Island Blog 194 Returns


January is all about returns.  We return to our homes after the Christmas celebrations.  Children return to school, adults to work.  The Christmas tree is returned to the ground, whence it came, and the bells and baubles are returned to the big box, which, in turn, is returned to the cupboard under the stairs, for the mice to enjoy through the long cold winter months.  It’s quite fun to discover half a fairy or a guddle of tinself that once was a long unbroken line of shimmering nonsense.  How a mouse can possibly enjoy shimmering nonsense is beyond me.  Must be one hec of a chewing job.

Amazon and other gift companies will probably define their January by the number of returns they receive.  The wrong trousers, the faulty toys, a dress size too small, or, joy of joys, a size too big. Slowly and gradually we begin to rid our lives of packaging and cards, of old bones and stale buns, and most of us go further.  We decide to tidy up our lives, beginning, perhaps, by emptying our tee shirt drawer onto the floor for sorting.  If you are like me you only ever access the favourites anyway, the upper layer of lycra/cotton mix, the strappy ones that come down over my bum and stay there.  The ones that ride up or gape in the wrong place or strangle me by the armpits, all are left in the dark to grow smelly from lack of use.  But I keep keeping them just in case.  In case of what?  In case I suddenly grow gappy in the same place, or my armpits shift up a notch, or my bum lifts higher?  Fat chance is the truth, but still I hold onto them.

What if there’s an apocalypse?  Well, if Trump has his way, there just might be.  Nonetheless I doubt any shape of tee-shirt would save me.  No, what I must do is return them to the tee-shirt holding place – in other words, the charity shop on the island, having first washed the smell out first, of course. I think I need 45 of them when in fact I need 2 or 3.  What is this fear of letting go?  It isn’t just about tee shirts either, and when I consider the plight of my fellow women across the world, I am ashamed.

As I walk out into the wild, picking my moment as the last hail gale moves on to blast another’s afternoon, and with 20 minutes before the next one gathers in the north, I think on the movement of everything.  Everything in Nature moves on, moves out, returns another day.  This circular pattern means that this cold wind that tips my wheelie over and coats the ground with a wet white carpet of crunch carries on its wings, the breath of the Northern Folk.  I look behind me as it passes by as if I might see my own breath joining theirs.  What dreams, what stories, what whispers just touched me briefly, and moved on?  Can I smell the high mountains, the pine trees, the ice rivers swollen with snowmelt and rain?

When the wind changes direction, coming from warmer climes, the stories change, the pictures in my head.  Tides ebb and flow, the moon waxes and wanes, and all is a circle, many circles, constantly  moving, turning, returning.  Sometimes when I make contact with a new person and feel, as she does, that we know each other very well, I consider the circle of life, the winds that blow between us, around us, through us, and the stories we hear that sound like our own.  I know you although we have never before met.

Or did we?

Clearing out tee shirt drawers and cupboards and garages and so on might seem like a chore, like a very small task but in truth it symbolises the willingness to lay myself open to something new.  Creating room is my job.  As is paring down my material grabbiness and the clutter of centuries.  What we need is never what we have around us.  What we need is shelter, food, friendship and God, or, if you prefer, spirtual openness, a vulnerable heart and ears to hear another man’s story all the way through to the end.

Island Blog 193 To be content



It is one glorious morning out there. The sealoch is rippled but only just, the surface like oil turning the water sultry and giving me back blurry trees.  Sunlight lays across the hills bringing the dying grasses into relief, long lines of 9 carat gold.  A flurry of white birds, too fast in flight to identify, moves across a hillside, glorious in its dying. A buzzard sits on a fence post, close enough for me to study that huge beak, the bright eyes watching every move, the speckled tail feathers.   A heron squawks as it follows the tide, its flight slow and langorous, huge wings, a pterodactyl.  A woman walks her dog past my window, deep in thought.  What day does she have in mind I wonder, or is it the day that has her in mind?

As the season changes, so do we, if we take the time to engage with it.  Autumn is the favourite of many, me included, although I could be challenged on that once the long cold months that follow like bridesmaids in her wake knock her on the head and take over.  For now,  I love to walk among conkers and acorns, to consider the creatures preparing for hibernation like my friend Mel who doesn’t do ‘cold’ and who has her house set at boiling point from now till May.  I tell her she’ll be broke by 60 if she thinks that way now and I am tempted to tell her to put on another jumper, but resist for fear of sounding like my mother. Besides, I’m not wild about cold either.  I don’t mind it out there, but I do mind it in here.

