Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My huckleberry friend

Is it part of the human condition that we desire to be cruel when we feel attacked? I woke up pondering this. I struggle to be in a constant state of loving kindness (I wrestle with it, I should say, manfully) when perhaps being true to one's authentic self would be to say "F**k this sh*t" (trademark: @minkyhonor).

Nil desperandum -- we are but one good night's sleep away from bliss.

My oldest dog, Dotsie, the dalmatian with the lumpy bottom, is in the habit of growling at (and biting, given half a chance) any new dog she encounters. It is severely antisocial behaviour and believe me, it doesn't make us any friends. But I've realized that she is protecting herself, attacking before she is attacked. And so it is with the human desire to be cruel.

Mr Albert Williams of Little Gaddesden CofE School, a man I learned more from than any of my other teachers, wrote this in my golden autograph book:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

I stared at it, written in his calligraphic script -- beautiful penmanship I've always tried to emulate -- and tried to understand, age 10 what it meant. No-one really explained it to me. And then, slowly, every year it took on more meaning. And every year the meaning becomes more personal.

Don't let the bastards get you down.
We all want to be big, open, loving beings, unguarded, elevated, transcendent, and yet sometimes we are thwarted. So, lift up your head and listen to Pete Townsend:

Sometimes it feels that opening one's heart is a futile act; something we do only so we can close it again. This is why people are guarded and bent over and sad, their eyes dark, because they've opened their hearts one too many times, and they just can't take the pain any more. But yet we still do it, again and again and again...this too is part of the human condition. Possibly the most beautiful thing about being human.

(Audrey Hepburn is singing Moon River: a lovely distraction.)

Time brings objectivity: it is the one thing I've learned in the last two years. On the other end of two years of recovery from loss, there is light and brightness and a sweet, sweet objectivity. Suddenly it's not about you. Not at all. It's never about you. That is the relief. If there were more rain in Los Angeles, we'd all know this in our bones.

And so another day starts. There is tea and Debussy and the crows and the still greyness of the canyon. There is a text from my boy. Pictures of the beach at Sag Harbor. There is the naughty dog who can't stop herself from gallumphing down the fence barking at the neighbor dogs in glee.  There are Tibetan prayer flags and beautiful birthday orchids and Rich Tea biscuits on the counter. And I've listened to Hallelujah by Jocelyn Pook seven times in a row (please listen: it's a startlingly beautiful piece of music):

Do not be afraid, my huckleberry friend. There is a whole world out there. It's all connected to you, it's all part of you, but it is not you.

This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. - See more at: http://quotationsbook.com/quote/35797/#sthash.LGfikFqL.dpuf


Wally Bell said...

This post is one of the many, many reasons I love visiting your Blog. Thank you

Miss Whistle said...

Thank you Wally. Such a lovely thing to say. Sending hugs your way xxx

LPC said...

Ah Bumble. I will marry on Thursday. And we have already planned to have "Moon River" played. On the erhu.

I feel the universe may have spoken to me through you, and this mild approach to life is something I have learned very late. Thank you for your poetics.


Katherine C. James said...

Bumble, this is extraordinarily beautiful. I saw that wonderful Susan Champlin had posted a link to this today, but I waited to read it in my evening ritual when your blog posts arrive in my email.

I am emerging from years of loss and grief. Today I had one of those simultaneously light and deep talks with an old friend who loves me as I love her. She reminded me how much better I am, and of her belief that my dad is watching over me as I move through my days. I felt her love, and was reminded of my dad's love. The world seemed rich with possibility; the burdens of loss and fear I've carried were lifted yet more as they have been lifting, and moved yet more away from me as they have been moving.

And this evening I read here, "Time brings objectivity … On the other end of … recovery from loss, there is light and brightness and a sweet, sweet objectivity. Suddenly it's not about you. Not at all. It's never about you. That is the relief." And I say Yes, exactly, none of it, none of the causes of all of this were ever about me, and it has been a relief to slowly let that burden go.

And how fortuitous to find not only the generous gift of wisdom from you, Bumble, but sweet, serendipitous connection from Lisa, a woman who has been by me through this loss in some significant ways.

The world is full of love. Mine and yours included. I'm grateful for this evening; for your words, Bumble; for you Lisa, who I thought of today as I stood on a sunny street corner in San Francisco, you and your approaching wedding.

Listening to Pete Townsend here I heard, "Release yourself from misery … When tragedy befalls you. Don't let them drag you down. Love can cure your problem." Yes it can, and love comes to us in so many forms when we are open to it, and when we give it freely; when we keep on giving it freely no matter what.

Thank you, Bumble, for this beautiful post. Thank you, Lisa, for your ongoing support given out of unselfish compassionate kindness. I wish you a joyful wedding day.

Love to you both. Love. xoxoxo.

Lou said...

I love the way you write - I have a confession - the posts I like the best are these ones. I love the poetry and the recipes too, but this glimpse into the human condition, expressed so beautifully gives me hope. L x

Miss Whistle said...

@LPC -- Moon River is a perfect wedding song. I hope your day is quite wonderful.xo
@Katherine -- You rock. Just love your hippy heart. Makes me very happy. xoxo
@Lou -- thank you! They're always harder to write but it feels cathartic, so I appreciate it.

materfamilias said...

I must just take a moment to tell you again what a treasure you are, as is your writing. I never come to this blog without finding something true or beautiful. Thank you!

materfamilias said...
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