1 EAGLETON NOTES: Easter Sunday, Materialism and Transience

.

.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Easter Sunday, Materialism and Transience

I'm going out to friends for dinner. I'm being collected and brought home so that I can have a glass of wine. I've drunk almost no wine since the first of my current series of hospitalisations in September last year. It's been the longest period for many many years that I've gone for 7 months and been so abstemious. I used to do my best to keep to the 21 units a  week which was the recommended guideline for men. Since I was told at my last well-man MOT that the limit for men over 65 is now 14, I have hardly reached 14 units in a month never mind a week. The fact that it was just before my first hospitalisation in September is, I'm sure, a coincidence.

Anyway by 5pm I decided that all the chores that I am doing today were finished. I sat down in the lounge with the sun shining in and a book on my knee. When did I last do that? I can't remember.

The new, wonderfully fresh, recording of Brahms' Symphonies with Robin Ticciati conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (which I go to see in Glasgow as often as possible) is playing on my Italian 'Opera' speakers and has stopped me concentrating on the book.

I have been looking around the room. In this room and through the open doors of two other rooms. I can see the paintings hanging on the walls and the various other works of art sitting on shelves. I can see an entire wall taken up with books (many of which are available on my Kindle if I wished to save space). There is a 'bookcase' filled with over a thousand CDs (now largely obsolete because of streamed music).

They are simply material possessions. Transient. But in a way they define a part of who I am.

All of a sudden I burst into tears.*  All this might not have been. All this will not always be. 

If I were YP I'd write a poem. Unfortunately I think the last poem I wrote was over 40 years ago.

So prose will have to suffice.


* That's one of the potential side effects of prostate cancer treatments.

40 comments:

  1. Oh Graham, you are just having a melancholy interlude. We sometimes keep going through all of life’s trials and tribulations and then something, maybe your lovely music this time, just opens the floodgates. I think it is good for us to let the tears flow when necessary, it releases the emotions and we can then pick ourselves up again and think of all the good things we have to be grateful for and keep on keeping on, as I said to you once before.

    I too shed a few tears one afternoon this week. I was doing something upstairs when my back pain made me have to sit down. I cried for just a few minutes thinking about my lovely daughter who should still be here with us and my mum and mum in law who were both so supportive of us when we had the children young and were trying to work two jobs. Then I looked out at the trees in the wood behind our house and thought that actually it won’t be long before the buds that are there already will be bursting into leaf and the sun might just possibly make an appearance sometime soon. A couple of blue tits are very interested in the bird box on a tree close to our garden. I wiped the tears away and carried on with what I was doing.

    You are lucky to have had some sun today. We woke up to 4 inches of snow this morning. It’s been foul all day but we have heating, food, hobbies to occupy us so we must look on the bright side of life.

    Sorry this turned into such a long missive. All good wishes to you from a snowy Yorkshire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Beverley. It was a weird and very brief interlude. I'm actually not sure whether it was melancholy or simply being overcome briefly by the thought of what might not have been. The last 10 years of my life has been so wonderful. Anyway it was over the second I was picked up and was out for dinner.

      Delete
  2. The books, art and CDs have been absorbed into your self and even without them, you would be you.

    I hope you enjoyed your long awaited wine. Slainte!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kylie. You are, of course, correct in that such possessions as books and CDs is simply a physical display of a certain part of what we are. However I get great pleasure out of looking at my paintings, picking through the books to remind myself of something and I find it infinitely easier to decide what music to play by looking through the CDs than I do looking through the iTunes interface. And I did enjoy the wine in convivial company.

      Delete
  3. Sometimes we get the blues. If we recognize the blues we can overcome them. I take a medication that brings on depression at times. Sometimes our possessions are in the past and they are really lost because they no longer have meaning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red I'm fortunate in that I rarely get the blues. I'm very good at getting rid of possessions that are no longer relevant to me.

      Delete
  4. Sometimes things just catch up with us when we least expect them and usually when the ordeal is over. Hope it made you feel better. Keep positive and enjoy your possessions and memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Diane. It was soon over and it did make me feel better.

      Delete
  5. There are only two words in the English language (I think) that use all the vowels in their correct order. I'm pleased to see that you have used one; the other being 'facetious'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interestingly, Cro, I had quite forgotten about the qualities of 'abstemious' and 'facetious'. I shall have to try and concoct a sentence with them both in at some time. I remember from a crossword that there is at least a third (the clue was something like 'not 'abstemious' nor 'facetious') but I couldn't remember what it was. I've looked it up and it's 'arsenious' which apparently means 'relating to arsenic with a valency of three'. Needless to say if I come across that clue again I still won't remember the answer.

      Delete
    2. I've not come across 'arsenious'; if I didn't know better I'd have thought it was April 1st.

      Delete
  6. I suspect that had I been through your experiences dry eyes would be my problem. Good luck and cheer up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Adrian. I was back to my cheery self as soon as I changed to go out. Probably too much sun did it!

      Delete
    2. Aye a surfeit of sun is a problem for me as well

      Delete
  7. Nothing wrong in shedding tears Graham, it is actually a very good response to all that you have gone through for it has unblocked your emotions and given you a better release than consuming alcohol. Crying is good for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I very much agree with you Heron. Fortunately I've never had to use alcohol as an escape.

