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On the first day of Summer, my true love gave to me ... - In the Shadow of Leaves
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mcpye
mcpye
On the first day of Summer, my true love gave to me ...
December 1st (1/12/2002), is the first day of Summer in Australia.
Unlike many countries, due to a quirk in our early settlement here in Australia, we change our seasons officially on the first day of the month, rather than going by the equinoxes & solistices.

We are not celebrating greatly. Autumn & Winter were warm & dry. Spring has been very hot; dusty, dry, drought-struck. Water restrictions have started in many places: in some by request, voluntarily, until certain water storage levels; in others already by regulation. The bushfire season has started fairly badly, & our memory of the awful time we had last summer builds dread for this one.

More Whinging follows in the Good Things - in case you want to avoid it
One Small Good Thing:
I was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer just before Easter (end of March - our Autumn harvest festival), had radiation & chemo-therapy, then an operation in July (mid-Winter). After some time healing up after this, there was more "mopping up" chemo-therapy, which just finished on Friday (end of Spring).
Friday we had our first widespread heavy rain for over 6 months.
Today we had some more.

The operation & its consequent permanent physical disability; the travelling (just over an hour each way) by two buses to & from the hospital has been a real trial of mental & physical strength. Sometimes the glare & heat walking from the stops or waiting in the 'shelters' (Some eejut designed new ones with flat glass roofs & sides! We routinely get 85-95 degree days each summer,
100+ scarcer, but always some; and Sydney humidity can be a killer.) while in pain & exhausted has been difficult to bear. Apart from
getting almost no rain at all for almost 6 months, the humidity has been extremely low; 5-25%.

Despite these problems, I don't know if I would have coped in a 'normal' Autumn/Winter/Spring, which would have much more wind, rain & cold & grey, cloudy days. Hobbling along painfully & with difficulty with my stick & medical supplies, trying to cope with a flapping wet raincoat & hold an umbrella or hat, or put up with rain soaking hair & running down neck under coat. Tho' I prefer cold to heat, dark days depress me deeply and the horrid wet-blanket sticky heat building up over November enervates me entirely.

Between pain, sickness, bodily humiliation & my partner's death, letting go would have been even more tempting than it has. 'A consummation devoutly to be wished'. There mightn't have been the energy needed to summon the 'inner mongrel' to growl: "Bugger youse all! I will survive to gnaw your spurning heel again, you cold, careless, greedy bastards. You won't win, without a bloody good fight."; to grit the teeth (literally, my jaw gets sore) & carry on.

"Sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine".

Still, does it balance, so far, a couple of other human deaths, thousands of livestock & wildlife dying or horribly suffering, the destruction of homes & farm buildings, millions of acres of bush & pasture burnt out, thousands of tons of our thin soil blowing out to sea in duststorms, families, farms & businesses going broke (possibly some suicides -- even worse, murder-suicides), who knows what other horrible effects? <sigh> Would it not be foolish, tho', to blame myself for getting some unplotted advantage from such distress & destruction. I don't think I've either caused or furthered it, or gloried in others' pain, but rather conserved our little domestic water & contributed to aid appeals as much as we could, now I'm on upaid leave & surviving with my frail old mother on her widow's pension.

One Big Good Thing:
At least we're in a country with some sort of decent social security & medical system. In the 'developing' world, I would probably have just died in an extremely unpleasant, slow way -- perhaps sending any family into penury trying to pay for some sort of medicine. In the USA or Japan, I might have survived, but again probably only by bankrupting myself & perhaps others, and perhaps taking myself & mother into the poor, sick, unwanted 'underclass'. I don't know very much about the medical/social setup in other places in the 'developed' world.

The people who are eating away at this system are just one example of the type I mentioned before, that I hope to survive to frustrate with whatever strength & mind remain.

Moodiness: thoughtful thoughtful

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