Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In the Midst of Life...
...we are in death - something I've always been aware of having grown up in Northern Ireland where the "troubles" (a politically convenient euphemism for civil war) meant that nearly everyone knew somebody who'd been shot, bombed or intimidated.
Sometimes though, the transient, fragile nature of life is set into relief not by the big events, but by the small ones. Recently, I'd been out snapping pics near Fistral and came across a bench on the headland with this plaque attached.
The well weathered bench commands a wonderful view across the beach. I sat down and wondered where Randall's spirit surfs these days. A few days later, the local media were reporting the untimely death in Hawaii of Nolan McSkimming, another local surfer. Many papers prefaced their reports with an eye-catching but heartbreakingly poignant picture of Nolan riding a wave in with his baby daughter balanced on one hand.
And then on Monday, I found myself trying to comfort a young man whose face had just smashed through the windscreen of his car. The front end of his vehicle was crushed like a crate of crumpled tin cans against his chest, his legs trapped and broken, his face unrecognisable, the pleading groans unbearable to listen to.
Brooding then on one's mortality and the middling years seem co-joined in a mind game, sidling round each other like boxers in a ring. Combine this morbid introspection with a healthy dose of hypochondriasis and I'm reaching for the Leonard Cohen with the Laphroaig. My facial expression these last few days, is, as Sea Nymph assures me as "long as a Lurgan spade".
Perhaps I'm suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). "One in five Irish suffer from SAD" - presumably that figure rises when the pubs close. As Juliet Turner sings, "I read it in a magazine, so it must be true it must be true".
(I suppose if a Beach Bum is going to have one of those slightly undiagnosable conditions what better cross to bear than a condition that is treatable by extra exposure to sunlight? Perhaps I can persuade my friend Marty, the GP from Port Wenn to write me a prescription that involves two tickets to the Gold Coast?)
I phoned the cops today who sorted out the accident. The lad's in a bad way but he will live, thank God. As you can probably tell, it was eating at me. I wish him well, I really do.
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