… the vagaries of days …

My dream sinks to a timeless world the instant I open my eyes and take in the first impressions of the day – a shimmering spider web clings to the corner of the skylight, defined in the early sunbeam – a mosquito hovers drunkenly above my laptop. I recall a similar tiny vampire savouring the taste of my blood during my last day in Darwin; did it converse with this one across the oceans by morphic resonance? P1060804 - lower

Almost two weeks have passed since my return. I miss the Aussie company, and mornings at the pool under the palm roof.

Time is fitting hesitantly into habitual chunks. My body tweaks itself into smaller spaces, and tasks resume their orderly sequence. Breakfast oats don’t land in the coffee filter, and my head no longer collides with the chiming bells hanging next to the kitchen sink. Still, having inhaled another kind of dust for a while, an aura of mystery pervades my familiar environment, and routines are shifting, like I scoff at lists, allowing unimportant stuff to be just that, unimportant.

As the sun pours into the house through the garden door, I step outside. A bright orange hot air balloon almost shaves the branches of the high beech. Another follows, with noisy lettering, not as cheerful as the Virgin one with its clear brand. There being no boundaries to the sky, I’ve the visceral sensation of wanting to shrink and become invisible, musing how privacy and solitude are becoming an issue – there’s only in-back and no out-back left in England.

P1060820 - lower A poem stirs, wants out, but mail demands attention. I share my disorientation with friends. Ideas chatter and juggle into new frames, a changed perception of ‘home.’ What’s home other than moving with the experiences that carry us onwards?

I glance at the patch of Phlox waving from the lush green beyond the window and then distract myself from the screen by trimming a miniature Japonica tree into shape. My blackbird friend comes close enough for us to have a conversation.

I make time for a two hour stint of editing ‘Shapers,’ the sequel to my first novel. Moments of laughter – relishing my writing is surely a good sign, until the next stab of doubt – will anyone be interested in my scribbles? The solution is to keep writing, and trust readers will be pulled into my opus and enjoy the adventure.

Another shot of coffee before today’s therapy sessions begin – undivided attention to process, listening to stories. When silences linger in the devoted space, spirits assemble – we are a crowd of presences meditating on meaning, or the lack of it.

P1060831 - lower Though it was not exactly my birthday, I hosted a small garden party last Saturday, celebrating togetherness with friend. I managed to outwit Sunday’s Hurricane Bertha, which, in my corner, merely brought blustery wind and rain. Clouds parted in time to reveal the brilliant super moon.

Preparing for reading in bed, I catch a tiny movement – a huge spider. Totally irrational, but there’s a wrong time and place for spiders in my house … at night, next to my bed, and it’s a matter of scale. The scenario of a huge spider crawling over my skin plays havoc with my imagination. No time to get a glass and chuck the creature out. I’ve light in my maisonette, but take a torch for good measure, and wait. In a while the monster comes for me from its hiding place among books – full attack! While it baffles me that the sure crunch of a spider’s demise can in such instant bring me satisfaction, it’s also sobering to realise how discordant timing is neither good nor bad, it just is.

P1060834 - smallerGiven the vagaries of experiences each day brings, the only control given to us seems to be pliancy. As I write this, a rainbow flows across a cloud.

‘The same wind that uproots trees
makes the grass shine.
The lordly wind loves the weakness
and the lowness of grasses.
Never brag of being strong.
The axe doesn’t worry how thick the branches are.
It cuts them to pieces. But not the leaves.
It leaves the leaves alone.’
Rumi, The Essential Rumi


Filed under Blog

20 responses to “… the vagaries of days …

  1. So understand! All that disorientation after a bigger space, both physically and psychologically. Yet you have made a jewel with disorientation, even one with no timing for a spider! Great post.


    • Thanks. Disorientation tends to stir stuff. We have the ability to imagine wielding supernatural powers, as well as being small and insignificant creatures in the presence of a higher intelligence – puts all ideas we cling to into a wider perspective 🙂 I wish I didn’t have this gut reaction to big spiders. I’m obviously no candidate for ‘ahimsa’ not at peace with my inner world.


