I watched the tide come in yesterday and as the beach disappeared I was reminded of the flow of it all. Within twelve hours the beach will re-appear and the cycle will repeat.
Earlier, on this post, I wrote a story to illustrate a philosophy that I believe. I have sat knitting tonight and sharing what I did was not sitting well with me, as it wasn’t my tale to tell. So, let me put it another way. I struggle with seasonal goodwill and festivities and have done for many years now. If I could hibernate till it was all over, I would. A friend feeling the same way reached out for support and we agreed that there must be many others feeling as we do.
‘There is no such thing as a normal family or a normal Christmas. We are force fed these images of perfection and they are not real. Christmas has been hijacked by commercial enterprise and we don’t need to buy into it. Life is messy. We are messy. Goodness knows it’s a mess in our heads, so mess is bound to follow when we interact with each other. Yay to the mess! Joy comes in moments.’
‘I feel our purpose in life is to learn how to love. We try and fail and try again. Create and destroy and create again. Learn and forget and learn again. We just need to show up every day and stay open-hearted.’
Our house is full of family and friends from Scotland visiting my landlady and when she was growing up her home was always full of music, as her Dad played the guitar and sang and her brothers have followed suit. Singing is the one thing that brings my landlady’s Mum back from her dementia to the present moment. Each morning someone has been playing the guitar and it was a different style from any that have flowed before and I’ve found my feet tapping as I worked. Yesterday evening I was wrapping up parcels in my workshop as they had a family gathering below. The old Scottish ballads floated on a pure voice and I paused to listen, as my eyes filled with tears.
He gifts joy with his voice and this morning I bumped into him downstairs and was able to tell him so. ❤
Over thirty years ago, far away in Johannesburg, I watched my sister in law carve a headboard for their home out of wood. She had been to a workshop and was hooked, admitting that it was addictive as she found herself staying up into the wee hours carving after her family had long gone to bed. This memory took root and became a dream.
Over the years I spotted classes and courses, and when life gifted a gap, I signed up only to have them cancelled because not enough people were interested. Various creatives have offered to teach me in exchange for paintings and other creativity and for a multitude of reasons, their promises disappeared on the wind.
A few years ago I met a lovely lady called Marie, who weaves basketry in a shared studio not far from here, called The Wellington Road Art Studios and we stayed in touch. I had an email from Marie recently and she invited me to join them for a workshop with her talented woodcarver friend Jo. I didn’t hesitate and on Saturday we all had a magic day.
Jo is a gifted carver and a natural teacher. The peace of the studios gave us a foundation to create and Jo’s gentle encouragement and knowledge soon had us absorbed. Nothing is a mistake to Jo and wood can be carved around anything to restore balance. ‘I’ve lost my stem’ I called out, as my chisel removed an important piece of the ivy I was practising on. ‘Nothing is a mistake, Jane’ Jo soothed as she showed me how to carve down and raise it up again. When you are carving all else falls away, even the constant mind chatter. Feeling neglected at one point my mind chirped up with something I had forgotten to do that day and I found myself saying ‘Shhhhhh, later’ as I went back to carving the undulations on my dragon’s wings.
A heartfelt thanks to Jo for her loving care, Marie for sharing her space, the kindred spirits I created with and the moments that birthed a long-awaited dream. It was a gift to do something for the sheer joy of it and I loved every second. ❤
A cruise ship left port the other evening against the backdrop of a dramatic sky. It was drizzling from a dark sky first thing this morning as a new ship came in and she had all her twinkly lights on. I was reluctant to disturb the moment and find my phone to capture the image.
There has been a sharp awareness lately of feelings and how they can steer the ship. A loving friend became concerned that I was alone a lot and asked why. I appreciate that she asked and didn’t immediately judge, or try to fix. I created the aloneness, as my engine room needed a thorough service and new oil. The peace from turning off distractions, saying ‘No’ and relishing the silence meant I could just be. Acknowledging what actions I was allowing, the choices I was making and where my parts were seizing.
Another loving friend asked when I had last had a paddle? Goodness, it had been a while, so I flowed that into my daily round a few days ago. The tide was in and I happily pottered at the edge of the water, discovering a new piece of sea glass and a heart shaped pebble. Making my way back up the slipway I met a Granny, her daughter and little granddaughter making their way down to the beach. Well, Gran and Mum were, little Ava was swinging on the Coastguard’s gate and showing reluctance to move. I opened my hand and showed her my treasures. We started chatting and walked back down to the sand. There was a small scallop shell that was perfect for her little hand and we set about filling it with shells and sea glass. Then we found a stick and a Seagull’s feather and started to draw hearts on the wet sand and chat about fairies. Her Gran called out to Ava to drop the feather, as she said it was dirty. No blame, but our joy disappeared in an instant. The energy changed and Ava ran to her Mum and I listened to Gran for a while. She and her husband had recently moved back to this area, after living in a very different place. Her unhappiness poured out. I replied that I moved up here a few years ago because when the souls here ask how you are, their hearts listen to the answer.
Being alone has sparked much creativity. I’ve made tunic tops from men’s shirts, tote bags from denim jeans and lined them with vintage frock material, crocheted tote bags, knitted throws and baby matinee jackets. I am blessed to be gifted many items of clothing, yarn and all sorts of bits and bobs. They ‘speak’ and I create from their energy. ❤
There has been a theme lately of form filling and swift learning curves on how organisations run with differing processes and terminology. It reminds me of how some ‘techies’ used to share I.T. knowledge back in the 1980’s. They made it mysterious and confusing, which helped to foster the feeling of it being beyond the grasp of ordinary folk. I recall how annoying that used to be. There are similar threads running between some current social set-ups that are here to help those in need. How vulnerable people, who are facing sharp life changes, are supposed to find their way through all of this is beyond me. I sense there are many falling through the net.
An unexpected wave of paperwork hit this weekend and my sparkle got temporarily buried under the deluge, so I escaped on Sunday teatime to walk the beach.
The Belfast ferry was gliding into port to the ‘pip’ of the Sandpipers merging with the cry of the gulls. The sound of cathedral bells floated across the water, as the sun caught the ripples at low tide and it was peaceful.
I paused to breathe deeply and have a splash at the water’s edge in my wellies (which are flowery).
Driving to Mum and Dad’s yesterday the radio DJ was talking about a choir she had seen at the weekend, on the television show Britain’s Got Talent. I remembered when I returned home and found the clip on YouTube. What follows is seven minutes of joy from Flakefleet Primary School Choir.
Boris the Wonderdog has come to stay with me for a few days and I am loving it. We have flowed together a few times over the years and he is a joy.
We’ve fallen into our ‘together’ routine and there are many magic moments as he hurtles across the beach chasing seagulls at lunchtime, retrieves his ball once and then hangs onto it till we get back home, ambles down the cobbled lanes first and last thing each day (such exciting smells) and chats to me as I knit and create. He is also a wonderful companion as I curl up to read at night time and he lies right next to the bath keeping guard, as I disappear in the bubbles. Instinctively, he is utterly silent when I am working.
I could have taken my phone out as we go on our walks, but there is a freedom in leaving it at home. This means there are no action shots, but my heart holds the memories.
There have been a few work and ‘techie’ challenges to sort out this week and he is a supportive sounding board.
I love him ❤ and my heart family for sharing him ❤