Monday, 22 July 2013

Message from Home

I've been seizing up. Overwhelmed. Seeking space, quiet, a place to pause. A place to breathe.

 I have felt vulnerable and my skin tingly. I don't know why. Yet I do in a way. It's the not feeling enough to go around for everyone that needs me. It's the frayed edge at the end of the day. It's the small intricate details that merge and surge like snow drifts or dunes against the soul.
I need my eye to gaze unhindered for a moment upon these pictures. The silver blue, distance, immense as a whale and as unfathomable.

I intentionally got out my sketchbooks and some beautiful thick, charcoal pencils this afternoon. Tani took the girls out for an hour and I made a cinnamon tea, as you must on grey, rainy Summer days, and I sketched, away. letting the graphite line take me on a journey.

Sometimes, the first thing we look for is a distraction when the best thing to do is sit with the feelings and ask them what story they are trying to tell.

Meaning, is found in relationship.
Relationships develop through listening.
So I am being quiet.

I love how children just are. I love their freedom to be authentically in the moment. No social constructs, no ideology, no scaffolding to hold their identity up. They meet another's eye without censor, filter or fear, just themselves.

Whatever they feel they feel and that's it. Simple, honest, true. 

I have just given a friend a lift into town for a job interview. The temperatures are in the 30’s and the car is a baking oven. As we wait for him and my two year old writhes and wriggles in the heat, I wonder. What if I had no mobile phone, no money and the car broke down?  There are hundreds of people here, hundreds of cars. Yet to ask any one of them for a lift would seem, emotionally, like crossing the Atlantic. It is strange, and isolating.

What walls are built as we grow up?

Luckily, at the moment, I wouldn't need to put myself in such a vulnerable position. However, I have, as a young person, been in very vulnerable positions where I've needed to reach out for help.
It's a funny thing that dignity is equated with Independence. And scary in a way.

Look at the feet rushing through water, sqealching deep into mud! Love!

I want meaning. I want neatly tied up endings and clean skirting boards. I want coherence in my cupboards, and I don't even know the deep reason why I want these things. They are the coping strategies of a caged bird. 
 Yet God blesses me with complexity, paradox and silence. A work that falls apart in my hands.
It seems to me a message in a bottle, saying leave these tangled threads of past and future and all the ideas of what being good enough means. Just sit on the ragged shore of now. 
Though the fragments still don't form a picture that I can make sense of, there is a beauty in their broken form. Shards of sunlight, reflect from each facet.
And I can feel the warm breath of the sun on my face.

“The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving"

Mother Teresa 

Message from Home

Do you remember, when you were first a child.
Nothing in the world seemed strange to you?
You perceived, for the first time, shapes already familiar,
And seeing, you knew that you have always known
The lichen on the rock, fern-leaves, the flowers of thyme,
As if the elements newly met in your body,
Caught up into the momentary vortex of your living
Still kept the knowledge of a former state,
In you retained recollection of cloud and ocean,
The branching tree, the dancing flame.

Now when nature’s darkness seems strange to you,
And you walk, an alien, in the streets of cities,
Remember earth breathed you into her with the air, with the sun’s rays,
Laid you in her waters asleep, to dream
With the brown trout among the milfoil roots,
From substance of star and ocean fashioned you,
At the same source conceived you
As sun and foliage, fish and stream

Of all created things the source is one,
Simple, single as love; remember
The cell and seed of life, the sphere
That is, of child, white bird, and small blue dragon-fly
Green fern, and the gold four-petalled tormentilla
The ultimate memory.
Each latent cell puts out a future,
Unfolds its differing complexity.
As a tree puts forth leaves, and spins a fate
Fern-traced, bird-feathered, or fish-scaled.
Moss spreads its green film on the moist peat,
The germ of dragon-fly pulses into animation and takes wing
As the water-lily from the mud ascends on its ropy stem
To open a sweet white calyx to the sky.
Man, with farther to travel from his simplicity,
From the archaic moss, fish, and lily parts,
And into exile travels his long way.

