The swede has returned. These months have been sweet. Raspberries, strawberries, cherries, watermelons (I may return to the juicy topic of watermelons), melons (still juicy), then plums (not so juicy), apples (not really), blackberries (autumn alert). Only to return to, the swede.
OK, I know, that is not a like for like comparison. Let’s try again, veg to veg: courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, runner beans, sweetcorn! And now… swede.
I have faced the swede before. In fact, I was on punitive swede duty for some months last year. My housemate said, co-guardian of the veg box, that I was not to eat any other vegetables until I’d done my bit for the swede. The swede, plural. We just couldn’t keep amassing one swede per week until he got round to making some sort of roast.
I discovered swede mash. Not as exciting as raspberries.
The summer has been so delicious, even the shit rainy bit, which was shit, and was rainy. It’s a sign of the darkness to come that the swede once again comes calling. Swede and the need for a hot water bottle, that’s what I arrived home to last night.
Yet as a mark of the changing season, it’s perhaps the change rather than the season that is most noticeable. The last time I was faced with swede I was a single academic. I am now a not-single, clown. Furthermore, this clown, far from taking me away from my thesis, is helping write it. The humour brings clarity, and the self-reflection helps me get in touch with my needs for this dark period to come. The thesis period.
And the dark period will be dark, but it need not be D.A.R.K. It need not be fall-down-the-stairs dark, it may just be look-out-at-the-rain dark.
Of those I know who have been through this dark, the selves who have coped best seem to be the ones who have also found a new love, a new clown. Something on a non-thesis dimension – like capoeira, like running, like qigong, like salsa, like their children who have taken them out of the ‘thesis state’ at the end of every day.
Finding the light in the dark, the inspiration in the black and white words on the page, seems to me more and more important, the more I understand just how many words there are on the page, and how far into the dark place some people go.
So back to my swede, this first one of the year is an open one, a funny one, one that says, hahahaha, jajajajaja, I’m back, come play with me. It’s not dark at all, just a boring vegetable looking for someone to find the playfulness of it. And so I shall. And so I shall with my thesis too: come play with me, I’m ready for you.