Friday, October 28, 2016

Today my heart sings for...

Horse Chestnut leaves carpeting Florence Park
... the mercurial moods of autumn: from the the bold, dazzling colours gleaming in the sun, through golden twilights to murky, mysterious misty mornings... pigeons cooing and moulting a hundred feathers... my dear Auntie Jo... the bite of wind that brings roses to my cheeks... Luke Sital-Singh serenading me... finding a peaceful path through complicated relationships... the ginkgo trees in the park... the smooth, golden bark of the eucalyptus... oh all the trees, always... chai tea... Halloween... my little spare room space... rose petals... baba ganoush... the smell of incense... a weekend filled with friends, Friends...

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's a tromance

English beech leaves close up

Eye in the bark of a beech trunk

Beech mast casing on branch
The beech are catching my eye right now. I'm taking my time with them. Sinking in and letting the feeling of my heart dancing bubble up. There are huge, gracious, glories in my local park and hanging out with them is a daily joy. The magic of watching them takes me deeper into love with my life. I noticed for the first time this spring how soft and vulnerable their concertina leaves are as they push out of the long, spindly buds. Reaching out for the light; sure of their purpose. While I'd revelled in that acid green of fresh beech woods I hadn't realised what tender pleats they start out in. Collected, fallen beech leaves were my one reference. Shiny, summer toughened, autumn browned and I assumed they popped out hard and ready for their work ahead.

In one breath I'm not quite sure how we've swept from those tender spring days to these so fast. In another I am just, so grateful, to be here. There were times when I thought the summer would never end.

I'm feeling so much better, reset; resolutions set for the year ahead like the buds forming on the showy beauties all around me. I'm with these deciduous trees casting the tired summer done leaves aside and readying myself, curious for whatever winter has in store.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Open the love-window

The lily needs some wild Darling


There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.

The moon won't use the door,
only the window.

                                         Rumi



Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Library Love

Books borrowed from Temple Cowley library
Just back from our three-weekly date night with a stack of new reads. Love the freedom in library picks, choosing on a whim, judging by covers, blurbs, mere fancy much more than when I am paying for a book. I find it easier to stop reading too if it doesn't catch my imagination. Back it can go and nothing lost.

Our little library visit has been a regular in the diary since my trip to the States last autumn. I visited two glorious libraries in Provincetown and Boston. Stunning buildings with huge collections that made you itch to just pull up a chair and stay all day. The previous summer I visited the most delightful gem of a members' library in Providence that seemed so perfectly formed it could have fallen from the pages of one of the novels it housed. They seemed to honour the beauty of the books that lived within them and like they would capture and create new bibliophiles second by second. I felt like our libraries paled into the background against these widely varied but equally glorious creations. Then I wondered if I wasn't just out of touch it had been so astonishingly long since I actually crossed the threshold of any of our public lending libraries.

So all inspired I renewed my local branch library visiting habits and it turns out it's still rather lovely in there despite the funding cuts. Other members of the public have not neglected it in the way I did. It's not in the league of any of the gems mentioned above but for a little area of a little city it's not too shabby. Though that is exactly what the public Central Library is. In fourteen years of living in this city I have been twice. The second time last autumn to see if my shock and dismay at my first visit in 2002 had really been justified. I think they were. It's a hideous building with a limited collection. Maybe our main library is designed to weed out the aesthetes, those who sort of like books but only if they can sit on a comfy chair and read one in natural light. Maybe it's to lending what Black Books is to retail. In a city famed for the universities libraries it's horribly out of keeping. A definite area where gown beats town!

There's something so nostalgic about library trips for me, so many things still feel the same. I basically lived in the Saltash lending library as a kid, was going to be a librarian, until I was going to be a lawyer which I researched in a book from their shelves. I loved summer reading challenges (those are still going strong). It was right next door to my primary school and for my whole childhood was a treasured visiting and meeting space. They had funny wire bucket chairs and it was a huge high, purpose built building with a roof that leaked into the atrium where the reference section was. Oh I should so go back for a visit next time I'm down that way. I still have a Cornwall lending ticket though I fear it may be defunct by now. I remember when we switched from our six little cardboard holders for the paper tickets to the barcoded card. These days we normally check our books out on the automated machine. Crazy! I do miss the stamped date though, nothing quite like the sound of the library stamp.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Summer of Not Much Love


The cove at Bank End Farm, Isle of Wight

Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight

Daisies

Queen Nina, Siamese Ruler

Simplicty, the best advice from the Angel Cards

Graffiti pavement bunny

Anchor Anna Maria Horner 'Sketchbook' tapestry

Castle Ring, Powys

Church Stretton from The Long Mynd

Soay Sheep at Castle Ring
Oh how I yearned for a long, languid summer. Dreamt of sinking in to a deep ease in my body and the days. We bookended the months with an early June and a late August holiday. Quiet, beautiful country times to enrich the experience. Lovely as those weeks have been (are being) this has not been the summer of my dreams and desires and therein as ever lies the crux of the hurt. Wanting my experience to be other than it is. I feel like I've written so many versions of this post over the past few years, there's frustration with that of course but also some understanding that this is the way it will be until I find a rhythm of acceptance and surrender. Underneath knowing that perhaps it will even always be this way, perhaps this is always going to be my brick wall, thumped into periodically as I spiral around my days and that is okay. It's not about how you fall, it's about how you pick yourself up.

I have been surrounded by love and beauty and yet closed off from it. Fixated on what feels like the rock bottom wish of 'I just want to be healthy'. That isn't the bottom though, as I discovered at the start of the year. It's that old friend 'earn your place' in disguise. Be healthy to have energy to do more to prove I am worth the space and resources on our spinning disco ball. That this is my default setting is just the hardest lesson for me to learn, the fear that puts on so many different sets of clothes and sneaks up on me time and again. Somehow even dotting and dabbling abandoned me by the end of June. Physically spent and emotionally just too vulnerable for all the angst and the tragedies in the wider world this summer I've basically put myself in a bunker. No social media, very consciously used and limited time online and stripped down social engagements to just try and find some place where I felt like I could breathe, where I felt a flicker of interest in and excitement about this wondrous world. Numbing out in front of the tv. Diving in to fluffy novels or stripped down detective fiction without any emotional pitfalls to fall in to. Wrapped up against the woes of the world, coping with our own domestic drama as we said farewell to the head of our house, Queen Nina, our dear old Siamese. I think it was something of a shock to us all that even she had to bend finally to the rules of nature.

Writing this from the end of the summer it feels like I've coaxed my way through the deepest levels of grue. My eyes are open again, my spirit communicative. I'm managing the sinusitis the best I can and have accepted that I can't find an elusive combination that will make it go away. What seemed like giving in now feels like acceptance that strips things back to the original hurt not the layers of story on top that end up being the hardest aspects to deal with. Feeling for what feels enriching within those limits, day by day, moment by moment. Going slowly. Reading a more varied diet again. Letting the Olympics shed a golden glow on the tv viewing. Picking up some simple, simple crafts: tapestry and mistake rib knitting. Accepting, accepting, accepting.

I'm not sorry to feel erratic days of heat and chill. To see ripening fruits and the earliest of turning leaves. Happy to be beginning to say a farewell to a not much loved summer and welcoming the change of seasons with open arms.
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