Two days of snow. Most unusual for this Gulf-streamed island. Warm we are and wet, windy too and almost always dripping, the washing included. I am thankful for a wish washer machine as I have been since I took delivery of my first. Any woman who has had to wrangle with the inner workings, or not workings, of a twin tub that stretched everything and who was, overnight required to grow longer legs and arms and a larger bottom will know how exciting this delivery was. I will never forget it, my first independent helper within a mainly unhelpful household.
I walked today, reflecting. The snow is softer today, sloppy like a slush puppy but without the violently coloured additives. I stopped at a the dog prints. Big. Slightly jaunty-legged but heavy and purposeful. Not many deviations for sniffing off track. Annihilated sticks in neat piles along the track. This big, slightly jaunty-legged, heavy and purposeful beast paused in his work. I wonder if the humans waited for him. I wonder if they stood over him saying….Aw look at him. So purposeful. Or if he had to chop chop with his chop chopping and belt after them. I think not. The paw prints do not show me belting. There would be a skid or two, the legs working less as individuals and more as paw gallop. I continue. The slop of snowfall falls around me as the sun warms Snow White and it falls lumpish and slightly grey. Holding on too long, I tell it, remonstrating. You could have fallen Snow White if you had thought this through, if you had really wanted to make an impression.
It thinks me. Making an impression is something I can do well, because I think about it. Although the pointlessness of my life now, for now, weighs heavy and litters my dreams with even more pointlessness, I endeavour not to show this to the outside world. For ‘outside world’ read ‘the odd neighbour’. Well, it is the world for now, and not just for me. How small we have become, despite growing bigger on cakes and lack of exercise. A young jogger shoots by me running confidently across the snow and the slush, making her own tracks. I hear her dog heralding her arrival, her voice following shortly after, reassuring. Oh ignore her, she puffs (actually she wasn’t puffing at all despite her run of many miles, and over slippy snow), she is all shout and no do. A mere pup, a collie, bouncing in excitement, confounding any sleuthing I might bring to bear on her footprint analysis.
The wild honeysuckle is leafing, brave wee trailing thing, wrapped like a delicate cobweb scarf around the trunk of a fallen pine, the leaves tiny and frosted with icing sugar. Be brave, I tell them. Don’t give up. You are showing the world (the odd neighbour) that you are punch-strong and still green despite the cold. If you can do this, so can I. My sister calls. She is one of my favourite people. She combines strengths that in others might argue. A genuine warm and instant compassion combined with a steel confidence in her core self. She is who she is and can still gift compassion whether or not she shares an experience. She, unlike me, her much elder, knows exactly who she is and is always ready to make laughter and to share it. We came from the same familial home but our experiences were very different. I was first. She was last, but that was the last time she has ever been last in her life. She can make me feel pointful.
So am I? Point Full? It doesn’t feel like it much these days but I do have faith in hope and hope in faith. I do believe that time heals, that being open to the Universe, God, Dust, Startalk and other things not one single soul can present as an absolute, is key. There are answers not enough down here beneath the clouds and above the snow, in the In-Between of life, the place we inhabit. That place we need to explain and justify. The way we live in that place, the how, the where, the what and the why of it. Myriad confusion reigns, like a bad king, all shout and no do and at times we all butt up against this regent, find ourselves in his eye-stare and are stopped in our tracks. It’s ok, we tell ourselves, are told by counsellors and wise men and women who know that all you have to do is blow a raspberry at this bad king. He won’t be used to raspberries, not the blown ones. I do it even now when something bad-king-ish upsets the balance of my footprints along the track of life. I have been taught this by my youngest son. Another of my favourite people. It makes me laugh and, as I do, the bad king disappears. Pouff! gone.
Homing, and I see blackbird tracks. Deeper than I would have expected. Then I see him. A male blackbird with a black beak. A first for me. The light is changing. Brilliant snow light, billowed clouds, grey shifts of oncoming sleet or hail above the hills, a blast of sun, coppered, fiery, pushing through for a glimpse of us. No time to grab a camera, just watch. See that perfection of heavenly firelight and take it in through your eyes and down down into your heart and let it rest there. Let it rest alongside the paw prints, the slush snow, the brave green honeysuckle and the black beak, and see that everything is point full. Everything.