And there he was, frozen, still, eyes wide, teeth shining, tail erect, holding my gaze, waiting, both of us, for the other to make a move.
Not what I expected to see at the bottom of the garden, my sanctuary, sweet smell of honeysuckle, boxed in with the structured walled hedge. My get away from the noise of the house, the chaos, and now, each of us startled, lost in our thoughts and fears. The wolf cub and me, wondering what next? Is each of us friend or foe?
My gaze softened, I smiled and slowly held out my hand as I bent down, to beckon him and to my surprise, he yielded and together we sat, quiet amongst the honeysuckle, knowing we’d been found.
For national poetry day across the pond in the UK…..
Do you ever notice how we behave in any given situation. How treat, react and respond to people and things. How, at times, we have a sense of entitlement and ownership and will do whatever is necessary to get what we want, no matter how big or small, or who we may trample on. Even the silly things, can turn us into competitive monsters!
The shuffling, the whispers, eyes flitting, one way then the other. Hushed voices. Observing each other with the suspicion of a Russian spy, and with such curiosity that it could well lead to what happened to the cat!
Contemplation of their own moves, their own tactics. I can hear the cogs turning in their minds, even my own, guessing which one will succeed. Some look up, heavenward, some look away, trying to be nonchalant, undeterred, unaffected.
They pretend they are not playing the game, but i’ve been watching them closely. It’s easy when you’re on the other side of the fence.
Human behaviour…. Sure don’t we think we are civilised, superior, dignified and righteous? At times we are. Just see how we meet and greet our neighbour, the local shop keeper, the milkman, the priest. Look at the great deeds some do for others. So caring, so selfless, so civilised.
But, put us amongst the different nations, put us in a different country, a hot country. A hot country with a pool! Well, civilisation is at it’s finest….There, early in the morning the queue forms. People waiting anxiously for the man with the key. They are beginning to twitch and sweat under the heat of the sun and the weight of their towels, their many, many, many towels, which they are going to relieve themselves of when they lay claim to THEIR sun loungers, poolside, shade side, sunny side.
Just where the hell is the man with the key to the door, the door to paradise, the key to the sacred sun lounger area beside the pool?
Ahhhh, here he comes, eyeing the growing crowd, he slows his step and looks at them with confusion, fear, horror! They inch even closer to the gate, muttering and mumbling, elbows at the ready to nudge their neighbour out of the way, trample on them if they must, in the stampede that is about to erupt…
But, key man, the keeper of their focus and desire stands there bemused, confused, belwidered, not knowing what to do next. The energy is electric, the tension is palpable but like any brave solder, he ploughs through the malevolent crowd, makes his way to the front, unscathed and watches, in jubilent amazement and wonder at the idiotic, half-witted behaviour of the foreigners……
Splash Pinched nose Eyes squeezed tight Holding breath in An adrenaline rush Push up Resurface Like a dolpin Exhale and let go Of lifes little troubles Bask in the joy And splash Again and again and again….
There’s a first time for everything. Sometimes its very difficult, other times, not so bad. It is inevitable that special occasions, also have a 1st time, with or without….
Soon it will be father’s day and it keeps popping into my mind. It is only 6 days away now and usually by now I would be looking in the shops, looking at the cards, carefully choosing which one to buy.
I don’t like one that is too sloppy, or ones with a picture of golf clubs or racing cars on them. My dad was never into golf or racing cars.
Choosing a card is often very difficult when you are choosing it for someone you love, because you ‘know’ them. Their likes, their dislikes, their little idiosyncratic ways, so getting the right card, must reflect that, right?
Sometimes the right picture has the wrong verse and sometimes the right verse has the wrong picture, but still, I keep looking, if not in that shop then another and another until, I get the one that is ‘just right’. Like goldilocks with the porridge and the bed. It has to feel right.
The gift, was always easy….. Smokes, fags, ciggies, cigarettes; and money inside the card to buy more cigarettes, or scratch cards, where the excitement would be mighty if he only won 2 euro to get yet another scratch card and say ‘ah I might win the big one on that one’ and he would laugh.
The kids would usually give him scratch cards, but I would give him the ‘few bob’ to go buy more ciggies. Sure he’d been smoking most of his life, since he was 5 he said. Picking up his parent’s butts off the hearth and drawing in the toxic smoke, deep into his lungs till he coughed and spluttered and coughed some more. It wasn’t a deterrent, he kept going, till he got himself rightly hooked.
