What Is This Life If, Full Of Care, We Have No Time To Stand And Stare?
I've borrowed today's title from a poem, Leisure, by the Welsh poet W H Davies. It just floated into my mind this morning, as things tend to do these days; I suppose it's a sign of old age. But it set me thinking because everybody seems to be in a constant rush these days whenever I stray out of the village. For me though, standing and staring comes very easily, as does sitting and staring. As a retired person I enjoy the luxury of rarely being in a rush to get somewhere, and so stopping and staring is an important part of my life. At this time of year it's usually still dark when I wake in the morning, although it is not yet cold and so I can get up quietly and go out and sit on the balcony. It's a beautiful, peaceful time of day. The ridges across the valley are black with no lights showing anywhere. The village street lights show you the essential shape of the old town, and nobody is yet on the move. Maybe - but only maybe - a distant dog will bark for a few moments, but then the silence returns. The apartment faces west and so I can experience the arrival of dawn as a gradual, lightening of the sky. Then shortly the street lights will go off. Colour comes into the landscape, dull, muted tones at first but then brightening. And then at last a sliver of sunlight appears on the topmost ridge, giving a slight orange tinge to the ground it falls upon, and I can then watch as it creeps down the slopes highlighting the second ridge, and then the third. Around that moment, the steep sides of the mountain will begin to receive their share of the light, a stark contrast between the east-facing sides of the gullies and their still inky-dark west facing partners. Then suddenly it's fully daylight. The daylight brings sound back into the picture. Off in the distance a couple of cockerels crow. The odd car can be heard setting off along the road down to Nerja, and very close to home, a neighbour's ancient, clapped-out scooter coughs and splutters into life with much revving of the engine until Antonio can be sure that it will not let him down as he sets off up the steep road that is the route to the rest of the village. In years gone by of course, none of this would have caught my attention, never mind, held it. Then I would have been washing, shaving, dressing, snatching breakfast and rushing off to work. There are many things to be said for retirement, and this is certainly one of them.