Packing to Move House

We are in the process of packing to move house. For me it’s my tenth move in nearly 17 years, for my husband it’s his first in as many.

I have more little, fiddly things to carefully wrap, preparing them to be boxed up until the place for them is ready. These will not be the things in the house, but in what I am calling my Sacred Shed at the bottom of the garden. I am hopeing it will be in place by Winter, it will be insulated and have power so myself and my special bits will be comfortable.

What is striking is finding some little thing that sets off a cascade of memories, some happy, some sad, some bittersweet. People and pets gone, dreams shattered and ways convoluted to get to where I am now, where I firmly believe I am meant to be. The ways have not been straightforward, many twists and seeming doubling backs, yet here I am.

The place we are going is wonderful in a magical place, the place we most wanted to be but had begun to doubt we would end up. Nevertheless, we perservered and in the end we were led to the place, or the place opened up for us. I am not willing to take a stand one way or the other as to which it was – that is was is all that really matters.

So, the response is one of deep and abiding gratitude. Even in the midst of all the upheaval for us and Wyntre, Nocturne and Purfling. We are all a bit fragile and on edge, off our feed a bit and due to the weather a bit hot and bothered. As I wade through packing paper and weave around the boxes of books, bits and bobs (I’ve not gotten to the crockery yet!) I hold in my mind the house we are going to.

In leaving here I give thanks for the shelter is has been for me these past two and a half years, for my husband, his late wife and their family in the nearly fifteen years before my arrival. It has seen its share of angst and sorrow before my arrival, as well as joy and hope. It is now time to pass this house on to another family as a place to make their memories and live their life in what I trust will be joy and gladness. I wish the same things for us as we move into our new home. I trust is will be a haven of calm and a safe harbour of all who pass through its doors. I trust we will live long and prosper between its walls and know when we leave it that we have honoured ourselves and the space to the fullest extent within our powers.

It will be guarded and warded by the spirit animals who companion us, and by the gods who have called us into their service, and the spirits of the land whom we will seek to honour by living gently and working with them in the years ahead.

Now, I’d best take up my tape gun, wonderful invention, grab some more packing paper and see if I can figure out the best way to pack the rest of my study and sacred space this weekend.

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The Piano has to Die

It is an odd feeling, sending a musical instrument to its doom.

I had not really bonded with the piano I got a couple of years ago for free, well plus moving costs. For a lot of that time it was in the hallway covered over whilst the house redecorating continued. Last year I moved it from the hall to the snug. A lot of pushing and shoving on my part was required.

Still it was not like my Jemima, the old Blüthner whom I gave to a friend with a dance studio two moves ago. This piano did not give me its name. It lived in a house, the one my husband and I are moving from, that did not like music. I havep layed my concertina now and then, but only for a few days running and never in a consistent way. The drums remained silent because we live in a city. Nor was I able to overcome the treacle energy here to bring my double bass out of the corner.

So, the old piano, who did not have the pedigree to make it financially viable to refurbish to sell on, was taken away four days ago to die. It should be able to donate its ivory keys to an instrument that is getting a makeover, at least I hope so. But the instrument that has been in my house all these months reached the end of its life.

Before the removers arrived that morning, I played all the keys. I played the white ones up and the black ones down. Then I played notes and chords. When I sensed the piano had had its last song, had sung its last, I let the final notes fade.

It is bittersweet because musical instruments have a soul of a sort and this one’ left as the last note faded. I knew because I told it the fate that awaited it. I was glad that its soul flew with the last notes.

Farewell. Your last note’s song escaped into the aether and will resonate somewhere, always.

Farewell, sweet musics.

First Father’s Day without a Father

My father died last month.
He was 94 and lived a long life doing what he knew he was called to do in the world.

This is the first time in my 65 years that on this day there is no one living to honour, no one alive to celebrate. I do hold his memory, imperfections and all, in a sacred place today. But also the other man who was a father figure for me, who died a decade ago.

I admit to ambivalent feelings about my male parent. He was excessively devoted to his male god and this god’s son. I am not devoted at all to either any longer. He admitted that his love for his deity overrode any love for any human person. A twisted theology – ‘I love God so I can’t love anyone else.’

It is a challenge to understand the place where one should put such complex memories and convoluted understandings where the human and the divine tangle and knot in the mind and had tied up the soul for far too many years.

I freed myself from all of that tangle several decades ago. It made it possible to see my father as a fallible human, a talented artist and an inadequate parent. But that was my life, my history, the reality that shaped me. I am who I am for having grown up in his studio. What I learned there had the most profound impact upon me, matched only by what I discovered about myself and the world when I attended university as an adult.

My mother died 26 years ago, do now my brother and I are adult orphans. We make our ways in the world shaped by our parents’ actions and by our reactions to them as we moved into the world on our own, and we continue to do so.

This is the first Father’s Day I have not had a father alive. For the rest of my life, this will be the case.

Questions with no Answers

I have been reading a great many books lately that seem to be spinning around a theme, though to my conscious awareness in no way intentionally.

Books on: The Soul; The Self; Time; Quantum Physics; The Daemon; The Gods; Space and our place in it; Healing in its broadest sense to include Soul Wounds, the Mother Wound, Illness; Life and Death; Loss; Belonging; Becoming; Aging; Elderhood; Wild Life and Rewilding Life; History and Natural History; Sentience; Myth,Mythology and Mystery. To me these are all dealing with the same issues at a deep and profoundly basic level. They all are questioning the trajectory of movement and momentum Life and what shape it actually takes: linear, cyclical, circular, or some form we have no way currently to conceive in our three dimensionality. They are all asking questions about what it means to be human and animal, to be alive. Why we are here. Why is there a here at all. What’s it all about.

