My first morning, post spinal block, I woke to the sound of heavy rain drumming on the balcony outside my bedroom, mixed with the gentle sigh of surf on the beach across the road. I had had a good night’s sleep – about six hours – but I still felt bleary after yesterday’s procedure. Blissfully no pain. Hauled myself out of bed and tried to decide what to do with the day. As on so many other mornings, the desire to flop back into bed was almost overwhelming. I didn’t feel like a drive to Balmoral in the rain.
And yet. The words of Jimmy Buffet came to me as I stood looking out at the grey, rainswept Pacific, the wind ripping sheets of white water.
Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall.
You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.
This is from his song, A Pirate Looks at Forty. It was on A1A, the first Buffet album I ever owned circa 1974. That’s 41 years ago and the song is still inspiring me to get into the ocean on a cold, grey morning. We never thought we were going to get old back then and now I’m a pirate looking at sixty. It was also very quiet in my apartment and to be honest I longed for the sound of the human voice. I dressed and headed for Balmoral.
It was the walk of shame again to an ocean that was dirty and churned up after the rain. I clamped the snorkel mouthpiece in my teeth determined not to swallow water. This is the home of the gut bugs after all. Most people had already finished the race so I did a couple of lonely circuits round the bay. In that murky water it was only me and the bull sharks.
I loitered for a couple of hours over breakfast. Saturday down there is always something special and I do miss the tumult.
And lend to the rhyme of of the poet,
The beauty of thy voice.
(The Day is Done: Longfellow)
O yes, the beauty of the human voice. It’s a great antidote to pain. Longfellow knew this. Silence is never that golden.
Alison Maunder had some prebiotic for me – Fructo oligosaccharides. Don’t know what it is but gee it sounds impressive. Alison is trying to get my intestinal microflora back up to full speed following everything this year. I’ve been really good taking my kefir and probiotic every day since I got rid of the gutbugs. I’m determined to stay “clean,” as I feel so much better.
When I arrived home, I saw the shocking news about the atrocities in Paris. What unspeakable acts. I thought back to my struggle to get through the Koran earlier in the year when I was laid up from surgery. The violence of some of those passages came back to me watching the imagery of slaughter in France.
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement” (Koran 5:33)
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” (Koran 8:12)
I marked these passages, but there are heaps more like this. Such a violent, political tract masquerading as religious instruction. France and Spain were first invaded by Muslims around 700 A.D. Europe has constantly fought them off ever since – that’s a 1300 year war to preserve a culture. I wonder, as I watch these images, whether we are seeing the Anglo-Celts finally bow their heads in defeat to a culture that has been trying to overthrow them for more than a millennia. It’s very sad.
The struggles I have had this year are as nothing, when compared with all those people who have lost their lives at the hands of a primitive political system disguised as a religion. I pray for all of them.