Cold is a verb I think, much like Happy.  The words we employ as states of being are often states of doing.  I appreciate that the grammer buffs will be itching to correct me, but just indulge me for a minute or two.  When I feel cold, I have choices, whether the cold is outside of me or deep within.  If I don’t want to be cold I have choices – yes, another jumper is a good start.  A better idea is to plan a walk – what now?  yes now.  Why not now?  It doesn’t have to be a 10k hike, but simply a stepping out into the day, walking into a bit of it, feeling it, watching it, becoming a part of it. I will find I am not only able to create warmth inside and out, but because of that involvement with something much greater than me, I will also be changing my mind.  I will see something that makes me smile, or I will find an answer to a problem.  I have no idea how it happens but it does.  If I stay here shivering, nothing changes and no answers come to me.  I am likely to consider turning up the heating which leads to concerns about fuel bills, or to feel disgust at the uninteresting contents of my jumper drawer, leading to Grumbledom where everyone is always cold.

Being happy is also a doing thing.  If I wait for something magical to happen I will die in the waiting.  Not because nothing magical happens but because I am too busy not engaging with my life to notice when something does, and those somethings are always the ‘little’ things, the moments, the encounters, the diving into whatever my life currently is and to set about ferretting for the acorns or the conkers shiny-hiding beneath a carpet of gold.

I am not cold and I am happy but not because life has given me an easy ride.  Life doesn’t give anyone that.  In fact, the more challenges life throws at a person, the more content she can find herself becoming.  Inside a secure and well planned life there may appear little need to seek anything much beyond the gratification of the next appetite.  Everything is wonderful, safe, sorted.  If, no, when that life is tipped or toppled a girl is thrown with it and will find herself showing her underpants for a while, until, that is, she straightens herself, not her life.  Only then will she seek the small things.  The big things (she thinks) are beyond her control now.  But in noticing the small things, the apparently small things, those small things that have stood the test of thousands of years, she will find them a whole lot bigger than she ever thought.  To laugh out loud at a furious argument between two male sparrows, or to gasp and to really feel that gasp as a robin grabs a butterfly for lunch is to be engaged with life at its deepest level.  It also makes mockery of the accumulation of dust on mahogany surfaces or the blobs of sheep poo on the beige carpet (who on EARTH ever chooses beige?) or the fact that yes we have no bananas because I forgot to buy them.

In short….and I have been long in saying this……when a day dawns it is I who have it in mind and not the other way around.  I may not be able to control what happens within it, but I sure can control how I respond.


Island Blog 192 Con Fusion



The sun is low in the evening sky.  Just above my horizon of hills, it crowds my eyes, bright like gold.  I hear the changewind of autumn sing through the telephone wires.  The trees shimmy like dancers, rattling their castinets of dry leaves.  Gold and red all around if I look quick, and if I don’t they become a carpet at my tomorrow feet. I feel the wild.  Do you feel it? It’s quite inconvenient really, for supper is due at 6 and I am late all because a feeling took over from the boiling tatties.

I think on my children, all adults now, parents and friends of those I may never meet.  In a long life, there are so many memories, so many times of change and change and more change.  Of adaptation, of quick thinking, of loss and of failure, of high rise buns and success, of pets and walks and talks and laughter.  I don’t remember it all, but at times, I remember something and that something smiles me or gasps me and I know I am still alive because I know I feel, even if those feelings upset earthly plans, which they generally do.

Emotions come to us unbidden, unsought and they can make things awkward.  I might suddenly want to pull over and stop to look at the way the sunlight diamonds the waves, and yet my companion is in a hurry to catch a deadline.  Although I hesitate, I don’t stop, and as I continue along the road I am left wondering if that sight was something worthy of a deeper look and because I didn’t honour it, is now lost.  Or did I leave it behind for less hurrying folk to marvel at, and, if I did, is that good?  I am scurrying like a mouse for a deadline I might not care a toss about, a bit of cheese for someone else, and now I have emotional indigestion.  It has ever been a quandary.

