Island Blog – Runkled by the Mighty Hacker

Well we all do at times, feel runkled, creased, all runnels and sideyways, slanted and holey like a web created by a spider with seven legs and with gout in two of them. Wonkychops in fact. All the flies would just fly through.

That was me, or is it ‘I’? I would have to check with my Pa and he is busy in Heaven these past many years so maybe not, not if I want a quick response. I guess it’s a long old way and if St Peter has a problem with the Arrivals gate then what chance do whispered questions have? Being a mail deliverer up there must be a very full time job.

To be hacked in the way I was hacked, my emails, bank account, social media and so on felt personal. If I lived in a city or even on the mainland where everybody seems to know nobody, I suspect it might have been more alarming, but I don’t live in an alarming place, am not open to the threats, the real and realistic fears of those who do. No. I live in a wild and glorious place but this information means nothing whatsoever to a cyber criminal. Beyonding the immediate fear of this invisible enemy, I sit up straight and think like an intelligent woman. It is random, it is not random at all, but it is just a wake-up call to the me who has become a tad comfortable in her choice of connections. It doesn’t matter where I live, where anyone lives. The invisible enemy is watching, waiting, offering the chance to click on or to not click on at all. I have come to this place now, the notclickingon place. Not that I ever did, no. Even a link sent from a service provider turned my head to a No swing. But somehow this hacker managed to get into my Amazon account, to change my login details, ditto my email address and that is/was/is deeply scary.

However, I am not going to let this confound me for long, even if I did feel like the spider with seven legs plus gout for a few days. The hassle is one thing, a not-thing really because hassle is life and life is hassle but it felt personal and threatening. I thought ‘I don’t need this in my widow-ness, but who the heck does, widowness or no widowness? Nobody. The wind left my sails and I doldrummed but as any sailor knows, this is not a state to allow for long. Even without oars, I have arms and hands. Even without knowledge enough I can watch the sky, listen to the wind, soften my panic enough to allow a reconnection with nature, with all she is whispering to me. I can find a new way, a different way, a simpler way to move on. And so I have.

I am not on Facebook for now and the peace is gentle and ordinary and I know it, recognise it from my own olden days at Tapselteerie, where there was no television reception, no such thing as the interwonkyweb, no mobiles, no social media. Like many of us I have enjoyed what the aforesaid(s) have to offer but since the Mighty Hack my thinks are shifting. Instead of just going along with all of it, or some of it, I have pulled back to base, not the base that was but a new base, one created intelligently, consciously, mindfully. Instead of living my life vicariously, I am choosing empty space, for now. I watch my old fingers type this out and chuckle. I will not dash to Facebook to find likes or comments and please forgive me for this my loyal friends. It teaches me something, this not dashing thingy. Did I rate my own self on the number of Likes? Maybe I did. In a lonely life, it makes sense but not the right sense. Sense is a doing word, not a being one. A sense of self is a choice and that is what my sisters in feminism (which does NOT mean a hater of men btw) would have known and taught all the way back to inhibiting corsets with enough lacing to rein in a six of wild horses. I had floated away from sense, following the rule of Now, the overwhelm of social media that brought in a wry acceptance. It is as it is, and it is, it is, but that doesn’t mean I stop conscious thinking. Which I obviously had.

So, here I am. Bowed somewhat, straggled and rickety but rising in a new shape. And I am thankful the Mighty Hacker shook my foundations. I sincerely am. Because, in life, although such a Stop when we think we are chuntering along known tracks, through recognisable countryside, heading for an expected station is confounding, it is a very good thing to find ourselves alone in the dark and the rain in a place we don’t recognise on a moonless night and in a freezing wind. Only in this place of fear and doubt do we encounter Reality and his partner, Change. Only then. Nobody really wants either of them but that doesn’t stop them and they come when they come, when the syrup and honey of easy-know living has gotten into our bones. I now believe it’s a gift, a compliment if you like. It is almost as if the Mighty Hacker has clocked this sweet confection of a mindless life and has said Oh Hell No! This woman, man, is sinking, is circling in a doldrum, is accepting the 7 leg gout thing. No! Stir her up, him up. I have plans for them.

That’s what rises me. That’s what lifts me. And the Mighty Hacker has no power over me. Or you. And, for now and for a while, I will watch the wind temper the pines; I will hover over my wildflower garden like a mother bee; I will stand at the beginning of yet another path, walking slow, listening to the stories on the wind as she shifts and changes; I will listen and I will hear. But as I do, I will also accept the way it is as it is. And the runkles? Well, I have a sturdy iron, should I decide to employ it.