This is the stuff that has exercised philosophers and theologians, mystics and musers for millennia. This is the stuff of tortured prose and elegant poetry. This is the stuff worth thinking about, mulling over, pondering on a walk in the woods, when drifting off to sleep and in the drowsy groggy minutes upon waking in the morning.

There are no right answers here. There are perhaps better phrased answers and more or less convincing ones. But ultimately right ones? Sorry.

I have found this reading and the matters it has raised mind bending and soul expanding. It has taught me that what I was taught as a child was not the Truth, but one narrowly perceived and conceived version of truth as an originally small group of people understood and elaborated it. It is not my Truth any longer and certainly not The Truth in any sense of my current understanding nearly six and a half decades along on my present journey.

Nevertheless, I am awash in wonder. Knowing how things work from the isolated scientific perspective, another limited truth, has in no way made me less able to look at the night sky and think about all the galaxies and suns and planets out there resting and spinning and dancing in the darkness that is hidden from us during the day and that we flee from into artificial light during the night. It does not make me any less awe-struck when we found a frog in our garden a couple of days ago and moved it to a safer place, a small delicate creature with wondrous bulging eyes, and I wondered what it saw of or ‘thought’ of us. I live in a state of gratitude for birds and animal, the trees and flowers, the insects and ferns, the fronds and the flowers all around me.

At the same time, I worry about the loss of our current megafauna and our pollinators. I worry about the manipulation of our food sources, of being in a position where the only food available to us will be sterile, both unable to reproduce itself and so germ free that we never build up any resistance to what is out there surrounding us in our environment. I worry about the young people who never get to climb a tree or to paddle in the sea, or to bake a cake or whittle a spoon – all now considered too dangerous, potentially injury causing, life threatening.

That said, my worry never out paces nor overwhelms my wonder. My ability to wonder, to engage in wondering remains intact. I have no answers myself, none that encompass everything. Nor do I want one. Living with questions is not a bad thing; but having all the answers certainly would be. I remain restless. I remain curious. I continue to read which feeds my restless curiosity. I continue to write which is how I play with the ideas I read about and how I best assimilate them, it is how I frame a way to comprehend and apprehend my place in all the great swirling Mystery of Being.

Give me the questions any day, any night.

On the other side of Thursday

Galaxies whirl through space,
stars flow across the night dark sky
the cosmic dance goes on oblivious to us,
the earth rotates on her axis,
spring moves slowly on its course
flowers bloom and leaf buds swell,
birds sing their morning song to greet
the rising sun and the moon grows
toward fullness once again,
on the other side of Thursday.

Our stories merge,
blank pages interleaf
waiting for the living of our life
to become a story shared,
your story and my story
will become our story,
where we do not know the plot
for it will only be revealed as we live it
on the other side of Thursday.

There are new memories
that do not displace the old,
nor deny the lives and loves before
embracing the past
reaching to the future,
knowing what had been
in the mystery of being
opened the portal we walk through today
and what is yet will unfold before us,
on the other side of Thursday.

This day we celebrate
that we have found each other,
our hearts rejoice and souls dance,
a life to share awaits with
adventures and challenges,
explorations and learnings,
being and becoming,
for a new wide world opens up to us,
on the other side of Thursday.

I wrote this for my Griffin as his wedding present. We step together in to our new life filled with gratitude, wonder and delight, knowing in the deepest reaches of our beings that all we have together is a gift from a beneficence beyond our comprehending.

A Daughter and a Mother

The deep unknowing
from birth until adulthood
spans of winter years
stretched between you,
neither knowing the other,
always haunted by the absence
in an empty wistful wondering,
was I missed, was she loved,
questions spiralling out
into distances unimagined
bored into the core of the heart.

A daughter relinquished.
A mother bereft.
A time of reckoning outside
their ability to comprehend.
A mother bereft.
A daughter relinquished.

Light has now, though,
penetrated the deep unknowing
as spring has blossomed
in the landscape of the heart,
Persephone, a daughter freed
from the silenced mystery,
unuttered questions swinging
in the silent spaces
dawning between the present
and the fog shrouded past.

Light has now, as well,
shone into the deep well of loss,
the waters breaking forth
washing into the future,
Demeter, a mother consoled
in the mystery of knowing
she now has a chance
to learn and share from the wisdom
borne of separation,
answers flowing gently
through the silent spaces
filling the empty present
from the tear-filled past.

A daughter bewildered.
A mother relieved.
A time of reconnection within
their ability to create meaning.
A mother relieved.
A daughter bewildered.

I wrote this for a friend who is a real life Persephone

Winter’s Turning

The season turned some time ago,
slipping slowly since
into the hard cold grasp
of frost and ice,
now each morning
gilding the edges of the lawn’s
every blade with crystals
golden in the early sun.

Though the season turned some time ago,
only now does the
clinging cold clutch
at skin exposed however briefly
to the wind and marching vapour
rising from the fields
standing wet from recent soaking rain.

Since the season turned some time ago,
the days’ march onward
near the heart of Winter,
darkness’ descent dancing
from light into night swiftly
changing state as
Winter’s whimpers subtly alter to
melancholy whispers in the fading day.

The midseason approaches,
deepest velvet night
replaces shallow satin day,
but soon they swap their places
gradually longer days
for incrementally shorter nights,
as the wheel adjusts once more,
the pattern begins again,
the tottering and teetering
of light and dark
of day and night
of winter facing
the return of summer in its time.

For once more the seasons rocking
to their rhythms show
that to change and shift positions,
as does the sun hour by month
is the way of living, being, thriving
in Nature’s balanced grace.

Shortest day, I treasure you,
Longest might, I honour you.
Winter Solstice, I welcome you.