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.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Finest Season.

There is a chilly~ness to the air these mornings, do you feel it? It's time to close the windows, take the door off the latch, usher the chill and the curious leaves out the door as we close it. After the school run I return to find cats snoozing in sunny corners,  and a stillness settles on the empty house, a stillness settles in me.

We have wandered into the outer skirts of Autumn, where the leaves still cling to the trees like bright banderole, little flags waving to us in their finest hour, and as we pass beneath them I am surprised to find somehow the routine of school has brought with it a familiar comfort.

One that includes being witness to that magic hour of dawn, of leaving the house before the sun has warmed the earth, the cool air like a whisper on my skin. One that includes condensed little parcels of productive time, so different from the carefree, whimsical summer-time, and considered meals that are a little more protracted in the making, providing a sense of sustenance and nourishment, and one that brings an actual bed~time for our brood of dearlings.

Scattered in amongst the sunlit days, we have had squally showers and a fetch of wild winds that howled for two days and a night causing many people to lose many things, including their nerve, their dignity, a small child on a bike (nearly), their gusto, and an imaginary toupee!

It was wild, but still we ventured out, and on one of the days we took to the hills after school, headed inland and up, wound our way through tree lined roads to a warm welcome in little house that nestles there, in amongst the green.

Will and Anita's woodshed. Preparing for winter.

And so, as small boys scattered, an echo of footsteps and excited voices, (emerging shortly to race into the garden as bears and knights and monsters), we mothers sat, hands wrapped around warm coffee cups, and talked up a storm, a long overdue catch~up kind of talk, the kind that covers many months and miles in a mere couple of hours.

The bounty of their garden.

We are submerging slowly now, into this, the finest of the seasons, it's bounty a cornucopia that swells around us by the day, urging us on towards the darkening of the year, the hedgerows and trees bowed down in sweet supplication, whispering to us, 'Jam! Jam! You need jam!'

And as I submerge, I soak it all up, as though storing in my bones for winter the finest of this season, the warmth and bounty and goodness, and I take it with me as I move through the cooling air and the first falling leaves, and all around me I hear murmurings of how you all love autumn best, and how you too are overcome by a growing desire to make and mend and settle in to the evenings that are drawing in around us.

Anita's handmade soap.
And although my plans for the end of the week were somewhat scuppered by my enthusiasm to do just about everything with my newfound long hours in the morning, and in doing so, I went and put my back out. So instead of getting any of the actual making that I had been planning, done, I have been killing time by playing with both Instagram (See the link in my sidebar on the right) and Pinterest, (Click the link to see!) with great enjoyment, I might add, but somehow just not quite so satisfying as bringing a vision in your head into 'real life'.

So here this showery Saturday finds me, in between hobbling around like a bent old Sean-bhean bhocht (poor old woman!), attempting to let go of my disappointment and just do what little I can. At least my favourite blue coat now has all it's buttons, and I may just finish my latest redwork.

And it is, after all, the weekend, and one, now, without any plans to do anything.

What are you doing this weekend? I hope it's something lovely!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Monday, 5 September 2011

One Of Those Days.

There is a sycamore lined road I take each morning, where, above the neat rows of houses the mountains shadow one another high in the distance, today one basking in sunlight while behind it's sister lay shrouded in rain.
This morning, I saw them, the first bright splashes of red that have begun to appear amongst the leaves as we passed between the trees, wending our way in a shiny metal snake of cars, curving between trees and mountains on our daily chug.
We are truly Back To School now, our days slowly finding their well trodden groove, settling back in with just the smallest of sighs. Yet my mind is still eager to wander, to search for bright places where it can, and so, distracted as I was today by an unexpected row with Our Eldest first thing this morning, I reached into the sunlight for something positive, so in need of some yoga. We spent the last few months traveling south down the coast to our summer yoga quarters, and having missed a couple of classes recently it was with joyful relief I made my way to our local place only to find I was a week early....

And so I took a little walk, and pondered the unexpected bruising of the heart that we Mother's endure, the thoughtless words a child may say in the heat of the moment that we must absorb and somehow find the right way to bring to a positive ending.

And when I left after a while I drove without thinking and found myself back by the sea. The reassuring, ever dependable sea.

And I walked.

And as I sat in the sun, regretting I had not brought my togs, so lovely was the sun and the sea, I took that quiet time alone to pause and breathe and ponder some more, and as I stood to leave I understood that although I may not know the answer yet, going home with a peaceful, open (if bruised) heart was enough, and the answer would be provided in the right time.

And so of course tonight, what did I find when I opened my computer but this most lovely, timely, heartening video of a Dharma talk given to children by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, that I now must share with whomever of you would like to watch it.

My heart is eased, my mind returned to my body.
And yes, the first thing he did, this errant boy of mine, upon arriving home, was apologise.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Gathering Season.

It must be Autumn creeping in around the doors, like a little field~mouse seeking warmth,  a cosy sun spot inside, out of the wind. Windows are no longer left open all day, the last of the summer's roses tapping at the glass, nodding their fading heads, sighing in sadness.

Now we find, before we venture out into the day, we rummage for socks, for errant shoes hiding way back among the dust and forgotten winter raiment, delve into drawers for something a little warmer to buffer the slight chill that sneaks up, kisses our skin.

Along the laneway the blackberries are promising to make up for our paltry tomato harvest,  the first fallen leaves follow us, swirl in lazy dust devils at our heels, and the wires are lined with fat little starlings arriving for the winter, the air thronging with swallows, terns, and birds of all kinds readying themselves for the coming journey. And some days guns crack and echo out in the marsh, startling the trees that shake themselves, sending reams of birds into the grey air.

This morning, facebook kindly reminded me of my status this day last year: "All day the house was filled with butterflies, wandering inquisitively in open windows and doors, their curious dance arresting our gaze. And now they sleep, lining the walls of the rooms with their dusty dreams. I love this time of year."  It made me realise, in contrast to last years garden, this year there seems to be a dearth of butterflies and sadly, moths too, though the season for them is still young enough, I hope.

And yes, it must be Autumn, for beside my bed is a gathering of another kind, an assemblage of books and magazines that are all about inspiration and making, for my fingers have begun to itch, to twitch and itch and long for thread, for wool and the deftness of needles and pins, the snip, snip of tiny scissors.

That longing that seems to migrate every Summer like a fickle bird, to leave me, to inexplicably leave all conscious parts of my brain that instead fill with picnics and sunshine and sand. And while I hope we do get our quota of September beach days, they will be beach days with cardigans pulled on, and were you to peep into my sewing tin when I get home, you may just see an outstanding collection of fine, golden sand amongst the haberdashery there.

And so, woven tightly in with my back-to-school lament that I will spare you with here, is one tiny shiny thread of solace. More time. For making, stitching, writing. (And I may yet finish this small piece in the continuing Redwork Tale)

And as the green sinks back down into the earth again, and everything outside my window falls into a restfulness, except perhaps the sea, I will be sweeping away the dust that found it's way in through the open Summer doors, shaking out the creases, and with a sigh I shall seat myself down and close my eyes and listen.

And as the tingle and twitch my fingertips grows, I will not turn when the door behind me gently creaks open for a moment, and Autumn, my muse, slips in on a chilly wind and sets down her bags.

Photos 1, 2, and 3 taken in Anna's Lovely Garden.