Island Blog 203 Spirit

Spirit Woman


What is Spirit?  Yes, it’s an alcoholic beverage.  Yes, it’s Caspar the ghost.  But what is my spirit and what is yours?

Unlike the above, it is invisible and, yet, at the same time, highly visible, in who I am.  I wake with it.  It carries me through my ordinary, and extraordinary days but, and here’s the rub, I must needs call it up, because if I don’t, it lies like cold porage somewhere inside me. I must spin it into life regardless of my doubts and fears and self-flagellation.

Thankfully, my spirit is way stronger than any of those enemies, like David was to Goliath.  As I rise from sleep, whatever excitements the night brought me, and, nowadays that means a dive into the oatcake tin and a barefoot wander through the quiet house, I make a choice.  Out you damn spots, because I don’t want you littering my face any more than I did as a teenager…..out I say, for there is no room for you once Spirit steps in to hold her sway.  She is magnificent, tall and strong, proud and unique and she demands the whole room.

I remember hating this unique thing.  I didn’t want to be unique.  I wanted to be like Lizzie or Jill with their only childness and beans on toast in front of the telly.  When someone flagged up my talents and gifts I wanted to bop them on the nose and run back to the crowd.  Now I get it, but with that ‘getting it’ comes responsibility.  Now I have to see who I am and actually be who I am which means I write with my own hand, say what is in my head, act according to Spirit, and then, unfortunately, to take the consequences.

T’is odd that I have spent so many years wishing I wasn’t me, especially as all that wishing made absolutely no difference.  It was just a waste of time and that is something Spirit won’t allow. The key, for me, was giving in and letting go.  Ok Spirit, I said, I’m all yours, warts and all, you win.

Surprisingly, I feel free.  It is as if holding on to the control stick did me no favours.  She swings with the wind, they said, she’s flighty and unpredictable and she talks to the trees, for goodness sake.  She hears stories in the rain, flies with the geese, lifts with the cloud animals and cooks without recipes.  She wears crazy clothes and wellies with a tutu and a fisherman’s jumper whilst weeding the garden. She makes mistakes, says the wrong thing at the wrong time, feels anger and frustration, sends an email she wish she hadn’t. But, this same woman is the one who will stand to be counted.  She will rise in defence or attack for her family and friends.  She is kind, she is strong, she is wild. This is Spirit, her spirit.

I see spirit in those I meet every day.  Rising into their eyes, evident in the way they take on whatever life throws at them, still moving on into the next day.  Invisible, yes, but not if we really look and really notice, pausing in our own rush towards death just long enough to recognise and respect another spirit strength.  And, sometimes, if I have left my spirit at home, the light of another shines bright enough to illuminate my own demons, and to send them scurrying back into the shadow dark.




Island Blog 202 Harmony

old lady makeup


Who on earth decided it was ever going to be okay for us to gain facial hair whilst simultaneously losing our sight?  I don’t mean going blind, merely the fact that I now need binoculars to put make up on and still I can’t really see the lovely tache on my upper lip, until the sun shines.  Perhaps it’s a good thing the sun is shy up here from time to time, so that, when it does brilliantise my face, turning me into a shiny gorilla with eyebrows (thin and greying) that feel quite happy to spread (thinly and greyly) both up and down, I can gasp, and then get over myself.   Add to this joyous sunshine discovery my slightly shaky hand, my meanly sharp tweezers and my sagging skin and I have one result.



I could not look, of course, but it isn’t about me seeing me, it’s about you talking to me with your 20/20 vision whilst trying madly to focus on what I’m saying and suppressing the tidal rise of giggles as you watch my untamed facial hair waggling at you like feelers, only in all the wrong places.  On cloudy days, I am fine about it all, in fact, I quite forget, but not on sunshiney days.

I remember well, as a child, watching such feeler activity in the older generation.  I know that rise of giggles and how very hard it is to keep them from erupting into my mouth.  I thought these women looked like jokes, like a cross between apes and heavily perfumed witches  Some even had warts and that’s another unwelcome thing that just comes to us all.  The lucky ones find them beneath their stoutly sensible clothing;  others find them on their noses.  I check mine for warts every morning and, so far, the binoculars tell me I am safe.

These disrupters of my harmony are unkind at the very least.  At this stage of life, when silly aches and pains deny me the chance to leap over a fence when being chased by a bull, or a wasp, I find a seed of rage has taken root in me.  I’m not saying we should have these things whilst young.  I’m wondering why we have to have them at all.  We have to be filled with beans as a matter of choice and not because there is no challenge to challenge back as in youth and middle age.  And they are nothing really, these aging things, nothing more than an opportunity to bite back when bitten by this getting older thing.

There are many wise wisdoms about the journey into old age and I know most of them, but in my opinion, aging is too quick in coming, sending many of us into the sickness queue.  Because of what?  Fear, that’s what.  And I refuse to give fear an inch of room.  When we get an ache or a wart, we have a choice.  Flight or fight.  If I get my eye lashes all stuck together, so what?  It is extremely hard to apply mascara whilst peering through binoculars anyway.  Does this mean everyone with 20/20 vision has a giggle at my expense?  of course it does. If I feel the odd twinge and if I grunt as I elevate from a comfy chair, well, so do most over 60’s.  I check my grunt levels, however, and always find a laugh somewhere in my mouth.  Words escape me too, but if I search the room, I always find them in the end.  My mum said once, whilst we drove into town, ‘oh look at all those men with their arms sticking out!’


Thing is, I can giggle about it, as can she, for, like her, there is harmony with me and the aging palaver.  And, if I have lived as a rebel thus far, then I can rebel on.

So can you.