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Sir Thomas Browne

Posted 11-25-2010 at 06:00 AM by Steve Bucknell
Updated 12-22-2013 at 09:21 AM by Steve Bucknell
I stand in the staff car park waiting for a lift as sleet begins to fall through the yellow lights. I reflect I知 more Sisyphus than Odysseus. Thirty years as a nurse, thirty years I can look back on, having done no harm, having kept these groups of vulnerable people safe. Two years to go and then retirement. I知 formulating phrases for my next appraisal; I値l try: 的知 struggling with the pace of change... What I mean is I have to spend too much time sitting at a computer logging notes, care plans, risk assessments, making sure I meet governance and audit requirements.

The best thing I do today is notice when Palinarus has wet himself and help him to bathe and change. He remains deluded, in his 鉄ystem which resembles some trial at which he is constantly arraigned, hectored, convicted and punished. He reminds me of K. before the court, a court composed of the circles of hell. He is grateful for my presence and assistance. I modify his suffering a little. Only when he starts to cry out and swear back at his accusers do I offer him more tranquillizers.

How fortunate I am to have this role, this luxury of reflection, this comfortable existence. The sleet falls wet against my face for a few more moments, and then Adrienne arrives to take me home.

This morning I extract a perfect octagonal ice-window from the birdbath. It is not easy, frozen solid I have to warm the stone around it with hot water to undermine and free the iceshape. I知 anxious that it痴 going to crack or split. At last I lever it out whole and set it in the top of the hawthorn hedge. The low sun catches it: visible water, visible light lifted up in the midst of thorns and darkness. Now I can see how long it lasts, how it changes, how it lives through the days.

I check on The Book of Wonders. It has stayed open in the holly bush, visited by wrens, robins and chaffinches. Last night when I looked out of the back door Orion seemed to be in rapid transit as if on some urgent flight, an illusion caused by low broken cloud scudding across the night sky.

For Ed, a link to Penelope, though I wanted to find something from The Hermaphrodite Album which she wrote with Peter, but I can稚 find it yet among my teetering stacks of books.

The sky is gathering grey and a few white seedlings flurry on the air. I don稚 think it will snow yet. Another late shift for me now.

From A Book of the Winter:

...Our longest sunsets at right descensions, and makes but winter arches, and therefore it cannot be long before we lye down in darknesse.

Sir Thomas Browne. Urn Burial.
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