I woke at 5 a. m. from a deep sleep. I had been dreaming but don’t remember the dream, just the feeling of being deeply under and then emerging, slowly, to consciousness. I could hear the cat scratching in her cat box in the next room. Birds were starting to call outside the closed window.
A snippet of a Johnny Flynn song played in my head—“been listening all the night”—providing a soundtrack for early morning mind rambles—Manchester bombing, work dilemmas, upcoming knee surgery, Manchester again, what’s the latest information. I resisted the urge to grab my phone and check email and news updates.
Out of the warm bed and into the chilly house. Furnace rumbling, coffee maker gurgling and coughing, cat brushing my ankles and yelling for food.
All too often, I launch into the day, as I did on this morning, feeling taut, distracted by news from the international and national stage, stresses on the home front—and then, when it’s most needed, something will sidle in that shifts my perspective, helps me pause and breathe and listen in a new way.
Coffee made, first sip taken. Cat fed and quiet. Computer booted up. Twitter feed on screen. I’ve deliberately kept my Twitter feed a politics free zone—an occasional tweet about national or international shenanigans sneaks through but mostly I read about things related to language, art, music, education.
This morning I was captured by contributions from Robert Macfarlane about tardigrades. He linked to an article from New Scientist, in which I learned that tardigrades are also known as water bears and are tough, resilient creatures that can survive years of dehydration.
And as is the way on Twitter, what began with a link to a scientific article then led in a different direction, this time to a song from Cosmo Sheldrake praising tardigrades.
Sometimes all that’s needed is a nugget of information and a song. I listened to the song, and listened again, then set about my day with a much lighter heart and mind.
What helps you to shift perspective?
Reading this did help to shift perspective. I had read the article on tardigrades with half an absent mind and initially and irritatingly thought it was a joke about some cartoon creature. Once I realised my mistake I was immediately reminded of the lampreys in a recent nature documentary by Colin Stafford Johnson (Wild Ireland).
Alas, I have not found a song about these creatures.
But mostly I am intrigued by your choice to keep your twitter feed politics-free. I must give it a go.
I will look for that documentary. And yes, when I first saw that picture, I thought this must be a joke and these creatures couldn’t be for real. And I highly recommend having an apolitical oasis!