Saturday, 23 June 2012

Little things...

Before I vent my spleen on Michael Gove (if I ever get round to it) or Ed (aka Cain) Miliband, let me dwell on more cheerful things. I can't say it does much good to get too upset about politicians, as the most ambitious of them seem very similar to each other. So instead I'll post about some of the jollier aspects of my week - trivial perhaps, but actually such things are the stuff of life.

For example, Lynne gave Jane a bird-feeder earlier this year and she stuck it on the kitchen window. "That'll never work," I told her. "They'll never come that near the house, especially to the kitchen window with you and the dog in there." How wrong I was! As I sat in my chair in the conservatory, I had a grandstand view of a sparrow mother feeding her rather demanding, rather obese fledgling brood. My own Springwatch! They've grown and flown away now - but they weren't bad substitutes for chickens (to watch, not eat, I hasten to add).

Then there was planning for an MNDA Bake History coffee morning we thought we'd hold at home a week today. I have a Facebook friend in Kelso whose husband has a similar degenerative disease. Susan saw my entry about it. Clearly she can't come but she did offer to send a few "sock monkeys" for selling or raffling. I was intrigued. They arrived yesterday. I must say they are rather wonderful works of craftsmanship. The sewing is incredibly neat to the point of being invisible. They are quite appealing. Not surprisingly demand looks set to exceed supply. The best thing about them, though, is Susan's generosity in donating and sending them. Another bright thing to enjoy.

 Talking of bright things, life isn't all light. It's light and dark. Yet I was thinking as I looked out at my usual breakfast view, there's beauty in the darkness as well. Without the dark, of course, there'd be no light. But I love the mysterious shadow beneath the dark crimson leaves of the Cotinus, the "Smoke Tree". It's like a warm cave framed by the bright green leaves of the apple and hazel. Without it my view would be much duller. And of course the view is constantly changing in different seasons and conditions. 

For me it is sad that there are folk like Tony Nicklinson who has chosen not to enjoy the small joys of his dreadfully limited life but rather to campaign for euthanasia both for himself and also for others. No one would wish Locked-in syndrome on anyone, but it need not be the death sentence he takes it to be, if people like Jean-Dominique Bauby (author of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Michelle Wheatley, Bram Harrison and Martin Pistorius are to be believed (Bram Harrison's story). 

June is the MND Association's Month of Optimism. That's not a month of whistling in the dark. No one's pretending ALS/MND is any fun, though some of my MND friends have, or had, great senses of humour. However it is a month where we focus on hope - the hope to be found in the developments of research, the hope we find in being cared about and the hope to be found in the small joys of life, which somehow seem to show up all the more brightly because of the mysterious darkness against which they're set.

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