Between the Bricks

Meanderings of a grown up girl

Ghosts on Stilts

I hear you, ghosts on stilts. I know you’re out there, lingering in the paddy fields, digging the rich red earth with your bare hands and rudimentary tools. What are you digging for? Oh, you’re not digging for anything, I see, I’m sorry! I didn’t realise. I should have thought.

It will be over soon. It can’t go on forever. Only thing is, for many, for you, I suppose it will be too late. It was too late! Crickets and centipedes don’t really cut the mustard do they, not for men like you! Not for anyone. A rat if you’re lucky. What about the little fish and frogs? Do you fish? You’d better learn. Put away your stethoscope and learn to fish instead. Being clever won’t help you now. You have to be a different kind of clever. Pretending not to be clever is clever!


Bon Voyage to Self

The other lands are calling. I’ve packed my bag and left things as they should be. This is my life – and it’s ok – a bag and everything as it should be. Time has brought me to this moment and time will take me to another, and another and yet another after that. I am ready. Well, I‘m not struggling at least! The fact is I feel nothing. No excitement, no anticipation, no sadness, no fear – simply nothing. Except, there is a pain in my right ear. Throbbing throbbing throbbing. And, an acute stabbing sensation too. It came out of nowhere and has gradually increased over the past few hours. Like so many things that creep up on us unexpectedly – like ageing! I’m not immune. I’ve been discovering that recently. Did I ever think I was? Yes, ten years ago and more perhaps I did because I never thought about it – and now I do.

You left me. You went away. You took the breath from my body and the blood from my veins. You made a life with someone else. You made a life! And everything in my world stopped. Everything. Tick tock tick tock  – stop. Except the tears and the ageing of course.  They don’t stop. What I saw in the mirror wasn’t the same me and when I thought of you, it wasn’t the same you either. The You you would not have gone away . The You you never wanted to leave me, never could. How come it was so easy?

What fools we are for love!

My ear hurts but that pain will go away – and the other? The endless other? I’ll get used to it, I suppose…

I’m in!

I haven’t really got the hang of this blogging business! Just make it up as I go along! I’ve been shut out of my dashboard for months on end because I forgot my username and password – how stupid is that! Perhaps not quite as stupid as handing out the wrong blog address to people! It hardly matters that I couldn’t get into my blog since nobody could read it anyway!  Having just written my daily gratitude list, I thought I’d just give it a try and hey presto, here I am! So, one more item to add to my  gratitude list today –  Dear Universe, thank you SO much for helping me remember my WordPress user name and ID so I can actually post something on my blog!

Snapshots from Bhutan

How delicate the myriad purple faces that highlight a vast green blanket stretching as far as the eye can see!  A timid yet reverent bow from time to time, a gentle sway as mountain breezes quickly pass. And there, a little patch of orange, bobbles of brightness amidst companions more deeply painted. Outnumbered but never daunted; a meadow of cheerfulness that paves the way, the route, the journey to higher realms.

So tiny, so tiny yet so resilient, matching in courage even the tallest shadows that cast their profile in serrated formation between one terrain and the next, guiding us to look beyond the patchwork landscape of olive green, sage green, browns, grey and deep deep blues. A pretty purple prologue to what follows if we dare to venture.

Let us rest a while. Let us take a moment to catch our breath and with our hearts to witness this panorama. And when ready…speak to me…

Speak to me of mountains, of peaks and troughs and valleys far and wide, of snow clad summits that rise, pristine white into clear blue skies and puffy white clouds heavy with the songs of gods. Speak to me of far-away vistas.

Speak to me of white-washed temples that squarely stand on high held planes, solid and sturdy, simple, homely exteriors, embellished wooden door and window frames their only superficial indulgence.  Enter and that’s another story, of dusky interiors and gilded figurines, and rituals – the happenings of incantations, chants and meditation, of hypnotic smells from burning incense and votive offerings, as butter melts and drips away and with it thoughts and fears and pain – and perhaps a futile dream or two.

Speak to me of men in robes, of saffron clad figures who stand and gaze beyond, who see what is to be seen on far horizons yet smile knowingly as inwardly, there is nothing to be seen. Years of solitude and vibrant prayer have taught them the tranquility of inner wisdom, the silent strength of man’s true nature.

Speak to me of light, the radiance that feeds row upon row of flickering flames that burn to heal the souls of the dead – and the living.

Speak to me of happy lands, of smiles and laughter and children’s cheery faces. Of babes, with dirt smeared cheeks, tear stained, until the sun gently dries them and a mother’s tender touch soothes their cries that quickly change to giggles of delight. Speak to me of weather beaten skin, rugged and deeply wrinkled with age and eyes that glisten brightly.  Elders, calmly waiting their time, contented, warmed by memories and the knowledge that life is love and laughter, pain and sorrow, joy and disappointment and every anxious or ecstatic moment in between. And with that certainty they know that only all complete us, when life’s long journey is complete itself.

Speak to me of this.

Buzzard buzzard soaring high,                                                                                                                 Take me with you in the sky.                                                                                                                             Help me lose myself and I.

Whispers of a Tree

There is always a tree.

Outside my window, on a hill, in a copse, along a far east street. An aged mango, a lone Hawthorne, a mighty beech, a giant Rainforest, that speaks to me of blood and tears and pain when being pruned. An errant branch that stretches just a little bit too far, and so, to bring it in line, along they come, with crane and chainsaw to chop it off. They think it looks more tidy. They do not understand the hurt they cause. They do not hear the screams. They do not care. It is not their fault. They do not know.

