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Anyone there?

I’m expecting silence.

Why would there be?

I can’t expect folks to hang around forever listening to the sound of crickets.

I blame February.

In the first week of that month, Gail’s mom came to visit, so I pressed pause on my work for a few days. No problem with that, family time is important. 

In any case, Gail planned to take her mom back up country after her visit, and then stop over for a week. I’d be on my own, and with all the time in the world to ‘catch up’.

The day after she left, I started coughing. 

I’ve had man flu before, and everyone knows how bad that is. But this was worse, far worse. Maybe it was Covid. I’ll never know because I didn’t test. There seemed little point. I was in isolation anyway. All I know is that whatever it was, it left me wheezing like a retired coal miner dragging on a Woodbine.

I don’t do illness.

The best part of three weeks passed in a non-productive haze of decongestant vapour and self-pity.

It was all I could do to read. But somehow I managed it, and I stumbled across a quote from a new book by Katherine May called ‘Enchantment: Reawakening Wonder in an Exhausted Age’. In it she says:

“There are seasons of being when a cloak of meaninglessness seems to slip over you, over everything, muffling the song of life. It is not depression exactly, though the two make eager bedfellows. Rather, it is a great hollowing that empties you of that vital force necessary for moving through the world …..”

February (and a bit of March), was such a season for me.

The 27th of February was my birthday. Pleasingly, I’d recovered enough by then that Gail could treat me to a lovely meal out. 

I’ll refrain from calling it a celebration. The day marked my transition into official old age. Having reached the age of 66, I am now eligible for my State Pension, free bus travel and, no doubt, some other benefits yet to be discovered.

I should be grateful, I am grateful, but…..

It doesn’t seem right. I don’t want to be an OAP yet. I’m not ready.

That said, if I’m lucky enough to reach the age of ninety in decent health, I’ve got less than 25 years in which to do everything I want to do.

Sounds OK doesn’t it? A quarter of a century, the year 2048. But, as I write these words, my 90th birthday is just 9,116 days away. That doesn’t sound all that great, does it?

I’d best crack on, eh?

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One Comment

  1. Eamon Eamon

    Hey there Neil,
    ‘Hope you can hear me over the noise of the crickets! How’s the writing going? I really enjoyed your “Foolish” trilogy and I’m looking forward to your first work of fiction!

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