In a discussion that pits emotion against logic, we can be at eternal odds, for the twain shall never meet.  Yes this is the sensible choice considering the worldly demands of the day, but I what I feel is at odds with that choice.  I feel sad, for example.  The natural return for that ball over the net is the question ‘why?’  I have yet to be able to answer that one for I honestly do not know.  I am just sad.  If I am happy, nobody asks why.  When I apply logic to my own emotions they don’t like it.  They shuffle about awkwardly inside me, mixing themselves up so I don’t know who is where.  Searching for a reason is as pointless as trying to bale out the ocean with a teacup.  I might venture a response if the questioner is persistent enough with their ‘whys’.  I feel sad because……this is an anniversary of a sad thing.  The response to that is rooted in logic and comes thus……But that was a year ago!  You need to move on, smell the roses, bla bla bla!  I nod.  T’is true after all but those facts do not change my feeling one jot.  In fact, more arise in response to the logic which is a response to the emotion and suddenly a new beast is born, one with bared teeth and claws out.  All I said was I feel sad.

Or…..I am quiet and thoughtful, in my own world, trying once again to sort out the dichotemy between what I feel and what is available to me.  Once again, the spirit world arguing with the ‘real’ world.  I wonder which is real.  For me, being quiet and thoughtful does not beg the question ‘what is wrong with you?’ and yet, it comes.  Trying to explain it, the feelings I am feeling, in carefully thought through answers always ties my legs in knots.  The truth is nothing is wrong but that question in my ears.  If you ask a man what is wrong, even though chances are you already know, he will answer with facts.  If I ask him how he feels about the situation he finds himself in he will invariably panic and dive off to make a coffee or to assemble a carefully worded email.  He is unlikely to do more with my question than indicate to me that it has astonished him.  What do feelings have to do with the problem?

I wonder how many situations morph intod new beasts just because one counters another’s feelings with logic.  We used to call it ‘fixing’ back in the day.  Please don’t fix me.  But what does a completely logical person do or say when confronted with the potential mess of an emotion, ‘innapropriately’ expressed, one that nobody can explain?  I can quite see the dilemma.  Perhaps life is supposed to be a dilemma, a puzzle, one that will always have missing pieces.

Makes me chuckle.


Island Blog 191 Earth, Wind and Fire


You know what? We get gales is what. Something about sticking out so far into the Atlantic. I like sticking out too far so that works for me, although my sweet peas are behaving like windscreen wipers and my pretty garden pots keep falling over. But, bashed and flapped about, petals ripped and stems broken is just life up here, and not just for the flowers. We are survivors, more, celebrators of life. I see it everywhere I go. Women with co-op bags flying like dog’s ears but, like dog’s ears, firmly fixed; mack tails flying, puddles avoided or landed in with a chuckle, tights spattered, hair all over the place. We burst through doors into the sudden calm of a shop looking like we just played a bit part in Back to the Future, our eyeballs still swirling in our heads and we need to take a minute to centre.

Builders and roofers smile wry smiles as the wind stops play, or the rain, and they make new plans. The lifeboat shoots out in seconds to save someone surprised by the power of the our weather up here. Shops find sandbags and strengthen their seaward doors to cope with the blast. The ferry runs or it doesn’t. The ferry doesn’t mind if it is critical you get to Tesco’s today, nor if your appointment with a specialist has taken months to finally arrive. It doesn’t mind anything much when the gales come beyond the question it may ask itself…..Can I safely dock? If the answer comes back NO then there is no ferry. But we are luckier than other farther-flung islands for we have two ferries and, thus, more options. Some islands could run out of bacon at gale times or midwives or newspapers. Huge international events could happen whilst the island remains unaware. Sky TV could be down, phone lines, anything that might upset event management, like that man who still thought the war was going on long after it had ended.

Life is not easy for anyone, but we have so very much to be thankful for. The community on this island is strong. None of we incomers moved here because we had to. We chose it. Oh, we might find some aspects of life here difficult at times, hard even, awful perhaps, but those of us who love the salt and sweat of island life feel we have come home. Not home as in birth roots but home where our spirits can fly with the birds (backwards in gales). Where we can find something from what appears to be nothing. Where we can relocate our own common sense, apply enterprise, find the smile that says I can do this, even though I have just landed in a puddle, lost my co-op bag to the winds or got myself soaked through because this heavy shower never told the sky it was coming.

In short we will take the weather and find a story inside it. We will put on our waterproofs and go out anyway because the skirling of the wind dance excites us, if it doesn’t blow us clean over. We will burst into shops with a chuckle, our hair electrified our mascara blotched and we will find the laugh, that laugh that loves to laugh, to catch the dance of surprise in other eyes, to know that, whether we like it or not, we all need each other.

