Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sitting on the dock of the lake
John Keats had painful tuberculosis and was high on laudinum most of the time. During one of these opiate states, he was sitting in a chair outside as the sun sank in the sky and the air became cool. Wrapped in a blanket, he watched a bird as it flitted among the leaves high up in a tree.
Reminiscent of Coleridge's drug-induced Kubla Khan, Keats discussed the absence of pain with the bird.
He felt its freedom to fly without a care in the world. His face turned to the sun, eyes closed. The breeze lifted him higher and higher, farther and farther from the racking of his body.
I was thinking about this as I sat on my dock wrapped in a blanket the other day. The sun beat off the water but was unable to penetrate the cold air as the steam rose off the clear, glass-like lake. The wind blew waves over the water and my hair out of my face.
Nature is the world's best medicine.