Monday, 3 August 2015


 The Moment
Margaret Atwood 

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round. 

Two currents converge in middle age. It's a bit like the two towers of Middle Earth.
We bear the ring of years on this planet. 
Every voyage we make around the sun deepens the lines on our skin and the mark of the materiel on our lives. 

Whole lives grow from a tap-root of simple questions.
On what ground will we stand?  Will we follow our soul as guide? Will we be led by compassion or fear? 

From birth to middle age we grow layers like an onion. We take on roles, labels, names, careers and other outward definitions. 
We develop our style.
If we are lucky we cultivate dreams into a way of making a living and if we are luckier still, a life. 

We accumulate, souvenirs and photographs, memories and experiences ( and if you're anything like me a garage knee deep in rubbish too)

We've walked and walked telling ourselves the top of the hill is our destination only to find one strange and otherworldly morning that we have reached the summit sometime during the night. 

Those dizzy heights of achievement and experience which seemed so out of reach to our childhood/teenage/twenty-something selves are here, finally. 

Perspective broadens vision and insight. For indeed, the higher you stand the further you see. 
The knowledge of inner and outer worlds and how they collide deepens. 
Foresight sobers.

The reasons why some things happened to us, the way experience moulded us like a river moulds the earth, coursing rivulets and irrigating the landscape of years, months, days , moments begin to clarify...

And life seems suddenly intense, precious, vivid, raw, messy and profoundly fragile.

And then the shocker, though we should have guessed, The summit of this hill is not the destination at all.

If we are to go forth we must descend. 
Peel back the layers, return to the simplicity of the child within. The one who doesn't carry a pack on their back or a label in their pocket. 

The older I get the more I feel myself returning to that experiential state. 

At the age of sixteen I cut my long blond hair into a pink mohawk. The self within me wanted to wade fearless and true into the world in a pair of oversized Doc Martins.

I thought that was my statement. I thought my life was a statement. I thought that statement was my reason for being here.

But now life is more simple. It is about breaths and moments and connections. It's about nuances and the pause between the big events. It's experiencing things as they are including myself with all it's flaws.
It's about being rather than doing.

And I find myself letting go more and more as my children grow. 

I used to think the worrying would decrease as they grew, but no, it only changes. 
When they were little chicks I could keep them under my wing, huddled close. 
Now they are sprawling, exploring and finding their own paths and I realise that they never were mine, they never did belong to me, they are their own and this is as it must be.
Life is one long lesson in letting go. 

Every year Buddhist monks in Tibetan monasteries nestled high in the Himalayas create a huge mandala from coloured sand which they painstakingly blow grain by grain through thin straws. 
The mandala is said to represent a blueprint of life which illustrates the nature of existence. All beauty and form is given place in the endless circle, from the spirals in a sunflower to the swirl of the milky way.
The mandala's intricate design takes hours and hours to complete.
Yet once this exquisite work is finished the monks spread their hands over it merging the colours back to one before releasing the grains into the down-flow of a sacred river. 

Perhaps this is both the"wild"  and the "precious" of our finite time here on this crazy, beautiful whirling rainbow sphere.

There is a point to these rambling thoughts (although it may not seem like it :) 
If I thought being 15 was full on I obviously hadn't heard about being 35!

Stay tuned :)


  1. More beautiful words and photos.


    Onion rings.

    Just imagine how many rings have been accumulated, by 78. -smile-

    But perhaps, in the year 2000, I began peeling layers back...

    It feels that way, at least.



  2. such beautiful words. it seems really there is no destination, only a journey with many ups and downs. sometimes we are on the correct path and sometimes we get lost. sometimes the getting lost is what we need.

  3. This is stunningly beautiful.

  4. I have to second Kim, Suzy Mae, you have a special gift.

  5. So beautifully written and so much truth in all of it. Keep peeling I say, it suits you well, and your words are so lovely.

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  7. Thanks for linking, Suzy Mae. This reminds me of Wendell Berry's poem "Thirty More Years" and Richard Rohr's book, "Falling Upward."

  8. Such gorgeous words an images!

  9. Beautiful post! I love the image of the poppy pods.


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