Wednesday, 30 June 2010

And Then The Night Threw Down It's Winter Cloak.

Musings of a party hostess after the fact.

All week my weather app was never far from my hand.
Showers, sun/cloud, showers. Such a threat hanging over us after last weeks perfect Saturday!
But somehow we managed to hide away from those portentous clouds and the day was perfect.

I wondered as I wandered,
at how thirteen years of celebrating Midsummer with our friends has seen a generation of children grow up before our very eyes.
Children who, only yesterday it seems, were freckled, gap-toothed scallywags with muddy knees and bruised foreheads, swinging out of the trees and running through the grass on some important mission. A gaggle of earnest explorers, commandeering one tent or another for late night rumpus or shadow plays on the wall.
And now they arrive, towering above me, nodding and smiling, standing and chatting with the adults, adults themselves I am amazed to find! And I turn a slow twirl in my garden, my grateful heart beating in my chest as my eyes find the latest gaggle racing away on piggy-backs into the gathering gloom, swords waving as they disappear shrieking into the meadow.

Each year has seen the return of old friends, and each year the arrival of some new. An opportunity to catch up, to reacquaint, and sometimes to discover new connections or rekindle old ones.

The setting sun graciously gave us a spectacular show as we gathered in the cooling air. We had the most generously splendid banquet-like spread in my kitchen, each family bringing the most beautiful food and cakes and such to share.

And this year there is a new flock of fledglings testing their wings, thrusting their way out of their smaller skins as the fearsom Teen-somness creeps in amongst them. And they prowl and preen throughout the night, their voices too loud, bodies wayward and clumsy. And oh how they make my heart squeeze!

And there was a fire.

There is something about a fire. Something is stirred deep inside as we sit around the fire together, passing the short hours of the night until the sky leans towards morning, the barest glimmer of light blooming low over the sea as the full moon slides behind the trees and up into the intense blue that heralds the arrival of the dawn.

Something that nourishes and reaffirms like a warm hand on your shoulder, that gentle squeeze, the friendly nod.

And even though part of my heart was pierced so painfully with memories of the one who always loved this night, and who will never sit around that fire with us again, his presence and his absence more real than ever, I sat and was grateful, for these people who in all their human ways are part of the fabric that is this life of mine.

And as we set off a fire lantern in his memory into the deepening sky, I said a silent thank you. A silent, grateful, thankful prayer. For all that we have been blessed with.

And the sun rose. And morning came.


Friday, 25 June 2010

Reverie In Times Of Happy Chaos.

While I find it hard
to pin down my thoughts
this time of year

A sense of urgency now as we race full tilt
towards the end of one thing and the beginning of another

And my seemingly endless hours spent
I find if I tip my head like this
ever so slightly
there I am
out there in the green
waving to myself as I fly by on my bike
standing high on the pedals

Out there in the green
wind rushing

Out there in the green...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Oh, Sun! Are You Still Here?

We've had a week of yet more sunshine, and it seems as though we may actually be having a proper summer here in Ireland this year. It happens every few years or so, and it's such a pleasantly unexpected surprise that I'm not sure we realise for quite some time...

So here's to a wonderful week of being outdoors,

of picnics and bonfires, and more to come.

Of hanging out with friends in beautiful places,

of some days doing nothing at all,

and some days of doing rather a lot.

And beach days. Let there be plenty of those.

Timeless ease that replenishes and rejuvenates as only the sea can.

And as the countdown has begun to our annual party that takes place next weekend, and my list of things-to-do-before-the-party does not seem to have grown any shorter, I do hope I manage to keep things at a pace that includes plenty of time to just chill out together.

And then it's only a few days until school ends for the summer.

We cannot wait...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Please Indulge Me A Moment Longer?

There will be real photos in the next post, I promise. But for now please indulge my latest penchant for such nostalgic images as these, as my devotion to all things Nostalgic is well known in these parts, and indulge I may. For another little while...

