Author Archives: modestly

About modestly

Reflective, and domestic, a wannabe poet and philosopher drowning in the complexities of life. More Marge Simpson than Elizabeth Barret, but what the hell.Tripping through life with the aid of dead writers, and some live ones, minor medication, and a wonderful, loving, maddening set of teenage boys, and a husband I adore. Update - the boys are no longer teenagers and I still adore the man. https://platform.linkedin.com/badges/js/profile.js

Brief encounter

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It isn’t rare to have an encounter with deer here in the Highlands of Scotland – and in our village at Kinlochleven they frequently come down to the river, or sojourn on the green for a short while. I have been taking out my new rescue Patterdale morning , noon and night – we are more often out than in, and yesterday evening we met a beautiful young stag . He had arrived on the green just as we did, bounded onto the bridge and leapt over following the line of the river.  We caught up with him – the light was still hanging around although it was past ten at night – the village was quiet. Reggie and I stood rapt as the young stag was totally still in our presence. It was as though he had invited us into his space. And then he bowed his head to eat some grass – I bowed mine back – and we mimicked one anothers gestures twice more. Reggie was as quiet as a mouse – no barking, no growling, no pulling – just a three way dialogue of enjoying the meeting. Extraodinary. And uplifting – my spirits are needing more of this.

The place I want to get back to

is where

in the pinewoods

in the moments between

the darkness

and first light

two deer

came walking down the hill

and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,

this one is okay,

let’s see who she is

and why she is sitting

on the ground like that,

so quiet, as if

asleep, or in a dream,

but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came

on their slender legs

and gazed upon me

not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look

and look and look

into the faces of the flowers;

and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life

bring to me that could exceed

that brief moment?

For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,

not waiting, exactly, just lingering.

Such gifts, bestowed,

can’t be repeated.

If you want to talk about this

come to visit. I live in the house

near the corner, which I have named

Gratitude.

(c) Mary Oliver

 

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Liquidity

This weeks photo challenge  To celebrate liquid in images   122_2300IMG_3819 LDR Default Crop

Spring fever and new products!

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It’s an exciting time for us folks who slog away at surface design and upload to printon demand sites – it seems this is a fast growing marketplace where consumers are reacting very positively to seeing products with designs a little quirky – a little removed from the mall marketplace.  I have been working at design for a few years now, and seeing the product range grow and grow , particularly at Society6 where I seem to have my most success at selling.  When they add a new product to the range it always has an impact – the first being aggravation as an artist since the site struggles to accomodate the technical changes and we get multiple glitches on trying to upload our work – which impacts on sales. The second impact is somewhat more positive – i am driven to re examine my back catalogue in order that I can accommodate the new products – work is required to make the designs fit.  I like that discipline – to go back and reassess what I want to create as a new product and what I will dismiss. It has put a spring in my step, so thank you Society6!  I will show you a couple of pics to whet your appetite!  If there is a design on my site that I haven’t uploaded to wallpaper and you would like me to , please let me know.

Link to my designs on wallpaper

How to leave a lover in the morning – Sei.

so weary today, and yet still delighted when I come across an old friend – one that is centuries old. Hello there Sei Shonagun

moving in time

I love voices that spin across time and space , bringing their reality into my life. It has been a fascination all my life to read a verse or see a painting and feel some connection with the person that created it. It is the experience of sharing similar feelings that has provoked me to consider the possibility of a ‘elan vital’ , a unifying creative impetus that inhabits all beings. It is through the vision or poets, philosophers and artists that my search for meaning begins to lead me in a direction that I had dismissed, a direction that could be described as religious in its temperament. I am not religious in any common understanding of that state, but I am aware of a space within myself that could be described a god shaped. It’s the terms I struggle with, but I can’t deny the presence of the hole…

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Physician – heal thyself

historicdesignin00john_0049 copy 2I am not sure how to start – why I should even want to – connecting is not the straightforward process I would like. I am in a fug. I cannot straighten my own perspective on the world I experience – and having just removed myself from the benefits of prescribed medication for the first time in a couple of decades, I am trying to be gentle on myself, but now I am needed.  My husband has retirement challenges – the common experience of finding how to re purpose one’s life.  I know I can only enable – not do anything, but it’s not easy seeing the person you live with struggle with the existential loneliness that is being human. We all struggle with it to a greater or lesser degree – a universal challenge then – but he, like me, is not a great fantasist. He cannot imagine something that is not apparent. And I am beginning to consider that the art of delusion should be on the National Curriculum in order that we maximise the potential of mental wellbeing. So how can I help? Probably cannot. I choose to try and stay kind – not leaping to judge, remembering its the tiny things that make a person feel loved. But part of me is 6 year s old and screaming ‘What about me?’

And so it is. And it will go on being like this – worrying for him, about him, wanting more for myself, feeling anxious that my sons and their loved ones are going to have to feel the pains of being human.  The only real answer is non-being and I don’t think that will do down well with the family.

So tell me how you manage those feelings of hopelessness, lack of worth, lack of meaning.  Tell me how a walk in the woods nurtures you, listening to Bach, stroking the dog. What am I missing?  My rational self understands all these strategies, even believes in them, but there is still a deep well of loneliness that refuses to be filled . It’s not completely dry, but it could do with some refreshment. This once voracious reader cannot connect with the writer’s I love, something has broken and I don’t think it’s them.

Good days, bad days

 

yeats

From W.B.Yeats poem

 

It’s always been like this. And hard to accept that the challenge is to get up every day and face what is ahead. Easier for some than others, and that in itself is a difficult consideration to process – that my life has always had the comfort and ease of being born in this century in a first world country – there is guilt in feeling any dismay when there are problems of hunger and terrorism affecting millions every  day.  First world guilt paralyses me. I end up chasing my own tail and trying to find some meaning in life through my relationships with the family I love and through the creative endeavour I call work but which is really play.

I cannot stop weeping – the tears are inside, I could cry that river if I ever dare to open that floodgate.  Recently I made a small decision which affects everyone around me, and has brought me to realisations of my own. For the past couple of decades (almost) I have taken prescribed medication to control the symptoms of a neurological disorder – the meds help to control disrupted pain signals, but they are in the anti depressant family.

It’s complicated – of course – what’s me, what’s my stage of life (menopause), what’s the condition, what’s the meds?  So I am simplifying things a little, now I have less familial duties to fulfil. The meds are gone – first a euphoria, a feeling of connection with the world that has been dulled somewhat – but accompanying that lightness of being are emotions that rattle around like a toy railway train out of control – is this me?

Who knows? This is a territory I haven’t explored for some time and I think there’s some rocky roads ahead, but walking boots on – I mean to try.

 

Out of this world

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….or from another – the Spirits are there if you can hear and see them.

 

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