Well, what a lovely welcome back from those I abandoned some time ago, and who, it seems, forgive me my absence! I really don’t know where I went. Into myself I think, and that ‘think’ word has a whole lot to do with pretty much everything in life. Thinking is a veritable rock at times until I find myself in a hard place, whence it may become destructive.
Being shoved onto a new path can bring about me a host, not of golden daffodils, but of shrieking wraiths and hobble trees, all out to trip me up. If I stop to think about that, all I achieve is a greater number of shrieking wraiths and more hobble trees. So, although I know they are there, I ignore them, keeping my eyes focussed on that sliver of light way up ahead, and there always is one out there for the seeing.
That light could be a few hours peace, sorry, minutes, in which to write uninterrupted. It could be the thought of a really strong coffee, or some wind-battered gladioli, blood red and wonky chops that need staking. I did a lot of staking this summer past. Hollyhocks standing 9 ft tall and sunflowers dotted about like big yellow umbrellas. Nobody knows who planted them and everybody knows that such triffidicae cannot possibly stand for more than 3 hours on the west coast without enough ropes and pegs to hold down a wedding marquee in a force ten. Notwithstanding, they appeared and they grew and they dazzled all passers by, until last week when they made it clear they had done their bit, and fell over.
When life confounds, all small things take on a grandeur they mostly don’t deserve, nor warrant. This phone call to the doctor, that prescription to collect, this carer to call, that occupational therapist to contact for another hand rail or a fancy gadget to make life safer. The wood to unload, another to order, to split the kindling, change the bedding, fix the back light bulb in the car, or to sort out yet another confusion on a laptop or a mobile phone. In ordinary homes, I am guessing the daily grind is divided into blue and pink jobs, although I’m betting the pink part of the arrangement takes on a lot of the blue task list just to make certain it is completed . The light in all this, for me, now, is that I am becoming a real whizz at blue jobs, halting only when faced with a chainsaw. I can see me legless and without fire. Not a good look at all.
What I have learned, too, is how resistant we unpaid carers can be in asking for help. I think we think too much about it. We don’t need help after all. We have always sailed alone in this wife/mother life having got over the initial crushing disappointment, one that hit us smack in the chops just after we held out our finger for the wedding ring. Where we were thinking White Knight, he himself was thinking Unpaid Slave, only he never said, because, as we all know, men only grunt once they have exhausted their entire vocabulary during courtship. I wonder, even now, why on earth I am reading my granddaughters fairy tales, when I really should be reading them Tales of the Unexpected, unabridged. We never learn……….
Laughter and light, that’s what I want and if it isn’t on offer from outside of me then I just have to conjure it up from within. Fun and nonsense costs absolutely nothing to produce, has its own inbuilt marketing plan and requires no staff. The most important thing is to keep moving at all times. That way, I get through the hobble trees and outrun the shrieking wraiths, which, by the way, disappear (noisily) if you blow a great big raspberry into the place where their face should be. If, in the blast of some accusation or criticism from the white knight, I get a fit of giggles, it all miraculously goes away. No darkness is ever stronger than light and it takes one small candle flame to illuminate a room. I may be one small candle flame, but I am damned if I will let any cold wind blow me out.
The other afternoon I was playing with two of my grand-daughters in the garden, We rolled down the grassy bank and bounced on the trampoline after planting some hyacinth bulbs in a border. Earlier I had picked up a unicorn’s horn, sparkly gold and crimson attached to a headband. it was a bit tight, but not so tight I remembered it was there as I bounced and rolled and planted. Some walkers came by and stopped to watch us for a moment or two. My granddaughters are very beautiful after all and we will have made a pretty collage on a green hillside.
Hi, I called out. You ok down there?
Yes, we are, came the reply, and still they stood, and looked.
It’s coz you’re a unicorn Gaga, said the older girl, rolling her eyes at me.