Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Running on empty 

It’s been a strange week. Outwardly quite normal; everything fine so long as I stick to simple routine and don’t try anything that demands much more than mere physical presence. Basic life support systems are functioning fine apparently, but higher order systems seem to have become largely non-operational. Some kind of auto-shutdown routine kicked in; simple tasks are no problem at all, but anything that requires any kind of inner resource beyond the merely computational causes the system to hang, so I’m left rather like Hal, the computer in 2001, when his higher functions had to be disabled.

Spiritual/emotional reserves finally hit empty. They’ve been running dangerously low for quite a while now; I think it was playing for the show the week before last that finally drained the very last drop. Four consecutive days of dashing between work, home and the venue without a moment to catch my breath or grab a proper meal. Normally those extra demands wouldn’t have mattered, but I didn’t realised just how depleted the reserves had got – not until they ran out. I’ve been saying I needed to find ways to nourish my soul, but didn’t do anything about it. I guess the lesson is that that need was no mere abstraction; neglect the soul and the side effects verge on the physical.

At least I finally managed to get a short vacation sorted. We’ve rented a cottage at Ambleside in the English Lake District for a week. It’ll be the first time we’ve been away as a complete family for maybe five years, and quite probably the last time ever, now that the kids are pretty much grown up. This was my daughter’s plan – and it does give me a certain warm glow that they all still like the idea of doing things together as a family. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything here about my family since this is a personal blog, but so you get the picture we have two lads, age 20 and 22, and a daughter of 18. They’re an independent and well-travelled brood - they’ve each already had their own trips here and there this year, some near, some far.

There is one teeny tiny cloud on the immediate horizon though. I need to get this one out of my system otherwise I’ll just be setting myself up for disappointment. I’d hoped to go up there early with one of my lads and spend a few days camping and hillwalking. To have some time to spend being truly in the landscape, at one with it; to smell the early morning freshness, touch the dew on the grass, gaze at the mountains over breakfast; to live with earth and rock and grass and water as constant companions; to sleep with only a couple of thin layers of nylon between me and the stars. It’s looking unlikely now that we can do that. Ah well… Like I say, I just need to get that disappointment out of my system so that I can enjoy the break without feeling I’m missing out on something.

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