I have been thinking a lot this week about a line from Tomas Tranströmer’s masterpiece, ‘Alone’. (I have also blogged about it here.) Driving alone at night, the speaker’s car spins out across the ice and into the path of oncoming traffic, with its ‘huge lights’:
They shone on me while I pulled at the wheel
in a transparent terror that floated like egg white.
The seconds grew – there was space in them –
they grew as big as hospital buildings.
Just as everything slows down and sound goes missing from the action, as in a film, ‘something caught: a helping grain of sand/ a wonderful gust of wind’, and the car breaks free.
I have been trying to practice gratitude this week for the helping grains of sand in my life: the kindness of a colleague talking me down from the tree when I fail to understand the new digital platform we have started using; the kindness of a poetry editor friend for helping me make my work half-way presentable; another poetry friend getting in touch with an encouraging email; an old school friend writing to update me with his news; a meal with friends; Simon Parke’s blog; a blogger from the other side of the world writing to say hi; the colleague who listens to and sees me; The Joy of Small Things, by Hannah Jane Parkinson; Maz Richter’s monumental and beautiful Sleep.