's now undeniable: I'm going grey at the temples. Now this by itself might not exactly be cause for concern, as I'm relatively certain that the sudden appearance of grey hair is not unconnected to stress. Nevertheless, there are other signa et portenta.

Nasal hair has become an Issue. Hangovers are becoming worse, and lasting a good day or so. My hairline is receding. Oddly, this only appears to be a problem on one side of my head (similarly, the aforementioned nasal hair problem affects only the left nostril. I am ageing lopsidedly.), although this could just be down to how I tend to part my hair. A chance remark by He Whom I Call Beloved, followed by much contortionism and a pair of mirrors, reveals that my hair is beginning to thin on the crown. The hair on my back and shoulders has become pelt-like, and I am forced to either shave my upper arms or refrain from wearing t-shirts. I desperately need to have my prescription updated, as my glasses are no longer helping me to see in the distance, and I suspect that my eyesight is now too poor to drive legally.

I shall refrain from listing the non-physical signs of ageing that I've noticed. Quite frankly, a raging intolerance for youth slang, fashion and music is just a part of the grumpy misanthropy that I have cultivated since I was twenty or so. I do feel old, though, when walking through the centre of town on Friday and Saturday nights. Clubbers are so young these days. And I swear that some bus drivers have obtained employment under false pretences: some of them don't look old enough to be in charge of a tricycle, let alone a sodding double-decker.

I am aware that this post is not without an element of chutzpah. Many (most?) of you dear and loyal readers are richer in years than I. Indeed, my husband, who is six years older than me, as bald as a billiard ball and sports a beard so streaked with grey that he appears to be speaking through a baby badger, has told me to stop being such a bloody drama queen. While tucking a nice tartan blanket around me and passing me my pipe and slippers.

Summer heat

6.7.11 § 1 commentarius

I’ll confess: I dislike the summer.

In this, my twenty-eighth, I can finally say that I fail to see the point. Possibly, this is because for me the summer does not mean long, lazy days of inactivity on the beach, nor pleasant sojourns in shade-dappled forest glades. Summer is not when I jet off to foreign parts, to stroll along the quais of Saint-Tropez or to wander contentedly through the sun-warmed cobbled streets of picturesque Tuscan villages.

No. I live and work in a tourist town. Summer, to me, means endless days sweating in a sauna-like kitchen. Summer is when my working day begins before nine in the morning and doesn’t end until eleven in the evening. Summer is when I need a machete to clear my way through the hordes of babbling foreign students at the bus stop. Summer, to me, is not a time of growth, beauty and wonder; but rather of hard work and hardship, the time of scarcity before the harvest. I’ve often wondered if I have some kind of perversely inverted seasonal affective disorder, as most of my major bouts of depression have tended to occur during July and August.

Strangely, as well, during the summer I become less religious. I find it difficult to maintain the motivation for much more than my semi-regular dawn devotionals. At the same time, I find myself drawn more to esoterica: I think about myths and mythic structures, I find myself meditating more frequently. Recently, I’ve even started taking an interest in astrology, to the point of mapping out my own natal chart and attempting to interpret it. (I have a Sagittarius ascendant, with Jupiter in Sagittarius. Apparently this gives me a natural interest in religion. Who knew?) Perhaps this is because I find myself with little energy in my spare time, what with it all being expended at work, and so the “active” portions of my life tend to go on the back burner.

I much prefer spring and autumn. Autumn is when the harvest has been gathered in, both literally and metaphorically: it’s a time of plenty, when one can look back with satisfaction on a time of back-breaking work and think “thank fuck that’s all over,” and get on with the serious business of enjoying the fruits of one’s labours. Paradoxically, autumn to me also means the beginning of something new: perhaps this is a relic of my academic past, but I’ve always been comfortable with autumn being considered the start of the new year. So, while autumn marks an ending, it also shines with potential: for me, the “feel” of autumn is a combination of hope and melancholy which I’ve always felt to be my native emotional state. Spring, on the other hand, is a wonderful time, full of beauty and promise. As I have remarked before, it’s the time of year before everything goes to shit.

Nevertheless, we’ve passed the solstice, and the fire-wheel is now rolling downhill. It’ll all soon be over and September with its cool breezes will soon be upon us. Happy summer holidays everyone!


§ 1 commentarius

1  Nest baragon wor clāron,   No bread on the board,
     nec curmi in nāwyāi.       nor beer in the bowl.
 Stagrās samosespās   Summer-dry streams
     wo·selont samalī caχtās.       slink low like slaves.
5Au·tetoye arincā,   Gone is the wheat,
     etic windosasyos.       and the white barley.
 Sēbroi tarbont slēbos,   Spectres haunt the threshing-floor,
     serrās wor selwān crabancās.          sickles in clawed hands.
 Cu donyos maleti·yo?   Where now the miller,
10    Uχsū mantrāti·yo?       and the trampling oxen?
 Yon tausyont maginā,   When the millstone falls silent,
     mailos est martos butācī.       evil is the farmer's fate.
 Cridyā ambaχton coryon,   Wolves gnaw the heart,
     cnāyontor bladibi.       of warband and ploughmen.
15    Nest blātos in bolgē,   No ground grain in the bag,
     nec curmi bracitegesi.       nor beer in the brewhouse.