My husband is gluing together pieces of the black ceramic swallow magnet that fell and broke. He got it two days ago from a conference he was attending in Lisbon, where swallows symbolize a love of old things, as well as return and hope, and such ceramic birds adorn many houses.*
“That was a short pleasure,” he says. “It’s in so many pieces this is difficult.”
I agree, finishing my breakfast and enjoying the draft from outside and that my knees don’t hurt. Our back door is open to the morning, which is unusually mild and humid for middle England. Birds flit and call across the garden. The mint is trying to take over one huge square, but the sage is holding its own. The lemon balm is again a bush. The climbing white roses have voluntarily formed a heart shape on the brick wall, and send out their heavy, dreamy perfume.
After ill health earlier in the year, I began running to heal. That helped certain body parts, but then I did too much too soon.* It was the ten-miler that stopped me cold. My knees and tendons were complaining by the last stretch. The next day I could only hobble.
My husband holds up the little swallow. White cracks show here and there on the tail. “Well,” he says, “we’ve got a lot of beloved things that are glued together.”
“That’s right.” We both look up at the wall clock—a long ago gift from his mother, which arrived in pieces. I remember our son’s primary school mug with the tree logo, a beloved ceramic bowl made by a friend, and the list goes on.
I stand up and walk gingerly across the room. “I haven’t been able to run for a month,” I say. “Now, there’s only a little burning in the tendons.”
“We’ll glue you back together, too,” he says. We nod and I head out to cut mint for my neighbor, who has promised to give me a little Mint Mango Chutney in return.
*See Laura’s last blog, Are You In For The Road Or Only For The Finish?
*For more on ceramic swallows as the national icon of Portugal, see The World from Lisbon.