Saturday, 19 November 2011

Follow Me....

...come into the woods, 
for I'm afraid we are not ready to leave yet, no,
but give me your hand and we will take you with us and you will see why.

Into the cool green we go, the seeping damp, the air surprisingly warm on our skin. We follow the path, a slow meander, voices murmuring through the trees, quiet footsteps ahead, the rustle of leaves, the distant chirp and chatter of birds.

Hurry now, and hush, for there is One who must not hear us. Quick! Light feet and haste!

 Here we are now, look, everyone is here, I don't think we are last. There is a little work to be done, for we are here for a very special reason.

There is a birthday, here in the woods. A Very Significant 8th Birthday, and we have been invited along to celebrate.

There is a flurry of activity as little wood nymphs and rabbits dash and scamper and scuttle, pulling streamers out of the trees, balloons out of burrows.

A mad dash to prepare, arrange and assemble, for the Birthday Girl has not arrived yet. And she does not even know we are here!

So, as she is 'out for a walk' in the woods with her Nan, the bustle of activity continues, until all is ready, all is set.

And so we wait.

Until it is time to gather together the scattered dearlings, the wayward rabbits and knights, the Tweedledums and Tweedledees, and hustle them all out of the clearing, for a little bird has told us She is on her way!

And for a moment this little dell rings with excited shrieks and squeals and hoarse whispered shouts,

'She is coming!! Quick! Hide! Everyone hide!'

And then a giggling hush descends, and everyone takes their place, the excitement quivering in the air, a tremor in the leaves.

'Here she is!'

Oh the little face as she is surrounded by her family and friends as they spill out of the trees around her, the round eyes and astonished countenance, and we all cheer and clap and our voices echo up into the treetops above:

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Happy Birthday Dear Darling♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•♫ Happy Birthday to you!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•♫.........

And then the games begin in ernest, the cakes magically disappear, and the Birthday Girl, aka The White Queen, holds court and regales us with fantastical Tales of Great Adventures.

And the day draws in, the sunlight finds us and persuades us to stay, the forest echoes with the glad little voices. A joyful sound that will linger long after we are gone.

And happiness gathers.

Oh! Are you leaving? Must you?
No, we are staying, for just a while longer. 
The weather is mild and surprisingly dry for November, we have sandwiches and tea, and birthday cake to come. 

We love it here. We are not ready to go. 

Just yet.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Wander Off The Beaten Track.

Oh hello!
Did I fall asleep? Did I fall into some other place where the sun shines?
I may have, I am not sure.
It was, I think, a place where we spend our days a~wandering in the forest, kicking up leaves, traipsing through mud, the heady scent of loamy soil, of humus and decay filling the air around us,
seeping into our bones like some restorative tonic.

I must have closed my eyes for a moment. 

Sunlight glows behind my eyelids, a dappled green light, a quietening blush.

And there in the stillness, there, do you hear? 

The quivering trees, stirring the air as they nod and murmur,
whispering in your ear.

The muffled footfalls of small people running through the woods, voices calling to one another.

The rush of water over stone.

Which one is life's most satisfying sound?

Yes, I did, I crept away from it all, I stopped in the woods awhile and found this place that is quiet and still and does not require me to do anything, or be anything other than quiet and still. Time away from blogging and writing and being right out there in the online world. And I admit I am reluctant to leave this place, to return to all that I have created for myself in the world that exists through this magic looking glass that is my computer.

 I find I want to read books again, to walk in the woods and swim in the sea, to meet with friends and chat and ask them how they are. To watch a film and actually sit on a couch for a change! Oh! To sit by the fire and sew again, to read and hang out. Does anyone else feel like this?

It's time to pause, no, to stop.

I am not going away, not yet, no.
But there is a lot I need to think about and plan and do.

Other things.

It won't be long.

I'm just going to close my eyes for a minute, the sun is lovely......

Friday, 14 October 2011

Through My Window, On An Afternoon Of Unexpected Idleness.

"The mountains simply exist, as I do. The mountains exist simply, as I do not."
~ Peter Matthiessen.

From all directions, the distant mountains bathe their crowns in milky pools,
and the sky draws down a slow veil,
the earlier rain,
like the lightest canopy
shook out in slow motion, reluctant to return down to us,
a curious drift that settles unhurriedly.

It takes the whole day.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Of Bungled Plans, And Some Birthdays.

Three days past now, Milkmoon turned four. And I missed it! Oh my..... 
I did remember last week, and there were plans for a make-over and a giveaway, which I hasten to add will still go ahead, they will. But then my technical advisor was whisked away to Tokyo, at rather short notice, and I quietly folded my plans away into a shoebox and placed it on a sunlit shelf in my studio, to wait.

In my mother's kitchen,
she pauses to light the candles.

But just before he left, we had a birthday. Eight years ago our bonny babe no.3 was born here in our sitting room, all 11lbs (5kilos) of him, and such a ray of sunshine he has turned out to be. An all-singing, all-dancing, most agreeable cabaret of a lad, if ever there was one!

