Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The beauty of the world



The train slowed down this afternoon just by Carstairs State Hospital. It used to be such a place of dread for me. I once nursed a patient called Jimmy Redpath who, it was rumoured, had murdered someone in Dingleton Hospital grounds and had spent some time in Carstairs.

I wasn't quite eighteen and i was a volunteer in that extraordinary institution, that had once been a very conventional lunatic asylum and by then had become a therapeutic community.

Jimmy couldn't speak any more, as fas as I can remember, and looking back at him his infirmities had filled him with a frustration which emerged sometimes as a murderous rage.

He didn't have any teeth, but that didn't stop him trying to bite you, and I always had the feeling that if he could get his hands around my neck he would do his best to choke me.

But he was the one that choked, usually; turning blue and suffering horribly as I did my best to dislodge the food that was stuck in his throat.

Knowing him had left me with a horror of Carstairs, and what I imagined as all the suffering and murderous rage pent up in there.

But this afternoon was so beautiful, the light so exquisite shining on the snow covered fields and the distant hills.

Really the beauty of the world should be more than enough to remind us to take good care of it.

And take good care of ourselves.
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