      Delete
  8. Nothing wrong with releasing emotions in a safe place surrounded by things that make you happy. Or anywhere... jut so glad you are here and able to appreciate life’s little moments. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ahhh...music plays with one's emotions...I know it does with my own.

    Don't despair, Graham...a day doesn't go by when I don't shed a tear or two over something or other, or just nothing at all.

    However, these days many days go by between drinks...alcoholic drinks, that is. So far this year I've had three glasses of wine and one stubby of beer...and that was on Australia Day afternoon...26th January...at the little street party here where I live. As you can see I rarely drink these days. I'm not a wowser, but I just never think about having a drink. I've plenty here if or when the mood strikes, if it ever does..Scotch, rum, wine...

    The shedding of tears helps, I believe...so let the flow unashamedly. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, on the subject of shedding tears, when I was first receiving treatment for my prostate cancer after I'd had the prostate removed (20 years ago) the hormone therapy meant that I could burst into tears in the middle of the supermarket for absolutely no apparent reason. That was a bit unnerving. I had just got used to a routine: stop for the Six O'Clock evening news and pour a glass or red wine. Another one with dinner. Unless, of course, I was going out or intending to work in the evening (more a summer thing than a winter option). In other words it was a habit. The units quickly mount up. I rarely drank spirits. Then all of a sudden I just lost the taste for red wine. C'est la vie.

      Delete
  10. Hugs. I love books too. And music. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate. I still can't listen to Bach without thinking of you.

      Delete
  11. I often think that the material things we choose to surround ourselves with speak volumes about who we are. It's like some of our inner being has leapt out into the spaces we inhabit. Even though forty years have passed since you last wrote a poem, it doesn't matter. Please give it a go. You are forty years older and forty years wiser. The words that emerge may be more measured and more true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YP the trouble I find is that the words just don't leap out any more. The poetry (such as it was) that I wrote was spontaneous and from the heart. I've still got the heart (I think) but not the spontaneity.

      Delete
  12. Kay G.3 April 2018 at 13:13

    The only thing you can away from life is the love you have given away. Totally stole that from the film, It's A Wonderful Life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay, you comment appeared on a 2012 post entitled 'Great Skua'. I'm sure it wasn't meant for that so I've re-homed it for you. I must re-watch that film. I haven't seen it for a while.

      Delete
    2. Hey Graham! Sorry about that! How in the world do I do these kind of things? Good thing, someone like you to help me. I am thankful! :-)

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Thank you, Regine, although I think eat' is probably overstating it.

      Delete
  14. Perhaps writing as you do with your experiences and feelings 'on show' gives you a release that helps. A good cry while out with the dog helps me and I do try not to do it in front of my better half. I know that it upsets him. Dementia is a bugger. Lesley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lesley. If I may be pedantic, I thought if something (someone) is a half it is equal to the other half. Am I correct in assuming that your other half has dementia and that's why you crying upsets him? If so then I really feel for you.

      Delete
    2. Yes. Glass half full/ glass half empty..... Lesley

      Delete
  15. Emotions often catch up with us when we have a chance to relax and reflect, I think... And nothing wrong with that! I think we need it. ♥

    ReplyDelete
  16. Every now and then, I well up for no apparent reason. Sometimes I know the trigger and it has to do with Steve, sometimes I hardly can tell what's up. Sometimes it is sadness and/or nostalgia, sometimes it is because I am so touched or moved by something someone said to me or wrote for me. One example is the birthday card a particular group of friends gave me, their words were so extraordinarily kind and heart-felt they made me cry.

    My relationship to material things is mostly that I very much treasure what I have, and what to keep things for a long, long time, rarely needing (or wanting) anything new - except for clothes...!
    My things - such as my furniture - preferably have a history, and relate to someone or something in my past or even further back. I try not to accumulate too many things, but then people keep giving me more all the time :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meike, like you these days I usually know what the trigger is but occasionally I'm taken by surprise.

      Material possessions fall into so many categories. I have quite a lot of paintings. I don't consider that they are mine but simply that I am the custodian until they pass to another keeper. The same goes for some of my pottery and sculptures. Books are very personal as are CDs in that they go a long way to defining us.

      Delete
  17. Material possessions..... I don't know what I think of them any more. I have started to feel they don't matter as much as I thought they did. Except the ones that have been made to me or given to me with love. Those DO matter.
    Having said that, though, I'm thinking of how I am finding it awfully hard to know what to do with my mum's best soup plates. They bring back memories of Christmases past....and I have to convince myself again that I can remember the past WITHOUT the soup plates. But it is surprisingly hard. I hope you enjoyed your dinner with friends, I'm sure you did, and how nice of them to drive you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, I agree that many possessions are important simply for their provenance rather than their monetary or intrinsic value. I measure most possessions in the joy that they give me. No joy = dispose of. My brother and I had a long hard look last year at some of the family things that were still stored in my loft. We ended up being quite ruthless.

      Delete
  18. I forgot to say, "Happy Easter!"

    ReplyDelete