Island Blog – This Journey

I will agree that these lockdowns have given us time to reflect. It has also given us fear and a stuttering of easy movement. Any journey holds both. Even going to the local shop on a little island. Imaginary demons lurk on every door handle and in every breathy encounter. Even from behind a mask we are cautious of guffaws so we try not to be funny, even if being funny is our absolute thing. For those of us who love to cheer others no matter what, our vocal chords are compromised if not fettered, our lungs on hold. We turn our faces away from other faces we know so well, pushing out a gentle Good Morning with as little puff as we can, for we must not forget the responsibility we carry. Touching anything is risky. Touching each other, forbidden, even if touching is our absolute thing. It is stultifying at times and we must not give in to imaginary fears. We must keep journeying for we cannot hold back the days any more than we can hold back the virus. Both are invisible.

Other invisible things also keep coming, rolling beneath our feet like thunder. These things can confound. Not now, we say, Not Now! But they do come anyway, bringing birds into bellies, all a-flutter and a-twist. Some of us must go to another place, a hospital, perhaps, for a check up or an essential operation. We must ride the road, traverse the water, open doors, breathe in air that may or may not be healthy and fresh. I think of these folk, compromised, fearful. I hope they have good family support. I wish them the very best outcome and enough courage to push away the fear. These journeys, in ordinary times, were bad enough. Now it must feel like a walk into Dante’s Inferno. I know of some who are back home now and healing well, who have journeyed through the Inferno and are cool again and safe. This is how it can be and this is what to focus on, never mind the flutter and twist of belly birds. It is natural to be afraid at such times. We feel thus as we face the unknown.

My way is to look at the other side of things, the flip side, the arrival and not the departure. When a journey is inevitable, no matter how badly we might wish it away, there is a choice. Look at the fear and feed it, or don’t. Instead look at the smile on your face when it is all behind you, when this journey that looms is already a fading memory. Look at what you can learn as the journey flows beneath you. Notice and reflect and store these observations away for a future think. Precious are these observations, the shared chuckles, the muffle of masked conversation. Look out and up at Nature as she flies by the car window. See how the clouds part and conjoin, how the sun takes a quick peek at you, enough to dazzle. See how quiet are the roads, how the rain spits up from the car ahead, how crimson are the tail lights. Listen to the music coming from the speaker. In other words create a distraction, create many of them. What you allow into your mind is what your mind will develop. It is such a powerful lesson to learn. No matter the journey, no matter the timing, we have a chance to learn something we never imagined was there at all.

Island Blog – I and the Ghost

There is one in my system. A ghost. I know it is there, can feel it, smell it. Sometimes it is a catch of earthen mulch, autumny, wet and visual, sharp with the glint of long buried crystals, and stories. Other times it is lavender or lemon pressed close to my nose and causing me to pull back from the attack to my senses. It is never rose or bergamot or patchouli. Never. Visual. yes. But fleeting, so fleeting. I wonder if I am now too slow to turn my head, that, if I were still a young woman, I might turn faster and snap! Catch it. I wonder, too, if I my snap-catch might arrest it, for it and I seem to be strangely connected by an invisible line. It might pause for no reason other than this. But I cannot and it does not. It slips like mist through me, serving only to stop me for a second and to fill me with a sense of discomfort and perplexity.

I am curious. I am intrigued. Who or what is this ghost? Then I wonder more. Does this ghost have purpose? Does this ghost know who it is, if, indeed, it is a ‘who’ at all and not merely a what without purpose or function, identification or mission like a sudden rabbit bursting into my space as I wander along a track in the wild lands? What if it has blundered into me, by mistake and is now trapped somehow?

All these questions beseech answers I cannot give, but here is something I do believe. As a human, being the top predator, the top of the pecking order etcetera etcetera, and thus, that all things weird happen to me, this may not necessarily be the truth. Now this is, at first, confounding, ungrounding. It baffles me and I must explain it, for if I cannot then I am all at sea, so to speak. But what if it is just where I need to be? At sea, I mean. I have sailed enough dodgy oceans in ever dodgier seas to know that, at such times, when the balance of power shifts to an unfathomably powerful force, I find my place. I find my lack. I find my feet, my hands and my brain.

