Well, my corner of it these days.
I was thinking about this as I took the photograph that you see below.
I took it from where the big cheerfully orange couch in our kitchen-dining room.
It actually captures so much of how my world is these days.
Lily was snuggled up against me for a while, but has slithered down and over to her water bowl and presently, skittered off.
In search of even greater comfort. Or to annoy Bella, who will most likely snarl half-heartedly at her and flounce off.
Upstairs, both my kids are school-Zooming, gaming, snap-chatting and generally living their closed in, closed off, yet hectic lives.
No radio on down here … tired of these heavy, grey discussions about Covid, hospitals, death and vaccine roll outs, and Brexit, and Trump, and all the stuff they’re giving out about in the media (and me along with them) … talk as heavy and grey as the winter sky you can see in the photograph through the window on the left, and beyond the patio doors to the right.
Covid, death and dying in the big big world? There is no need to go into all that, as Derek Mahon put it in that gorgeous poem that captured Irish hearts early on during … which lockdown was it again, what level? …
It’s the small world I’m thinking about now.
My world …
From time to time I jot down lines in my head, big, big lines to capture the big, big picture …
But nothing worth committing to posterity: nothing to write home about, as we say.
My kids are too big, too complex, and too precious now to write comfortably about them … my wife is so lovely I don’t want to write anything about her here either.
So I’m looking around my kitchen dining-room and glazing out my window …
… I have to pause here now as my son is on a break and expects me to make lunch … he never says so directly, but lets me know in that that wonderful understated way of his … expectant, but also appreciative, and I resentfully love it.
Besides, it won’t be forever …
And anyway, it gives me a chance to work a little on my spontaneity here …
So where was I … oh yes, just this morning, Michele Somerville, a blogger and benign spirit who follows my own blog, took the trouble to contact me. I hadn’t blogged in ages, and she wondered how I was. Said she missed my blog.
So sweet. So thoughtful.
And it kind of sparked me up a bit, and these lines are the result, I guess.
It’s as tentative as that for me … writing or not writing.
Back to the photograph: in the left-hand corner, on the table you can see a finished mug of coffee — a pleasure and a necessity, and my sixty-zillionth since all this began, and beside it a wonderful book I have just finished, A Spool Of Blue Thread, by the great Anne Tyler.
To talk about it at length would be too distracting here, so I’ll just say it’s the best of hers I have read. And that’s saying something.
And I’m also glowing in that lovely after-melancholy that hits me at the end of any great book, album, film or TV/Netflix series.
Hard to miss those splendid lilies right in the middle of the table in the photograph … put there by my lovely A, who adores flowers, especially lilies.
The fact they are there in the centre, is also so very A.
She loves nice things … clothes, jewellery, shoes, fresh sheets and duvet … and when she gets a new piece of jewellery, or a new outfit, or cool shoes, she does not save them for rainy days, or introduce them tentatively … she wears them up front, straight off, for all the world to see and admire.
It’s not just about her, or for her, she just loves to share lovely things with me, with family, friends, the world. A proper extrovert.
The candle on the table is an A touch too … she is always buying them, and gifting them, and we’re all devotees now … even K puts on a lovely candle-show in her room.
She makes the world a brighter place, does my A … just look across at that cool mirror in the picture … with the coquettish green-jewelled eye, hanging in the corner.
Deadly, isn’t it? It’s by one of A’s favourite dress-designers, Joanne Hynes.
Through the big window, you can see our amazing bamboo copse …it’s like a mini-plantation now, it grows so voraciously and vigorously, and has to be hacked back regularly, but it sways so mesmerisingly in even the worst of weathers, and is an enduring joy.
The garden itself has been so much more than a refuge during all of this, and it was particularly gorgeous to look out on it during Christmas, with all the fantastic festive lights draping from the bamboo and the trees.
Already Christmas seems so long ago — isn’t that always the way?
A time to pause and to celebrate — if only our continued good health — but also a time to recall Christmases past, and the many good times in this same kitchen dining-room … people I have known, some who have sat at that table you see in the main photograph, and revelled and chatted here, who will not be returning …
The world outside this corner is vast, and volatile now.
But there’s no need to go into that …
Tomorrow we will be sitting at that same table for the 17th birthday of our daughter, lighting candles and celebrating again.
So, in ways, my world just this little corner, and the not so large bubble just beyond these walls where we walk and do our guarded business with masks on.
But in this private Tardis of my mind, there are no masks, no limits, and no pretences. For good or ill. But there is light, there is love, and there is a jewelled Joanne Hynes mirror in the corner.
Of my world.
Small but immense.
Thanks for reading — try another one … sure, why not follow my blog!