Life

Nuala McCann: The idea of embracing imperfections resonates as you get older

Every week I get an email listing my screen time. It feels slightly shameful. It has the whiff of a dark secret suited to the confessional

'On one of my internet travels I chanced on kintsugi'

AT TIME of writing, Darius is still missing. Darius is the world's biggest rabbit. He is four feet long. In 2010 he was named the world's longest rabbit.

Go find the picture of him online. There he is in his owner's arms, a huge lump of a rabbit… like a giant grown-up plonked on top of his human mummy.

His owner is offering £1,000 for his safe return – now it may be £2,000. He was apparently taken from an enclosure his home in Worcestershire.

And he's old in rabbit terms. Too old to breed, says his owner. I wonder what Darius thinks of that. Even rabbits have their day.

It piqued my interest – I'm easily piqued these days – as groundhog days roll into each other and cease to have meaning.

Every day seems the same. And even when the rules change, restrictions ease, people come out of their hidey holes like rabbits nudging twitchy noses out of their burrows to sniff the Spring air – it does not really compute.

Friday evenings used to be the best. Friday is steak night – and it has to be said that our fella has honed his steak-making skills in the pandemic and cooks the best in town – well-seasoned, melt in the mouth. He is schooling me in the method. I prefer to act stupid and sit at the table, clutching my knife and fork.

But it's hard to know when is Friday night any more. There is no clear division between days. We don't go out to work; we don't come in from work – all the ordinary is so boring.

So I peruse the internet on the quest to find Darius – something to share on groundhog after groundhog day.

Every week, I get an email listing my screen time. It feels slightly shameful. I don't like to discuss how many hours I have been online in the past week.

It has the whiff of a dark secret suited to the confessional – it is up there with what you earn. It's not for others' ears because for all the people who have taught themselves ancient Greek or written an opera or built a folly in their garden in this pandemic, there are those of us who have wasted endless hours online, following the stories of missing giant bunnies, cats playing Chopin on the piano and monkeys picking their noses.

Still, there is the sense of an ending. It's in the air. You can whiff it on your socially distanced walk.

We're on our way out of this. In my case… we're effing well on our way out of this.

My sisters and my friends and I attempt the frivolous and the fun in all of this. There is the Easter simnel cake left on the doorstep with 11 balls on top… none for Judas.

“So far, I've eaten Simon Peter and Andrew, but I'm going strong,” I tell my kind friend. The scales say my sins weigh heavy.

Large boxes of very fancy alcohol-laden chocolates arrive too. Gin, bath tubs of gin. On the doorstep, a pot of fresh rosemary for remembrance.

Sometimes I'm laughing when I want to cry. The Magnolia trees reach dancer's delicate fingers into the air on trees along the avenue – so fragile and so ephemeral.

And on one of my many internet travels – there's no other kind these days – I chanced on kintsugi. It is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver. So that even the most fractured of objects is rendered more beautiful in its repair.

In embracing flaws and imperfections, you create a more beautiful pot. You can go online and see the most beautiful bowls where the fractures are veined.

As you get older – break and are broken – the idea resonates.

My loves are smaller but more precious – a favourite bone china mug; an old jumper that smells of home; a pair of slippers gifted by my sister that make the expedition to our arctic kitchen more bearable.

The Hydrangea Paniculata with its cones of delicate cream lace flowers – I steered my mother out with her stick and half blind to enjoy them once more last summer.

The old funeral prayer: “We give her back to you though our hearts are broken”.

But there is kintsugi… we mend our fractured hearts with memories... gold and silvered veined to find beauty in the ugliness of grief.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Categories

Life