Day 201

Written 11 October, 2020.


I went out to see what the fuss was about, and found magpies frightening away a baby goanna from  their chicks.


We’ve now had a week of Charmain  Solomon’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, along with Claudia Roden’s A Book of Middle Eastern Food and Wilson, Goode and Kaylos’s Greek Australian Cookbook – and we should be feeling great, but we’re falling asleep through the day, each slyly taking naps, hoping not to be discovered by the other after claiming we were quietly writing! Then today, we slept openly from after morning tea- mango pancakes, which we shared with Dy and Tripi who visited just as the last one came out of the pan- till mid-afternoon. Too long! And yesterday, with Dy,  I helped our neighbour who’d hardly begun to clear his huge block; Dy was doing much more work with a brush-cutter but I was up the back near the fire trail, wrenching hundreds of bracken out of their tight grip on his soil- then I stumbled home and slept for three hours.Three hours! What’s wrong with me?

Do you think it could be the virus? I squeaked in fear over a vegetarian lunch.(Imam Bayildi- pre-salted eggplant simmered in oil and water,eggplant  cut like boats bearing a cargo of part-fried onions and tomatoes and parsley- the week’s triumph in a week of culinary triumphs entirely due to the recipes)

It’s caught up with us! I’ve been careless! it was the party when i didn’t wear a mask!

GG is much more sensible than me. He helped himself to the last of the rice- white- I haven’t been able to bring myself to cook brown rice- which would have been much more nutritious.

Sleeping has never been listed as a symptom of co-vid.

It could be a-typical! I’m hanging on to fear.

Could it be our diet?

Our diet’s wonderful. So many vegetables! I’ve never cooked so well! (a bit of petulance here because I’d done exactly what Charmiane said)

But it’s been a big change. And we’ve had no protein.

What’s protein got to do with it?

None. Not even eggs.

There was an egg in the pancakes.

One egg between three eaters! Four if you count Tripi. Not even  cheese. Nor milk. In fact, we’ve become vegans!

I hadn’t intended that we become vegans.

We might need protein for energy, he persisted.

And I know he’s right. It’s what I’ve always asked pale vegans: Are you getting enough protein?

My doctor had said to be a vegetarian every second day. In my enthusiasm, I’d forgotten and became a vegan every day.

Today I’ll ring my friend in Greece. She’s a great cook, and learned the ancient dishes of Lemnos from her mother. She really knows what a mediterranean diet is. Once, in Lemnos, her mum took us out early one the morning, the first morning after rain, and we caught wild snails to eat. We watched her prepare them over days, cleaning them. They were delicious. Wild snails is an ancient Lemnian speciality. And tonight we’ll have roast chicken. I’m looking forward to it, and hope to stop napping. I must stop assuming every oddity of health must be co-vid.




4 Responses to Day 201

  1. Dearest Sue,

    Have you tried peanut butter as a source of protein? I’m certain there are better alternatives, but any excuse to have peanut butter is always the way to go in my mind…great source of fats too!

    I’m tired also, sleepy tied, yes, but the kind of tied that you feel in your bones, all over, deep within. I often think about the symptoms of tiredness – the yawning, the heavy eyes, the lethargy … and then I think, what would happen if tiredness had no symptoms? What if there were no warning signs that our bodies needed to sleep so that they could mend and revitalise? It’s a strange thing to think about, because all of a sudden you realise that tiredness isn’t actually tiredness, but just a symptom of tiredness! … how complex.

    And, if I feel this tiredness in my bones, if the symptoms reach so deep inside me – what does that mean? What’s going on in my psyche that I’m ignoring, or repressing? For I get eight hours of sleep, rather consistently, my nightmares have been improving and I wake only once or twice in the night, but I wake up in what feels like a coma. My body pulses and aches in waves of fatigue – but I slept so well last night…and the night before that!

    Could it be diet? Maybe. Could it be stress? Perhaps. Anxiety, relationship issues? Certainly. However, I feel as though it’s more than the sum of all its parts. Physiologically – there’s something more going on. Just look at the state of the world right now… how could we all not be tied, strained, fatigued and stressed. Collectively, I feel a hum of exhaustion that goes further than my own personal experience. I think we feel the weight of not just our friends and family, but our fellow species too – why couldn’t that make sense? It think it makes sense.