And you my friend, so much prettier than just one month before.  Forgive me, I did not notice how you have blossomed! How far you’ve come since you were injured –  a wayward car that crashed into your trunk and cut you! You wobbled for a while, dazed by such an insult, unexpected and unjust. And for a few anxious days I feared it would mean your fall, if not by your own desire then theirs. They do not care. It is not their fault. They do not know.

Happily you stood your ground and here you are, embellished with a pretty pink of floating petals. You may be grand my friend but nothing can deny your tenderness and love. For as I peer beyond the grills of my life here within, I thank the gods who gifted me this heart to hear you whisper your sweet words of wisdom. You teach me well and I am grateful for your counsel:

“Every single gossamer of pink rests delicately upon my myriad finger tips, tethered lightly but with a strength beyond compare. Yet all it takes is one sweet breath of air for one or two, then three and four and more to fly!  And when they do, I watch them go with half a heart and nurturing glance in knowledge of my role. Now, they are unhindered, each free to seek a fresh abode.  Some near, some far, I cannot say, they are no longer my journey but their own. Soon, I stand naked again, disrobed, revealed, my branches light and bare. But I do not fear a lack of dignity as I am still whole. The essence of myself remains.  The change around me is not always of my making but I too must change as seasons pass. As sun and wind and tempest set their course around me I have learned to bend with the rhythm of time. The blossom of one age comes and goes but patiently I wait, as one day more will bloom again. It is the way. Rooted to the spot and standing still are not the same my friend.  Remember, for every beginning there must be an end.”

That word again!

I love the word ‘amazing’. I love to attach it to people – those who truly mean something to me, who inspire me, who make me smile, who humble me and who push me to be better by their own actions and outlook. I like to tell people, “You are amazing!” It’s important – important to remember…

But don’t get me wrong – it’s not a word that trips lightly off my tongue. I say it because I mean it and I mean it because I see it and I see it because I feel it. And I can feel it even if I don’t know a person, for those who are truly amazing, known or unknown, emanate a light and a power that engulfs every sentient being within their proximity; they resonate a spirit for life that is undeniable, a spirit that enhances, empowers and enables us to breathe that little bit deeper, for our hearts to beat that little bit stronger; a spirit that inspires us to to want to live amazingly ourselves.

When we desire to live amazingly then we understand what an amazing thing is this journey called life! And how much more amazing when we live it authentically! But what exactly is life? Is it really as simple as a beginning and an end? Or is it all about the living in between? A jigsaw of choices, experiences, people and places; a global school for children of all ages. One big soupy mess. Thorns and roses. A tangle of emotions we spend a lifetime untangling. A dream. One big fat illusion. All of this and nothing. Perhaps simply anything anyone wants it to be. Mundane and ordinary –  or everything but.

Life in between

There was a little girl on the bus this morning, about five years old, chattering away, singing Incy Wincy Spider to her mum. Her mind wandering here and there as children’s thoughts often do, speaking random thoughts out loud; the innocence of childhood. I felt how wonderful it must be to have a child to love – to have the love of a child.  And the tears came.

I glanced out of the window and saw an old man sitting at a bus stop. Saggy wrinkled skin. Dry skin. He too was muttering away; a different kind of chatter. No one was listening. No one paid him any attention.

A little girl with so much to come, a future, so much to learn and understand and yet no sense of what that is. An old man with nearly everything behind him, decades of memories, the future winding down – and every sense of what that means.

Two different ends of life’s spectrum. And the tears came.

The tears come…the tears come…

When you are weary…

When you are weary and every muscle in your body begs you to be still; when every bone of your limbs reverberates with the deepest and dullest ache imaginable; when your nerves pulse uncontrollably sending messages of anxiety and pain to your crumpled soul; when the purple cloak of certainty falls from your shoulders and the exhaustion you feel leaves every cell in your body utterly bewildered – remember. At that moment remember you are alive!

And as you lift up your face to meet the sun’s warm and nurturing gaze, remember also to tell yourself, “I AM AMAZING!”

Shut out the longing

Why do you weep at life? Your hair is thick and your skin is smooth and you know the meaning of a smile! Why do you sigh when you wake each morning? When you open your eyes, you are witness to the greatest gift of all – the light of a brand new day. Your gratitude is the only fare you need to pay as the second hand ticks away. Tick, thank you! Tock, thank you! All else is superfluous. Go on! Step down lightly, raise your face to the sun and smile. You’re very good at that – smiling. If you have no other skill to offer, that’s ok. There is nothing to lament.

Why do you grieve? Why do you scream with anger and frustration within? Alice is nearly 110 years old but you’ll never hear her complain.  Alice experienced the abomination of abominations yet has never lived with anything other than hope, joy, respect and love. Always love. Everything is beauty in the eyes of Alice and everything perfection in her hands. Can you not see the same?

I know that when you lay down your head and breath becomes more laboured it’s because your heart aches and your womb succumbs to the emptiness it carries. But you cannot fill the void with tears and memories of what you will never know.  Those souvenirs are for others, not for you. You need not fear the longing but do not allow it to drown you, for it will try!  Welcome it with a smile, naturally, then politely send it on it’s way – and close the door.