Body Parts: A Question of Age

Without much noise at all, looking straight ahead with a glassy expression, the lady walked slowly through the white corridors with swinging doors just behind a green-gowned nurse towards an empty room.  Entering, it was filled with nothing except for a shiny-framed bed.

Without a word, simply following a silent gesture from the nurse, the lady lifted herself onto the side of the bed, her mottled feet hanging down so that her toenails were about two inches from the linoleum. As before, she looked straight ahead without any expression.

After an indeterminate length of time, the doctor came in with a clipboard and ballpoint pen and stopped in front of the lady, to take a look at her.  There were no records, no date or place of birth, nor current address, nor next of kin.  At a guess, she would have been in her mid-eighties though she had the frame and gait of a middle-aged woman and considerable strength remaining.

As a doctor, there was no real need for conversation (not that the lady appeared inclined to speak).  He was interested only in examining her and gathering some details, so he proceeded, almost as if he was looking at a plastic manikin.  The lady gazed right through him, her eyes a translucent, watery blue with the faintest touch of violet.

The doctor began with her face, placing his thumbs on her cheek bones and fingers around her jaw line so that he could move her skull, feel the weight of the head, and look from different angles.  He then brought her chin forwards and down so that he could look at her scalp, still a good head of hair, slightly wiry and wet.  Finally he gently placed his thumbs over her eyelids and pressed in, feeling the firmness of her eyeballs and the extent of movement within their sockets.

He then went to her arms and legs, feeling the weight of each limb and moving them around methodically in the joints.  They were heavy and cold but the skin was very soft.  He pressed into the muscles of her arms and slightly squeezed her legs, while also using his thumbs to rub against the skin, feeling its elasticity and watching it change colour with the release of pressure under his fingertips.

And so the examination continued in this way, silently, with just the occasional squeak of his shoes as he moved around.  With no information on her age, the doctor found himself becoming attuned to the body in front of him and how very much alive it still was, almost feral.

Opening the door to find the nurse, the sounds of the hospital flowed in and the doctor realised how engrossed he had been.  He looked down at his watch to get his bearings.  A couple of children ran past the door to the cafeteria.  The doctor disappeared and the lady remained on the side of the bed, white gown tucked under her thighs, waiting for the nurse to return to take her weight.



The wonderful pinkness of your clustered petals against the summer green of your leaves, my beautiful hydrangea, just these few moments with you now in the early evening sunlight, just this is all I need, more than I could ever have thought of asking for, extra than I could ever have expected….and I’d be quite happy to finish up now, taking your colour with me on my way.


Black Box

As I see it, it doesn’t matter at all, whether you feel that transformation and evolution are real or not.  The point is that you cannot transform yourself.  You cannot evolve yourself.  You cannot turn the dial of the day, adjust the gears of your life in any way.  On and on it goes, oblivious to you, encased in an utterly smooth, stainless steel cover, whirring by itself like a refrigerator.


Hadal Zone

The vast majority of sea life, over 90% in fact, lives in the light and oxygen-rich surface layer of the ocean, known as the epipelagic zone.  Lower down, light cannot penetrate and organisms become smaller and scarcer. Below 6000 metres, very little exists at all; the few creatures that do survive are often blind or have their own light sources.

Just for your information.


Midnight Mass

If you step outside right now and take a nighttime stroll, breathe some cool air and look up into the trees and over into the gardens, you will be walking into the Holy of Holies.  Tread quietly, so so softly past the kneeling trees, over the prostrated paving stones, for they are praying. Everything is in prayer.



Life is impervious to your attempts at spiritualizing it.  It cannot be spiritualized.  Its cycles will not be broken. Elements are elements.  Bodies are bodies.  Thoughts are thoughts.  Dreams are dreams.  Anger is anger.  Loneliness is loneliness.  Fondness is fondness. The only alchemy, the only transformation, yes, the only spirituality is the ending of spirituality, the ending of levels, the ending of parts…and, yes, dare I say it, the ending of consciousness. Bang!



Looking at that great summer giant from inside his moving car, its magnificent stillness and volume all the more arresting as the passing landscape flashed by underneath, there was a sense of solidarity and closeness that only strangers know.

Hello beautiful, he offered. Where are you from? Have you travelled far?  What was that sense of familiarity, he wondered. Ah yes, he thought. Yes, I knew we had something in common, relieved to have been able to put his finger on it.

They were both orphans, you see.  Orphans could always recognize each other.  He felt the same resonance with people, more often in recent days, as if there was something of an orphan in everyone.

The old lady he’d just passed about the cross the road once his car had passed.  I see you, darling, and I feel your tired lonely heart, weary of this foreign place. And she was gone from his rear view mirror, just like that cumulus, and he wondered what would become of them.