We were never supposed to be hermits although I am not knocking hermits for they have oft times come up with some observation of genius; one that floats into the future, prompting one of us to capture the thought and to weave into our own fabric of life. That powerful concept is just right for a time in a life and it can become a bridge over troubled waters or the door into a secret garden. We use it to ease and facilitate our own journey. But most of us live cheek by jowl with others, even others we might rather not sit quite so close to. Life has handed us an opportunity here. How many times have I thought one fixed thing about this person who gets in my face, only to discover something about them that humbles me, something not obvious at first sight. Often I will find a hermit wisdom and the phrase knocks my socks off. Gosh! I say, and Wow! And then I change, not my frock, although I did have to do that one day when, bending over to dig out some bird seed from the barrel, my retro skirts flew right over my head, just as the bin lorry appeared. No, I mean change my mind. It’s easy when you know how, when you allow yourself. Changing a mind is a good thing, even when it proves awkward for those who don’t want to change their own. It takes courage to change your mind about a person because that change requires other changes and we need that courage, and the subsequent and uncomfortable rush of humility, to learn how to live together.

When a new wind blows across the island, causing the trees to dance and frolic, pushing the birds backwards, twisting the sea loch into a hissing turbulence and shredding the flower petals to confetti across the grass, I look out and just know change is coming.

And my feet can feel the fire of it.

Island Blog 190 – Heaven


I have these lines from songs in my head.  They arrive allofasudden and I catch them, pin them down, look at them and begin to sing.  I could be pulling weeds (wild flowers in the wrong place) or sieving tuna in brine (yeuch) for Smallpants the dog, or even walking upstairs with a load of folded undies and in comes the melody, the lyric, the lift.  I keep going on my road to somewhere ordinary, but suddenly with more colour, sound, chiascuro (love that word).  I don’t feel weighted down at all, in fact I feel lighter.  I suddenly see my feet that can dance, feel my hips that can sway, my arms that can hold and enfold, can make a statement without a single word crossing my lips. I arrive on the landing like a feather, full float-and-spin, light as gossamer, open to any touch down.

This is how I live now, and, believe me, it is full blown life.  In reminding myself that although I am humanly and humanely attached to the soil and rock of this goodly earth, I have a spirit in me, and spirits, by definition, are unattached to ground control.  To have both equally respected and equally free to speak requires good management.  Not all of us are good managers.  I thought I was a frightful manager to be honest, because I thought, once,  as so many do.  You are ‘either’ this ‘or’ you are that.  Black/white.  Good/bad.  Successful or a failure.  Right or wrong.  Now, (and for heavens sake it has taken forever to get here) I know that all those shades of grey are where my power lies.  Now I can hold two opposing ideas in my mind and accept both – Creation and Evolution, for example.  I argue with neither and, besides, not one living soul, however brilliant can prove either one.

So, life bites me and yet I feel more alive because of it.  How this can be is also not a question I ask myself, myself being of limited thinking on such matters.  Holding on to a line of thinking, and one that may well be not my own original thought, I will always be stuck at the gate.  I don’t want that.  And I have found music to be a lifeline.  Although I am here, functioningly here, doing what I will do until it’s done, I can slip sideways into otherness.  I like otherness.  Otherness keeps me grounded and lifts me high at the same time.  Two opposing ideas, but they are not ideas, because they have always been themselves.  For anyone to go beyond ‘surviving’ (and when I hear that word from the lips of one who has a roof, regular food and a car, I do have to work hard to avoid smacking them) they need to embrace spirit and body.  The two, by the way, are not divisable, nor separate entities as some might have us believe.  Both are united within each one of us, both accessible as thrusters and both at our command.

I wake early and slip as quietly as I can over the creaking floorboards, circa 1870, to make tea.  I bring it back upstairs and get back into bed, curtains open on the tidal dance of the sealoch, the wave of the trees, the salt froth where sea meets river and the cry of gulls, harassing the young sea eagle as it tries to land on Tommy’s pines, and I write, I write I write….all my night thoughts, my howthehecs, my whatcanIdo’s and then, sated, I pick up my bible and feel my way to a passage, always (no exceptions) just the right wisdom for me on that morning, that time of life.  Then, I lift myself, body and spirit aligned into the day.  If I am lucky, and up last, I smell coffee, and if I am first, I make the smell myself.  I feed the birds, calling out Good Morning Lovies and there they are, a spit away, chirruping a welcome, and in my ears there is song, there is always song……

Heaven……I’m in heaven……and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak……..

If this life is all we have, it is so so much more than enough.  It is a gift.


