I’m having a Macbeth moment in my life. I had a decent night’s sleep on Saturday night for the first time in ages. I have been getting by on 3 or 4 hours per night for about a month. I roll over onto my left shoulder and the pain wakes me up. I toss and turn and try and get comfortable but can’t. I stay woken up. This is one of the main reasons I have not been getting up and having a swim. I simply can’t get out of bed in the morning. The alarm goes off and I try and get up and the first thing I feel is pain shooting down my shoulder and it flattens me.
I’d give anything for that “innocent sleep,” Macbeth talks about. Innocent sleep is the escape from pain for me.
I stumble around on Sunday morning trying to get organised, resisting the temptation to just go back to bed. Pain ripples and stings down my arm like a burning electric wire. Those famous lines echo though my dark apartment. “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,” Amen! Wish I had written that. I’ve got a ravelled sleeve at present.
I arrived at Balmoral at 7.30am, Sunday morning. The race had started. The Balmoral Beach Club mens’ change room is deserted. My locker is as I left it a month ago. After changing, I creep furtively across across the verandah onto the beach, hoping no one notices I’m carrying snorkel and flippers. Everyone is in the water, racing. The beach is blissfully deserted. The walk of shame to the water’s edge.
Shakespeare had Macbeth say about sleep:
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast,–
This could also apply to swimming in the ocean – it is a nourisher at life’s feast. I headed off around the bay, getting that nourisher going. The lead swimmers would be back on the beach soon. Two laps around were very relaxing — the smell of the salt water, the ripples on the sandy bottom and the busy fish whizzing to and fro. Balm for a hurt mind. Toward the end I noticed someone swimming beside me. It was Charm Friend. She was watching my stroke underwater. We stopped and yarned, treading water. She is a super swimmer and a great coach but like me has a history of painful spinal issues. We laughed when sharing our common woes.
The change room was still a hub-bub of activity and familiar noise when I arrived back there and I caught up with a number of people I hadn’t seen for weeks. The same timeless topics engaged everyone in the shower. Unfortunately, the great issues which were discussed are no closer to resolution. I enjoyed breakafst sitting in the sun in the top room listening to the hum of conversation and feeling the human animation. A problem with pain is that it’s isolating. It drives me into the corner as each day becomes a battle to cope and life becomes all about survival. There is no room for anything else.
Macbeth nailed it and I believe it. The ocean is great nature’s second course.