It's five minutes to six and it's just me, the wood pigeons outside and the glis glis clattering about in the walls. I'm in the kitchen, doing work, because we made a rule last night not to have phones in the bedroom. Aargh, not sure how long I'll last. And, aargh, not sure if I'd survive because my constant checking of Twitter to see What He Did Now is about the most unhealthy habit I can imagine. Yesterday was a wash, I tell you. Tired from no sleep, despondent, utterly afloat. The only thing I can liken it to was the feeling I had when my father died, the sinking feeling that the buck stops with you. Obama was daddy and brother and kind uncle. This one is, well, a dim-witted, narcissistic devil, who just disrupts for disrupting's sake. "Oh go take a walk in the woods" I tweeted at him yesterday. As if that would help. Do you remember the way the eagle behaved in that famous video clip? That was everything we needed to know. Don't ever trust anyone who animals don't like. That should be the rule. And more often than not, don't trust anyone who doesn't like dogs.
The sky is streaked with pink and I'm not sure which way this day is going to go. Will there be more rain, or will there be some sunshine? The English, I've discovered, are utterly nuts about the weather. It's all they discuss. In the supermarket, the dry cleaners, on the train, on the phone. "Oh dear, it's not looking too good, is it?" they say. Or "what happened to our summer?" I put my head down and try to ignore it. One more thing to worry about in the midst of existential angst, I think. One more damn reason to be miserable.
America, how could you do this?
I took a walk in the woods yesterday. Not unusually, as I live in a place surrounded by woods. I walked and walked and walked till it was me, the dogs, a soft breeze, and the gentle fluttering of green beech leaves, a net to hold the sunlight, and the smell of the mulch, that earthy soil smell which makes you realize who you are again. We walked through a stubble field and roused the crows and climbed back through a hedge because there is never, ever an outlet, is there? And we stopped for blackberries all along the way. (One of my favorite things every morning is to walk outside with my cereal bowl and pop freshly picked brambles straight into it. I think that's what they call farm to table. Or branch to mouth.) There is a rhythm when you walk, when you have stopped being worried about the things that were in your mind at the start of the walk, and you relax into the simple act of putting one foot in front of another, and your mind becomes still, and you just listen to the drumbeat. Sometimes I do the sa-ta-na-ma on my fingers (a kundalini mudra) just to help still my mind quiet. It's not as weird as it seems. Try it. In fact, there is something about reciting the sa-ta-na-ma in your head while pressing one finger at a time to your thumb, that leaves little room for your mind to do anything but be still.