I walked out of Turnham Green station last night, surrounded by a lingering fog. It hung in the air, draped like blackened, bitter candy-floss curtains, and thick like well-worn wool. Drizzle fell along with the darkness, and the cool air clung to my cheeks. People passed as shadows, their voices muffled by the weight of my thoughts, as the weather mocked the state of my mind—the last month has been hard.
“These fragments I have shored against my ruins” – T.S Eliot
And “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong”—I sing it sometimes as I walk to the library. That familiar tune I can always recall, even when memories melt into blackness. Those words that sting with the sweet, sure love of Christ, when I cannot bring myself to read his own. I choke up with tears as I remember again, that I am loved at my weakest with a love stronger than death. I sing until the words sound louder than the silence . . . “Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.”
“Lord, suffer me to sing
these wounds by which I am made”
– Christian Wiman
Pasta from a packet, made with milk and water; “It’s only the third time this week,” I say.
I think it might be true that we are always feasting on something. I try not to let it be despair. Although, sometimes despair feels like a banquet prepared, and sometimes it is the darkness that calls most sweetly, a siren singing for a shipwreck. I fight the urge for that hollow satisfaction of the inward turn towards self-pity, though at times it feels like the only source of warmth in the deep strong cold of night. Some days I win, though my stomach feels empty.
“Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.”
– Gerard Manley Hopkins
Some days I shake and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the cold.
Your eyes, they sparkle with buoyant wonder, as a hundred thousand snowflakes silently fall. And as they touch my face and melt, they become the tears I have not cried, a substitute for the sadness I cannot show. I look at you, and wince a smile, and you look at me and know. All the while, a hundred thousand snowflakes silently fall.
I do not own any waterproof shoes, and sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve to.
It's raining again. Today it feels like it is always raining, and the damp feels like it has crawled within. The pattering on the window feels unbearably loud. I glance across to washing piled high, and sink beneath the covers again.
“It was the kind of winter day that makes you forget that the weather was ever any different, and you feel like it has been winter all the way back to Adam.” – Wendell Berry
I woke up this morning, from troubling dreams, to soft light piercing through the cracks in the curtains. The cares of the world today seem less heavy. I do not know how long it will last. But for now, the morning light is enough.
Cover image by Alf Williamsen.