Island Blog – More than, less than

I am all about words, concepts and life choices that augment. In these times of so called lack, even if our gone generations are currently sniggering, we all need to believe in growth, personally. Mostly personally. Spring will come. Sun will shine. Streets will clear and flights will fly. But we, we, must look to ourselves as we have never done before; not in our lifetime #gonegenerationsnigger. There is much talk about connecting with nature, from me too but it thinks me of those who have no nature in their immediate grasp. Where do they look? Surrounded by concrete and gang troubles, where do they look? I cannot answer that but the thought of them arrests me. From the position of privilege, aka warmth, safety, food, money enough, I am a veritable baby in this world. Although I have seen poverty close up I have never lived it.

From my place of privilege, I can write, walk in safety, talk to the trees and many other things that, I imagine, would swingbat a head bash from one who sees me as a princess; as I must be, to them. So many layers of life, so many and most of us who whine about dog poo along our verges or the lack of produce in our local Co-op are only highlighting our ignorance as we whine. Our problems are so First World.

Nonetheless, all of us within our very different layers must needs find ways to grow from the pandemic. I write ‘grow from’ because we are all affected by its many-layered tails, the loss of confidence, the fear, the anger, the isolation. All of us, privileged or not. We are all pandemic babies, no matter our age. All of us. And, as babies we can augment, we can grow and we can outmanoeuvre ‘going back’. I never got that. Nobody ever goes back, not to work, not to school. We move forward, always, with what we have encountered, learned, understood and refused in the interim. We can decide to walk a different way, choose a different direction, make good the old gaps in our relationships. We can augment, be more than.

This day the rain slew sideways. It skimmed across the tidal loch, the sky, obliterating the far shore. It smoked away the trees, big pines, altercating their place in the skyline and yet not causing a riot. I noticed that. Such an altercation in a pub might have led to a punch up, but not in nature. There is allowance. An augmentation, a rise, a raise. I watched the rain turn into rivulets, trickling through thicks of coppered beech leaves, spinning off the track and down down to a burn, already bubbling and singing its way back to the sea. I stopped beside a stand of hazels, noticed their reaching out boughs, the gnarls, the reaches and I wondered. What stopped you there? What gave you the shine to reach out there? I will never know the answer but I/we loved the asking moment. Beneath the pines I enjoyed a pelting of raindrops. It laughed me, and, I believe, them. I stood beside stand water, noticing the sticks fallen and longtime floating, how ebony they are, how slick black and how well they catch the light even in death. I encouraged a Silver Birch, rooted in the water. Go well, Girl. You have a lot to work through, not least a 12 inch puddle of endless rain. I saw how raindrops create ripples, how they augment the stand water, not just visibly but with sound, with a beat. I waited until I connected, stamped my sodden boots to the rhythm. Laughing my way home, I came into warmth, safety, home.

Not everyone can say that.

Island Blog – Other Days and Puddles

I know I always sound positive, but I don’t always ‘feel’ this. I make the decision to be hit with shit and then to choose my next action. If someone, anyone, asks me how I am, I say… ….I. Am. Good. I don’t know why I say Good, considering my ma’s response, should she hear me reflect and deflect the question this way. She said…..You Were Never Good. And she was right. I wisnae.

But, it was dinted into me, the upbeat return. And I am glad of that core training. However, it is often not the truth when I am in the thick of being yelled at for the pitch/sound/volume of my voice. My. Voice. When a tiny carolling granddaughter hurtles into the sacred space where all is kept calm, headphones on, next Netflix film running. Where the fire is just right, logs (hauled by me) are plentiful and the tea urn is groaning and wheezing in the next room ready for the endless spout of Tetley. I spin (quietly) from task to task, making not much fuss about the electric wheelchair parked in such a way that to deliver another load of logs would require an athletic leap without spillage. When the fret about which way the headphones fit (having gently guided and explained at least ten times) I may turn and ignore, or respond with a snap and a raised voice, repeating what I said the last time and the time before that and that. I want to twist those headphones into a hair band. But I don’t. When the signing in of yet another new phone is called for just as I have sat myself down to an audible book and my tapestry and I just cannot be youknowwhat to respond kindly/ly.

It must be awful beyond awfulness to be inhibited in the way himself is inhibited. All those things he did without even turning a hair for decades are now a massive frustration. It must be, well, appalling. I cannot imagine it. However, living with such a demise challenges my own sense of self, my values, my modus operandi. And that, too, is a good thing, but all this challenging, all this rethinking of how I must respond, of who I am in this thixotropic gloop is exhausting.

I am exhaustinged. But there are breaks afoot. I leave for a snow holiday in France with one of my lads and his family on Friday. I know I will love it and will hopefully return intact. They all ski but I am a buffoon around snow and hills. I will be staring at the sky, noticing the individual snow flakes, skidding down the path to the cafe, reading, resting, reviving.

I write this in honour and with a salut to any of you who fight daily with what is right versus how you feel. It is an upward battle for sure. The way I mostly cope is involving myself in Nature and even that is a challenge here with weeks and weeks of endless blattering rain. But, today, I walked out with my fireheaded granddaughter and we jumped in every single puddle. But, and here’s the thing, only once we had bent down to check our reflections in every single one. There must have been 50, easy, on a short half mile toddle. Every puddle was recognised and affirmed. Less without our bent heads, whole once we were in there, reflected. It thinked me.

I come home with this. Everyone should come back home with something like this.