Sunday, 17 May 2015

All will be Revealed

Woke at 6.30 this morning, felt compelled to get up, fought the compulsion for another ten minutes then peeped out from behind the blind. Thick fog. Ah, I knew there was a good reason for getting out of bed so early. I love wandering and taking photos in the morning fog.

A blanket of silence prevails, apart from the mournful crow perched on the power pylon going kah kah kaaaaah. I think all the other birds are having a Sunday morning sleep in. The early morning walkers head into the void, and I hear the muted strains of the Picnic at Hanging Rock soundtrack accompanying their footsteps.

The beasts in the field, not sheep or cows but the ever present towering power pylons loom as usual, and I wonder whether they look more or less menacing as they emerge and stake their blighted claim on the landscape.


While much is obscured I notice things I would normally just pass by, the barbed wire stark against the foggy background, the little fungi no bigger than a bottle cap, cobwebs jewelled with dew. The grand vista will always grab our attention, but when taken away we have to refocus on what is closer at hand, and it’s the small details I love to observe.

I’ve written about fog before, but it never ceases to fascinate me, and for me is one of the great metaphors of life. Its all enveloping nature, how we can experience it as a chilling cold and dampness that works its way through layers of clothes and skin and settles right in your bones. Brings you to a standstill.  Makes you question which is the right direction, or if you think you know makes you doubt your ability to get there.

We hide some things, reveal others, keep our skeletons locked away tightly in musty cupboards, wander in circles or simply stand rooted to the spot waiting for the wind to shift or the sun to appear to release us from the grip of this intangible nothingness that prevents us from moving forward.

Fog can be an annoyance, a disruption which holds us up, but I’ve come to really enjoy it, not simply for the photographic opportunities, but for its quality to help me reflect, to slow down and wait. To see it as a prelude to something at times quite amazing.

Life can be a muddle. Things in the distance might be obscured, but funnily enough as you approach them they become clearer. Sometimes you just have to take the risk and make a move to find your way out of the fog.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink, Say No More

Have just returned from a marathon dental appointment, which I made yesterday after my one remaining fully functional chewing lower back molar broke off in my mouth while eating a lovely soft juicy piece of pear. And not just a bit of tooth, but the entire thing. I hadn’t even bitten into the pear, I’d cut it up into nice bite size pieces so I could nibble away while clacking away on the computer at work.

The tooth’s days were obviously numbered to have succumbed during such a harmless eating event, and I knew the resulting treatment wasn’t going to be pleasant. I doubted the tooth would be able to be saved, but to extract a tooth that has broken off at the gum line with nothing to grab on to to pull it out, this is one trip to the dentist I wasn’t looking forward to.

Add to this I was led away from the waiting room like a lamb to the slaughter by a final year student, albeit with supervisors hovering in the room watching over several students go through their paces with us willing victims who had signed away our lives and our consent to not being treated by experts. I didn’t want to discourage him by saying I wasn’t going to let him anywhere near what I thought might be beyond his expertise, so it was encouraging to hear he had already managed a difficult extraction this morning.

Consulting with his supervisor the verdict I was expecting was confirmed. It had to come out. And how were they going to do that I asked. Shouldn’t be a problem they said, all they had to do was cut the tooth in half and take each half out separately, taking care not to break it into pieces in the process seeing as root canal treatment had been done years ago making it more brittle and sometimes more difficult to remove. Yeah…simple…no worries.

And so the fun began. Drill drill, grind grind, I had this picture in my head of those guys who cut nice straight lines on paths with those noisy concrete cutting machines. Deeper and deeper he went, and after much pushing and pulling and deciding he still hadn’t actually cut the thing in half, back we went to the cutting drill. While I’m practicing my relaxation techniques and coping quite ok, the pushing and pulling and jiggling was attempted again, but was this tooth gonna move? Definitely not.

Supervising dentist brought in to consult, nice guy, lovely Irish accent, happy for him to have a go while student watches the maestro at work. Admittedly it wasn’t completely straightforward for him either, though he did get the first half out after putting enough pressure on my lower jaw to almost break my neck if he hadn’t been holding everything together in his capable hands. What a wonderful thing mentoring is.

So here we were, one half out, one to go. Should be simple right? Wrong. Head honcho gets to work again, push and pull and drill, take a breather, push and pull and manoeuvre it around, open my mouth up so wide I think I’m going to turn my head inside out with all these fingers and pliers and wrenches and suckers in there, more pushing and pulling and finally, finally out it comes. One hour later and one gaping hole remaining for the student to stitch up, and the marathon was over.

Well, almost. One interesting side effect, and its something that’s happened on two previous occasions when having teeth extracted, was that I couldn’t close my left eye. Student tells another supervisor who mentions something about an aberrant nerve. What a nerve! At least he didn’t say it was abhorrent. Anyway, after closing my eye manually every couple of minutes, and trying not to wink at the checkout lady in the supermarket on my way home, it finally came good as the numbness wore off, and I can now talk without drooling.

And to top it all off, I just answered the phone and who should it be but the dental student, checking in with a courtesy call to make sure I’d got home ok and that my eye was working again. Now that’s service, first time I’ve ever had a follow up call from a dentist. He graduates in a few months, almost makes me want to go along to cheer him on.

Mushy food tonight, what fun.