Tuesday, September 29, 2009


September always ends up too busy, a vacuous claim I admit. Something, perhaps mere indolence, nags at me that the busy I'd really like to embrace is busy at not being busy and the constancy of this thought has been unsettling me for some time. My defense lately is that Plato said the mind should be occupied for no more than 4 hours a day with work, and I'm not sure he even said that, but nonetheless it does add weight to my argument that it is not mere self indulgence but self betterment I want - make that need.

R has cancer (cancer cancer) and he is recovering in hospital after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Perhaps it is now R had cancer, but that will take months if not years to find out. And S has cancer (cancer cancer) and she, after being declared unsuitable for more surgery and even for more radiotherapy, has just been referred to a (relatively) new-in-town oncologist. He wants the secondary diagnosis reviewed and another biopsy taken. She has hope after having been told, literally, to go home and put her affairs in order. She is seeing a buddhist once-was-monk for group meditation and private counsel.

Mortality is no longer a distant inevitability but an immediate challenge. While it is quality of remaining life, retirement, work stress, personal stress, immune systems and all things allopathic, and homeopathic, that are overt, it is death that one takes to bed at night and wakes to. K says no one dies because no one is alive. Metaphysically he is right of course, but wrong too. Call it what you like, but death is what it is to R and S.

What is remarkable about my friends is the comfort, and I say that advisedly, that a sense of immediacy brings them. They are no longer too busy.

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