This littlest of mine, finally back on his feet after a whole week of poorliness, of broken nights, of coughing and fever. Always such relief, especially as I am always reminded of this time last year, something I would rather not do.
So between having a babe-in-arms again, and party preparations, it has been a quiet week here at Milkmoon the blog, which I hope to remedy this week.

Party celebrations I hear you ask? Yes! We've had another birthday here in the Milkmoon household. Our Only Girl is now twelve! A proper Tweenie, and her last year of it. And her birthday party was the most relaxing one I ever had the pleasure to host. All that was required of me was to provide food and cake for twenty (plus) children and they did the rest, including organising a Talent Contest which we had to judge. It was absolutely wonderful, the winner being an eight year old guest who got up and made up a song on the spot. A scurrilous tale that was hilarious and actually quite moving, and in the true bardic tradition named and shamed the rascal that broke his promise to her. As he sat there in the room. Marvelous. And yes, he saw the funny side!

So while they partied, we Mama's prattled, and enjoyed ourselves quite as much as the children did!

And with the earlier part of the week lovely and sunny, being home was a pleasure, and as we have our annual Solstice Party coming up, as well as some visitors from Paris in July, we've been snatching any spare moment we can to try and actually finish a number of housey things that have been on a very, very long finger indeed.

And I promise in the next few weeks I will have some long-overdue house pictures to share. Almost a year late, I know, but gradually becoming a real possibility.

And in the meantime, have a wonderful and beautiful week!

(I think I may just have to make this Nostalgia post thing a regular here...)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Those Precious Fleeting Moments.

"...plead the fleeting moment to remain..."

A dear friend sent me this lovely quote this morning. A quote about photographers and why they do it. And it made me think about my own love of taking pictures and why us humans seem to need to do this. Is it just a desire to record? To make our mark? Or is it something more poetic? A desire to capture beauty as it passes so fleetingly through our lives?

A few years back one of my brothers came back from a summer in San Francisco with a small stack of photos he bought at a market. Photos of unknown people. Photos that had been rescued from unclaimed lock-ups or storage units. He said there were thousands of them and they just selected a handful, but he regretted not getting more. I cannot tell you how strangely moving it was to look through this collection of photos, to gaze upon the faces of these unknown strangers. Anniversary parties, family holidays, friends hanging out, all blithely unaware of where their image would end up, and where have they ended up, I wonder?

And it is moving, truly. And again I was reminded of this as I read Sophie's latest sweet entry on her Missed Connections blog, because each person has a story, one we'll never know in the case of those photos, and I do find myself marveling once again at the wonder that is us humans. Those stories mean something to someone, somewhere, and oh how the mind can take off on a figary and with all sorts of  imaginings.

I remember so clearly how starting this blog coincided with getting my first digital camera, and suddenly I was seeing the world differently. It was as though I was seeing through the lens, and the smallest things were, in a blink, being mentally framed and considered. And I was truly seeing the details that I felt I had been missing before. It made me pause, and look. Really look. And suddenly the days were no longer whirling by in a blur of rushed necessities.

And I have relished it ever since.

And although I have forgotten most of the small bit of photography I studied in college, and I do sometimes think I'd love to know what I'm doing when I take pictures and maybe I should go back and study it, I also love this digital age that allows people like me to take pictures and feel happy with the result! (And also to indulge in a fit of polaroid nostalgia like these photos here, even if I don't even own one!) I love seeing friends photo albums on facebook or flickr, photos that look amazing and beautiful and yes, often moving. And all just ordinary people recording ordinary lives. But recording the extraordinary beauty that we all live with every day and sometimes never see.

I have said before, beauty is something to be treasured and encouraged, and if taking pictures allows us to focus on it, then may we all be trigger happy for the rest of our days! Imagine a world where everyone looked through their lens and saw only the beauty?

What a lesson we can teach our children...