And here I am with the ghost, at a worldly human level, limited by what I was taught, what I learned, whom I trusted and who let me down; on my sibling dynamic, my understanding of how it should be and of how it should not; through religious curfews and constraints, through expectations and demands; through loss, anger and frustration. But the ghost will not explain itself, nor do I have the snap-catch to arrest it long enough for such a demand. I am the ‘I’ of the beholder and much good it does me. ‘I’ stands taller than a lower case ghost and yet has no supremacy over it. This fleeting misty invader holds it all with its ability to arrest and confound, to take a free flow morning into chaos, albeit momentarily, for the human ‘I’ will immediately rise into armour plating with his, or her, lance at the ready. But we are fools. The ghost can move through walls, through empires and lives and through history without a second thought or any thought at all.

So what is it? I decide to acknowledge what I already know and so what I say is this. The ghost that apprehends my normality (whatever that is) and challenges it, is a friend and, like a friend, it challenges me. Like a friend it leans in closer than anyone else. It is easy in my company. I need no armour plating. It tells me there is something as yet undone, unfinished, even unexplored and it will not leave, this laughing wraith, until I have addressed the issue. I might ask, what issue? But it will just laugh and wisp away, only to come again and again and again, because it knows that ‘I’ know exactly what needs to be addressed. My weak humanity is avoiding it and we both know it.

I am glad of the ghost in my system. It is my helpmeet at every turn, even if there is a great longing in me for no more turns. It stops me folding in, giving up, turning weak and feeble. It makes me strong and fiery, all punch and growl, all fight and roar. It also makes me impish and jocus, wild and circus with belief. It friends me in ways I would not, could not fathom; would never ever have invited in. Am I privileged in this ghost invasion? I doubt it.

I think we all know this ghost.

Island Blog – Flapping at Clouds

Yesterday was a day of long hours, the end game of a week during which I wasted much energy flapping at the clouds with a tea towel and expecting them to move on, metaphorically speaking. I don’t know why such times come, nor when they will, but I know everyone has days like these. I used to scrabble about for reasons why, most of which required me to beat myself into scars with a bendy switch. I don’t bother now. Now I am well aware that there are forces at large who are invisible, all knowing and with the big picture in mind, unlike me down here inside my little life. I let them play with my mood and my mind and just wait for them to go, which they always do in the end. But oh my, it’s uncomfortable. My body feels like I swallowed a hippo and my brain is a peat bog after heavy rains. I have to make myself do the ordinary tasks and cannot settle to anything creative. I stare out at nothing and wish the hours away. There is no reason for this; nothing has drastically changed; it is, as if, punishment is due for some heinous crime, one I have no recollection committing, or, worse, that I am sick. Long experience of this scoffs that nonsense away. It is just as it is.

I know these discomforts have come to learn me something; that I will, after the air settles back around me like a soft blanket, understand something that wasn’t on my radar before. It’s a shake up, a wake up, a take a look up thingy. Oft times it is easy to keep on going on without noticing the whole. Sometimes ‘noticing’ the whole, through the eyes of my own limited vision, is merely me circling through the same precepts, the same thoughts, opinions and ‘absolute truths’ until the goodly wise decide on action to stop me eating my own tail. I’m glad of it, once the discomfort has passed, because even if it takes me a while to learn the new learning, the new way to do an old thing, or, even, to relegate said old thing to the compost heap and to reach for a new thing, I am curious by nature and well aware that stuckness is death in life. Lack of motion and the refusal to allow new ways to infiltrate my old ways would kill me off inside a month. Maybe that’s just me. I know that some of my ancients were very happy to be stuck in old ways. We is all different and some more different than most. I know this too, but being stuck is not my nature, even if I can become so without any trouble at all. I always have my eyes on a better me. However, I cannot do this alone. How could I? I am the one who folds into little life without a second thought, scrabbling on through the tall grasses with the odd tea-towel flap at clouds, should they irritate me. I need those goodly spirits with vision, the high flyers, the ones who already know me better than I will ever know myself; who understand and who are kindly-meant. I need to lean into the storm in order to feel the vital force of it.

This morning I don’t need my tea-towel. This morning I know they have moved on. I can tell because my belly is not kicking up a storm and my heart is more Beethoven’s Pastorale, less Def Lepard. I also know that something will dawn on me soon enough and I will add that to my very long list of Aha’s, taking whatever I learn into myself so that I can inch a little further forward in this journey of life. I am certain all of us know these times. We are human, after all, grounded and unaware of so very much. Oh, we read the news, know the science, understand the proven truths, but we have no explanation for the Mystery. We can try. We can argue points, choose different names, fix on gods or God or no gods at all, but we cannot fully explain any of it. And there is something wonderful about that.

All I know is this. As I quest through this amazing life, grounded among the tall grasses of this beautiful and broken world, my mind is free to roam and, in being vulnerable, I know I am fully alive.