Monday, 12 November 2012
Is this going anywhere?
Breakfast was slow. It often is, we are not morning people, and if neither of us has an early appointment, we dawdle. The opposite side of the valley was barely visible in the grey drizzle, I’d sent Millie out into the garden and she was back, lying under the kitchen table. Since her advent I have to get up an hour earlier (yes, that’s dedication for you). This gives me an extra dose of reading free magazines and newspaper supplements over my tea and muesli before Beloved shuffles in.
“Morning, lovely people”. The dog is always included in the greeting; Beloved gives my shoulder a squeeze or sometimes a quick kiss on the top of my head as he goes past me to his end of the kitchen table. He sits with his back to the window, giving me the view of the garden, like a true gentleman.
“Morning darling, did you sleep well?” The dog doesn’t answer, she thumps her tail instead. “Yes, thank you”, or “No, bloody awful”, depending on the night before. “And you?"
For a while we are silent, I continue to leaf through the pages of my magazine. It’s not often that an article grabs my attention. Why am I reading this rubbish? By the time I’ll have closed the thing I’ll have forgotten every word I read. I look up to see Beloved’s head low over his breakfast, eyes vacantly staring into the middle distance. He feels my gaze on him.
“For a moment I was wondering whether you were awake or asleep”.
“I wonder that myself, sometimes”, he says, thoughtfully. “My old friend Johnny Denman frequently said 'Life is but a waking dream’, which is something that a man called Gurdjieff apparently said. “I don’t think Johnny knew anything else about him. He must have read it somewhere.”
Beloved has my attention, this is better than the stupid magazine. ‘Gurdjieff’? I’ve heard the name.”
“Yes, me too. I’ve probably read something by him. Wasn’t he some Eastern European mystic in the 20s or 30s? There were quite a few of them around during the early 20th century. I read a lot of stuff as a boy that I didn’t understand. Mysticism, theosophy, spirituality."
Not to be outdone, I dredge up a name from the long distant past. “Wasn’t there a Mme Blavatsky? I seem to remember having read of her as an esotericist? This sort of stuff was resurrected during the flower-power 60s and 70s, I recall.”
We try to unearth a few snippets of information from memory, without success. We could give up and start the day. As I rise to put my bowl and cup away, I idly speculate that it would be more productive to have the sort of conversation that goes somewhere. At least I’d get some blogging fodder that way.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Beloved says, “you could say what my old friend Arnold Newnham used to say. He had a lovely turn of phrase.”
“Oh yes, what’s that?”
‘People open their mouths to emit sound’.