I know people who are suicidal, and some declare themselves so on Facebook. Their view of the world and of their own souls is black, a kind of quicksand of soot.
I am glad not to suffer from that kind of mindset. To declare you don't though is like boasting of health or riches.
I've just read a piece by Geoff Dwyer about recovery after a stroke. It finishes:-
"Life is so interesting I’d like to stick around for ever, just to see what happens, how it all turns out."
Which is exactly how I feel.
I finally got on my cycle yesterday after my accident on 10 January when I broke my shoulder. Physically I could have got on earlier - the physiotherapist recommended I do so back in February - but the weather was so awful , wet and windy, or cold enough to be icy, that I didn't feel inclined to. Also, I didn't trust the arm.
Now spring has truly arrived, far earlier than last year's eternal winter. There is now life after work and I pulled out the cycle on Tuesday, a clear, windless evening. The bicycle was damaged though and so I had to call a guy who repaired it and brought it back with a new back wheel, new brake pads and a going over of the cables.
Yesterday evening was windy with low clouds and rain in the air. But I went out for a short ride.
Last year I had been off my cycle for 5 weeks following a groin strain. When I got back on I found as well as being very unfit I had lost all confidence. I'd stop at a slight hump in the road, or a change of surface. Commuting was hell - not just for me, but for drivers behind me, as I would suddenly in fear pull over and stop. My accident was on 21 June, I was on the cycle at the beginning of August and then having lost the summer when I'd normally have had a tour or two, at the beginning of September I went for a week's steep cycling across Arran, and the Kintyre and Cowal peninsulas. The weather was mostly windy and wet, the roads are switchbacks with severe gradients and except for one day's ride near Tarbert, I had an unenjoyable time and knackered myself. After a hideous cycle from Tarbert to Dunoon, where the hills are long and so steep that coming down them was like abseiling, I caught the ferry to Gourock, then took trains back to Edinburgh. On the busy Glasgow to Edinburgh train a fellow passenger was solicitous to get me a seat, seeing I looked exhausted. I was, I had had a bad holiday in beautiful surroundings but I was cured of my nervousness and I'd got my fitness back.
So I got on the cycle yesterday in a worry that the confidence would have gone but in fact I was cycling more or less normally. In the hour or so of remaining daylight I cycled along the Water of Leith to Saughton Park, with its concrete hillocks and dips for skateboarders and trick cyclists and to the rose garden hard by. The rose bushes were pruned stems among the low box hedging but there were displays of primulas and tulips and the pink cherry was in full blossom. Then back to the supermarket, and what a relief to be shopping with panniers instead of carrying bags. I returned back in the dark and when I was pushing my cycle through the garden to the shed the cycle light picked out falling strands of rain.
I figured out the reason. Last year's accident was unexplained. One minute I was standing over my cycle, the next I'd fallen sideways. I hadn't tripped, or felt faint, but there was the dark grey asphalt moving closer to me. After my physical recovery I feared the unexplained accident. The cause of this year's accident was obvious - black ice. Also, it was my shoulder rather than my leg so I have been going to the gym as I recovered, using the rowing machine and swimming so have got some degree of fitness.
Normal life has been resumed, and though the Water of Leith and municipal gardens aren't as spectacular as Dyer's view of the Pacific, they are still pretty good, and have a dear familiarity.
"There’s a line in Tarkovsky’s Solaris: we never know when we’re going to die and because of that we are, at any given moment, immortal. So at this moment it feels pretty good, being where I’ve always longed to be, perched on the farthest edge of the western world. There’s a wild sunset brewing up over the Pacific. The water is glowing turquoise, the sky is turning crazy pink, the lights of the Santa Monica Ferris wheel are starting to pulse and spin in the twilight. Life is so interesting I’d like to stick around for ever, just to see what happens, how it all turns out."