There are many F words that are ok falling out of a mouth and these two capture me, for they aptly describe my thoughts and feelings just now. As I wander along the sunlit track in a strappy frock and jack boots, I know my eyes are hungry. They dart like swallows over the ground, up through the leaf canopy that divides the sky, fractal like geometry. I watch the shapes, the movement as the breeze catches the leaves, which, I swear, tinkle. The Turning. Dappled ground leads my looking deep into the overblown rhododendrons making me wish I could drink and shrink, like Alice. Then I could just walk in to the darkling promise of adventure. What will I find in there? Spider, mice, birds, slow worms what? Small quiet things that hide a lot, I’m guessing. I wonder how deep I will go before the dark closes behind me. And that, my friends, is a life question.
It is a month since he died. Since then various and manifold emotions have barrelled me into the shrubbery. Along with the understandable sense of loss and emptiness tinged with a brief snatch of guilt at the moving on of his mobility aids (so quickly), what has made me stop in my tracks is that I am finally able to see who he really was. He was a pioneer, a forger of new paths, new businesses, new this new that and he was also the most complex and difficult man I ever met. He used to tell anyone who was listening that he was a simple man. At this, I snorted. He was far from simple. It thinks me.
We are all the result of our parental guidance/neglect/control, for sure. We also carry within our bodies any trauma our forbears have experienced, even if we cannot ever explain it, never mind know it is there at all. Then Life gets her grabby mitts on us and there is even more shaping and moulding. We meet troubles, challenges, disasters and loss during our adult lives, within which we are expected to be authoritative and decisive. Well, that’s a big ask, don’t you think? Most of us are children in adult bodies at such times, feeling the fear, the loss, the impotence in the face of an onslaught way bigger than we are, and, yet, we, standing taller than the rest are required to make it better.
Living all those years with a paragon of brilliance meant something. A lot of somethings. I know only too well how valuable I was. The gofer, the runner, the doer. To be a visionary, a dreamer, means nothing without a me. It didn’t mean I didn’t have my own dreams and visions, not at all, but it did mean, for me, for us, that my own plans took the back seat. Some of them got bored and left the building, many did not. I value their loyalty and thank them daily. Now, it seems I have a chance. I can unhook my wagon from his star and that feels fine. I can miss his presence and still remember all that he was, all the demands and difficulties, all the fun and the parties, the spontaneity of everything, the immediacy required for action.
This is what is real. This fractal fracas.