Sunday, August 16, 2015

Oliver Sacks on the Sabbath, and life

Met Anna and her boys to explore "Open Streets" this morning - but it is very hot today and the streets, while open, are very long. Eli is feeling the displacement all first-borns feel after the birth of the second; this most independent and forthright young man is clinging to his mother and anxious about her whereabouts - and just when he needs her most, his mother is exhausted and preoccupied.

Been there, done that - both as a mother myself, dealing with a 3 year old daughter and a newborn son, and as a first-born, painfully displaced from my place in the sun by my new baby brother. One of life's tough transitions, no doubt about it - and no doubt, too, that young Eli will get through it just fine, and so will his mother and brother. But when it's very hot outside, everyone's drained.

Almost nothing gives me greater pleasure than reading an essay that resonates deeply, that's beautifully written and deeply personal and wise. Oliver Sacks is one of my heroes - an extraordinary man and a very good writer, writing with ever more generosity, clarity and depth as he faces death from terminal cancer. Here's a particularly beautiful essay in today's NYT - the same paper with the superb takedown of Stephen Harper. Please read the other articles by Oliver attached to this one, about finding out about his cancer at the age of 81, and a further reaction to it. Stunning, moving, uplifting - as good as personal essay writing gets.

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