Category Archives: Ponderings

C is for contemplation

Tonight I take a break from the cubes..because of an old convention. You never gamble or throw a dice on this day. And I know the cubes contain pictograms but the symbolism is there for me. Lots were cast under the cross for his clothes.

Today is Good Friday. A solemn day when you realise how much was given for your small and sometimes meaningless existence. Tonight I sat through a reading of the Passion and for a short while I was there. I saw the pain and the wrong done and spoke the words of betrayal with all those around me.

And I felt ashamed. For the days where I grumbled about everything, and the slights I felt too deeply, for the burdens so small they should not have been noticed.

So tonight I sit and contemplate the miniscule nature of my existence. And thank god for it.

Picture perfect

I put together my wedding in just three months. I had to fit in with someone else’s timeline. Long story – no funny punch line – plenty of odd side stories. Anyhow I was never the sort of girl to dream about my wedding day. I just presumed there might be one at some time and if there was not, well then I was obviously going to be just fine on my own. My future never depended on having a man in my life.

So apart from exhaustion after the frenzied truncated preparations I didn’t get to feel the come down or hangover that some girls get post wedding. They build up to the event, but I just saw it as a stepping stone to married life.

Only one disappointment registered afterwards. When I looked at the photos. Don’t get me wrong – the photos were lovely, beautifully taken and capturing the day perfectly. But there were some shots that I, as an amateur photographer, would have loved to have had. Because of the rush to arrange everything else I had never asked anyone to capture them for me. Silly things such as a shot of my dress from behind to fully show off the puddle train, or a family shot of just me, my mum and my brother on our own. But I put it behind me because you cannot redo these things any more than you can undo the past.

Four months and four days after our wedding we got word that my sister-in-law had passed away. The baffling shock that surrounds Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. We took out the photos to pick something suitable for her memorial. And then it hit me.
The one photo I really should have got but had missed. Me and my new sister on my wedding day. We always had photos of the two of us whenever we got together. But no. There were loads of us in group shots but not one of just the two of us smiling together in all our finery. All the other missing pictures faded into insignificance against this one missed opportunity. The last shot of my husband’s family all together was taken on the night of our wedding. They all look so happy. Frozen in time. A moment to cherish.

Picture perfect

A moment of peace

Mondays mean many things to many people.
The start of the work week – the foot of a long hill of toil and stress that must be climbed. The recommencing of good intentions or diets or personal plans after the ‘relaxing’ of rules over the weekend. Back to early mornings, packed lunches, crowded bus and train journeys, rushed breakfasts and copious coffees. Homework undone and hanging over little heads like the Sword of Damocles. Assignments not read or tutorials not prepared for. Meeting friends for coffee or a drink or lunch….or simply seeing other people after a weekend alone. Another week closer to Easter holidays or exams, a countdown to retirement, or babies born, or birthdays, anniversaries, pay day, mortgage repayment day, your last day on this earth.

My Monday routine is a faded memory as each day I rewrite my life through tiny eyes and miniature fingers. The soundtrack of giggles and screams and cooing plays constantly under the drama as I act out my role. I calm and I pet and I cajole while inside I am crying.

Then suddenly the noise stops. Eyelids droop. Silence rushes in to fill the void. And a moment of peace settles around me.
This is what Monday means. Another day of wonder.

Emerging from the haze

2013 – was unique and life-changing. I realize that every year is technically life changing given that each day alters one physically, mentally and experience-wise moving us closer to the time we meet our maker. This last year has been such a milestone as to change me and my life beyond recognition.

I have always identified myself through the prism of my job. It separates out my talents and capabilities, the strengths that make me proud of who I am and the weaknesses I must strive to overcome. It gives me a set of achievements by which I feel valued and a marker to aim for the future. I see myself through my interaction with those I spend my day and most of my day (and week even) for the past eight or nine years has been spent at work, leaving little space beyond to develop my self as an independent person. So when, during the summer, I became very sick, I found myself in an empty space, without my usual guides. And I had no roadmap to help me out of this uncharted territory. Lack of energy added to this feeling of bewilderment. Days melted it each other.

Today I felt strongly as if I was walking out of a fog and could see some things more clearly. I cannot see the way home yet but I can look around me and find signposts to help me there.

More precious than gold….

Every day we take things for granted….our homes, our families, our routines, the simple act of breathing in and exhaling. Those we love fit in a familiar dance of interactions throughout our days. The rhythm of this dance is the simple pattern of conversations and silences we unconsciously trace and retrace with our loved ones.

When something happens to break the rhythm we falter. Stop momentarily and realise we don’t actually know the steps well enough to restart. Or rather we knew them too well and had become lazy, on autopilot, the movement had slipped from conscious motion. We took them for granted precisely because they felt easy.

Such days remind us to shake ourselves into mindfulness and reflect upon the day-to-day and cherish the caress of the mundane. Perhaps it would be better if we seek to do so ourselves before life takes a tumble and it is too late to reflect.


At the door to the future

As the hours trickle away at the end of 2013 it feels right to take a few moments to consider the last year and look forward to the next.

The insistence on ‘celebrating’ the New Year is something that often feels forced and unnecessary. Why this night, of all nights do we force ourselves to stay up late and consume food and alcohol in the middle of the night – even when we were up early and have lived through an entire day first? There is an emptiness to the requirement to cheer and be merry at the stroke of the hand of a clock. This is probably why so many end up feeling low and unfulfilled by the New Year’s Eve experience. It never meets the unreal expectations set by film and television and media in general.

It is hard to imagine how much can change in a year – 365 days. Devastating health diagnosis, surprise pregnancy news, new homes, work changes – all of these things alone can spin one’s world on its axis. Together they leave a person reeling. So much difference that for once a New Year is unrecognisable from the previous one when it dawned. Hope and fatigue mingle in the tiny first hours of the newly born year and like the newborn child slumbering beside me, everything is depending on me to make it happen. But that is an enticing – if terrifying – challenge. I will put down this journal. And sleep. And meet the new day, new month, new year face on.



Where did the time go

On days like this I suddenly awake from a haze like existence and wonder…..what have I been doing. How did I get here?
Life has been surreal of late – more nightmarish than dreamlike – insubstantial and unconnected. Days and night merged through exhaustion and bleakness and a wish to hibernate.

But this morning my eyelids were lifted by sunshine filtered softly through the blind and filling the room with a bright glow. Outside birds were twittering excitedly and the air felt warm. I stretched from my slumber and felt a gladness to be alive on such a lovely morning with a whole day waiting invitingly ahead.

Spring has been long waiting in the wings but today she is performing and is playing a full symphony.

A flag pole snaps

At first glance all looks calm, almost eerily still as if someone had pressed the freeze-frame button. Nothing is stirring in the yard. But then you notice that the panoply of flags that bedeck the edges of the courtyard are snapping into a dervish dance before dropping just as suddenly to rest on their poles. There’s a big wind abroad and it is coming in angry, pouty gusts.
The widows rattle in their sashes Cathy outside??? Then the stillness settles again, this time more reluctantly. For once it is comforting to be at your desk as the weather breaks against your office windows.

A loud clatter smashes the uneasy silence. You rush to the window and see…nothing. The empty space where a flag pole had stood proudly waving its colours. The wind has taken umbrage and torn down its conceited display.