A Month Ago

A Month Ago

A month ago, on November 23, I posted my last message on this blog. Since then, nothing. Silence.

For thirty days and thirty nights the world has been as silent as the painting I posted above. It has been as silent as snow flakes circling. As quiet as the ribbons tied silently together. Nothing stirred. Nothing moved. Nothing.

Can an absence be a presence? Sometimes it is, for example, when we lose a tooth, a family member, or a friend. In their absence, we lament the loss of their presence. With a tooth, we run the tongue around the empty space, noticing the tenderness of the flesh, the hollow within the gum.

It’s the same with friends. They go AWOL. Move on. Forget their promises of eternal friendship. They become the empty space where the tooth once stood. At first we grieve. Then we become used to their absence. Then, one day, we realize that their voices have fallen silent and then they are friends no more.

Right now, there is a hollow in my life. An absence. I cannot put my finger on what is missing, absent, as always, without leave. Maybe it is the Christmas beliefs that dogged my childhood. Maybe it is the emptiness that warns of oncoming storms, each one greater than the one before. Maybe it is just the premonition, the suspicion, that all is not well with the world.

This year we gave more money than ever before to the Feed a Family Fund. Then we sent extra money to the local foodbank. Everywhere we see that the social ball of string is unwinding and ends no longer meet. It seems our society no longer has the will or the means to justify any ends, except selfish ones. Is it everyone for themselves, then, and the devil take the hindmost? Sometimes it feels like it.

I have seen the hindmost, human beings they are, just like you and me, except they are wrapped in blankets, begging at traffic lights, sitting outside the supermarket, a coffee cup at their feet, hoping for a penny to drop. Where have all the pennies gone? Gone to the smelters everyone. So they wait for a nickel to drop, or a dime, or even a quarter.

Covid-19 and all its subsequent derivations may well have been at the heart of all this. The isolation. The masking. The distancing. The fear of the unknown. The fear of the stranger in our midst. We have become used to living with those fears. We still have Covid-19 and its variations, some with long term complications. We now have a virulent flu as well. And there are various viral infections circulating.

The Apocalypse? Not yet. The Apocalypse has four horsemen and I have only mentioned three. So – where is the fourth one hiding? When will he appear? What will he look like? Maybe he’s lurking in a food bank, an unrepentant Grinch preparing to steal the food? Perhaps he hides in an unheated house? Can he be spotted at the dinner table, where the parent or parents are not eating, so that a child may eat?

I throw these questions out. Outside my window, clouds gather and snow starts to fall. I listen carefully. But all I can hear is the silence to which I have grown accustomed.

8 thoughts on “A Month Ago

  1. I feel sadness when I encounter so many that are without, not only during the festive season but every day. The numbers grow. I wonder if the day will come when the homeless problem will be solved but I doubt it. What lifts my heart through all this is the compassion of my fellow men. I see the piles of donations to the foodbanks, the tossing of coins in the lonely man’s empty Tim Hortons cup, the donations of clothing, cities doing their best (or is it?) to accommodate these growing numbers. I visited a homeless center recently to see firsthand for myself. It was sad. I don’t think the problem will never go away but what we do to reach out to our needy brings a little light to these dark times. And in the end, that is what we are all about. If we each and all do a little, maybe we can solve it.

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    • Thank you, Allan, for this follow-up. The world is certainly changing around us, for a variety of reasons. Many of us are changing with it, some becoming more selfish and self-centered, others – the more altruistic ones – reaching out to their fellow human beings in an effort to help and relieve the pressure. I do believe society could do a great deal more to help. So many in imitation of Noah are building their space arks so they can escape the apocalypse that they themselves are causing with their out and out greed. If worse comes to worst, there will be no escape. As some of the many placards say “There is no Planet B.” A multi-million bunker in New Zealand or Florida will not be a solution. Meanwhile, we lowly folk do what we can, when and where we can. There is no Planet B for us either.

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  2. Hi Roger: Equinox and Christmas Greetings! Also Storm Commiserations! ?

    From November 1 until Dec 21, I was writing and editing another novel, and that deep dive renders me pretty much useless as a communicator, whether you are near or far away. Sometimes the volume of bons mots from you is high, and other times not so much. Some days I may read a poem, but not retain a single mot. I did note a reduction in the flow of words from you, but if I were being grilled in court (“where was I when the cessation occurred) I would be a lousy witness.

    Few messages are incoming here, either, and while I don’t lament the volume of previous lives, I agree it’s nice to get a greeting once in a while.

    So I send you mine now. I hope your Boxing Day is full of leftovers, especially gravy, and that makes you eager to embark on another year which, if we’re lucky, will seem new.

    Hugs, -j Jan Hull My sculptures websitehttps://www.thestoneist.com/ My author websitehttp://www.janfancyhull.com/ ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • A fishing expedition, Jan, and the float moves, and yes, I have a bite. I expect it’s the same everywhere. I am heartbroken when I see the numbers homeless. There are now more foodbanks in the UK than there are MacDonald’s. Even the nurses in the NHS are going to foodbanks, some established by the hospitals themselves, in order to supplement their incomes. Quevedo wrote in 1636: “The news is bad, but I fear there is worse to come.” Alas, the messages come in, but most of them are spam. My spam blocker is working overtime. I have had eight or ten spurious bills already this week. And you wouldn’t believe the phony ‘suspected fraud’ messages on phone and e-mail. That said – it’s great to hear from you. “Ar gwaeth a pawb a popheth rh’y n’i yma o hyd” – in spite of people and things, we are still here. All best wishes at this festive (for some!) season!!!

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