      • Spiders seem to me magical, not just the weaving of webs but like the Octopus eight legs seems to divorce them from the two and four-fold of mammalia. My daughter shares your phobia and she is almost fearless in other ways. For me it is snakes- maybe why I made the serpent the hero of Involution, wielding such power!


        • Snakes, they’re aliens, but at least they’ve eyes to connect with you before they kill you. I’ve a sweet little slow (blind) worm in my garden. My cat used to play with it.
          BTW, did you see the massive spider structure Louise Bourgeois exhibited at Tate Modern years ago? Magnificent. She lived to be nearly a 100


  2. Once again a wonderful post Ashen. That vague sense of being disoriented upon return from an overseas venture reminds me of the many cups of coffee spilled while re-establishing my local steps.
    You sound slightly smitten and, dare I suggest wilfully scheming a further visitation to the Tropical North. Perhaps a visit deeper south this next time may be on the cards.
    When your soul is open, as I understand yours to be, there are lights that shine where others cannot see.B


  3. I think it’s okay to be the leaf for a while. A change of perspective, while immediately disruptive, in the long run is always a good thing. I loved your post about the wedding too–and I can see after that rich experience how you may feel a bit of a lull, or at least, a reassessment. Lovely post.


  4. Poor spider – wrong place and wrong time. Ah well fate I suppose. Lovely word pictures as always – thank you.


    • Thanks, Diane. Yes, I’m not proud of my fear, but have committed murder in similar situations. Big spiders should know better by now, and avoid coming near my bed at night. In any other place I’ve some empathy for them. I found a pair under a plank of a dismantled garden shed once. They wouldn’t leave, so we built the new shed around them 🙂


  5. Yes to this: “Moments of laughter – relishing my writing” … and Happy Birthday! now and exactly when.


    • Ha, ha, yes, there’re hilarious moments in my story.
      And thanks for the Birthday wishes. August is filled with birthdays of mine. I’m cagey with dates because Facebook grabs all private information and then peppers you with adds in the side bar.


  6. So sorry sweetie, I’ve been so absent from my blog and the whole blogging sphere and have missed some lovely posts of yours, but this is another super one! Lol, it’s so bizarre, I have taken an almost identical photograph of the summer moon as seen through the Rowan leaves, and I too have a totally irrational fear of spiders…awful things that seem to hone in on me specifically. Oh honey, I’m SO pleased you’ve had such a wondrous time in Australia for your son’s wedding, the piccies were lovely. Grea to have you back over here though/ 😀 xxx


    • Thanks, Sophie. Australia was a great adventure. Engaging with blogger friends – same here. The summer reading book tour you took part in flew by me. Impressive, though time to absorb it all was not given, family matters took over. I’m happy for you, having found a new job, and having found a new publisher, and I love the cover of White Mountain, which truly evokes the magic of the story.


  7. A poetic and beautifully photographic post Ashen, thank you for this. Hopefully you’ll digest it all … this blog post surely serves that purpose in part.
    Eek, re spiders …. I would have .. I don’t know what .. left the country with nothing but the clothes I was wearing?


    • Our fears indicate at least that we’re not yet divorced from nature 🙂 all the memories of incompatible needs seem well alive in us, a continuous challenge to reason, maybe a reminder to honour difference. It’s just humbling to know that I can, given discordant circumstances, become a murderess – in the knowledge there’s no court in the land to give a spider equal rights 🙂


      • Ha ha! I would be too nervous to kill a spider or a snake in the thought that its mate would come back and haunt me, even bite, badly. I’d rather leave the country. But what a lovely way to view self and nature – in some way we’re not totally divorced from our natural fears. This gives me hope 🙂 Much pondering to do re: spiders and equal rights … they weave webs as do we … 🙂


  8. Love your writing, Ashenen!


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