You know, I’ve never been much of a fan of William Wordsworth’s poetry. Too romantic for me. Too flowery, and too many classical references. With the exception of the “Lucy Poems,” I don’t like his work much. But that doesn’t stop snippets of his poems from swimming to the surface of my brain every now and then. Like now. When the world seems to be “too much with us.” Or with me, I guess I should say. And what I really want to do is retreat from everything and everyone.
Maybe this feeling is just because I’m in a bad mood today. My stomach has been giving me some grief over the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to isolate what might be the problem. Clearly something I ate at last night’s book club supper at our house should be on the verboten list. But what’s not clear is which “something” that is. Sigh.
Maybe this feeling stems from the fact that much loved friends and family are facing domestic and family crises. And nothing I can say or do will make it better. Especially hard for them when their situations seemed so positive just a short time ago. But enough about that. Their stories are not mine to tell, so I’ll move on.
Maybe I’m just tired. I’ve had a busy week. Not busy by my former working life standards. But busier that I usually have.
And maybe, you know… maybe… it’s just the world. Our world.
Covid numbers are rising in our area lately. The medical officer of health is warning people to wear masks again in crowded public spaces, particularly indoors, and suggesting that stores consider requiring customers to wear masks. Telling us to take this “seventh wave seriously.” We’re already doing that. But, seventh wave. Let that sink in. Remember how agast we all were at the news there would be second and third waves? Lockdown seems like such an innocent time now.
Google (gleefully, it seemed) informed me this morning that the WHO is considering the “monkeypox” situation a “global emergency.” As if we needed another one.
Seriously. Plague and pestilence. Heat waves. Wildfires. The omnipresent coverage of the January 6 hearings in the United States. Hubby has been glued to the television for those.
Wahhhhh. I feel like Bugs Bunny when he wails…. “Get me outta here!”
“Okay, okay,” the universe answers. “Calm down, Rabbit. Things are not that bad. Things are very bad for some people. Never forget that. But not for you. You have options.”
Yes, I do. I do have options.
But some days, like today, when it seems the world is too much with us… or with me… I forget that. But not for long.
And so, this morning, I exercised my options. I retreated. Turned off my phone, the computer, my ipad, and withdrew to the deck. With my “TBR” pile of books.
I am currently reading Elly Griffiths newest Ruth Galloway novel, The Locked Room. Oddly enough it’s set at the beginning of the pandemic back in 2020. How quaint all the remarks made by characters about the virus being “only the flu” seem in retrospect. When one character comments “It’s hardly the bubonic plague,” another replies: “I expect that’s what they thought about the bubonic plague once.” Ha. How true, how true. Anyway, I’m enjoying the book immensely. Despite the fact that some of you said this latest Ruth Galloway mystery was disappointing. Maybe it’s because reading an ongoing series is a bit like visiting old friends. Only without having to expend energy to make conversation. This morning I didn’t even want to expend energy making conversation with Hubby. Hence after a few minutes conferring about supper, he gulped his tea and left me to my own devices on the deck.
Next up I am going to tackle the doorstop of a book on Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne. I first heard of The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym when Wendy (from York) sent me an article about the book. And then I listened to a Slightly Foxed discussion about Pym. Imagine, if you will, my delight when I discovered that the lovely women over at Slightly Foxed had devoted a whole podcast to “Barbara Pym and Other Excellent Women.” Here is the link in case you’d like to listen to it too. Lots of other gentle reads are mentioned in this podcast. Gentle reads are the perfect panacea for those days when the world is too much with us.
I bought the new Frances Liardet novel Think of Me a few weeks ago with my birthday gift card. I loved her book We Must Be Brave and waxed lyrical about it in this post. As I wrote last year, We Must Be Brave was so good I read it “in bed at night, over breakfast, sitting on the side of the tub, and standing in the kitchen while the potatoes boiled over.” Ha. I can’t be trusted with supper when I’m in the midst of a good book, my friends. I’m hoping the new Liardet book is as good.
I also have to read the Peter May book The Night Gate. It needs to go back to the library. Hubby read it and really enjoyed it. And he’s been asking probing questions, eliciting my opinion about his recommendation. So I should probably set aside the Barbara Pym book in favour of this one. I’ll let you know how I get on with it.
In fact I’ll let you know how I get on with all of them. Eventually.
So that’s what I’ve been up to today, my friends. Exercising my options. Happy to be able to withdraw from the fray when “the world is too much with us.” Or even when it just seems as if it is. Thanks to my course on Romantic Literature many years ago, Wordsworth’s lines have been circling through my mind today. Like a poetic earworm.
But seriously, a day of reading, and not much else, can be balm to the soul. Reading books I love “knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,” as Shakespeare says in Macbeth.
I hope I haven’t over-egged the quotation pudding. I almost added a line from Wordsworth’s “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways” but I resisted.
You’re welcome. Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Bugs Bunny. That should be sufficient for any post. Ha.
So. How have you been keeping sane during these days of the world being way, way too much with us? I hope your fans are working smoothly, helping to keep you at least a little cool. And I hope you are safe from fires and pestilence. Gad. I’m getting used to talking about plague-coping strategies. It would have been hard to imagine that back in 2019.
P.S. There are some book affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a small commission which helps to pay for the blog. Many thanks for that, if you do.