Island Blog 189 Letting Go

new journey

I have just had the best fun ever – hoovering under the beds and shifting two of them to different places.  Revealing that neglected oblong of carpet can be such fun.  It’s like discovering the planet of Lost Things.  I found a butterfly nut which threw me somewhat and an old roll of masking tape, an earring, some toe clippings and a new mouse hole.  There was the usual tufty covering of fluff and toast crumbs and feathers and it gave me immense satisfaction to suck the whole lot up the electrolux tube.  My trusty hoover has a name, one it came with.  Endurance.  It’s written large across its tummy.

The new mouse hole gave me pause for thought.  The horrid green carpet is horrid and green but also worn, ancient, curling at the edges and, thanks to one of my carpet tantrums some time back, only half there at all.  A stanley knife and a ferociously toned right arm cut it raggedly from the far wall to the bed where they were forced to stop.  I painted the floor boards and put a jaunty rug over the big gap just outside the bathroom so as not to lose anyone en route for a pee.   If I shoved beds about plus the big dresser and the dressing table, I could wheech the rest of the horrid green carpet away to the wheelie bin, crumbling underlay and all.  That way the mice wouldn’t have to go through the ghastly process of chewing through all that horrid green=ness – eish, yeuch.  They could just pop up through the boards.  But I stayed my hand.  I know me and my childish enthusiasm, how it far excedes my aging energy levels and physical strength.  Not only would I have to roll up horrid green and the crumbling underlay (which would continue crumbling all the way downstairs and out into the rain) but I would then have to drag Endurance out from her understair nest and fire her up all over again.  I would be covered in underlay and the dust of a thousand years, coughing and spluttering, grubby and hot.  Hmmm – no,  the horrid green can stay a while.

I have new beds arriving – and that is what all this shifting of heavy plant is all about.  I have never in all my married life bought any piece of furniture as new.  Not once.  I know it sounds like I might have lived a mildew and old stains sort of life, but that isn’t really true.  Other folk move items along you see, sometimes items in perfect condition.  Others hand them down to poor souls like me who marry their sons.  Big fat dark brooding dressers become a part of life, welcome or not.  They might be worth something of course, being Queen Anne or Chippendale or Adam.  Preferring Ikea is just bad luck I’m afraid and I will agree that one can have huge fun playing hide and seek, or, better, sardines, inside the old Queen Anne.  It is even quite possible to nervously anticipate the Ice Queen as one fumbles a pathway through frocks and fur coats and dress suits, the cloying burn of mothballs sharp in the nostrils.

It thinks me of how something has to go out in order for something new to come in.  As long as I hold onto the old in me, I will never know the new.  You might say, Who wants to be new? but all of us know that restless feeling and can relate to the sludge of boredom, the same old same old of a long lived life.  What we might not know is the change that would make all the difference lies not in new surroundings or even new beds, but inside the mind of a human heart, and all we need to do is open the door shoving the fears out into the street.  It is easy to blame work or colleagues or location or partner or fate but the truth is that every one of us got our own selves to where we are today.  It was nobody else’s fault.  The good news is, that means I can change things by changing me, and here the world is full of crazy advice and quant sayings that thrill us all the way to Tescos with a new lightness to our step.  Look on the bright side is one such saying.  So I do, honest I do.  I do and I do and I do and I’m worn out with doing it.  It’s superficial this method and cannot be sustained.  All it takes is for someone to upset us, a yoghurt pot to burst in the boot on the way home, the child-minder to cancel, and there is no bright side.  No, this is not the way.

So what is?  I believe that our wordliness is our stumbling block.  Our logical mind controls most of our lives and we are out of balance as a result.  In short, we do not play.  So caught up are we in chasing money, status, prestige, success, affirmation and street credibility that we sacrifice our souls.  We have forgotten to lose ourselves in books, in stories, in adventures.  We encourage children to paint, to imagine, to make art and then expect them to put it all behind them once they come to that discussion of ‘what you want to be in life.’  We snuff out the light, the real light, the sustaining light by which we can find our way right up to the last gasp, for the world will just as quickly strangle us, and will certainly never carry us through all the challenges we meet as we live out our lives.  We need our imagination fed and watered for those times we really need it, not withering away under our floorboards.  We need laughter and imagination to turn ugly into beautiful, disaster into success, troubles into opportunities.  I don’t want to know about adult classes for this and that unless the adults really seek change and will continue relearning how to create and to play long after term ends.  I want to see a world that focuses more on the human spirit and less on the state of the country’s coffers.  I want to see more kindness and gentleness, compassion and encouragement, and less political rantings. I don’t give a monkeys who runs a country of monetary imbalance, unrest, division and addiction.  We can all create as we did when young.  We can all still play, adventure, sparkle, believe in otherness, something out there, something we cannot explain no matter how clever we are or for how long we research it and the joyous result of allowing ourselves to create as a priority is that our life changes, gradually, into a completely new one.  We travel without going anywhere at all. We fulfill the deep desire of our own souls and in doing so, we become kinder, we slow down, we become less selfish, less fearful, there is enough for all, more than enough.

