Friday, 8 May 2009

Moan moan moan moan moan moan moan

The conifer towards the back of this photo is where I hope to be one day. Tall, poised, balanced, reaching for the sky in a dignified sort of way. The hedge leading up to it is the other aspects of my life, neatly pruned, flowing along their journey. The bit between here and that conifer is a bed of in a state of transient wilderness, a mixture of mature herbs; bay, rosemary, sage, mostly nice things. Just out of sight to the right, there is a small tree, as yet unidentified by us. We're just waiting for it to do something to make itself known. In the meantime, my attention is drawn towards the burgeoning weeds, the curse of any garden. The weeds have arrived there, either by seeds carried on the wind or from roots that have lain dormant, waiting for the right conditions to shout out their existence. The weeds come in the guise of illness and I'm pretty fed up with them.

Of course it's a way to meet new people. I'm on good terms with the phlebotomist at the hospital. We meet fortnightly and I look forward to the delicious free coffee (the treatment isn't) although I was alarmed this week when a notice went up on the machine stating that it is now forbidden to take your drink into the treatment areas. What kind of customer service is that? The result is that I knock back two in a row in the waiting area and arrive to see my new best friend on a caffeine high.

I have noticed that health care appointments are as much about the journey as the destination. There's a lot going on out of our view - probably the source of much stress to those working in the field - with the patient's arrival in the correct place to meet the right person who can corroborate that their notes correspond to the person in front of them being the most significant. Yesterday, I was an unlikely auditionee for the role of Goldilocks. First I sat in the chair in the doctor's consulting room. Then I was admitted to the inner sanctum of the surgery's administrative office whilst the secretary made some phone calls on my behalf. Next I was sent downstairs to sample another chair. As I sat outside the nurse's room at the GP's surgery, journal on my lap and scribbling away, one of the GPs (not the one I'm seeing currently as I like to spread the cheer around fairly) came past and said to me 'Are you writing your life's memoirs?' and my reply was 'Well, I may as well do something whilst I'm waiting'. I think he kept walking in case I was contagious.

The day carried on in the same vein. I caused the same sort of scared amusement at my evening class as the blood pressure monitor inflated at inappropriate moments. I started off having it covered by my cardigan but then realised that buzzing and going red in the face with overheating was a little startling to my fellow students. As it is a counselling training course, being anything other than totally candid in your exposition of your woes or joys is frowned upon. I have yet to find a simple way to articulate the process I am undergoing which could result in me being diagnosed with the same illness that King George is supposed to have suffered (yes, he was mad too) and is the basis for the myths of vampires and werewolves. I know that I'm doing a bad job in disentangling the knot of curiosity. Any attempt to offer a watered down synopsis of the plot so far inevitably leads to the unfortunate question of 'So, what are the symptoms then?' at which point, I hope for a distraction. Nothing is ever simple.

So, back to the garden. As I hold the camera to take the picture from the perspective you see here, my own distraction is the unidentified tree. It's probably a very innocent, common one. It's probably one that can co-exist happily with the conifer. I'm very interested in the concept of perspective. No view is ever so clear-cut, there's always something just outside of the picture that changes the way you look at the object of your gaze. The key to living artfully though is to watch and wait. It will identify itself in good time and I can take another picture. Who knows, I may even have got rid of the weeds by then.

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