Well… An opportune time to email, Audrey. Thank you for the reminder. 6 weeks and 2 days old, Mlle. F. has been in our life for 38 days. Where did they, those days, go?
For the last three weeks I’ve had three almost blogettes floating in the schizoid space I once called my head. I’m unable to prove them any further than a dump ball of rubbery dough, so it’s best if I’m out with them in their stunted form, stinted of actual effort. I fear (see section 3) that there’s no chance I’ll raise them to fruition the near future.
1: Photography - photoclub continues to challenge me, but (again, see the 2,745 posts prior to this, all explaining how you can and will break cameras) my Nikonos isn’t working, my Olympus has a worsening spot, etc, ad nauseam. So saddened from suspect sticky shutter and remorseful of removing lens coating, I am unable to find joy in a viewfinder at my eye. Furthermore, I’m feeling less, and less reward from posting my photos on Flickr, Tumblr, or anywhere else. I shot 36 photos of Miss F’s birth, they made it into a photo book for me, Ms., our friends and family. I’ve printed 4 of my favourite ocean photos, they are a series on the wall. I had framed one of my favourite tramping photos, it was a gift for Mme’s father - it is on his wall. What I am saying is this: physical photos are becoming more important to me than gratification achieved from the internet… 10 ‘likes’ and 100 ‘views’ are nothing compared to the prize of a peer pausing at the page of the midnight feed in Miss F’s first book.
2: Cycling - I attend the velodrome twice a week, Paige’s sessions and Mark’s sessions, 20 year old sprinter and 50 year old stayer. There is balance there. My own track bike is built - Frankie. This velocipede a la velodrome is settling into a nice habit and routine. Yet on the road and in open spaces I have had an avalanche of wistfulness and sentimentality from England and Northern Ireland… I long of old bikes and riding them miles. 50mi on a BSA 3-speed to see Dr Fini: done. Miles and miles pottering around lanes and paths for the mental health of it - every pedal stroke a act of subconscious sorting. Commuting in all manner of weather or even forests and single track on an 80′s campus 10 speed: yes please. I’ve never ridden more, nor felt stronger on a bike. François Pervis says that riding keirin in wind, on concrete, with steel bikes, makes him stronger and better when he returns to heated indoor boards and carbon fibre. I remember the sublime rush of a working and efficient bicycle when transferring to one from my beaters… I miss riding for riding’s sake. So this weekend I went for a 40km roll with a friend, it took ALL morning and it was lovely. I will build my town bike back up and hope that I can bang about on it.
yet because of
3: Miss F - I do not know how I will want to find time to ride, or photograph, or …heck, read… or anything else, now that I am entirely for Miss F. I repeat: how will I want to do anything else. I am utterly singularly focussed, offensively selfish with my time. I am sure I am a dirge of a bore - only able to consider conversation about one thing: my daughter. I am wholly and utterly focused on one thing. Nine and a half pounds or wriggling, kicking and threshing baby - Miss F. I’m sure it will balance out…
(I’m not sure at all)
…but for now, I want to fasten a pared down baby capsule to the front rack of my town bike, just so I can ride whilst staring moon face at my baby. Her strapped to the capsule, the capsule tethered to the rack, the rack fastened to the bike, me on the pedals and Miss F on my mind. I am growing from a “I love you unconditionally and will leap at every whelp” mindset to a place of “I am utterly concerned with what is best for you and this permanent furrow in my forehead is me puzzling on how to get you to sleep so you’ll grow; or me debating the merits of one more layer in this weather; or me about to ferry for mother a glass of water and her iPhone and a baby mouthing for food; or any number of other constant concerns and consternations. I shared my new found focus with a colleague last week, who took it upon themselves to preach at me the sermon of And It Never Changes. They glowered and me and thrust a jabbing finger in my direction: “And it never relents! Every time you’ve had a cold your parents were beside themselves, when you didn’t come home when you said you would; your parents fretted! When you lost your job and dithered around, your parents would’ve been beside themselves! Thirty-three-years Clive, it will never relent!” Utterly consigned to the shame-heap by this diatribe, I ventured an exploratory conversation with my father when he was staying: “Dad, it occurs to me that this heart melting and soul shattering terror of fear and love I feel right now, might never ease up…? Perhaps, say, Miss F doesn’t come home one night in her teens, or … [and into very poignant territory I tentatively teased]… maybe breaks a bone one day?!” My Dad adopted his school-teacher-in-assembly hands-on-hips and toe-heel-toe rock (he has never been a teacher) and starting to espouse: “Yes, or the time you were arrested Clive! Or the time we all spent a week in hospital wondering if you head would recover Clive!” And then he looked to the vaulted ceiling of knotted pine boards longingly, as if a fond friend’s face were amongst the burr and grain, then he smiled his whole being changing and looked back at me,
“no boy, it never lets up.”
…so I’ll endure the eternal bedevilment of bother with the image of my Dad, beaming at me as he attempted to chastise me, perhaps thirty years of furrow won’t be all that bad.