If we all thought Wardrobe = Narnia, the world would become a very different place and, like the journey of a thousand miles, it just takes one person, one step.


Island Blog 188 Deliverance

child reading

‘Deliverance – the action of being rescued or set free’

Every morning I wake early.  As my little swiss alarm clock froze at 08.23 some weeks back, I am never sure how early, and I no longer mind.  When it first stopped,  confounding all efforts to kick start it, I felt slightly alarmed (sorry) on retiring, because I might wake, and how would I know the hour?  For two nights, I had my mobile on the bedside table, feeling safer for its reasurring presence until I saw myself being fearfully controlled.  Now I just guess, and lie there watching the birds and the sea-loch whilst my thoughts flow softly in and out of my mind.

My thoughts are on my current reading.  At the moment, Alice Miller is telling me that what happened to me in my childhood was not right and that I have spent all my life making a pretty tale of what was not pretty at all.  We all do it to varying degrees.  Although I have no sensational story of cruelty, I know I was misunderstood and dominated and that the wounds inflicted still show as scars.  I consider motherhood, my own mother, my own mothering of five little people.  It’s a huge subject and not one any of us would like to take an exam in.   One day we look large but fetching, struggle a bit to get comfortable or sleep, have a bit of indigestion and some lower back pain.  The next day we are handed a screaming, squirming, sticky infant who never shuts up, and who makes us bleed, cry, despair and fight the urge to run every other moment for years and years.  However, that is the way it is, and always was, and always will be. Perhaps that complete lack of preparation is the best way to undertake the huge responsibility of walking as guide beside an equally unprepared, vulnerable, and easily damaged child.. Note I use the word ‘guide’  A guide is ‘ a person who shows the way to another’.  Unfortunately, and in the main,  we dominate and define a child. How they behave reflects on us, after all.   Mostly we make the child fit into our house of ideas, our shape, our ways of behaviour and, in doing so, we are not listening, not paying attention to the child’s own personality to his development beyond her ability to conform.  Many of us unconsciously play out a re-enactment of our own childhood, which probably didn’t do us any favours, but about which we know a great deal, and about which we rarely ask questions.  Others of us make conscious decisions to parent differently and for all the mistakes we made, it wasn’t not listening to our children.

I read books too on religion – usually quirky ‘out there’ ones that speak with a voice of challenge – challenge of authority, of dogma, of the appalling control religion has applied over the years, the abuse, the outrageous inhumanities in the name of God. I do not believe in that God, nor the one who brings destruction and disaster, nor the pious one who appears only on Sundays, nor the one who says one thing and does another.  My God is sacred, a mystery, avoidance of human definition however much the scholars try.  I don’t need to explain God nor defend Him.  Nor do I need to persuade anyone else to believe in Him.  I just know He is always there and more constant than any other being or non-being for that matter.  However, these books I read are about religion not about God, and there’s a whopping big difference between the two, unfortunately.  Man got in the way, man and his/her need to dominate and control.

The thing about reading over a wide area of subjects, is that my mind is hungry to learn more.  I simply find a book  or a book finds me and I dive in, as I used to as a little girl, immersing myself in a new adventure.  As this little girl, I was ticked off for reading too much.  It was considered an idleness.  I laugh now at such nonsense, but at the time, it stopped me being me.  I made myself conform, run in teams (loathsome) and join in games (even more loathsome) to appear ‘active’ and ‘un-idle’. It was never natural, never comfortable, never fun.  Even through marriage I could hurry to hide a book under a cushion and return to the stewpot if my mother-in-law arrived at the door.  It has taken me years to be openly honest about ‘me’ – even longer to brave reading Alice Miller.  Knowledge requires action and I know this well.  So, avoidance is good until it isn’t, until it needs, demands to be born, comes out screaming for milk and comfort and guidance.

Life is as it is.  It was as it was.  But I know now that painting a pretty picture of childhood doesn’t set me free, doesn’t deliver me at all.  It might look and sound good to the world, to say ‘it didn’t do me any harm’ but it did.   If we invested more time in such idleness as reading, we might just change the world.

Or just the life of one child.  That would be a grand start.