Sitting in my room, looking out, past my desk, to the outside (not at that lovely pic I have included - that's on one of Alias True's walks). So quiet and air locked in here. So illusory. Here: a feather could arc its way to the ground with no problem. Outside: all the bushes and trees quiver, constantly. In motion all day, since early light. Its blowy outside, fresh today. The huge cherry tree, with its tiny new droopy leaves, all hang headed and curly. It's covered with fat pink blossom at the moment. Heavy with it. Some have already fallen, in threes, as if holding hands. Its tallest branches stretch, thin and proud, skywards. They weave and keel in the wind; the blossoms arc upward and defy the wind and gravity. The firs, behind them, do what the firs always do – they sit calm, only topmost branches moving, and those with a frondy underwater intensity, an economy of movement. The small closed berry clumps do not deviate from their tight position at the centre of each branches spread. Squirrels run in a fervour I don’t know the reason for, up and down the branches, practically flying. The holly tree barely appears to move – but it does, as its ultra shiny leaves catch the light and glint, always changing. They move. The washing line, propped tall by its pole, also weaves back and forth in the wind – like a sail of raggedy tarpaulin – my trousers, dunny green and old. Leaves from the hypericum and buddleia scratch at the side of the outhouse, the white paint already flecked and peeling away. So old. The wood is rotting on the whole thing. If it was our house we’d fix it. As it is, the landlady won’t pay to. I think it will just fall down, one day. The bird feeder hanging on the body of the rose bush judders slightly. It’s a very old one, filled with only a snail and the snail’s curled black waste. All over the lawn are small curled black worm holes, where they have come to the surface with the rain. The tiny sparrows still hop about, regardless of the still spitting rain. Little heads dart to the ground, beaks easily penetrating the earth – its muddy today. Blackbirds and robins are zipping about.
Beyond the trees, the sky is the white of fat clouds, with the grey of scudding bird flight. It’s cut constantly by the swaying leaves. There’s blue in the distance. The houses, mostly white with their black painted beams and orange slate roofs, stand firm against the wind. Solid, their window panes glinting in the morning light. Occasionally cars go by, a slick of colour and light, a crunchy suction sound of wet tyre on tarmac, then the shingle of someone’s drive. There must be a school outing or something, a weekend jaunt: children dressed in blue gingham, and bright blue blazers go past in streams: golden hair flowing out behind, skipping; short brown hair downcast, sports bag careless and casual over the shoulder, scuffed shoes kicking the ground. Ears plugged in, fighting the wind with tunes, with shouting. They go by. Their teacher is shouting at them for straggling, and for shouting. Uhum…
I was out in the garden earlier, checking for seedlings. Then I felt a bit fey and distracted and checked for faery rings instead. I have looked for one of these in the garden since mushrooms kept appearing last autumn. They go as quickly as they come, though. First there were some field mushrooms, then some tall tan mushrooms, their helmets like half closed umbrellas, thickly scored. All those mushrooms grew in little circles. And now, spring having roared in, sometimes the dandelions and daisies grow in small rings too, close to the same spots as the mushrooms were. But not today. Nonetheless, I am full of the notion that there are definitely fairies in the garden, as how could there not be, the garden is so beautiful and lush, and getting lusher all the time with its growth of grass. The places where I have sown the seeds, so far sprinkled with tiny plants that look like clover, but may not be. Inside each, a small sister to a dryad, or cousin to a nymph; an elemental of some sort, a growing creature, aiding each section, each blade. And surely the smaller creatures so inclined dance, softly on little feet, when embodied, touching each mushroom or daisy lightly with gentle hand, or lithe toes? Who would not dance for joy if they could? (Well, me usually, but then, I am strange and often stupid.) I water my invisible germinating seeds, and try not to think of my headache from a broken night, and from Fluffhead feeling very repeatedly rebellious this morning.
Back inside, I am uncertain. I look over at my shelf, where the polar bear sits. My white marble polar bear comforted me when I was pregnant. I felt strangely adrift and incapable, and the polar bear was solid. I felt comforted by its mass, and the idea of the way bears move, stolidly when slow, and surprisingly lithe when fast. The defending of its young filled me with hope that I would be this strong, this warm, this capable. Seeing it there in the Litlington Crystal shop – the best crystal shop I know – I felt it call to me, and I answered with relief. I still hold it when I feel sad or worried, and its smooth solidity reassures me. It’s the perfect fit in my hand, my whole hand. (Fry and I have a silly in joke that whenever he's cross or sad I say, irrelevantly, 'do you want to hold my polar bear?' and he will scowl at me and laugh a bit because of course he doesn't.)
I finger one of my old cassettes that I keep on the same shelf. It doesn't yet have a home. The tape of Alias Octa reading, that I am not entirely sure why I keep – to remember his voice when he still liked me; before he hated me, when we shared dreams? I don’t think he will ever be anything other than a dream figure in my head now – a figure of past early love, and present nostalgia – and future dread (though that drains, slowly). And there, somewhere, is a story. A person with that effect on another. I put down the history and move along. (It is amazing that I have a tape of someone speaking over 20 years ago. He won't sound like that anymore, I shouldn't think. I have some frozen past.)
