I sobbed my way blearily round the forest this evening.
Nothing to worry about: melodrama rather than tragedy. One of the best ways to release tension is to trudge after a blithely unaware dog’s behind, whilst letting out great crocodile tears and bawling quietly, composing long maudlin blog posts in one’s head, which will never be published, about how the winter’s gone on too long and it’s soggy out there, and nobody loves me and anyway I’m sure I have ‘flu.
But the world this evening was full of trivia, the kinds of whimsy which dries the tears and bids you Climb Every Mountain.
There’s the sun of course, which made a rare cameo performance, on our walk, a glimmer in a day which also featured gobstopper-sized hailstones and sundry torrential rain.
And then there’s the stuff at home. Felix has acquired a very small robot with his Easter money. It is a thing to behold: a sort of four-legged scuttling thing. It is the size of a grown up hand, and its remote so tiny that it could be a school eraser. Felix loves it so, he turns the control off and still fingers it lovingly, the memory of every scuttle etched in his fingertips.
It lives in the bedside cupboards in his bedroom. They never used to be bedside cupboards until he decided he must move his bed next to them. It is not an arrangement a mother would choose: the bed sits wonkily unparallel to them, and obscures the lower ones, but this is now his centre of operations. One of these days I will walk into that room and he will swivel the bed round electronically to face me in a surprise piece of adaptation.
He will announce in Machiavellian tones, ” Ah, Mrs Shrewsday, welcome, I have been expecting you…”
The shelves are full of his beloved stuff. His latest addition to the cuddly family, Carrots the Easter Bunny, is tucked up on one shelf, and Scuttle the robot is pride of place at hand height. It is an eight year old bloke’s room.
Trivial stuff has the power to charm.
Maddie is on revision ready for exams, but she’s perplexed with a bit of music homework which remains to be taken care of. She is grappling with key signatures: the thing that makes a scale a scale. It’s complex, and we sit by the piano talking about tones and semitones.
And I flash back to the moment I began to learn the same thing: every scale built on the same pattern of gaps between notes, carefully regulated by signs which seemed like an exotic foreign language. I remember because I had no piano at home, and my teacher got me to draw a keyboard out on cardboard and trace the patterns between the notes. Tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone…
On the television a documentary compilation of Pathe News has just shown a man who has turned a bath into a car., and is driving it around, presumably in London, with taps gloriously polished. Taken in 1960, it reveals the bath has its own number plate and is fully taxed and roadworthy.
And the dog is wearing his cone once more. He is worrying at sore paws a little too much and he’s back to clattering round the house, knocking the walls as he tries desperately to slip unnoticed into his usual haunts. A scratching session now sounds like someone has invited a timpanist onto the landing. And going up the stairs is a whole new world of co-ordination.
When the world seems a little harsh, and every scrap of sense of proportion has disappeared: it is trivia which is that cure-all miracle elixir which restores balance.
Should you experience the urge to sob melodramatically round a forest, I recommend a stroll around the house to look at the little miracles which rest on every shelf and snore quietly on scattered floor cushions.