Reflections and observations on life in general.

Sometimes, too much might be enough.

If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly, show it. life is finite and fragile, and just because something is there one day, it might not be the next. never take that for granted. say what you need to say, then say a little more. say too much, show too much. love too much. everything is temporary but love. love outlives us all. R. Queen.

Posted on Facebook by Poetry of Kat t, reposted by Natasja Hellenthal

Perhaps I needed to remember this a week ago, it’s hard to be sure, my intention was to avoid building unfulfillable hopes and attachment to passing dreams… events intervened… all I can send now is a prayer, a wish, to bathe in light one whom I find I loved more than I realise.


Healing waters

The Sea is my best medicine. Yesterday, my mind unsettled by muted undertones of sadness, I walked to the seafront. As I passed the broken Aberystwyth castle, a memorial now of shattered seventeenth-century Royalist dreams, the scent of salty spray replaced high-street traffic smells. I walked into a blustery, bright-lit view of churning, dumping, waves on the steep, shingly beach and the restless thoughts began to slow.

I had briefly considered surfing, the full-strength dose of Father Neptune’s Healing Waters, but I’d also seen the wind forecast and I know this beach, with its powerful rips and heavy, dumping waves and sharp-ridged reefs; there is a reef that works… but not today.

Walking over perfect skimming pebbles to the coarse brown sand, I stood close to, though a respectful distance from, the surging sheets of foamy water. The Sea is my best medicine.. and this sensory immersion settled and cleared my mind as I watched and photographed the pounding waves.

The Sea is my best medicine, it washes my mind, sifting and sorting thoughts, feelings, memories, ideas, not removing but moving their causes and constituents into more settled arrangement. Like the sand, briefly disturbed by my shoes into sharp-edged footprints, the water comes, pauses and goes, leaving the beach smooth again, no trace of restless feet to break the view.

Tonight I am in my mother’s house, she is not well, I’m giving what help I can for now, before returning north. Those feelings arise again, the wind builds outside and I need sleep. Time for bed.. and let remembered waves wash through.

First Light

0410, on the fourth of October, and my body wakes me up to make me guide it to the place where bodies do what they have to do; all part of the maintenance routine.

At about this time, sixty-two years ago, I  took my first breaths of Glaswegian air, began the long process of making sense of new and sudden sensations and experiences, of forming a sense of self and other on the way, with all the consequences that brings.

My mother comes to mind: the ordeals she has endured, her enduring love despite very many setbacks and disappointments in her life, many achievements in the face of them too.. and the great changes in the world since then. She has given me a lot, including much of the most important learning for life. Thank you, Mum.

I’m grateful, too, for the many fortunate circumstances I’ve encountered in this life,  not least being born into a place, family and culture not too stifled by rigid dogmatic beliefs or tainted by the daily uncertainty of corruption. With much more freedom than many have. Just being free of routine hunger, thirst, danger,  fear and pain, anger and confusion… this is a wealth in itself. There are many people to thank for that, past and present,  too many to comprehend, even.

There is a gusty, cool, restless wind outside,  the promise of rain this morning, another day of steering this body and mind through the flow of experiences.  An early bird tweets and stops short, perhaps nudged by its neighbours on a branch, still trying to sleep. I’ll rest a little, too.

Thank you, have a good one.

Just before the bus leaves.

As I take my seat after boarding the bus to work at the terminus station, there is a moment of quiet settling. Everyone has found a seat and I feel a small wave of relief pass through the bus, as if we’ve all just put down a tiresome burden of uncertainty and anxiety.

The engine starts with a shake and a roar, like a lion woken too early, and we move. Thoughts begin to flow again, conversations begin, I stay dry on the way to work today.

The new term is starting, changes and the need to adapt arise, as always.

Have a good week.

Sunday evening..

Inside, soft aroma of fresh paint on canvas….

Outside, clouds bang together and spill their drinks..

The plants are sighing..

Riding the squalls.

All I could do was laugh out loud as the rain ran down my back and onwards via shorts into my shoes, while a sustained blast of wind at my back pushed me homeward faster than I could pedal.

Apart from keeping my mind on staying upright and avoiding potholes, the squalls I had hoped to evade were helping me towards the weekend after a tiring, mentally cluttered week, my mind battered by waves of fatigue, frustration, anger, inspiration, enthusiasm and, occasionally, moments of clarity; metaphorical blue sky between storm clouds.

