April 25, 2017

the softness of autumn

Seen while cycling through the valley ...
Wild white jasmine on the fence above a river
Clematis unexpectedly amongst a neighbour's lavender
Banks of long grass glimmering with clover and dandelion
A secret grass path winding through flowering bushes and trees
Swans on an old pond

I thought they were going to destroy the wetlands, reclaim the land for factories. But it turns out they were expanding them. Sometimes people are surprising in the nicest way.

I love how autumn teaches me every year about the value of softness. It gives me wisdom such as soft moons like the big old swaying hip of the sky, ambling up amongst mist-plushed stars ... leaf-thickened paths ... soft blankets brought out from storage and layered on beds ... cosy slippers ... soft eyes and voices in nights that are candelit for no other reason than the gentle loveliness of candles' light. Of course, we need the shutters put up and the old fences bulwarked in preparation for winter, but just as much we need the softness inside. The old goddess stories remind us - Brigid within the Cailleach, a lush, warm seed brimming over with dreams of roses, deep in the heart of thin pale days scratched by bare branches and rain. And the old fairy tales remind us too - the disenfranchised ash girl saved by love rather than revenge; love and roses in the Beast's dark house; the huntsman's tender-hearted reprive. So often the greatest strength, and the best source for endurance, comes from softness.

art by dutch illustrator rie cramer

April 23, 2017

wild peace


It is quiet here today, the uptight kind of quiet you get in suburbia - the reminder that everyone else is somewhere else, and you are alone. I would run away to the woods if I could, to the meadows and the hills, where quiet lies easy, languid, on the landscape, and aloneness feels like refreshment. At home, to be semi-invalid seems wasteful, and the story of it is just sad. But there is no shame in resting in the countryside, watching clouds go by and dreaming, like a gentle kitchen maid or princess in some old tale. When we get closer to nature, we become less encumbered with shoulds and oughts, and can simply be what we need to be.

the oak tree, hearing foresters,
hid its heart in a girl
with shy brown eyes, quiet feet,
where only the most gentle of men
would be able to find it

painting by ann macbeth

April 22, 2017

listening to leaves and stars

"She stood there : she listened. She heard the names 
of the stars." 
- Virginia Woolf

Winter is coming, bringing with it words and a wolfish sea. I am making a space inside myself and around myself to nourish small new seeds of creativity. This happens as sure as the fattening of the moon on autumn horizons, the fall of the leaves. I soften, and then the softness slips away, letting the bone-dark secrets have their day.