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  • THERE ARE TIMES — between waking from a pleasant dream and realizing that yet another day is upon me — when I begin to wonder whether I am losing my mind. They are times of melancholy, filled with regrets over what might have been: opportunities lost, skills grown rusty or completely gone, the irreversible changes of aging.

    A number of folks have written eloquently in these pages about what it’s like to live with pain — pain physical, mental, and spiritual. I take a measure of comfort from these writings, because I, too, live with a certain amount of physical pain (diabetic neuropathy of the feet, among other things) and the above-mentioned sense of melancholy and loss. There's comfort in knowing others have walked this path. Proves the truth of the adage that misery loves company, I suppose.

    All this manifests itself in a curious way during that period between waking up and whacking up the ginger to face the day. For some strange reason, images come to mind of a host of ordinary, everyday things — the base of a signpost, a bridge abutment, a wood fence, urban graffiti, a wrought-iron railing, a railway crossing signal box, a footpath in the woods — but these ordinary, everyday things are somehow shabby, tired-looking, sad to contemplate. That’s what I mean about wondering whether I’m losing my mind.

    Anyway, when it’s morning, and my feet hurt, and I can’t think of a thing to be enthusiastic or optimistic about, life seems quite a drab affair.

    So far, the solution appears to be (1) swing aching feet out of bed, (2) put socks on aching feet, (3) drag aching bones into bathroom, (4) splash water on face, (5) shave, (6) attend to necessary bodily functions, (7) ingest coffee at Nuclear Detonation strength, (8) dress, (9) start computer, and (10) see what’s happening on Cowbird.

    Because, in the end, it’s nice to know I’m not as melodramatically isolated in my supposed sorrows as I might’ve thought earlier.

    For which gift I send love and thanks to all of you.

    — CNP —
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