Gwilym R. Jones
At a quarter of a minute past eight o'clock this morning I half-opened the window of my bathroom in order to let in some fresh air that had not been in someone else's mouth. I stood there with hands at my sides and drew in a long, deep breath through my nostrils and then exhaled it from my lips after counting ten. I did this a dozen times, thanking the Giver of all breath for being allowed to see what the old people of long ago used to call in their prayers 'this new morning' on His fair earth.
That's just how a self-centred believer would see things, you might be saying, and the charge is true: in drawing those breaths I should have remembered that millions of my fellow-humans were cursing the same 'new morning', having been unable to take as much as a single draught into their lungs or drag themselves from their beds to a bathroom, let alone go through the ritual of physical exercise. I ought to have borne in mind that the ball of matter we call the earth-mother doesn't always spin to the advantage of countless numbers of my fellow-wayfarers.
But I had pushed these disagreeable thoughts to some obscure cell in my mind and set about the mechanical task of shaving. My grandfather from Llŷn would always 'cut his beard', and he cut it any old how with an old-fashioned razor which had a blunt blade. I myself use a smaller razor, although that too is quickly going out of fashion. And while carrying out this rather mundane task, there sometimes come into a man's head a lot of quite strange thoughts.
My father had a habit of saying, whenever he caught my brother or me staring at our own faces in the mirror, that we would 'be sure to see the old devil himself' if we kept on looking into that shining. glass. While staring at my face in the bathroom mirror this morning, I saw no one worse than myself, though I peered hard and long, and yet the image I saw gave me quite a nasty fright.
The mirror draws a cruelly honest picture, but as I looked at my face in it I had the impression that someone completely unknown to me appeared there. I saw a surly, indifferent face and a pair of lukewarm eyes gaping from under the hood of the lids. And I remember them smooth-skinned as an August apple! Around the eyes and forehead I could make out new creases, some of which were