Island Blog – Candy Floss Tastes like Clouds.

It seems like yesterday I foraged for wild garlic in the Fairy Woods. Now I couldn’t get there if I tried, not with the bracken man high and laden with ticks. But I did go before the bracken woke up and the woodland floor was a carpet of gentle white flowers and strong green leaves. Now, the big jar of pesto in my fridge is almost empty for another year. It thinks me of how quickly Time and her inhabitants pass. When children grow they do so whilst, it seems to me, we are not watching. From a little girl or boy to a strapping, strongly independent individual in moments. The catch of their sweet and awkward 5 year old selves to this girl who decides what she wears of a Tuesday school morning and it is SO NOT THAT! From the boy who played with toy boats in a puddle to a the lad who can ride his bike no-hands and way too fast. Gone times. But I saw them, I watched them, I noticed and there’s the key, right there in my hand, and yours. Those of us who remember no television, no social media, no media in fact, no streaming, no downloading and a finger dial telephone knew of a different world, a very different time. We can smile at our memories, laugh at the puzzlement on the faces of our grandchildren or we can hanker for the old. Don’t do that. It’s boring.

Today, on Father’s Day I celebrate my sons and my son-in-law. There is no big daddy here now and even though such a day meant little to Himself and for many years, I remember. I remember him at Tapselteerie, strong and with no thought of any sort of demise and I smile at my rememberings. I was there, oh lucky me, I was there. I saw. Adventures, meltdowns, angst and hilarity, all of it and more. What a privilege to be able to remember and to have been there because I know our shared life was way more bonkers than many others. We were wild, spontaneous and sometimes reckless but we really really lived. I don’t ever remember feeling bored. There just wasn’t time.

This afternoon I walked my grandgirls and the Poppy dog down to the shore in a rare burst of warm sunshine. We skipped in and out of the water, played word games, watched duck fly in, a heron land, oystercatchers twirtle overhead, a sea-eagle surf the sky. Conversation can fly too and I sat on a rock listening to the sisterly interaction. I began. I go to the shop and in my basket I put……..Oh, I know this game, they cried. Good I said. Play. Ok, I’m first! No, I’m first. No, you’re always first. What is so important about being first, I said from my rock seat, genuinely interested because I get it but never questioned it till now. They both rolled their eyes, unified once more. Gaga! they said. First is best. Ok……well I will go third. Why? they asked, mystified. Well, because that way I can hear all your mistakes and learn. Long pause. You go first Gaga. Ha! So I put sausages in my basket and the next one put in a Rainbow Dragon with a Big Heart. The Redhead’s turn. She went through the list and added Candy Floss. Of course, says Big Sister, you always choose candy floss or other boring things! Quick as a flash the Redhead is back. Candy Floss, she announces importantly is not boring. Besides, it tastes like clouds.

And that was that.

Island Blog – Disappointment Reversed

Suddenly there is change, a huge change, a life change. Some say, mournfully, that Christmas is cancelled but that is a load of tosh. Who can cancel an inevitability, after all? The day will come whether we mourn or celebrate. I have questions here. Are we still breathing? Did we wake up this morning, heavy with disappointment or did we wake, our minds buzzing with ideas for what we can do, whom we can celebrate? Perhaps a bit of both, in truth, but which thinking will win? If we grieve for what cannot be, for the ones we cannot be with, either because of the new ruling or because they are buried six feet down, we make a big mistake, for Christmas will not come again until another year has passed beneath our feet. The benefits of wasting time are nil. We have no time to waste, people, and no right to do it. If we have time, this time, any time, we are custodians of that time, as many have no such luxury. There are sick people, lonely people, abused people, dead people. If we do not find ourselves in any of those categories, we are indeed blest.

I imagine there will a lot of food left over this year. A big turkey or goose or nut roast that sits uneaten and un-shared; treats and gifts still with us, ones we now need to post and ones that will not arrive in time; little faces who won’t see grandparents, aunts and uncles; games that won’t be played; quieter homes. Next year we will talk about this time. Some will say it was the worst year ever, that Christmas was a disaster. Others, those who don’t waste time moaning about what cannot be, will say how thankful they are to have made the best of both the year and the strangely empty Christmas. I know which I will choose. Confusion has surrounded us since March. March! It is the longest time, yet not long enough to confound us, not as it might have done in times of endless war. We have no idea how fortunate we are. This past year is not the worst ever. It is just a year within which a lot happened. Just one year. And during this year, what do we remember of the good and great things that happened? The random acts of kindness, the surprising messages of support and encouragement, the way we learned to zoom or hug virtually, the phone chats, the waves and smiles of passers by, the food left on a doorstep, all happened because of this so called terrible year. Surely such gifts are worth remembering.

If we are fortunate enough to still be here, to be able to eat well, to be free to choose our attitude before the inevitable, then we can still celebrate Christmas, life and those we love. We just need to think, and right now, how we will do that. We have 4 days of 24 hours left to re-design our plans and our attitude. Learning how to be adaptable and versatile is a by product of ‘tough’ times. In easy times, there is little need to employ either. Why would we? When what we expect comes without troubling us much, we just float along like sticks in a river. But when the floods come and the water swirls and twists and lips over the banks, we can get stuck in eddies or stranded on rocks, wet and going nowhere. In our minds there is tremendous power. By choosing not to lie, wet and going nowhere, we can change everybody’s anything. If one person decides to shine their light into a roomful of darkness, then everyone can see. The light may not illuminate all expectations, but it will, once eyes grow accustomed to the brave flicker, allow others to find their own light and before you know, the room becomes quite magical.

And disappointment is reversed, in one single decision to celebrate this wonderful time.