In The Midst Of Sadness and Despair – Dead Deer

In The Midst Of Sadness and Despair

Calm now. A calmness surrounds, for the most part. And each time it descends it seems it is over. A corner turned. Then something brings it out again, a date, an event, a location, a memory, a thought. And once more stepping into the sadness and despair, the soul emptying misery that is a persistent companion.

For now, though, in the midst of this sadness and despair, a moment of calm. And yes. The storm seems to be abating, slowly and with many heavy squalls still. The bubble is delicate, but it weathers the day-to-day, puncturing only on the fierce spike of reality. And suddenly surrounded at these moments once more, like a dense, crushing cloud. Maybe it is a room, a round room. It spins and there is no way out, and no way forward, and no way to control anything.

The round room, yes that is it. In its midst there is a hopelessness: a grim grey space where hope should be. Yet hope? Does hope help, can it assist in protection from the sadness and despair? No hope merely feeds it; it is air flowing onto to a fire just as the never-changing hurt is the fuel.

So here I sit, calm, fine, better, progressing, but still in the midst of sadness and despair.

Today I wrote from 23:47 to 23:57. I was prompted by an idea here. My other writings here. All my prompted writing here, and my tweets here

In the midst of sadness and despair

It is incredible how one single moment can turn everything around when you are in the midst of sadness and despair.

I’ve had a lot of instances in my life where I have felt like just giving up, either through bad life choices, laziness, tiredness or simply because the task ahead seems too difficult to undertake, and some small gesture or word from someone, in a single moment, has done just that. Snapped me out of whatever brooding mood I was in.

I could write about them for hours and bore you all to sadness and despair, however, I’m going to mention one moment in time from many, many years ago. I was seventeen, studying at sixth form and thoroughly pissed off with how my life was panning out.

I was having a torrid time at school, really struggling with my studies, and being at a new school I didn’t know where to turn to or who to talk to. Not that I would have anyway, I was a teenager after all. Also at this time I had split up with the first real love of my life (oh the woes of teenage emotions) and coupled with the grief at school and not really knowing what to do I decided I was going to bunk off.

I spent a whole week in February getting the bus in the morning, traipsing around the city all day and getting the bus home at my regular time. However, the week I chose to do this we had one of those snowfalls in the East of England we barely see these days.

I remember it being a Tuesday and I spent the whole of that day walking around and around in the freezing cold, wandering in and out of the shops to keep warm but mostly walking around listening to Suzanne Vega’s Small Blue Thing over and over on my walkman, feeling particularly wretched and miserable, lost in the misery of my teenage angst. When completely out of the blue someone asked me if I was alright. I’d seen him a couple of times during the day as I traipsed the streets, and they had obviously clocked me a couple of times as well.

I remember after that not feeling quite so bad, not enough to stop skiving for the rest of the week, which, incidentally, I got an almighty bollocking for when I was found out, but enough for me to realise that things are rarely as bad as they seem, especially when you’re seventeen and you’re a bundle of teenage emotions.

It’s a day that has always stuck with me, the week is blur, as indeed is most of the months and years following, but that particular day in the cold and wet of the streets of Norwich with Suzanne Vega singing in my ears, has endured in my memory thanks to the kind words of a stranger.

Prompted by this page

The Edge of Forever

I stopped, thrusting my ski poles into the crisp snow as I did so and pulled down my scarf, lifting my goggles to take a good look around me, I unclipped the karabiner from my supply sledge and turned in a slow circle, taking in everything around me, my sharp breaths turning to vapour that froze in my beard as I did so.

All around me was whiteness, as far as the eye could see. Above me the sky was a brilliant blue, the single slab of azure a stark contrast to the white at the horizon. The sun beat down on the shimmering landscape, creating millions upon millions of glistering ice diamonds, I could just feel its heat, almost imperceptible against the cold and offering no respite from the biting coldness in the crisp air.

In the distance I could see a dark blue line slicing through the icy whiteness that lay ahead of me.  Re-coupling my sledge, I pulled up my scarf, adjusted my goggles, and gripping my ski poles set off, trudging purposefully forward. As I drew closer to the line  it grew darker and wider, snaking into a massive crack from left to right, from horizon to horizon, taking up the whole of the periphery of my vision. I carried on towards the growing and darkening crack that lay ahead of me and it wasn’t too long until I reached it, a wide gaping crevasse across my path.

I left my sledge and walked along the edge in each direction, looking for somewhere to cross. There was no natural snow bridge, and the best I could find was a spot that seemed no more than ten to twelve feet across. Having retrieved my sledge, I tied the fastening of the karabiner to my ice axe and hurled the trusty tool across to the other side, followed by my back pack and walking poles. Then, tentatively, I crept to the edge and peered over, it felt as if I was standing at the edge of forever, I’m not very good at heights, and this was particularly high, at a guess, and having researched the ice sheet I was traversing thoroughly,  it must have been over 2500 feet deep, dropping into blackness and descending into the very bowels of the earth.

I took several meaningful strides back, as if pacing out my run to bowl at a demon batsman, and before I could give myself time to think about what I was about to do, I ran at the gap as fast as I could and launched myself into the air, landing heavily but with no injury on the other side. I retrieved my axe from the ground and began the long and slow job of hauling my sledge across from the other side, using all my effort to prevent it falling into the void and taking me with it.

Exhausted, but with all my belongings and myself now safely on the other side, I sat on my sledge to rest, waiting for the thumping in my chest to abate before resuming my journey across the beautiful white wilderness.

Prompted by this page