Island Blog – Day Enough

Sometimes there are days when everything seems possible and then from nowhere and for no reason arrives one that seriously does not want to be with me at all. I could barely get it out of bed. I had to wheech off the duvet and sing loudly in its ear to get any reaction at all. It wasn’t me feeling this way, no indeed, for I was all bounce and twinkle as usual, but the day itself lay heavy and disinterested in itself even with the prospect of mashed avocado and poached eggs for candlelit breakfast. Needless to say, a sad mood inside a home is going to affect all within those walls and I gradually found myself feeling listless and lost. I didn’t want to sew, nor alter a frock, nor any of the other time-filling things I employ these widow days, like wood chopping or stacking, garage floor sweeping, bird feeding, hoovering the carpets or cleaning the windows. I can make even those mundane tasks into a party. T’is my gift. I can chat to my new electric blue stick hoover with headlights and a wonderful base note in the key of B. I find my melody to match her base and off we go like ballerinas, scooting round corners and sucking up the drift, minding the spiders of course. She knows not to go there and her headlights make it so much easier. I tell Henry, as I return Blu to her spot in the dark cupboard under the stairs, that had he headlights and were he to let go of control by holding back his power instead of showing off by lifting newly laid carpets from their nail tracks, and if he smelled as fresh as she does, he would have more exciting excursions around our home. Chopping wood is my stress release. I don’t imagine anyone’s head on the block but simply see the challenge of this big ass half tree before me as one I am more than able to accept and complete successfully. I have a wonderful axe, t’is true and she and I have had many adventures in our time together.

But thanks to the Grumpy Day, I feel I am blowing into the wind, fully expecting it to say “oops’ and to turn around. I whacked up the tunes, made coffee, told myself to lift, lift and lift but the lift was out of order and no amount of poking at the buttons shifted the damn thing. I was slumped and furious at my slumping. So weak, so not like me, so lazy, so ungrateful, so pathetic. Then I remembered something my African son posted on his (Y)our Happy Place Facebook page just yesterday. I don’t remember the exact words but the message was to allow rest and revival rather than dashing into this new year with impossible goals that often lead to failure and self-flagellation. Well, I hadn’t set any goals beyond getting beyond all the fallout from a decade of dementia care followed by death, a process everybody tells me, helpfully, that can take years. But it was the ‘allowing’ thingy that stopped me beating myself up. I have never been good at allowing myself to ‘fail’ my high standards for self even as I am the best and warmest mother hug for anyone else who believes it for themselves. How riddickerluss is that.

The thing I do know about such days when nothing feels easy and all you can see out there is rain and mizzle and dark, is that they are not my fault. These days just come and there is only one way to get to the end of them and that’s to make them warm and welcome, knowing they are random and that everything about their gloom and slump is their stuff, not yours. I watched a movie, sat by the fire, watched the neighbour’s beautiful cat pad around my bird feeders and allowed myself many allowings Although I do feel a bit overwhelmed with all the positive thixotrons that invade social media, posted and re-posted, thus allowing people to say nothing from their own mouths, I do get it. Covid has locked us down too long and that hiding away has conflounced our equilibrium, upset our balance and challenged what we always understood as the pattern of our lives. We are all wide-eyed children now, wondering, peeking out, unsure and we don’t really know what to say next. When I say something next and out loud my dog barks. That is how silent life is when one goes and the other stays behind.

But, I digress. This day is almost gone. Actually it has because I made it some good sandwiches and a flask of tea and waved it off a few moments ago. It was a sad old thing for sure but I did dry off its jacket and boots and we did chat and I did make it very clear it is never welcome but that I will never turn it away and that made it smile. Which made me smile. And that was enough.

Island Blog – Bloomers, Sunlight, Lacklight, and Tatties

Walks for me are meditative and questioning. I cannot sit still for more than five minutes nor pay serious attention to the in and out of my breath without getting the giggles. My breath works just fine without me paying attention to it, as does my heart beat steadfastly on without me bothering it. In the wee small hours I felt about for my heartbeat once and all was silent. Well, I thought, that’s pretty cool. My heart isn’t beating and I’m still alive. I always knew I was different.

Back to meditative/questioning walks. As I wander I notice, stop, chat with or admire something I missed yesterday, or something that wasn’t even there yesterday such as a new bloomer peeking up through the grasses. I see the burst of emerald leaves on an alder or the delicate fingers of Lady Larch, HRH of the Woods, dancing in the warm breeze like the wings of bird flight. I watch blue sky through the branches, squares, diamonds, circles, striations, fingers and whole swathes above a treeless bit, an artistic dash of cloud splitting the sky and in a hurry, it seems, to get to somewhere else. I contemplate it all and then me and me have a conversation. Look, I say, this side of the tree is in full bloom and that one (I indicate the inside of the wood) is only just coming. Why is that? Well, this side has the full sunlight. That side is darkling buried, its allowance of sunlight controlled by A N Other, or maybe a few A N Others if the wood is densely wooden.

It thinks me. If a tree can be affected by the amount of light shed upon it, how much more a human? If I am to bloom, I need light. If I don’t get light, I don’t bloom. If I don’t get light for decades I am in danger of turning the colour of mole, even if I am naturally infused with positive attitude and born with a natural propensity for fun, beauty, joy, laughter and dancing. Eventually my need for light in the form of real love, kindness, to be cherished, complimented, accepted, understood, admired and listened to, will require fuel from A N Other. If the light I am receiving is in A N Other’s control, and if it flashed on and off at will, then I may begin to mole-up, or is it mole-down?

I think of those who have told me of such lacklight. In the workplace, in the home, in school, in neighbourhoods or in family relationships and I have done what we all do when we don’t stop and think. We encourage this person who is turning the colour of mole before our eyes to look on the bright side; to look at what they do have; to count their blessings, to go for long walks, cook, listen to music, sew something……. none of which helps one jot, because what this sad person needs is not advice, but light. And we can shine it upon them just by listening, understanding, caring and walking beside them. We cannot change their circumstances, but they can, and well they might once they start to feel like blooming again. We can be the fuel they need, the sunlight they crave, by doing absolutely nothing.

In the garden, in the woods there is fierce competition. It is no different amongst we humans. Everyone wants to grab as much light as possible, but there is room for us all even if some of us are late bloomers due to lack of light; late, that is, until someone saw us turning the colour of mole and moved their branches just enough that we could feel the warmth on our skin.

I decide it is time to put the tatties on to boil. It’s 4pm after all and Himself needs food early. Why do you need to put them on to boil? asks my other self. In order to feed a human. I reply, eyes rolling. Why do you need to feed a human? Because I am one. Ah……ok….better get the tatties on, then.