Season’s greetings from Nottingham, England – it’s been a full year here – as we navigate our way into my husband’s retirement, and see the youngest son start his foray into teaching we have had the inevitable roller coaster of highs and lows. Into the mix goes my decision to try and manage my health conditions without the support of prescriotion medicine – don’t ask me why but after decades of regulating my body with the addition of anti depressants for pain management, I really wanted to discover life without them- more rollercoaster fun!
Wishing everyone peace and goodwill – remember that bit and the holidays will bring its own rewards.
There we were – back in the Highlands of Scotland, the weather playing its part and cooperating with us, and it’s a trip worth sharing.
I stress fairly easily – my children will vouch for that – so I have had to find coping strategies over the years to help be from having a meltdown. This is one of my best – to focus on something very ordinary, get right in and personal, look at it carefully, consider its history, its place in the world. Photograph it. Suddenly you’ve opened up a whole door of perception – the perspective has changed, and the world has tilted just a little in your favour.
Sometimes its elusive – I can’t find the right key to unlock that stratagem, but it’s still a great player in my box of tricks. I suppose the modern parlance would be to call this ‘mindfulness’. I don’t mind that. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, call it whatever, I will keep it close.
I have made these images less than the resolution needed for printing so they don’t get copied and used by some nefarious villain willing to steal them, but if you are really wanting to have them decorate your walls , then shimmy on down to Society 6 , link here Society6 page and you can navigate to various formats from there.
Further to my post about Shinrin-yoku, I decided to unyoke myself from my p.c. and treat myself and Digger to a well deserved break in the day. The sun was high, the sky was blue and the wind was refreshingly gentle as a breeze. Digger is an old dog, so that breeze is a pre-requisite to a walk in the summer. I keep valuing his presence more and more as his age becomes more and more apparent to me. I treasure my time with him – such is love! I was considering this and more as I reflected on my life and times. I have had a complicated relationship with love – I crave it’s presence and sumultaneously feel I somehow have an inadequacy deep within me to fully appreciate it. I am so glad to have my family around me- but their presence is peripheral – I like to know they are there, but am happy they are living their lives their way. I have been this way forever – to the chagrin of my mother who would demand far more time from me were I to be complicit. Paradoxically I learnt my self sufficency from her – as youngsters my parents encouraged independence , valuing it above any expression of warmth and love. My parenting has been totally informed by my perceived lack of early sustenance- as young children mine could be under no illusion that the singular aim of life is to love! Both of them now would probably complain I wasn’t authoritive enough – oh the sad absurdities of parenting!
Enough – my aim of this post was to share my experience of a simple walk . The glory to be found in the ordinary is daily worth revisiting. I was considering this after hearing a radio 4 programme promoting an upcoming project ‘Accounting for taste ‘wherein the producer/presenter Matthew Sweet is wanting us, the great unwashed, to share what we consider to be unique in our homes – the thing that makes home ours and ours alone. I like listening to this sort of thing – connecting to ordinary lives , and I thought about my own environs. I live in a very ordinary semi- detached home in a very pleasant suburb of a Midlands town in U.K. My house is not extraordinary in any way whatsoever, and yet if you walked into it, you would feel us. We are all there , family moments imbibe each room, mementoes collected, stones given to one another as gifts of love, paintings by the children on fridge a decade after having been produced, percussion instruments littered around, bongo drums to pick up and mess with, artworks collected over decades , photographs by my brilliant photographer husband and books. Lots of books. My own tributes to my dogs, dead and alive are in the form of knitted statues – definitely unique! You get my meaning – our lives are full of meaningful and lovely memory that makes us unique, but none of them have any value really to anyone outside of the family, and that is fine. I am o.k with that. I love our ordinary. I celebrate it. One of the character traits of my youngest son that makes me most comfortable is that he gets this already – in a world increasingly desiring us all to be part of something ‘special’. Life is special. Life is enough. For decades I sought meaning beyond that , and yesterday felt healing. I understood that everything is of and from the same happening. Some things started their lives at different times on that happening timeline. I was telling Digger this so that he knows too. Bless. The pictures show where I was, two minutes walk away from the front door, a public footpath takes you away from the cares of the everyday world. Nice.
If you want to link up with Matthew Sweet for his upcoming programme at Radio4 you can link up by using the link Accountingfortaste
Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect. Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, What every other eye in this world is dying to hear?
I took my camera out yesterday, not really expecting to achieve anything – rather in the hope that I might kickstart my mojo, as I am climbing out of that hole in my head and I will try anything as soon as I am able! So imagine my delight when the universe sent me a heart shaped message amongst the briars.
I remembered the Buddhist monk Sengai Gibon who made simplicity look , well simple- managing at the same time to raise the deepest questions we ask ourselves- what and why is the Universe?
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.
We were taking some time out from chores to take the dog and the cameras for a walk on our local nature reserve. I know there are lots of photographs of Robins in the world. But this is my photograph, and that is what makes it special to me!! What a little sweetie he was. It is always the simple pleasures that delight the heart so much. Mine expands when I am walking in sunshine, hearing the birds, discoursing with the trees.