Meditation

Sri Lanka 1978

I know a married couple, now retired from working in the NHS. During those years they were unable to take enough time off together for holidays of any length. Early retirement was the answer, while they were still fit to travel and explore.

Ten years on, they still live in the same, warm house, with generous garden, where they spent too little time during the decades of long hours on duty. They think how blessed they are compared to many, despite lockdown isolation and missing grown-up children and baby granddaughter 70 miles away. They exercise most days with a morning walk then lunch together before parting company for the afternoon.

She goes to her study, reads or sits at her computer sorting folders. She might look at photos of shared adventures or pictures of the children, before she writes. She tests her imagination and exercises her writing muscles as a tutor on a writing course once advised.

He on the other hand meditates or at least practises his version of meditation and it’s one to recommend. He puts his feet up, closes his eyes, then travels in his mind to the destination of the day. For an hour or so he takes himself to a favourite country, often revisiting a special hotel in Sicily or good friends in the Netherlands. On a cold day he’ll ski in the Aosta Valley, Arabba, Cervinia or Wengen, or maybe even visit the geysers in Iceland.

‘It’s Wednesday, I’m off the Grand Canyon,’ he might say, or ‘Thursday today, I think I’ll go to Vietnam and Cambodia.’

At teatime he reports on his journey and they remember pasties de nata in a square in Lisbon, waffles by the River Scheldt in Antwerp, ice cream with a view of Etna in Taormina. They’ll recall wines they’ve tasted in different countries and think of opening an Italian Fiano or Austrian Grüner Veltliner for supper.

Not a bad way to spend the days until lockdown is done and vaccines given, I think. I plan to take up meditation myself tomorrow, I fancy a trip to Sri Lanka.