As you leave Eden behind you, remember your home,
For as you remember back into your own being
You will not be alone; the first to greet you
Will be those children playing by the burn,
The otters will swim up to you in the bay,
The wild deer on the moor will run beside you.
Recollect more deeply, and the birds will come,
Fish rise to meet you in their silver shoals,
And darker, stranger, more mysterious lives
Will throng about you at the source
Where the tree’s deepest roots drink from the abyss.
Nothing in that abyss is alien to you.
Sleep at the tree’s root, where the night is spun
Into the stuff of worlds, listen to the winds,
The tides, and the night’s harmonies, and know
All that you knew before you began to forget,
Before you became estranged from your own being,
Before you had too long parted from those other
More simple children, who have stayed at home
In meadow and island and forest, in sea and river.
Earth sends a mother’s love after her exiled son,
Entrusting her message to the light and the air,
The wind and waves that carry your ship, the rain that falls,
The birds that call to you, and all the shoals
That swim in the natal waters of her ocean.
Kathleen Raine.

Sharing with Imperfect Prose


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for your lovely, thoughtful comments Denise, I really appreciate them :)

  2. Oh, you made me sigh aloud Suzy. What beautiful words you weave. I will join you on the ragged shore of now, should you need any company x

    1. You are very welcome to join me here :) The sock drawers are running over and the dishes are piling up but it's still quiet and peaceful. Thank you xx

  3. Very tender sentiments, Suzy. Oh, to live such a life unfettered by inhibitions and conventions and to breathe through the consciousness of a child. It is hard to let go of a lifetime of conditioning... xx

    1. Thank you Lou :) I love how children teach us more than we can teach them! xx

  4. i love your pictures of baby and your words. i have needed quiet too...
    the poem is awesome. when i think about my childhood, i remember what is real again. living hard years on this earth sure does take a toll sometimes.

    1. Just when you think you've got the picture it changes, just like a kaliedascope :) I don't know if I'll ever get the hang of it :)

  5. I love Kathleen Raine. Have you ever read her Autobiography? I was about to go check the title, but all the books are packed!

    Yes, unsettledness and ambiguity are woven into life. I guess God just likes to keep us on our toes. I think it's better to recognise our discomfort and try to settle with it, and draw (literally?) something from it, than to run away from it.

    take care Suzy, xox

    1. I haven't Christine, but I will certainly look it up! I have fallen in love with her poetry :)
      Thank you. xx

  6. beautiful post. letting go of what you want to embrace what you have, what is going on in this very moment is hard.

    1. Yes, this always present lesson of letting go of what is not nessecary, the preconceptions, the expectations, the doubts and the fears. Learning, very, s l o w l y :)xx

  7. another great post. thank you.

    I often get the strongest feelings of discomfort and vulnerability when my life seems to be on an even plane and all is well. When I am challenged I can rise to it, but give me too many even keel days and I really need to seek the silence.

    1. That is so true! Yes, I find myself seeling activity as a coping strategy sometimes! Thank you for your comment :)

  8. As I was reading this post I felt a sense of belonging, I was quietly saying *yes* to all the things you said. I wonder when we ever feel confident in ourselves as mothers, sisters, friends.
    I love your beautiful words, I am thankful I can come here and share our stories <3

    Love to you xx

    1. I am thankful too :) Feeling "enough" is a gift. I am so incredibly blessed that you felt belonging here :)

  9. The last picture is my favourite... something about the splash and freedom.

    1. Yes, that one is my favourite too. For all the same reasons :)

  10. Oh this is so good suzy. I hear your heart, I know it too. Thank you for your words, your wisdom, the peace you exude. Xx

  11. Hi,

    Your line, " Sometimes, the first thing we look for is a distraction when the best thing to do is sit with the feelings and ask them what story they are trying to tell." speaks truth to me, friend. My small group went through a book on healthy emotional spirituality this year and the author challenged us on this too.

    Have a great week. Peeking in from the IP link up,
    Jennifer Dougan


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