    Moving beyond individualism and internalising collectivism and mind/body dualism – it makes sense that you’re tired, Sue. And me, and Beth, and my brother J and his wife still locked in NYC, he told me about his chronic depression on the weekend – an internal, personal sadness, but one that reaches into this hum and clasps hands, interlocks fingers with all humans in these times. I feel it too. I really do.

  2. I love that you wrote to’interlock fingers with all humans in these times.” That’s what the last nine horrifying months have taught me too- taught us. And when I read about people needlessly dying, strangers, I weep for them though I’ve never met them. I wasn’t expecting this! I think we’d become inured to deaths on TV- but this is different somehow. Not just the enormity of deaths but humanity’s helplessness. It’s taken a microscopic virus for us to realize our puniness- and our hope, our only hope, ever, has been each other. To keep together. In the tribe we pool our strengths and weaknesses. And suddenly we realize that in our bones. In this bay, especially because of community-minded new arrivals like Dy and Todd, we’re learning in these times how desperately, how joyfully we need each other.

  3. When there is silence, a break from the noise of the world, where does your mind go? What happens when you shut your eyes?

    I have had a week of silence (in self-isolation, no less), which has proven to be a double-edged sword. A pause from the noise and strain of the world has been thoroughly welcomed; I have always loved time alone to reflect and course-correct my life. However, making the choice to stop and ‘get some peace and quiet’, and being forcefully confined to a four-walled space whilst the world goes on around you, are entirely separate things. There comes a certain point with my own mind where things take a turn from healthy self-reflection to incessant rumination. Usually when this happens, I put on my shoes and run – quite literally. I credit exercise and the outdoors for multiple things in my life, and my mental health is certainly one of them.

    Void of that physical outlet, my mind, instead, has run and run. I’ve been hit by waves of existential dread, wondering if there really is any point to a life so rife with suffering. At times I have found myself conceiving of thoughts that I know deep in my bones to be false: “I am alone,” “I am only an afterthought to the people I love.” Is it just me, or are others also inclined to take their worst moods so much more seriously than their best? As if these brief moments of despair – influenced heavily, in my case, by setting and circumstance – reveal something fundamental about ourselves, whilst peak moments of bliss or love are just silly chemical buzzes.

    But who is to say that our ‘lows’ are more interesting or realistic than our ‘highs’? Who’s to say that the moments of emotional extremities are a true reflection into our views and sense of selves? As long as we are thinking, engaged and questioning; as long as we are intentional and introspective; as long as we are not wandering through life in a daze, at the mercy of inertia; then shouldn’t these everyday moments be given an equal footing?

    The ‘brokenness’ of the world around us is, and always will be, a matter of perception; there is evidence for whatever belief you choose to perpetuate. Personally, despite the dividedness and unrest of the world, especially in current times, I see love everywhere I look. And despite the places my mind is capable of going – on those dark nights of loneliness and grief and despair – I still believe this world to be a magical place, impossible and inexplicable, yet infinitely beautiful, despite its daily tragedies.

    So when despair slides furtively into the edges of my mind, I don’t try to fight or resist it, but instead allow it to run its course, knowing full well it is both transient and deceptive. And when it eventually tires and lets me be, I bid it goodbye, and thank it for its service; for the richness of the human experience includes the full spectrum of emotion. But I refuse to give in to despair; cynicism has never looked good on me

  4. Beth, what you’ve said is so vital for me to hear, and perhaps for others to hear. This is such honesty. I love it that you say “that our lows are more interesting or realistic than our highs”. For me, I’ve often and wrongly considered the lows more legitimate. But as you say, what’s the basis for this? To me, the 19th century English romantic poets are partly to blame (My Days are With the Dead, Robert Southey, hauntingly sung on You Tube by Michael Hermiston
    They even gave it a beautiful name, melancholy.

    But the highs are just as legitimate, as you suggest.

    Thank you for this.

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