I wrap up at SIMaid tomorrow and wonder that the last week of April should mark the anniversary of so much that has happened over the last year. Most of it (not SIM I hasten to add) has been stuff I would not have scripted into the fabric of the life of my worst enemy but it happened anyway. Interestingly well meaning folk who have travelled with me through all the madness want to tell me I am stronger for the adversity.
As I drove across the city this morning I had a cursory ‘torso and limb check’ and decided it was very unlikely I was any stronger today than I was a year ago. The good news is that despite everything I feel reasonably sanguine about everything that has happened. There is a strange sense that this is as it should be, and there is some wonder that I am able to talk about the year without any acid, sans acrimony and even with some humour. I will confess to some puzzlement but I try and avoid being too analytical least that leads to no answers and drives me out of my mind.
To what end? I have no idea. But as I moseyed up through the M5 tunnel this morning I mused that as kids we used to eat Cox’s Orange apples from a tree that was old, moss covered, riddled with canker and very fragile. It wasn’t the sort of tree that we ever wanted to climb least a branch break. Yet its fruit was the sweetest. Possibly the best apples I have ever tasted. And the last fruit, those left on the tree as the frosts hit and the leaves fell, well, they were the best of all.
Do these turgid experiences make us stronger? Hokey homespun philosophies want to assure us as much. I’m not convinced. I don’t feel any stronger for anything I have been through and suspect we tell ourselves we are now doubly reinforced in order to justify the madness we are enduring. But my own homespun hokey philosophy is that instead, these things make us more fragile. No one in their right mind, including myself (no guarantee I am in my right mind) would ever want to climb in my branches least they break. And yet, I dare to hope that any fruit I bear from any of this – my friendships and connections with others, my association with my neighbours, the things I do and the way I behave, my interaction with family, the advice I give when it’s asked, the example I set, the words I offer up are all and only ever sweet fruit, free from any bitterness or acid. I would like to be that unyielding redwood handling everything thrown at it, but better a fragile and smashed up apple tree with delectable fruit methinks, than a sound conifer with nothing sweet to offer.
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