Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thank you, Mary

I live in a storybook village, filled with houses that could be made out of gingerbread. It's true. The people here are named after literary characters: Dorrit, Heidi, Charlie, and they live in tiny thatched cottages covered in clematis and roses, with names like "Quiet Corner." There is a cricket pitch, a windmill, an Iron Age fort guarded by tall, ancient beech trees, wild apple and plum trees, a giant oak tree with perfect branches for children to climb upon. In August, my garden is full of blackberries, overgrown daisies, butterfly bushes, florabunda, ox-eye daisies, a hazel tree filled with naughty grey squirrels, a greengage tree with groaning branches, and a badger set at the end of the garden, near the stone wall that connects us to our very lovely neighbors. Cyclists whizz by in threes and fours, in their red and black stretchiness. Duelling wood pigeons coo at each other, and clatter in the branches as they fly off.  Horses come by in pairs at a trot. And there are tractors pulling trailers full of bales as the harvest is in full swing. Silver birch shimmer.

We live at the junction of two small roads, marked by an apple and an oak that grow together. In front of our house is a triangle of grass and a white wooden signpost that you can only find in rural England. The sky is a not-too-glaring blue, a tasteful blue, not like the glaring, bold blue of Los Angeles, or the simmering, sexy blue of Greece, and small clouds float freely.

And striding into this world I wonder, how on earth did I get here? How do we find ourselves where we are? Is this intention or fate? I walk my dogs across the cricket pitch in the morning, my head full of work worries and the general existential angst that comes from having a madman as the president of my adopted country (what has he done now? is my familiar refrain every morning). And as I walk, I listen to the birds, the wind in the trees, marvel at the amount of blackberries, see how the bracken has grown since I was last here a few days ago, witness the jolly cavorting of the dogs, and everything melts away. This is what is important: to be in a place that feels like home, safe, and surrounded by the natural world, in its arms, connected to it, part of it.

"Do you think there is anything not attached by its unbreakable cord to everything else?" 
-- Mary Oliver

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I spent a few days with both my children and no-one else, but for frequent excursions with my charming cousin out on the boat. We picnicked in the Oslofjord and we cooked suppers on the coal grill, we walked across the granite rocks and stared in awe at the blue sea, and instead of three strangers, we became a unit again. All of the outside stuff fell off, and we became ourselves again. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift. I watched my daughter in the water, attempting to master one ski, and she came out grinning, sparkling, dripping with saltwater, beaming. "Remember this," I said. "This is your authentic self. This is who we are supposed to be."  I think that's our job, as humans, to find that joy that resides inside of all of us, and to be who we are meant to be, and thus, connected to the whole.

I hope you all have a marvelous day. #onlylove

1 comment:

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Sounds like a nice place.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.