I can’t quite believe that it has now been 160 days since I was hit by that car door. In reflecting about that day there are times that I still want to think that this was nothing but a bad dream and soon I will wake up get on my bike and shred a good 50-60 mile ride. Then, the ache in my right hip reminds me that this is no dream and any idea of getting out and doing anything beyond 35 miles is pushing my limits. I have watched the seasons change around me, going from trees that were in full, bright green foliage to those same trees now shedding their, dry, brown leaves leaving the branches bare and cold. The debris of those trees strewn along the roads and yards a testament to the cycles of life, our own movement from the early blush of spring into the last gasps of a dying winter. I’ve been reading a book by Siegfried Sassoon, it’s the first in a trilogy of books he wrote about his life starting in the English countryside of Edwardian times, into the horror that would become known as the “Great War”. The first book is almost idyllic in its description of a young man living the idle life of a country gentleman, fox hunting in the late fall and winter, rounds of cricket in the sultry summer months, along with occasional trips to London to purchase the required uniform of the fox hunt. Throughout the book, as far as I have read, Sassoon seems almost wistful, he is remembering a time before the mud, blood and destruction he would witness in the trenches, seemingly longing for a return to that innocence. Yet, there is that occasional sentence, his remembering of an acquaintance who has been to South Africa, thrust into the colonial struggle of the Boer War. It is a distant place, far away from the sound of the horns and the howls of the dogs of the fox hunting community. Theirs is a world of tea tents, pubs and the rituals of the upper class removed even from the reality of the slums and poverty just outside the windows of the slow moving trains on the way to London.
The familiar ache in my hip brings me up short, a reminder of my mortality, a vision of the future in which I am not ready to concede to just yet. Maybe like Sassoon, I’m looking wistfully at a time, that is now past, a slowly dissipating mist never to be recovered, only dimly remembered. As I look down the road, a road strewn with unseen obstacles, it will require a new way of thinking and living. Yet, I can’t isolate myself from the world outside as everyday it crashes into my life, the daily struggles of those seeking to find peace and a place away from their own horrors. Each day I fear the inevitable end of what was once sure and certain as we move slowly, like one of those ancient trains to London, into an abyss that we might never recover from. I look out of the windows of my own mind and see the slow, almost suicidal death of those who refuse to look up from their own cup of tea.