Sunday, December 20, 2009
Hard Times - Happy Day
Working on the land reclamation project was especially fun today, because of the glorious weather. There was frost on the grass this morning, but by 10:00 it was warm enough to work comfortably outside without a jacket. The afternoon was gorgeous -- clear, winter-blue sky, warm sun, cool breeze. Sitting in the garden planting fava beans, I felt perfectly content, but at the same time slightly guilty for being happy when so many people are having a terrible time.
There are always the background thoughts that at any given moment: someone in the world is dying of hunger, someone is being murdered, someone is being tortured, someone is being beaten. But today there was a more immediate sadness. A neighbor dropped by and told me that his wife has been diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to her stomach. Why does my life continue on its happy way? I am no better than those people who are dying of hunger, whose bodies are serving as fuel for cancer cells.
I have, of course, lived through my own hard times, have come close to death on a couple of occasions; people I loved have died, and taken some part of me with them, into another dimension, or into emptiness. I am sure I will have hard times again in the future. As one gets older, hard times seem more likely. One's friends and family die off, getting up in the morning becomes painful. Death is always there, leaving little tweets and IM's in the form of an irregular beat of the heart or stinging pain the gut. So it is right, I think, to be happy while one can, within one's own small island of time and space. To cherish each calm, comfortable moment.
When digging a trench for a cable a couple of weeks ago, I came across the corner of what appeared to be an enamel-coated steel table top. This afternoon, I decided to dig it up. I was looking forward to using the table top for my outdoor kitchen. But it turned out to be something different (see photo). I think it may be the top of a rectangular electric water heater. There is a Permaglas label on the vertical portion. Well. So I didn't get my table top, but I'm sure I will find some use for the thing.
I do not believe there is even a square inch of this place that does not contain some kind of discarded human-made object. Some of it is useful, but what does one do with filthy wads of fiberglass insulation or small, disintegrating bits of gypsum board? I suppose the latter could be used in the garden.