Sunday, 14 May 2017

Deja vue


The slow dance begins once more; this time my mother's pas de deux......
and we, weary from past duets, recall each stumbling step of this strange ballet crafted from DNA's complex choreography.
 From the wings we watch the poise and elegance with which she glides across the floor; held in the firm caress of that same spectre with whom we shared our stage. Whilst we stand in the shadows
silently awaiting our cue......... a stalwart corps de ballet.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Of mice and Mum



My mother has always drawn mice; not the anatomically correct, scrabble footed, twitch eared images from the pages of a nature book ; but stroke of a pencil, pointy nosed, whip tail squiggles on paper scraps and the back of envelopes..
An enduring image from childhood, they peeped from the pages of  home made books to remind us when to sit 'quiet as mice' on unyielding church pews during Sunday service.

My father would always find uniquely mousey gifts to bring back home from across the seas; my childhood favourite being a gilded green bellied brooch with fiery red eyes and an articulated tail, that we would beg to have pinned on our warm woolly jumpers. My mother would willingly oblige..... until the day it was taken to the jewellers where she discovered it was, in reality, far more precious than we had all believed it to be; not just paste and glass after all! After that, it was assigned to the jewellery box to be worn only on high days and holidays.

Over the years mice of every shape, design and texture arrived in the guise of birthday , Christmas and Valentine gifts; slowly jumbling the shelves of the corner cabinet we named 'the glory hole'. They were an eclectic collection; treasured by stubby fingered wide eyed grandsons who were granted leave to touch and explore just as long as each mouse was returned to its allotted place.

This weekend marked the first anniversary of my father's death. A bitter sweet time to gather as a family and celebrate his life. I would have taken flowers to arrange in vases and brighten each room; but then I saw these pink nosed, beady eyed felted marvels; dressed in the colours of our childhood, just begging to be set free from the dusty confines of a forgotten bargain bin. They seemed such a fitting gift somehow, and I have the strangest of feelings that my father would have thoroughly approved.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Rambling

Walking under tall trees, where dappled light casts moving shadows on dusty paths, and small creatures rustle under feathered ferns.
Our footfalls break the stillness as we step from path to bridge, led by signs mapped out in twigs and fallen branches gathered by small hands. As we stroll the sun catches exposed trunks where fungus blooms with soft strange beauty all its own; whilst in the shade oozing mud awaits a careless slip from wooden logs, that serve as smoothed down stepping stones. 
From woodland route the earthen path transforms itself to rutted gravel; cracked and scared by frequent rain. A scattering of wild flowers straggle their way along the verge and unseen birds sing warning chimes somewhere beyond the hawthorne hedge. And now we take the grassy track, mown flat across a grazing field; where doe eyed cows of every hue stare soulfully into middle distance, chewing on  cud and dreaming their bovine dreams.  





Monday, 20 June 2016

After the fall


These weeks after the fall  find me anchorless; ghosting through days, slipping in and out of worlds between pages, as I search for comfort away from this dull ache of knitting bone. Sleep is fitful, and often I find myself gliding through a soft breathing house at dawn to submerge in deep, hot water swirled with scented bubbles; where I lie waiting for pain to ease, accompanied by a deep throated dove cooing in the morning.
To temper this aimless existence, I make new routines, setting small goals on this exhausting journey back to fitness. I forge deals with myself - scrubbing and cleaning in awkward wronghandness  before curling on cushions, book in hand and cat on lap.This strangely rigid interruption in my normally fluid existence, is a way to fill the hours and keep torpor at bay.A way to ignore this dull ache that accompanies my every movement,until the sweet relief of a heated wheat bag and a few moments of calm.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Morning has broken

Lately, it is the sharp sound of an insistent blackbird that jars me from sleep; often to discover a small ginger cat curled under covers by my left knee.
We rise together, slowly stretching in the half light of a pale sun filtered through dark cloud and slatted blinds; before he gracefully leaps onto the windowsill, where his tail twitches in time to the cacophony of magpies squabbling  on nearby rooftop perch.
Today is mostly grey, the odd shaft of light breaking through; and has been given over to snails who languidly dance under the patio table; tentatively elongating tentacles beneath rain washed skies. One inches his way up the window pane and I fleetingly wonder if he studies me as keenly as I study him.
In the corner of the cloud washed sitting room,the first coffee of the day steams as I curl on cushions, pyjama clad, luxuriating in this little oasis of peace before the scramble of the day begins.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

A small death

 We found her this morning, head gently resting on outstretched paws. Not on her cushion, but  tucked away in a favourite hideaway beneath the table. 
She looked in death, as she had in life; comfortable and content, curled in a question-mark, ready to dream the day away. Yet no soft purr vibrated through her chest and the tips of her whiskers remained untwitched. 
Gently , we carried this now cooled body into the sun warmed garden, and  laid her in rich brown earth beneath the apple tree. 
She was loved.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Hitting the floor


A week ago I fell. Not one of those small, inconsequential trips easily disguised by a quick double step and wry smile; but a messy, flailing, uncoordinated affair, played out in public. One minute I was balancing carrots and tomatoes in overburdened hands, the next I was hurtling towards a room divider; frantically twisting to avoid full impact.  I landed, as gravity decreed I must, hard; shoulder first upon unforgiving floor, as discarded vegetables rained down around me.
 In my head, I pictured jumping up with a loud " tah daaaaaaaaaaa" and comedic curtesy; but in truth I sat, dazed and clammy,  watching blood slowly dripping onto lino.
The quiet chatter of concerned colleagues faded into white noise; my body bracing at the first wave of pulsating pain. Eyes closed, I focused through each assault...  in two three; out two three....breath technique from maternal memory riding the surge and fall. And then, through half closed eyes, a flash of green uniform  proffering the welcome suck and hiss of gas and air, that pushed pain into dark recesses as I finally rose to my feet.

 So here I sit, my upper arm and left eye a palette of colour; greens and blues slowly seeping into deepest of purple. No plaster cast or tapestry of steristrips; just a simple collar and cuff to immobilise broken bone and a scar, newly formed, to dissect my eyebrow and lend a rakish air.