in Uncategorized

Two afternoons

Yesterday afternoon, just after I'd got on my shoes to go for a walk with Yonatan, I heard him say, "What's going on - are those squatters (Yotam and his girlfriend) destroying the house? - toilet's blocked! He dashed off to the other loo and I went to investigate. The toilet bowl was full almost to the rim. I waited till it drained a little, got the rubber plunger and flushed again. Got up a good pumping motion.

Within a minute, things started to happen. A brown liquid began to ooze up into the bathtub, and foul smelling sewer water, blobbed with turds and pulped toilet paper burst up through the floor grate, flooding the entire bathroom. And it continued to surge up. If it hadn't been for the slight sill at the bathroom door, the brown liquid would have continued to push through the house. I gazed at what was happening, a little stunned. It was truly an awful sight. I told Yonatan, I might not be coming for a walk after all.

Unblocking the sewer outside was easier than expected. Very quickly I found and extracted the tree roots that had invaded it. But cleaning up the bathroom was a quite a bit harder. That involved wading into ground zero and getting all that brown stuff down back down where it had come from. Within a couple of hours, the bathroom was cleaner and sweeter smelling than it had been before the incident.

This afternoon, I really did manage to go out for a walk. Just before the sun went down, I strode out of the village with the dog. The woods were full of flowers. The undergrowth was much higher than it had been a few days ago, and I trampled through green leaves that were already knee high. I was listening to shuffle music on my ipod. A lovely selection of songs followed one another, just by chance. When U2's Miss Sarajevo came on, with Luciano Pavarotti's aria in the middle, I couldn't help thinking that music is something actually divine. It's deeply spiritual, even when the artist himself doesn't know it. And Miss Sarajevo - a song written to capture the spirit of a town in the midst of a cruel war - is simply sublime. Soulful music seems to rise up most defiantly where inhumanity is at its ugliest.