The dreamy time, on the way from darkness to light. With most of the night behind us, it is not morning quite yet. It is early enough to roll over and sleep on and yet it is late enough to get up and face the day. I am undecided. A part of me refuses to leave the darkness. The direction is clear, the speed of travel is not. Sometimes I feel like the days are getting longer too fast, the spring is practically hurtling at us. Especially with the tepid winter we’ve had and my personal loss, it has been very difficult to get grounded, rooted and rested. I am not quite ready for the forceful pull of all this new life. I want to burrow in the darkness and burn candles. Other days, though, I am happy to get out of the office and not have to switch on my bike lights and sometimes even enjoy the last rays of sun as I cycle home.
My thoughts and moods are divided, too, and so is my writing. I want to write an obituary for our ivy, a very old and beautiful, lush vine which grew on the neighbours’ wall and which died unexpectedly and completely in late summer, just as my mother got sick. The ivy provided shelter, year after year, to the blackbirds and doves who reared their young in its dense glossy foliage. Those mornings spent fighting neighbours’ cats with plastic water guns to save the fledglings will forever stay in our family’s lore. Now the ivy’s last browned leaves are shed and blown away by February winds, the bird nests exposed, bare and barren, a shelter no more. The neighbours must have poisoned the plant when we were away in the summer; they had complained of the damage to their wall and unfortunately it’s that kind of relationship we have. Morbid thinking and conspiracy theory, my husband says. But any other explanation of the verdant vine’s sudden demise is too uncanny.
The garden is in mourning for the ivy and I cannot bring myself to strip it all down. It can wait, it is too early in the morning. For now, this:
I am ivy, a real high-flyer.
Via bark and stone I scale tree and spire.
You call me ground cover; I say sky-wire.
From The Lost Words, by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris – a truly enchanting “book of spells”, “that might just, by the old, strong magic of being spoken aloud, unfold dreams and songs, and summon lost words back into the mouth and the mind’s eye”.
But then again, I also think about taking inventory and making plans for the allotment and about putting in an order of vegetable seeds. I did not feel I would be able to do it this year, so the seed order takes on the significance of a major milestone.
This morning is bright and still, sandwiched between the storms. With Ciara finally exhausted and Dennis on its way, we get a short reprieve from the Nature’s outbursts. And so, I choose for the seeds. What is it going to be this year? The ambition is modest, what with our full-time jobs, kids and general energy levels. But we can let ourselves dream big for now, it’s that time of the year. We won’t need to start planting the seeds for a good couple of weeks still. There is now a storm ahead of us, and a very, very wintry trip to the North. As storm Dennis hits our coast this weekend, there is still time to snooze and savour the candle light. ��͘�
15 thoughts on “5am on the Wheel of the Year”
You write so beautifully, capturing moods and feelings like characters in a book. You draw one in to feel your deepest pain, and leave me touched and troubled by your sadness. I pray spring will breathe new life to your soul.
Thank you so much, Cindy, this means a lot to me. Sometimes I worry that maybe I am laying myself too bare, being too candid and maybe sometimes too “lyrical”, but for me that’s the only way to connect to people and connecting with like-minded people, finding my “tribe” is the only reason for this blog, so I am so happy to hear that sometimes I do manage that. Glad to have you here, Cindy.
This is so hauntingly beautiful
Dear Katya, I have left your post open on my WordPress app since it was published as I wanted to read it in a moment of peace which has finally come. I feel at home among your words, a question of rhythm, colour, breathing. They say lyrism can be tricky – only when it parts from the naked truth, or, if truth be too big a word, from sincerity. Everything rings true in your writing, and I love it. I am impressed and happy you can plan for your allotment in spite of pain and sadness, I am sure you won’t regret it. 🙂
Thank you so much, dear Frog, this is so kind and you said it so beautifully, I wish my writing was indeed that… Sometimes I wonder if it should be more “informative”, less lyrical, worry that it may verge on the “purple prose”. But then I sit down to write and find indeed that I can’t be anyone else on the page, but myself, and if I am indeed a creator of purple prose, then so be it😀 I am so happy you feel “at home” here, I can’t tell you how much it means to me.
I confess I had to google purple prose – forgive me the cliché but it seems a very Anglo-saxon way of seeing and labelling style. I can see that insincere, overly baroque writing should be avoided, but I don’t think there could be a one-for-all definition. I have just read that purple prose is undemocratic. 😩 Only truth (authenticity) matters to me – faithfulness to your experience, to your voice, and if they require richness of metaphors, unapologetic emotion, so be it. It is equally bad taste to look for elegant slimmed down writing that doesn’t express much. But I am only stating the obvious. What you write is truly beautiful. Long live emotions.
Indeed. The truth / authenticity and depth. For me, integrity. The only point is to express yourself and hope to reach those who will hear and relate, to touch their hearts and make us feel not alone. Belonging.
It is so true what you say, that it’s bad taste to slim down your writing in search of elegance and end up cold, leaving others cold too. I struggle with the “classic style”, I struggle to fade out from the page, to become a background. Although one day I may still write a post titled “The top ten ways of …” or “How to..”Please don’t abandon me at that point. 😀
And depth. Depth and complexity are what matters. Your prose breathes from the belly.
I am so honoured and deeply touched, thank you! Indeed, I have been longing to call you a friend, a kindred spirit that I feel I know better than I do some of “real life” people around me. I even dare to hope that we might meet one day 🙂
Yes that would be lovely !
Dear Frog, I had an unexpected and very vivid dream the other night, as though I was visiting a dear friend in Kent (who I do actually have), and then I went in search of you, looking in local schools and cafes, asking around if anyone knew a person who goes by the name of Frog. And I did find you and we hugged (despite the corona virus :-)) and talked a lot. I woke up with such a lovely feeling. Maybe this dream will come through one day.
What a wonderful dream Katya ! ❤ It will surely happen, if you dreamt it vividly ! One day I might learn how to cook and love beetroot from you. 🙂
Oh Katya – I hope you are mending!
The seeds are a good start and I see you had a wonderful time in the snow!
Plant some ivy on your side of the wall to invite a new generation of birds (and cats!).
Come and have tea with me in my garden soon.
Thanks, Lily-Anne! Yes, slowly getting out of the woods, looking forward to spring. A new ivy plant is definitely going up the wall! Unfortunately, it will take years before it will cover it… But yes, we should indeed get together at the garden some time soon! We are planting some tomato seeds with you in mind, too 🙂