While together at the coast the other day, one of my friends gave me this tiny, beautiful piece of lapis lazuli – blue stone – as ‘an offering to the sea.’
Etymologically, by way of Arabic lāzaward, Persian lājevard and Medieval Latin lazulum, we have ‘sky’ or ‘heaven’ : the Spanish and Portuguese azul comes from the root lazulum – so this is ‘a blue stone of or from the sky,’ or ‘stone from heaven’ – which is a rather special gift to receive from a friend.
We all swam – freezing for a while, but there was huge laughter, too. Warming – even before we gathered around a little fire. And in a quiet moment some day I will indeed offer this beauty to the shining ocean in sunlight. But, for a space, this little reminder of the firmament of our loving connections will stay with and close to me – and I will whisper a stream of thanks in every happy remembering.
One of the many things I love most dearly about the 1999 Working Title film Notting Hill (and am perhaps a little jealous of) is the intense, intimate, often hilarious, and supportive friendship that exists between the film’s glorious group of friends – into the bosom of which the wonderful actor Anna Scott (played by the ever-fabulous Julia Roberts) is so wonderfully drawn. I’ve loved and watched the film so many times I’m almost word perfect, and could wax lyrical about the entire movie for a thousand years.
But my sole purpose tonight is to pause for a while to consider – and to invite you to consider – the way this group relates to and supports one another. This won’t take a bunch of long paragraphs. Rather, an invitation to sometime review the film yourself – and to observe, maybe even scribble a note or two, about the relationships therein – all of which have long warmed my heart.
Recent conversations with a number of friends about perceived need to find new ways, post-Covid-isolation, of relating to one another (beyond our ubiquitous phones, helpful as they are) has me wondering, too, about whether some of our old ways might helpfully be brought out of mothballs? The safe and easy intimacy, the common group-owned understanding, the mild self-deprecation, the empathy, belonging, compassion, the fancying, the generosity, the jointly heard and spoken reflection, the banter, the understatement, and yes, the peals of laughter … move me now sometimes to tears. Good tears. Good hopes for brighter tomorrows and lovelier communications – between and for all of us …
What an enormous privilege it was to be invited to capture some images of a vibrant and wonderfully ‘alive’ book launch for Julie Carter’s RunningThe Red Line on 21 April at The Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as a room full of inspiring and inspired, encouraged and encouraging, charismatic and articulate friends – gathering to celebrate something profoundly rich – and thereby ‘write in light’, creating living poetry in the electrified air.
Broadband users, please click on the image above for a photobook (pdf) which will download in around 30 seconds. Best viewed full screen.
Spring is always poignant because nothing stays. It must be caught and appreciated on the wing, for soon it will be gone
I had a lovely morning reminiscing with a friend from student days 40 years ago when we were, as he put it, ‘just boys really.’ How did anything happen forty years ago? Time passes in a flash – poetic reflection has spoken of it since poetry began, but the wonder of it (the awe of it – as in fear sometimes) never fails to surprise, no matter how many times we come back to the subject.
Wow – did we talk, and talk! It’s extraordinary how memories come flooding back – the big memories and little details too. And all the years in-between are touched upon. And there’s tacit acknowledgement that among the things we’ve learned in life is the importance of living in the present moment – taking the time to slow down enough, often enough, to be fully mindful of the grace, the deep and full richness of our lives in this world, in good and happy times, and in the inevitable doses of the bad and the sad.