Thursday, May 08, 2008
Odes to Flowers
So, it should be evident by now that Connaissances is not by any stretch of the imagination a journal. From time to time I record where I have been, especially if that leads on to a new observation about geology and its relation to poetry or to France and its relation to my life and/or any other combination thereof. There are poems because I believe that sharing poetry is important to my continuing existence as anything like a real person and occasionally there are personal asides, of which this is one.
The last few weeks have not seen many posts because I have been much taken up both with work and with the painful news that my father was seriously ill. I have resisted writing about this until I knew the outcome of surgery which he underwent nearly two weeks ago now. I am glad to say that despite the very serious nature of this operation he has now made a good start on his recovery.
Although we don't really know why a healthy man in his late sixties was suddenly struck down by a rare infection that was literally eating away at his vertebrae, what we can say is that he was fortunate on three counts: to have been diagnosed fairly rapidly, to have found an excellent surgeon in the national health service and to have been in a good state of health prior to becoming ill. If things had been otherwise on any of these three counts, things might have rapidly resolved themselves entirely differently. Which is a rather frightening thought since (1) diagnosis came after he literally refused to leave the hospital after they told him to go home due to the bed waiting list; (2) the excellent surgeon left on holiday a week after his operation; (3) his life-long good health depended upon a fairly strict personal regime which I would say is now rather uncommon, if not exceedingly rare. Which is as much to say, if it had happened to anyone else, they would likely be dead by now.
Visiting the long corridors of the hospital where he received his treatment has been a salutary reminder of the precarious nature of any individual's existence, even when we believe ourselves to be in good health and beyond the clutches of whatever dread thing awaits each of us. It is a reminder that we should be aware that we may be called upon to come to terms rapidly with what life has offered and what we have made of it.
When I visited him in hospital, he mentioned how much he regretted missing the Spring and all of the flowers. When we wheeled him to the gym for his first lessons in learning to refind his balance, we passed a bed of tulips over which he exclaimed loudly. Perhaps these indicators are the first signs of a life that will seem in future even sweeter, more urgent. I can only guess. Anyhow, it makes me think of writing odes to flowers and other coded prayers of thanks to the universe in general and to one brilliant surgeon Mr N. Patel in particular.