Invisible, but still felt

Blog post
Published: 02.06.2010

 It’s early morning and Casals is playing a Bach suite.  Music fills the house.  It  Undulates. Soars.  (Was it the great cellist who declared that he could do mornings without food but not without Bach?)  I listen while I breakfast.   Matilda’s ears twitch.  Her ears do that.  As she licked the yoghourt spoon meticulously, a tiny, almost invisible, droplet flicked onto her ear.  It twitched. 

A serene autumn day.  Perhaps I will work in the garden.  I go to the window and stretch out my hand to test the air.  I feel tiny pin-points of chill.  It is barely spitting with rain.  Invisible, but still felt.  

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On the third finger of my left hand I wear three rings. Sometimes I fiddle with them, when distracted, distressed, restless. To remind me of their significance?  For the contentment of their worn-smoothness? For no apparent reason? I am seldom unaware of their presence. They don’t roll over one another in the voluptuous way of a Russian wedding ring, but they are sensuous enough. Two of the rings were once a single wide gold band. In a gratifying symbolic act, which as a jeweller I was able perform, I sawed it in two — one band for each of my sons.  The other — a stainless steel band privately lined with gold — has a gold wire inlaid into its outer surface. When it was made there was a small gap where the ends of the wire did not meet perfectly.  Ohhhhh!  Would it spring apart?  Flick out, perhaps during the wedding ceremony?  What would be portended if it were to spring undone?  Something momentous? calamitous?  Or something as trivial as the wire springing out?  Tucked into my palm, my thumb-nail used to find the gap, used to flick in and out of it with a click — felt rather than heard — but the constant abrasion, gentle and not-so-gentle, of twenty-seven years has smoothed it.  At times, my thumb-nail still seeks it, but now I have to really search to find it.  

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Scientists have recently been astounded to discover microbes living in previously thought impossible temperatures and pressures in rocks in subterranean depths beneath the ocean floor.  Gathering breath, surfacing, leaping: it seems entirely likely that between each atom in these three objectively insignificant circles of metal are embedded the aspirations and dreams, the loves and passions, the joy and pain, the hope and the despair of at least one life. It is the same for any well-worn jewel. 


Matilda is curled up asleep.  Her ears twitch.  What does she hear?  feel?