Day Six: Contrapposto

WP_20150919_14_13_05_ProI have been looking forward to tonight not just because Saturday is Dylan’s night but because I need to rest. I have been out every night for the last three days: Wednesday was 45 Years (poor film, good company); Thursday was Curious Incident and last night was Blithe Spirit. I enjoyed each evening but I must avoid consecutive nights in future, at least until I am used to going out again. I watched people at intervals and wondered how they do it. The years of looking after Dylan must have altered my energy field; I had great stamina as a carer but going out at night feels like climbing a mountain. I cannot believe I managed three in a row.

During the last three days, when I felt really tired, I visualised being home with Dylan tonight. On Saturday, I told myself, I will be able to rest. As I type that it seems strange; only a few months ago I was worn out by caring. The difference, I suppose, is that it’s not full time anymore; it was the relentlessness of caring without a break which was hard. Some days I feel as if I’m carrying the exhaustion of two decades in my body. I know tiredness doesn’t work this way really; I once heard an athlete claim that we can run a marathon on no sleep at all. Equally, we can’t ‘bank’ sleep; I laughed at the friend who spent the week in bed prior to the birth of his first child. He was, he told me, building sleep credits for later. It’s like Vitamin C, I’d told him; you can’t store it.

WP_20150919_14_14_37_ProNor, of course, can we predict it; I might have been looking forward to a rest but I suspect it’s not in tonight’s script. I realised I could be in for an interesting Saturday while out with Dylan this afternoon. Dylan has a particular interest in waterfalls but he can get so immersed in them (in heart, of course, not body) that he becomes distressed. The weir at the Hepworth Gallery is dramatic and just the sort of water to entrance Dylan. Today, as soon as we arrived at the Gallery, he headed for his favourite vantage point.

Dylan seemed calm enough so I moved a short distance away to look at heads and torsos. Contrapposto, I read in an exhibition note, is the term used to describe a figure where the weight is on one leg, with the other bent, and the head at an angle. A development from the straight limbs of Greek statuary, contrapposto ‘explored the possibility that a carved body could also express different states of mind’. As I glanced up at Dylan leaning against the glass, leg crooked, I thought I saw him tremble. Should I encourage him to move on, I wondered, or leave him at the window? What could I read from his contrapposto body about his state of mind?

6 thoughts on “Day Six: Contrapposto

  1. I don’t know how people go out three nights in a row either, and I haven’t got a Dylan. For me, two in a row is a killer. I love the image of him watching the water rushing over the weir, even though he can get too immersed, distressfully immersed. I hope he didn’t. x


    • Well that’s reassuring to hear. I did wonder that. Or rather I wondered if I was perhaps making the same error I’ve done with resuming exercise, i.e. that I can pick up where I left off 21 years ago! Not true, I have discovered. I probably found 3 nights a bit tough back then too. I persuaded D back to the car at just the right time at the Hepworth today, happily πŸ™‚ He has been a little on edge today but I’ve just reminded myself that it is still early days and with all the change he has every right to be – I must remember to stay patient!


  2. I am so appreciating these musings about this transition period in your life. I have recently come home from driving my youngest daughter to a college over 2000 km away, and am navigating my own empty nest transition. It’s different in many ways, because she is quite independent, but it’s still a big move for both of us, and the distance means that it is not an option to rush to her side when a crisis occurs.


    • It is lovely to hear from you Anna – your comment transports me back to this time last year when my daughter had just left for France to start university there. The distance worried me dreadfully – I used to lie awake at night wondering what I would do if I ever got ‘that phone call’. I’m not sure whether this will be reassuring or not but when the phone call DID come, and my daughter needed to have emergency surgery overnight, she coped and her father and I did too πŸ™‚ I try to remember that experience now when I have an intrusive scary thought about my children – the odds are that nothing awful will happen, but if it does we have reserves of strength. The ‘nothing happening’ of the empty nest can be almost harder πŸ™‚ Good luck to you and your daughter in this new phase of your lives! Thank you for reading, x


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