For four days, I've had a wracking cough. This has meant that I haven't got much sleep, and I'm constantly irritated by a dreadful, incessant tickling in my bronchi. I feel like my lungs are trying to escape. In an attempt to distract myself from these annoyances, I was trying to think about the kind of simple, pleasurable things I enjoy.
I remembered a cold winter walk I went on a little while ago. As I walked by the river, I found a big, white swan's feather. It was a body feather, and had the contradictory properties of strength, suppleness and softness. As I walked along, I slowly drew the feather between my closed index and middle fingers, pulling it gently against the direction of its natural curve and enjoying the soft snick sound it made as it slipped free of my fingers. I repeated the action over and over again, until it became like a sensual mantra, and was very soothing. I wish I had a swan's feather now.