Hotter than July

It’s been a long month which has lasted forever yet which passed in a flash.

It started on the dot, with visitors – people I hadn’t seen in years and with whom those years became just yesterday. They arrived unperturbed despite international news of the certain uncertainty playing out here. They’d recently made it through the Scottish independence referendum, so took a scientific approach to the Greek one (admittedly, this was tricky as the why of the Greek remains unclear). Camera! Lights! Action! All we could do was wait and watch, through a glass darkly. In the meantime, the visitors enjoyed their holiday and I enjoyed playing the tourist in their company. They also provided me with a welcome distraction from a sudden attack of political fervour. Mine.

Seriously, I thought I was past caring. The intensity and strength of my feelings left me shocked and drained. Despite feeling exhausted, I was oddly reassured that I still had it in me to be so moved. I soon learned, however, that it was wisest to keep my opinions to myself. Tempers ran high, vitriol ran freely and I watched as others’ friendships disappeared. People chew up the air and spit out its bones! – cried one friend, in despair. I expressed my views in private, with those who I knew could reason before judging and who wouldn’t shoot the messenger. It became our secret society – qualcosa solo per noi. This kept me sane. Really. In any case, thanks to the visiting friends, and the arrival of my niece and her boyfriend, the outside socio-political invective drifted into radio static. Irritating, but easy to tune out.

So, I passed time reflecting with friends and family, as we looked through old photographs together, on how blessed I have been in my friendships and how tenacious my friends have been. This chance for reflection brought with it its own kind of understanding and I felt a greater sense of peace by the end of the month than I would ever have believed possible at its beginning. Of course, once the visitors had gone, I emerged, blinking, into an outside world. I looked around and realised that while the dust had settled, the heat had increased, the air had grown heavier and a deafening silence had descended. It became clear that we must find our own way now. Because now we are in the dance and someone’s switched the music off.

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