The other day I wrote of appreciating Bento’s Notebook — John Berger’s collection of sketches and stories inspired by Spinoza’s books on ethics and understanding. I’ve now taken up another of Berger’s books, About Looking. I had also found this hard to get into at around the same time as Bento’s Sketchbook. And I am pleased that I have come to appreciate it just as much as the Sketchbook. I am wondering if being unwell has something to do with it. That because I am forced to stay in bed and am not in normal active mode, I can slowly savour each of Berger’s statements. This is precisely what my daughter said years back when I’d mentioned that I couldn’t appreciate Berger. His writing is very deep, were her words. At the time I thought, too deep to the point of being abstruse. It has taken me some time to enjoy his prose and his perspective, and perhaps this was for the best. I am glad to have learned a lesson from this. I am grateful that Berger’s insights on how we look at the world have made me more aware of my own way of looking and perceiving.
I am pleased to see that the lone crow on the fir has now been joined by another. Are they now a couple? Interesting. I also observed a couple of black tits flying playfully in and out of the yew – a behaviour I’d always associated with spring. Perhaps the mild winter we’re having has something to do with this unseasonal amorousness? I could be wrong, but it’s heartwarming nonetheless that among the birds in my garden, romance seems to be blooming.
And speaking of blooms, on the window boxes on the balcony, there are yellow Tagetes and red and pink geraniums still blooming. Outdoors, I can glimpse from the upstairs window the cyclamen’s garish magenta and shocking pink flowers, a delight especially on a gloomy, rainy winter’s day like today. It looks as if it might snow.
The birches with their white trunks are arresting at all times, but especially so in winter. They are stunning in the sun, but they are particularly attractive on dark days. They seem to emit a mysterious glow.
What else am I grateful for on this 6th day that I have been unwell? I am thankful for the opportunity to read and enjoy previously unappreciated books. I am thankful that my GP does house calls — a rarity in this modern age — and that with antibiotics, my tonsillitis is now under control. I believe that illness is often the body’s way of telling us to slow down a little, to give ourselves time to rest and recuperate from whatever it is that is stressing us and making us vulnerable to disease. And so despite the discomfort, I am grateful and I look forward to being up and about soon.