Video clip here:

A colleague had offered me a lift home, though my bike would have messed up her immaculate car, even if it would have fitted inside, and I preferred to ride through the weather in any case, welcoming the exercise and engagement of my senses and body with the conditions; to avoid this would have kept my mind weary, dull, jaded, despite many positive aspects of the week.

This is one of very many things I find so important and valuable about choosing an active mode of travel, by which I mean walking, cycling, paddling or other mostly human-powered ways of getting about. People have asked me: “don’t you feel exhausted when you get here?” But I feel mostly the opposite, relaxed and “worked” in a healthy, well-being way, more calm and with a greater capacity for equanimity and patience. If I could cycle in every day, my contentment and productivity would be enhanced.

There are studies (sorry, no links just now) that have shown observable improvements in young people’s school performance, behaviour and general sense of well-being if they travel actively to and from school. Likewise in the wider population with respect to both mental and physical health. There is a project starting here to try to support that and early signs are modestly encouraging, given we are starting from a very low base, here in the British Isles.

By the time I arrived home, I was completely soaked through, my shoes emitting little fountains as I walked. A shower after stowing my dripping bike almost felt redundant. I was tired but in what felt a healthy way, satisfied with this conclusion to my working week, any residual negativity washed away.

I wish you a good weekend and clearing mental skies.

New growth… and a new lodger.

As Spring moves towards Summer, I’ve expanded my growing areas for a variety of vegetables. At work, I have taken an opportunity that arose to bring a new but neglected polytunnel from luxurious jungle of “weeds” to more organised and productive space; from a human point of view of course. Several different teachers and a couple of classes of reluctant or downright unwilling pupils have come and gone from the project, so I am the continuity person. I could just leave it until asked to help out but I do actually enjoy spending time there, outside the school buildings where I am mostly occupied. I am also seizing the opportunity to grow things that I can’t find space nor the warmth for at home: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, possibly more if I can find more containers. I’m very open about this, putting the case that having the place in use and demonstrating what you can grow in it are in themselves beneficial to the educational purpose of the structure.

The few students who did come in and transplant peas and broad beans to the raised beds will not now enter for fear of the hordes of small, black, spiders who scuttle everywhere in the warm, humid tunnel and whose tiny offspring leave their invisible abseil ropes dangling from the supports, to make me jump as I feel their light caress on my face when I attend to the plants. The pea plants are beginning to produce sweet, delicious peas already and the broad beans are not far behind. I am accepting my in-kind payment for maintenance and improvements with gratitude, though I’m sharing pods with anybody who does turn up to help; for some, this is their first ever taste of peas direct from the plant, outside of a can or plastic packet.

Fruits of (mostly) my labours…

At home, the spinach is lovely and baby leeks are in their holes, with new beans and beetroot as neighbours. While I was busy filling a bottle with water to pour into the leeks’ holes – gently, so as not to drown or compress the young plants – a small black spider ran past me and in the open door to the cottage, her bag of eggs firmly attached to her bottom, and disappeared into the dark spaces behind the shoes and boots in the hallway before I could put a jar over her (I never intentionally kill a spider). She has clearly and decisively moved in. “Put the kettle on, once you’ve found your room, please”, I said to her, as I returned to my tasks outside.

Swifts are sweeping the air above the rooftops, held aloft by rising notes of evening blackbird song. The wind is dropping and it promises to be a fine evening. The kettle is silent, I guess I’ll just have to make the tea myself but no doubt my new house-mate will make herself useful in other ways and if she keeps to the dark, secret spaces then we can happily share this pleasant little house.

A happy and peaceful weekend to you.

Such things as dreams…

It’s been a busy time, since the New Year, lots of busyness and doing, lots of thinking and imagining…. positive but exhausting. At last a few days free.

Fresh bread,
out of the oven. 
At last to sleep,
perchance to dream...
of loaves...
and fishes?

Leaving wishes.

A short walk in the last sunlight,
stepping over solid and liquid water
to visit a special place
and leave wishes.

An island of rainbows

Last weekend, despite an unpromising weather forecast for medium to strong winds and likely rough seas, from a kayaker’s point of view, I joined others on the Isle of Arran for a couple of days of sea kayaking on the coast of this lovely island.

I must sleep now, to edit this later in the week. For the meantime, here are some photos of my own highlights of the two trips we made…

Words will follow…