And so our week has been, as usual, a hectic one. A blustery, wind-swept, whiplash sort of a week that careened between autumnal gloomy rain-drenching days, and hot sirocco-like days, that found us mostly over-dressed, peeling off layers as we went, kicking off our shoes and longing for cool water on our toes.

There is a strange thing that happens when one tenacious season will not let go, isn't there? An odd sort of waiting. We stand in the wings, costumes in hand, just waiting for our cue to don them, but each time we do, we must remove them in haste as we are overcome, yet again....*sigh*
Let autumn begin proper, please, I say, as I eye my favourite tweedy skirt, woolen scarves and ankle length coat, and hats! Oh yes, hats, please!

But for now we will bide our time, scuffing our toes in the last of the warmth before the sun begins to thin, and we have to scramble and savour any heat we can find.
Although I was better, I am hobbling again, and so trying to slow things down a little, (yes, I did say 'slow things down', though when I say those words, I do hear manic laughter echoing somewhere in the background...)  and I have plans to actually get into my studio this week and get stuck into an exciting project I have in mind.

Ah, yes, the studio. Did I mention it before? I think possibly not. I may do a little feature to show you around, and you can peek into some shoeboxes and tins and see what we can find. I am still unpacking hence the shoeboxes etc but do stop by later this week to see where we are, and pop in for a cup of tea when I am settled in.

But in the meantime.

I'll be right here, fixing myself up and finding new homes for everything, unpacking and unwrapping and setting things to rights.

And waiting for the technical advisor to make his way home again.....

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Where Ghosts Wander In The Trees.

For days now the rain clung to the mountains, a distant threat, a pale swathe that seemed to embrace them, draw them away from us. And each day we watched, waiting, but still they held.

And so we took ourselves off, running out into the afternoon sun, the day as muggy as high summer. We took ourselves up a winding, tree-lined road to a familiar place where ghosts sigh and murmur amidst the beech trees, and a happiness seems to linger.

There amongst the green the children ran and ran and ran, excitedly calling to one another, small hands busy finding treasure in the humus and leaves, their voices echoing off the trees, bouncing through the leaves.

And there in the virescent light a stillness found us, as though we sank into a verdurous pool of that magic that is leaf-sunlight, our thoughts straying to those lingering ghosts that dwell among these trees, and a silence fell over us for the briefest of times.

In the end the rain found it's way down the mountains, and today we awoke to a slow smothering of moisture that soaked and sank in to the earth, our clothes, our skin, filling the air with moisture, like a silvery haze. All day.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A Thousand Heartbeats.

Look! Look up! The Swallows! Oh!

Yes, this is how our very lovely weekend finished up. And what a magical end to a curious and surprising few days.
A weekend that found us as though in a lovely dance back through time, a gentle trip that took us beyond the normal, everyday, expected places we find ourselves. That brought us into a beautiful, abandoned house I have passed countless times and never before entered, now (but briefly) filled with art and people who's paths I have not crossed in years. An evocative mix of faces, of familiar poses, standing together, talking, in rooms of art, as though time had stood still.

And then, in no time we were winding our way through the darkness, on a lonely road up and down mountains for more miles than I guessed it would be, to an olde pub in a wild place, and dear faces that time and distance have stolen from our everyday life.
And there, once again, as though we had found a little door to peek through time, we gathered around us those dear ones who meant so much, who were our Everyday, and yet who's lives now exist like kites on very long twine, somewhere in another world, in the mist and clouds between us. Still I hold tight, unable to let go. And oh! the sweetness of those short hours, sitting across from one another at last, with so much, and sometimes, too much, to say.

And then today, a day when summer came back to fetch her hat, and we took ourselves out into the garden and welcomed some visitors who hold the weekend's title of the Very Much Oldest Friends of the whole few days. People from my earliest years of childhood, some of whom I would walk past on the street for lack of knowing, yet are still connected, thanks to our Mothers.
For our Mothers first met one another all those decades ago when we were the babies and toddlers of the group, and they the new, young mothers.

They still meet up, to this day!

So, we gathered.
And honestly, it really was a strange and poignant gathering, for this time I felt as though I was somehow in my own future, as though I suddenly roused and found I was no longer one of the children, but a mother, and I sat with these strangers, who I knew, somewhere in my bones, I knew. And our children ran around us, dashing through the sunlight, like memories behind my eyes.

And there across the table I watched my mother and her life-long friends, these five girlish Grandames, as they talked and laughed as only old friends do, and I thought of my own old friends, and I marvelled at the extraordinary power of friendship, and how time is rendered powerless by it.

And then, this evening, not long after everyone parted company, as the quiet descended around the house, we heard it, the sound of quivering feathers and calls to rally, the clear, sharp cries of a thousand swallows.
The air was filled. 
A thousand tiny heartbeats, the rush of feathers, calling, calling to one another. 
Getting ready to fly.