I dyed my hair again, about half an hour ago. It’s going to be Morello Cherry this time. I got tired (once again) of being ‘a girl with hair of softest brown’ – and why should this be a curse, a drab sentence? Why not a disguise, a ruse, a clever spell, a trick? Why not the best way to observe without being observed in turn – a way to learn all secrets and be undervalued before swinging through to greatness, like Claudius? Why not? Well, maybe for someone else, it is. For me, the week hung heavily, and I wanted to shakes its shirttails this morning. So I made a change. In it’s not quite dry yet state it looks almost purple. Okeydoke.
Despite the almost purple hair I am still feeling like an old lady today. My back is hurting again. (Ooooo – me leg, me hip, I can hear my elderly, now dead, relatives intoning – I used to love all that old lady complaining from them: they managed to do it so spiritedly, with such grammar: I ACHE. FULL STOP. Fierce eyes. Why did none of them dye their hair purple? I feel maybe, that they had no need – they were purple on the inside…) So I stop wandering near the shelf and sit down again. What is more urgent than a chair, sometimes? I can’t stand up for any length of time at all for a few years now, though I can walk for hours. I love this chair I’m sitting in now. I love its old pine, its worn varnish. I love the way it had a whole life with another family who may or may not have cherished it but here I am, and I do, now. (It came with the house.) Its warm round curving back, leading to arms, which turn out slightly at the ends, like an arthritic old woman gripping the arms of her chair with splayed wrists. That sounds a horrible uncomfortable image, and for that reason, doesn’t fit right; though it does for the directions of the bones. Interesting. The image is correct, and its mood is wrong. Though the chair itself is very hard and unrelenting – but I find it comfortable. Enclosing. It’s a friendly chair, for all its odd proportions.
Spitting again outside, a bit harder now. On the left of me, the street side, the window has both drops appearing on it, and little needles of diagonal rain. On the right side, the garden side, as usual, there is no rain visible. The wind must rarely come in this direction. The tops of the cherry tree and next doors sycamore wave briskly. Shaking themselves out, shaking off the rain, shaking out their hair. The firs, sway portentously in the now cold air. The shrub that has become a tree, closest to me, has two pink blossom-like flowers on it now, not one; many small green leaves. The unidentified (as yet) smaller bush sprouts more and more perfect yellow flowers; like flattened out daffodils, intense and innocent. The trees look unsettled at their tops, and rooted solid at their base. I must be more like a tree. Why can’t I be more treelike, in life??
I sit here, day after day, in the small silences between Fluffhead’s noise, trying to think of the best possible thing to do with the remaining time. I can never be sure just how much of it I might get. Sometimes only about 40 minutes – very occasionally up to two hours. Do I do yoga? Aerobics? (I feel I am getting bloody fat, especially round the middle – and don’t doctors say the middle is the worst area to get fat, as it increases risk of heart disease or somesuch? And then again – what is more valuable? The quiet mind and body flexibility brought by yoga; or the less risk of heart disease caused by simply burning fat off the middle? Then again – if I did a proper aerobic workout, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else with my time, or bathe afterward which I would need to, if it was the usual just over an hour…And the pressure to DO is so great.) I could write some more – but do I have time to do anything worth starting – its not like I can just dive into a story, I have to read back and get to sort of where I was before I can continue. And if I’m starting something new…I have to have a vague idea what I’m doing, I need time to think a little, if not plan. (These are not excuses; they are the reasoning of a rather undisciplined mind that knows it needs structure to work well, usually.) I usually end up doing small household tasks that are quick and needful, and then reading. Even then, I feel like I have to cram so much into so little available time that I can’t settle to just one book. I read a textbook (history, or feminism, or philosophy), and a fantasy type book (something fictional with magic in there somewhere), a normal lit book (something current), a classic (whatever and whomever I am fancying at the time), a pagan-y type textbook (always trying to round out my nature consciousness) or a self-help book (I have so many neuroses I am trying to talk myself out of…). I read about 10 minutes of each so I feel I got a bit of everything done. Then there are those days I am just so tired, all I can do is lay down, love the silence, and doze. Even 15 minutes in a state of doze can be an amazing powerful thing for me.
I seem to spend more time, in these snatched and precious moments trying to Remember Who I Am, than I spent Being Who I Was, back when I Had The Time.
Just now, waiting for the baby to wake up. Ears are completely 360 degrees, like radar, sonar. I am aware each second may be the last second. What with the garden, the hairdying, the blogging, I have had over an hour already – an absolute delirious haven of time. An acre, as my life is now. Any extra is a thing of great preciousness.
Does age feel this way? I wonder when I will get to the age where each day is a gift (or a dreaded burden)? I wonder when (if ever) I will have an easier relationship to time…? And in that spirit, I am not going to tie up the loose ends of this post. It’s just going to drift off, like me; still learning to be more like a tree. Until next time.