Island Blog – Find a Way

Today wakes me different. I rise in the lime green and pad downstairs. Today, I announce to nobody there, will be a good day! I have to do this announcing thing because if I left this day to my now feelings it would cascade into shards by lunchtime. It takes a while to work it out. Strong black coffee helps. I can feel things changing, making that shift I know so well, from thoughtless reaction to mindful action. It is, to be honest, a pain in the bouzouki but I know I must engage with this process for I am vulnerable to emotional collapse. Only vulnerable. Not collapsing. But the edge of error is like a chef’s sharpened knife blade, super thin and very dangerous. There is either a goodly cut or a deep wound. I swither on the rocks of this one. I have been on these rocks for some time and not just since my only husband died, but before that as I watched him disappearing whilst still in the room.

So my choice of action is (yes mindful) a daily choice, no, an hourly one because the clutching fear of nothingness is always at my heels. So I walk. Finally I get why people who are tossed out of the world they have known for most of their lives, begin to walk. I also get that they don’t know why. It is a compulsion, a need, a drive. But for what, to what, I cannot say. I just know it helps. And it sure beats sitting on my jaxy to watch the enviably vibrant together load of people go by, laughing and sharing and with a whole chatty afternoon ahead.

I set off at 7am, a grand time to walk. Most of the people I know never see 7am, never mind 0500. And if they do, its a yawning Monday go-to-work thing. So I am free to go, alone with the seabirds and the scutterbuck deer, the owls that are late to bed and the swallows who are definitely planning a trip. The trees are bowed, tunnelled with the night rain. I heard it through my curtains and said my always prayer of thanks. I know a continent of states that would give anything for rain, not least North Columbia right now. We diss rain at our peril. It is so so very precious.

I and the almost awake wee dog wend our way through the green that will not be green for much longer. I see leaves already turning. I tell the dog this and she stops to stare at me as if I am her greatest puzzlement. There is a young hedgehog on the track. It doesn’t move and there are greenbottles on its back. Oh, sweetheart, I say and hunker down. Are you alive? It hears me, or feels me, and lifts its pretty snout, eyes blinking. I can see you are sick, I say, nuzzling its face with my finger. We connect. I am not up for banging it on the head but this baby is not well.

We move on.

On the shore we find an otter, maybe ‘the’ otter fishing and watch him for a while. It is high tide, my favourite. I haven’t seen it here for some time. The thing about high tide is her hold on herself. She floods like she has no respect for any shoreline argument and once her power subsides, she holds. Hold, she says. Hold. I am here and I am important. I envy her sassiness and tell her so and we laugh together. She alone can give life back to the dried kelp. She alone can claim land that thought it was land until she came in like Lady Gaga. She laughs me. As she has soaked pretty much every sitting point, I don’t sit, but stand my full but diminishing height and look around me. Oystercatchers twirple through the air, curlews, geese and gulls, responding to my arrival. I see your hold, I say to the full tide. Respect.

Home again and now I must fill in the day so I write, I write about the missing, the freedom and the how the heck do I manage two conflicting thoughts? The death date looms. Although I am not in the least sentimental, I do find that anniversaries knock at the door of my mind, surprising me like I forgot it. Not this one. I can feel it coming like something I want to push away, defer, ignore. But it needs to come and I know that. I will not go to his grave and sob. This is not me. But there is a something so huge about his death that I cannot explain. We were we. Now we are not we. I like the I of me and always did, but this is different. It isn’t a game anymore. It is horribly real.

Give me time. I’ll find a way.

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