The manner in which a person deals with a difficult circumstance is the measure of them. The question we must all ask ourselves is: ‘Will I overcome this trial, or will this trial overcome me?’
8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: At a global, national, and local level, there was so much to process, mentally, on waking. It’s often said of many an apparently significant event that ‘this is an historic moment’. And then it’s soon forgotten thereafter. But these are days when the historical marker asserts itself; it requires no affirmation on our part. And its stain will be indelible 9.00 am: Postgraduate admin. 10.00 am: Tea #2, further admin and personal tutorial consultations, followed by tea #3. In the end, most things boil down to the struggles, ambitions, and frustrations of individual lives.
12.00 pm: Tea #4. I returned to the grant proposal. The clock was ticking. (In the background: Michael Tippett’s Second Symphony (1956-7).) Periodically, I look across to our local hospital, trying to imagine the unrelenting strains, exhaustion, anxiety, and uncertainty faced by staff, patients, and loved-ones. Surely, that’s better than clapping right now!:
2.00 pm: Onwards. During these periods of lockdown music has, at times, failed to engage me. Indeed, on many occasions, it has been at best entirely ignorable and at worst, an irritant — especially as a background to work. Others have said the same. Both silence and the sounds of nature have been the preferred tonic. Likewise, ideas, beliefs, and relationships, that once enriched and consoled, now feel pale, cold, and discomforting. (Grief, too, is like this. ‘How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!’ (Hamlet.)) These reversals of enthusiasm are no doubt temporary. That hot-blooded ardour will flow again when normal life revives.
4.00 pm: I headed out before the darkness fell. A unsettling melancholy pervaded the landscape. (A poisoned world.) I returned home as clouds of starlings began to gather. Some formations manoeuvred very high up, others, close to the treetops.
7.30 pm: I made greater haste with the grant proposal. My self-imposed deadline for the completion of the text was end of ‘play’ tomorrow. By the close of the night, I’d made more than reasonable progress.