Silence

My great-aunt once said to me,” Keep the tv on low when you live alone. It helps break the silence.” That was over forty years ago and I can still bring to mind her home, her voice in one encapsulated moment of time.

She was right, of course. The drone of a television or a radio in the background is somehow soothing, filling the space that sometimes becomes a vast limbo in which to drift and lose self-focus. She was wrong too. I often find myself experiencing hours of silence because nothing, music nor speech, is enough.

In the last years of our marriage, silence filled the house more and more. My husband would play the ‘music is better than not talking’ card and turn on a radio station playing the same 80’s hits over and over. His choice, not mine. I wanted classical, folk, Americana. He never asked. I opted for silence.

That silence was so vast, filling all the cracks in our shredded relationship and the sorrow in my heart. It numbed me as I retreated further and further into my cave. When I finally left, I had to reawaken the echoes of who I was through the silence.

It’s a curious fact that my inner world is rarely completely silent. I have tinnitus; self-diagnosed because for years,  I never knew it had a name. The constant ringing in my ears plays counter-point to restfulness but I learned long ago to ignore it.

Some years ago I attended a silent retreat. We  were allowed to chat at mealtimes but softly and always giving thanks with m a quiet Gaelic phrase of gratitude as we set the table, laid out the meal. I often longed for the silence to continue during meals or at least for conversation to remain focused on the monastic qualities some of us dropped so eagerly. We learned prayer and songs, so it was not entirely silent but the words were intended to replenish the soul, to nourish the spirit and give guidance to hungry minds. It reminded me of the Quaker way and I find some heart-support in their method of allowing the soul to speak.

Silence is often a friend to me. I adore the deadened quiet of a snow-covered town. Waking up to that most particular silence, I inwardly smile and rush to see the white transformation. Most recently, the snow fell so deep and so long that all traffic halted. For a while I could not place the extra quality its silence held, then I realised – the trains had stopped. Outside, all was still.

I love the silence of the hills, when you walk into the heights where the only sound is that of sheep, skylarks, the wind and an occasional intrusive jet. The silence of the hills and forest has a rich, deep quality. It moves, surges with life hidden from view, pulses with vibrant, wise strength. It holds you close, if you know how to listen. Go sit with the stones, feel their roots beneath you.

 

 

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Rest And Be Thankful

Rest And Be Thankful

At this time of year,

full moon shines bright

as a silver coin.

I listen as my body

cries hibernation,

as my body seeks solace

in Oneness

with the womb.

Bear Mother hugs close,

her meaty breath striped

with summer honey

as she sings of dark caves 

piled high with the comfort

of last year’s leaves.

Rest, she tells me.

Rest and be thankful.

In this time of winter silence,

in this time of solitude,

we are as One

and nothing

keeps us apart.

(Image – Bearwoman And The Dreamchild by Susan Seddon Boulet)

 

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Legacy of Love

My child of loss and sorrow

My child of darker days

My child of fear and crying

My child –

Come this way.

 

Gather skirts of mourning

Gather tears of woe

Gather them all together

My child –

Dance with me, let go.

 

Dance the wonder of your dreams

Dance the joy of heart

Dance the longing, reaching, seeking

Dance them all –

Let’s start.

 

Teach yourself of beauty

Teach yourself of bliss

Teach yourself your freedom

For anything’s better

Than this.

 

Quietly remember

The way you once felt

When possibility was endless

Quietly remember

your legacy of love.

 

My child of love and laughter

My child of brighter days

My child of hope and wonder

My child –

This is our way.

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24/10/2017 – The Pearl Created

Precious moments

from her life unseen

hidden by habit,

closeted close

to her soul,

revealed like a

magpie’s hoard

to her eyes only.

She brings them forth

chooses her moment

shy, nervous with

trepidation.

will they refuse them,

will they dismiss

this sharing,

 this attempt to reveal?

 Clam-like,

irritated and delighted

by the pearl she created,

she gauges response.

Perceived rejection will close the heart hard,

burrowing her light deep.

 

But love, oh,

total acceptance

allows her to bloom,

to taste her joy

and remember who

she is.

 

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Restless

There is a restlessness in me, a need to move, to travel elsewhere. At a visceral level I want to go to the islands. They are calling me but there is always some reason not to – not enough time, money, prior commitments. So I move to reachable places, there-and-back places. Sometimes it does little more than scratch the itch.

Often I spend hours trying to decide. Up or down, trees or water, high or low, humans or not?  Do I need solitude or the illusion of company?  I don’t know where I need to be, any more.

Today I dithered over Dumyat or Dollar Glen. Quiet slopes or tree-lined slopes? High probability of people in varying numbers. Should I take my drum, load myself with a small picnic? Back by afternoon because I want to paint…

In the end I went to Lionthorn, to wander the paths of Fox Covert. It was the best decision in the end.

Stately Scots pine stretches skyward 

spider webs sail on gorse-tip seas

silence succours.

IMG_20170903_110637552_HDR

scots pine at Fox Covert, Lionthorn estate

 

 

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in the cathedral

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh, 2006.

Bright, stained glass stories illuminated by natural light. Low vaulted ceilings; levels and heights and overall a coothy, homely Scottish feeling.  Not like the cathedral I visited in Truro, with its commercial tourist tone and brightly-lit concourses. Here shadows are allowed their place. Here you can feel the ancient bones. A small neat cathedral with hidden treasures.

In a corner, an unexpected connecting. Light a candle, pause. Someone behind us asks another what she is praying for! Surely prayer, of all things, is private.  I find silent prayers milling around in my head and a strong presence of sacred thought.

We leave the space to sit on nearby chairs, full to the brim with emotion. I cry on my friend’s shoulder, releasing tension as my mind wails prayers and my throat strains to sing hymns I do not know.

 

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Fringes

Welcome to my first blog post. I won’t promise to write regularly; writings may come in a cluster or as a drought, but when I feel inspired, I’ll come here to share.

Fringes

I have always loved the fringes of the land; the places land users have forgotten, laid aside or given over to wind-breaking treelines.

These places are not akin to city fringes where abandoned concrete, steel and brick rot in silent no-man-land fear.  No, these rural places hold the silence of ancient soil where chiselled toothless stones sink into the ground, returning to their womb. These are the places where trees grow, break, rot, root anew. These are the places where sheep rest, where birds nest and wind blows unceasingly.

Here may be an abandoned farm road, a disused rail track, a crumbling crofter’s cottage, a shelter belt to blunt the wind.  Here bright tearing gorse, brittle purple heather, soft blue scabious, yeilding green moss and shy blaeberries cover the earth. Shy creatures travel and rest in this wild highway.

There is invitation here. Even in the car driving by, I feel it. There is an aspect, a combination of trunk, grass, stone that says – here, here I am. Among the twisting grey pathways of the combustion engine, clustered along ridge, dyke or hidden valley something grave and natural calls – stop, listen, rest.

Here I sense deep calm patience. Here I hear the voice of the wind. Here crows craw, wrens peep and sometimes, water runs clear. Here, I find connection.

 

 

 

Welcome to my first blog post. I won’t promise to write regularly; writings may come in a cluster or as a drought, but when I feel inspired, I’ll come here to share.

 

 

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