I often overhear passers-by the front of my cottage asking ‘I wonder what it’s called?’ Tonight, towards the end of the season, a single mildly scented rose called ‘Compassion’ (link) brings attention-grabbing colour to the front of the house and sometimes slows the pace a little as it beckons people nearer …
I wasn’t especially conscious of being in need of a bit of therapy when I placed my order for Dr Katie Cooper’s lovely volume Plant Therapy (link). Turns out it’s exactly what I needed this evening.
I’ve had one of those days that don’t really get going properly, and conversation with friends told me that several of us have been in the same – slightly under the weather – boat. Generally fairly sanguine, thinking about the suffering C-19 is causing in every direction has been gnawing at me more than usual. Sometimes lake, ocean and river put me to rights, at others my garden, a walk or an afternoon nap are the answer.
Tonight it’s having this book open in my lap that’s encouraging meditation, gratitude and fellow feeling with others – many suffering C-19 much more than my slightly grizzled mood is. Truth to tell, just having this beautiful book in the house has a great positive effect! A delight …
Chillier evenings as Autumn draws on were made, I think, for fireside and books. And rather wonderfully, after a sunshiny day, it’s a chilly evening! …
what is it in lake
ocean or river that brings
us to a standstill?
By ‘eck it were blowin’ on the fabulous long beach at St Anne’s today. My face is glowing and my lungs are full to the brim with good clean Lancashire air. In the first photo here I tried to capture the whoosh and movement involved in the wind’s blowing, drying and pushing hard across the surface of the beach. Broken shells acted as little sand dams and looking at them from above we imagined we were seeing something similar to a newly rediscovered ancient civilisation – an entire buried city brought to life before our eyes by a stiff Lancashire wind. In the second, the mackerel sky suggested rain for tomorrow. Whipped and chilled by the wind today, it was wonderfully sunny!
A poet is a person who “lets drop a line that gets remembered in the morning”
E B White
And that’s what we all want – a being re-membered, re-clothed, re-plenished, re-sourced, re-born and re-cognised in the morning, and every morning … and as we grow we come to recognise with a deep cognisance that it’s absolutely OK to “drop the line” at evening, because we’re wholly confident – here and in all the vast and tiny uni-verse of our eternities – that there will be a remembering in the morning …
Art and remembering echo come to us in so many rich forms. I came across a photo of Aksana Nairanouskaya earlier today and remembered meeting her in Barcelona a few years ago. Her enthusiasm and joy were infectious and, like the city itself, unforgettable. Interestingly though, I came to meet her by way of having first been moved to tears.
Ambling along on one of those balmy Barcelona days, the afternoon temperature just perfect for me, I suddenly felt myself welling up, ‘tears tripping,’ as they say, without immediately knowing why. And then I saw Aksana at her cimbalo, and recognised her playing – on that occasion – what is, to me, one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most haunting, loving, tender, teaching pieces of music on earth: the theme for Schindler’s List. That’s the power of music’s evocation – moved to tears before even properly registering what I was hearing. And ever thereafter still echoing …
Aaah. Beautiful, beautiful Barcelona! … fins la pròxima vegada ...
Some poets say they’ll go on strike
and damn it the interest rate
has gone to pot again and it
might rain and that will wreck your now
unaffordable hairdo and
your flimsy blue paper mask too –
what to do Prime Minister – tell
me will you what to bloody do?
This woman looked at oxalis
triangularis and picked
up her pencil and began to
draw – for she knows the score that with
breakfast news you can swallow it
and suffer or instead turn to
muse-create and think of a date
for rendez-vous and masked picnic
The news sponge looks grey – past knowing
what to do or say – while pencilled
oxalis triangulates on
paper and her interested
eyes lead the artist to surmise
that attention given to a
fragile leaf must change someone’s mood
For the better
David Whyte speaks of ‘the intimacy of your surroundings’ in his ‘Everything is Waiting for You’ – and thereby changed the way I look at life and our world; at a robin, morning mist hung low over the Pennine Ridge at sunrise, a blade of grass, a waxy leaf, the smile of a food hall cashier, the warmth contained in a person’s expressed hopes, spent energy, graced art, delights, desires, grief or pain.
I celebrate the intimacy of my surroundings at home, in the volumes on my library shelves, in growing compost, in oceans, and the great bodies of water in English Lakeland, in who and what I am, in memories, supper, and plans for tomorrow. And I am not alone …
There’s a distinct nip in the air this morning and condensation is blurring the view from the windows here. Everyone I’ve seen has been bright and cheerful – the (very real) concerns of C-19 life in the UK giving way to blue skies, crisp air, freshness and – well – whatever it is that makes us leap up and out and about with enthusiasm on a day like today.
William Stafford reflected in an autumn-sort-of-a-way in his ‘Vocation‘ (link)
Now both of my parents, the long line through the plain,
the meadowlarks, the sky, the world’s whole dream
remain, and I hear him say while I stand between the two,
helpless, both of them part of me:
“Your job is to find what the world is trying to be.”