Often, I look with astonishment at the primate Homo sapiens. I marvel at its unique cognitive capabilities distinguishing it from other mammals. On the other hand, disturbingly, I also see its destructiveness towards its own and other species - and towards its environment, Planet Earth.
Part of humankind’s uniqueness is our ability to use language in a highly differentiated way. We read and write, we use terms abstractly. We symbolize our experience in literature and poems (and a lot else) and language influences our experience. An example: the postpartum phase of life in the UK today differs from that 100 years ago when a period of strict rest for women was normal and issues such as postpartum depression, (while mood changes must have also existed), had not yet been labelled as such. Therefore, devoid of a label, postnatal depression could be said to not have (yet) existed. Language shapes how we see things, even how we feel and gives us a specific view of the world. So this posting with its title Impatiens broke my arm probably woke associations in your mind (as someone familiar with the states that the Bach remedies stand for) of something to do with speed or impatience. You are right. 18 days ago I got out of the shower, my mobile rang and, forgetting that I had wet feet, I sprinted to answer before my mailbox took over. I don’t have a carpet or a wooden floor in my flat, but shiny white tiles. I slipped and fell dramatically, the whole weight of my fall caught in my left arm and hand that I instinctively stretched out. The pain was excruciating and I knew that either my arm or wrist was broken. At the end of the day, along with the pain and my new plaster cast, I was simply grateful to live in a country with a good health care system. I'd received excellent attention at the hospital and the doctor was delighted "how well" I had broken my arm (not my wrist). His eyes glinted. It was an uncomplicated break.
So now I have slowed down, my Impatiens streak is pretty out of action at present. The book I’m reading at the moment is a memoir by Josie George. The author lives A Still Life as she is chronically ill. Her descriptions of her perceptions and experiences of living which has no hint of Impatiens are stunningly beautiful and I finish this piece with a quote out of her book about a daffodil undressing. I am only halfway through but know already that when I've finished, I'll re-read it.
"My son asleep, I sit on the sofa for a long while in the silence, and when my thoughts finally stop, I realise I can hear something. It is the dry crackle of a daffodil bud in its vase on top of the gas heater, slowly plumping itself to open, pushing against its paper casing to split it, ready to unfurl. Minutes go by and then I hear it again, the faintest rustle, little by little, push by push, until it grows still again, spent. I can almost feel its gentle eagerness. How much is wrapped up in each bud. How tight and full it must feel, and I think: I know that feeling. At least now I can say that I’ve been so quiet, I’ve heard a daffodil undress."
A Still Life: A Memoir Josie George
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