Daily Archives: December 8, 2012

A Stranger in a Strange Land

Those of you who have been reading these posts for some time will know that, among other things, I am a practising Jew, and that this part of me sometimes features in these musings. This week’s offering is one of those times.  Just so you know, the verse from which I take my title is something Moses’ wife Zipporah says after the birth of their son, Gershom.  The translation is from the book of Exodus Chapter 22 Verse 2 the King James bible.

Zipporah’s words, shrouded in the dusk of mystery, truth and parable from the ancient world resonate with me.

I have lost my way in the familiar surroundings of the city I have lived most of my life. The roads I cycle down, the corners I turn and where I park my bike are places I have not been since ….

This not the first time I have relapsed into severe depression, but it may as well be.  Some of what I am feeling is all too familiar.  What helps me to get better is not so easily available.  It took a friend of mine – the same one who suggested I start blogging about all this stuff a couple of years ago – to remind me of what works well for me at times like these. Actively participate in the Depression Alliance Forum, visit the Samaritans.  Attend the Bi Polar UK monthly support group more often than I tend to.  None of which come readily to mind when I’m like this.  She gave me a lift to the Samaritans local office they’ve moved since I last used to go there regularly 8 years ago.

I might have realised that I was beginning to lose my way a couple of months back when I went on one of my regular routes that I know well – and got lost.  My cursing and raging at the hedgerows and idle cows and horses in the surrounding fields, obscured my view and so my dwindling sense of perspective and insight clouded over until just recently.

I am a stranger in a strange land.

Poynings – I mile, Fulking - 1 1/2 miles, Hurstpierpoint - 7 miles. The signs guide me in the right direction, but everything looks different.  The over – hanging branches can support a noose, the blind corner can invite oblivion, a lorry means a dull thud and crunch.

And still I ride.

I ride for the possibilities every unfamiliar bend in the road brings. The hope, despair and horror my horizon brings. As flat and unattainable as the end of everything I am.

Coming to This

We have done what we wanted.

We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy


of each other, and we have welcomed grief

and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.

The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.

The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.

The wine waits.

Coming to this

has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.

We’ve no heart or saving grace,

no place to go, no reason to remain.

Mark Strand (1934 – )