14th July 2021

This is depressing. Please don’t let me bring you down…

Itching, scratching,baking
I do not like July.
It makes me want to cry
But why?
When so many of my kind...
Vast numbers come to mind,
Have good reason for tears,
So very many fears,
While here I sit
Discomfited a bit.
When I was young
Some things were done
That could have made me weep
My path was sometimes steep.
Yet never did I cry
Or hold a tear in my eye.
It seems I've come unravelled
The more I have travelled
Along life's rugged path
To my current hearth.
My brain can no more deal
With all that I feel.
A coward I've become
Beneath July's strong sun.
I can no longer cope
With the dreadful scope
Of mankind's iniquity
Of our dreadful heredity.

Two days ago we had an intense thunderstorm, directly overhead. The cats were not happy, crowding down to the basement with Grant, while I ran from window to window delighting in it.

Thunderstorms are very bad for aviation and often not that great for people on the ground, but I have always loved a good storm. Not the lightning which I know to be wary of, but the crash of thunder and the sound of pouring rain.

As a kid, in Asia, I loved to run outside in the monsoons and feel the rain hitting my head and running down my face.

Often, a good thunderstorm will clear the atmosphere and that day, when I went outside afterwards, there was a delightfully cool breeze. But within an hour the humidity and heat was back, sitting like a damp blanket on top of us.

Why should I care, now that I have the new air conditioner?

Believe me, I know how lucky I am. I say it every day, several times a day, but I can’t seem to clear my brain.

Watching a bad situation from a remote distance has always been a problem for me. I am not a good spectator.

It’s not because I am brave. Far from it. Maybe it’s that I have too active an imagination and I start inventing what I think could be happening.

Being there, in the middle of something, I know what is happening as it happens and I can choose what to do, or not do about it.

Being a spectator is a bit like watching a movie where something is creeping up on your hero and you want to scream “RUN!”

Yesterday morning, instead of doing other things, I sat for hours watching videos on YouTube until I could take it no more.

Every time I think the human species has sunk to a new low, some other dreadful thing happens.

Grant seems surprised that he has been so flattened by the devastation in South Africa. He had thought himself, as he says “to be ‘over it’.”

It would astonish me if he wasn’t affected, particularly as his mother and many friends are still there, in the middle of it.

Not long ago, I wrote that I’ve been thinking about South Africa for a very long time, I can’t say precisely why. Maybe it was that I had read about it and I was fascinated by the history and the tremendous social complications.

It seemed like a human situation that needed worrying about, which doesn’t mean I was a great predictor of events or human behavior. Worrying is the one thing I have always been really good at. There are plenty of other places I worry about, as if, when things start to go wrong, like in the movies I can yell “STOP! Don’t do it!”

As if anyone would listen in any case.

Wasn’t that the idea of the United Nations? To call “Time out” and prevent the kind of human disasters we see increasingly, all over the globe? What exactly is the function of the UN these days? I don’t think they are very good at it.

As in all human disasters, there are people who rise to the occasion and South Africa is no exception. People are coming together to share what they have and to offer protection where they can. It is inspiring that in the face of so much loss they still have the spirit of community.

This ought to be comforting. To me it isn’t, but then I am depressive by nature, so you should not allow my mood to bring you down.

10 thoughts on “Spectator

  1. This is a poignant, fair assessment of the heartache in this world sometimes. Yes it’s depressing, but not because of you, because of how the world is. So many severe storms in this life…

  2. I always think that we were far better off before instant global news reports, and everyone being on the end of a phone/tablet/computer/television. When I first left home at the age of 16 my Mum and Dad did not know what I was doing, where I was, who I was with, and what was happening around me, and I did not know those details about them or my family or friends back home. We didn’t worry at all. Similarly, when our daughter went to boarding school at the age of 11 we had few worries about her and yet, when she came home, and was out with friends, we did worry.

    Now we worry if an email is not answered, or a text goes more than a few minutes without a response, and we are concerned for friends and relations in far away places just in case they may be affected.

    I have no answers, but I do empathise and send hugs to you and Grant. 😻😻

  3. The photographs said something and words kept taking me to where your mind was. Peter is right and it is one time in human history that to know from the media what is happening is like killing the mind without weapons. More so Youtube and when you cannot stop yourself from watching.

    My wishes to you, UN and anyone is way old and weak to do anything anymore, they did not when there was time and now its not just africa, it is becoming a norm a world over. Imagine billion people worrying almost like you. It isnt a pretty picture dearest.

    Please breathe. I hope the worst is over for SA.
    Nara x

    1. Thank you, Nara. I hope so too. If we could turn those billion worries into positive energy, there are those who say it would help. Maybe they are right. Yes, I will breathe. I am so fortunate to have good air here. That also I do not take for granted. X

  4. Grant will probably also confirm this … we South Africans are tough and will stand up (although not always that easy), but in difficult times, it’s amazing to see how everyone is just coming together.
    There’s not much you can do from where you’re sitting (and don’t blame yourself for not being able to). Focus on the beautiful things that surround you … like those lovely pictures of your flowers and the wild animals visiting you every day 🌸.

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