Sunday, 28 August 2011

We Wave Goodbye To Summer.

So, here we are, the last night of the summer holidays. Our Only Girl is starting secondary school tomorrow, and then over the next few days the boys will go back too, The Smallest starting 'Big School'!

Photo of me and two of The Small Boys by Líosa.
We have made sure we made the most of these last couple of weeks, taking off to this place  for a couple of nights with some friends.

And let's just say, it is a boy's paradise.

This is what they spent most of their time doing, so much so that when he was finally home in his own bed, two nights later, this almost 8yr old was heard wailing from his room, "I can't sleeeep. Every time I close my eyes all I can see is fish swimming in seaweed..."

They had the time of their lives. And even though it was only two nights, it was apparently the most amazing holiday ever, bless them!

There was also a bit of this....

...and lots of swimming, and even the teenagers had 'the best time!' 

And of course....


•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•

And then, to finish the holidays off nicely, this weekend was spent catching up with old friends.

A most lovely farewell to a most lovely summer.

I do hope you all had a good one, and as the seasons roll around,  and as the evenings begin to draw in around us, I wish you all bright, bright blessings!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Where My Heart Lies.

Lately, as though standing still amidst a cascade, a tumult of warm rushing days, like bright ribbons that flutter and flick around us bringing outings and jaunts of the loveliest kinds, rekindling of friendships, forging new ones, I find my moments to pause, to take a breather, and literally breathe, watching the beautiful, colourful maelstrom of days that tumble on around us.

In amongst our days we have found ourselves weaving our way back and forth, up and down the coast, up and down this dear stretch of earth we are blessed to live in, south to wondrous beaches that are out of this world, north for an hour to our favourite city, and there, in between, nestled in a harbour, our home town.

And although we have not lived there for 15 years, this place has our hearts still, and I forget just how deeply rooted it is, and spending time there, more than fleeting visits to grandparents, has the effect of something like a burr that clings to us, burrows into our skin, finds our blood and floods our senses, and even as I write this I feel it, a flutter in my stomach. A memory.

Photo by My Only Girl.

So we climb our hill and lie in the sun, gaze out over the bay, and it is like an imprint somewhere deep inside me that possess me from the inside out, stirs up an unfathomable longing that cannot be shaken for days.

And yet....

....then we return home, to this little house just a few miles down the coast, where the sea booms down the chimneys, and jackdaws roost, the wind moans through the walls and whispers of ships and whales, where the reeds sweep and toss, cluster round us like old friends, murmuring words in our ears like 'comfort' and 'snug'.

And as the evening gathers, and the light slides along these walls of ours, I sink into the quiet that creeps out from the shadows as the children dash into the garden for the last bit of sunshine, I sit and listen to their voices, the laughter, that floats in the open window like little boats on the sounds of the sea, and a breeze stirs the curtain.

And as night finally settles in, I contemplate how it is possible to love two places equally, and that if I did leave here and go back, I would be no better off, for I would still love two places equally and it would simply be a mirror of now.

Photo by Líosa.

So we will quietly carry on loving two places, and watch the sun set over the mountains, the same mountains of home, and yes, actually, in the greater map of the world, they are, after all, one and the same.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Take My Hand, Come Walk With Me.

There is somewhere I'd like to show you. 
It's not far, though we do have to walk the last bit from the road.
But happy feet trip lightly when there is somewhere irresistible in sight.

Down through the verdant trees, where sunlight creeps to find us.

Oh, wait! A quick little swing on the way,
that thrill of the world spinning away, 
the trusting certainty of coming back safely to earth.

Then on we go.
Here, many seasons ago the winter tides showed no mercy, 
sweeping away the board walk one too many times,
so now, we find our own way.

Almost there!

Now, kick off your shoes, there, do you feel it?
Warm sand between your toes. Is there anything nicer?

I know the sun is playing hide and seek today, but it's balmy and warm,
and look, we have the beach to ourselves.... 

...well, almost.
We are all slightly envious of these happy campers!
It looks as though they've been here a while.

And oh, how the sea sparkles, teases, tantalizes us,
inviting us in.

And so, we while away the hours. 
Friends come and go, and mothers sit and chat, 
children dig and run and splash and play.

And as the shadows grow long, and we begin to gather our things,
someone must be buried before we leave, of course!

Then one final dip before we set our feet on the path again,
heading towards home.

And as we turn the car for home, we follow the winding road north along the coast,
through picturesque towns and villages, for a mere half hour, until we reach home.
And all the way there is a comforting, tired silence in the car, nodding little heads, 
eyes lost in their gaze out the window, dreaming of white foam and billowing clouds,
and chips for tea.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Silence Between The Notes.

"Wolfgang Mozart, one of the most brilliant, prolific composers of all time, said that music exists “not in the notes,” but rather, “in the silence between them.” Without the off-beats—the silent, restful moments—we would hear no sound."

Tonight my heart is full.

You know the way sometimes there is a slow accumulation of tiny things, small moments of awareness that drop into a pool in your unconscious over a period of time, until either the pool overflows and begins to seep into your conscious mind, or maybe they become a softly glowing thread that you gradually become aware of, there when you look up, like a beautiful bright web of light all around you?
For days now I have had a feeling as though I walk around trailing a string of bright balloons above me that I somehow cannot grasp, that still bob behind me every time I turn to try and see them.
I could not pin down what exactly it was that was settling inside me, what it was I wanted to write about.

Last night I sat in the growing dark, saw the sun sink behind the steadfast mountains, the scent of incense drifted in from another part of the house. Jay is meditating. A soothing silence settles around the house. A distinctive quiet that allows soft voices to surface out of the whirl that has been my week.

And so, it begins to come together. As I sit, I become aware of my aching limbs, tired after the morning's challenging yoga class, and coupled as it is with words from one of my daily reads  (that I quoted at the beginning here) that has stayed with me all day, I understand.

I think what has found me is the beginnings of Mindfulness. An old and long-forgotten friend.

It definitely has to do with my now twice weekly yoga, (and whatever I can manage in between), and what this has brought me aside from the obvious physical.
A reaching out, for similar minds, for a plain on which to rest, to replenish myself, for people and places that fortify and sustain me in my daily rush, that refrain from negativity.
It is in what I seek out to read, whether books or blogs or online articles or what pages I choose to follow on facebook and in doing so choosing what is there each day on my wall.
It is in the books that Jay is reading, that lie on bedside table and on couches.
It is in the conversations we are having, the conversations I am having with others. That moment in an exchange with someone when a link is made and a spark happens and even if you don't know it immediately, that moment of warmth, of reassurance is there between you.

Yesterday evening I read this article that somehow crystallized it for me. I see now that, certainly not every time, but increasingly so, as I go through my day my awareness of each thing I do, the way each person interacts with me and I with them, whether my child, a friend or a stranger, is somehow slowed down, so I see each each exchange, each action with Presence Of Mind. And isn't that Mindfulness? And like muscle memory in yoga, there is a memory in my mind that this sits neatly and comfortably into. I have done this before. It's good to see you, my old friend.

I am not fully clear, fully aware, and may never achieve this, but the opening lines of the above linked article just about sums it up: "I can't tell you exactly when it occurred. My shift, I mean. My transition from being someone who does yoga to being someone who believes yoga, imbibes yoga, embodies yoga."

And this belief, for me, also applies to Mindfulness. I believe Mindfulness. I believe it to be something more positively powerful than we can imagine.

 "It’s now—as we interact with our children, as we smile at a stranger, as we choose to forgive—that our practice radiates and resonates."  

As we interact with our children. As we smile at a stranger. As we choose to forgive.

As we choose.