Thursday, 17 May 2018

pieces from the peaceable kingdom

Today was one of those days that is made up of a string of small details. Sometimes this is the pinnacle of frustration; today by contrast had an almost occult feel, as if my attention was a host, serially possessed by a procession of uninvited but benign visitants.

The best of these was an almost surreal moment, mid-morning, when something made me twist around in my chair and look across the big office I work in to the lunch table in the far corner. Seated at the table, in companionable silence, were two colleagues, not working nor discussing work but instead doing this jigsaw. They were taking a professionally serious approach to the doing of this jigsaw all right, but it wasn't a tough gig or a task to be ticked off to-do lists.

Some hours later I went to the table myself to eat my lunch. I picked up a piece out of the box and saw it was a bit of twig outlined against the sky. I laid it down in the correct place on the mat. I picked up another piece and stared at it and placed it on the mat as well. One of the curators came and sat opposite me and said, Oh good, you're working on foliage; I've been diligently avoiding it. He did a few bits then went away. Half an hour later I heard my phone ringing and I came out of my trance. I quickly ate my crackers and cream cheese and cucumber at my desk and wrote some words on a piece of paper. I wrote: music and silence, light and shadow, real and imaginary people.

Work is a refuge sometimes. The office I use is shared with fourteen other people. That seems like a lot but they aren't all there all of the time and it's an area bigger than most houses and zoned in oddly similar ways. It is also very quiet - except in those times when N is on the phone talking to one or another of the old dears who loan him their family keepsakes for display in the museum - and just now it is very warm. The rest of the building is a different matter. This week, most of the public areas have felt like the refrigerated aisles in a supermarket. Like most other staff I have taken to wearing a hat and scarf and fingerless gloves when working in those spaces. The inner chamber of the stone monument always has its bronze doors open to the north, and icy winds will blast relentlessly in through them all day every day from now until September.

1 comment:

ernmalleyscat said...

it's good to work on foliage