At 29 he collapsed with pneumonia and was taken to hospital. I was about 7 years old then. Gosh, that is 50 years ago! ‘’If you don’t quit smoking, you won’t see 40” the doctor had told him, but what did he know?
Ah, he tried quitting a few times, that I remember. He tried the pipe. The smell was nice, I remember that, it was a bit like smelling food cooking on a bar b q, you want to eat it and the smell of the pipe, would make me want to ‘taste’ it. I thought he looked funny, like Sherlock Holmes, puffing away on it. It didn’t last, gave him headaches he said. Back to the cigarettes it was then.
The doctor was wrong. He did see 40, and 50 and 60, 70, 80…… but at 81, I guess it was his time to go. He died 9 weeks ago, unexpectedly. He had got pneumonia again, like he did last year also and the year before. This time though, it was his heart that gave up on him while he was in hospital. We were expecting him to come home again, after being pumped with antibiotics and steroids for the pneumonia and make another full recovery, but it wasn’t to be. For him I am glad it was quick. He always said he’d like a nice quick ‘belt in the chest’ when it was his time, and so his wish was granted.
As I type this, a photograph of him, smiling at me, I will wish him peace and blessings and tell him, that I miss him, and that I am glad the doctor got it wrong when he was 29.
So this year, there will be no browsing or buying a father’s day card. No cigarettes or money to be given. No scratch cards to excitedly scratch in anticipation of ‘the big one’. So instead of cigarettes, I’ll light a candle for him and watch the smoke as it flickers up to the heavens…….
When going for a walk is more beneficial than you may have realised…get off the couch and get out in nature
What does a walk in the park do? Clears the head, calms the soul, fragrance lifts the mood and the sight of the flora and fauna bring a sense of peace, no matter what the stresses of daily life.
I read a couple of books called ‘The Salt Path’ and ‘The Wild Silence’ by Raynor Winn a couple of years ago. Her husband had been very poorly, they had lost their house and their income. They decided to go walk the South Western Coastal Path, about 630 miles of coastline starting in Somerset and finished in Cornwall or Dorset.
They pitched a tent, where ever they could and lived on very little means. These books inspired me so much, and made me realise that really, we need very little in life to be happy and free.
A good realtionship, one, where one trusts that the other always has their back, two, that money doesn’t really matter that much, it just buys things and, three, how looks are deceptive and how we are viewed and judged by others.
During their walk, once other walkers realised they were actually ‘homeless’ and not just walking a bit of the ‘path’ for recreational reasons, they looked down upon them and viewed them as vagrants…. how rude!
What they discovered, along the way, was that her husband’s health was actually improving. His mobility and mind (you will have to read the book !) all much improved and much better. So what was it? Well, in the book (the second one) she refers to a small study that a university lecturer spoke about where ‘Secondary Metabolites’ that plants emit to protect themselves from the environment’ may be the reason why there was a CHEMICAL CHANGE in people who exercised in the natural environment. Facinating!
So we all know that going for a good walk can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, soothes our pain and restores a sense of balance and well being , but knowing that whatever it is that is emitted from the plants, may be responsible for the Chemical change, is more reason why we should get out more often, and look after our well being.
The first image is a picture of me and my shadow, Banksy style, holding on to the Red Robin to help lift my spirits as well as the sound of the actual robin as I walk by the lake, in the wonderful grounds of the Lough Rynn Estate..
We don’t have to see them, to know they are there, beside us. But when we still hear their voice, it makes the heart sing.
They say you forget, after a while, what someone looks like or sounds like, after they have passed away. Photos are always a reminder of their faces and in this day and age, we all have so many photos, thanks to our smart phones.
Voices are another matter, unless we have voice messages or video clips to physically hear them. However, today, after unpacking more of my boxes since my move I came across my old letters.
These letters are one my prized possessions. I have had them since I was 14 years old…..quite a long time ago. I knew they were packed away safely in storage but whilst they were there, my dear dear friend Jackie died. We had our last facetime in September, the night before she passed, and said our goodbyes.
Today I re-read her letters which she had written to me back in 1980. As I read them I could hear her voice, her expression, her tone, her giggle, her humour and her warmth. It was truly wonderful. In reading them she brought me back to my teens when we were full of angst, emotion, humour, confusion, sorrow and love….pretty much the same as I feel now, so nothing changes!
To Dear Jackie,
I still miss you, but thanks for it all. Keep talking to me.
Hello God, remember me I used to write you, when i was wee A little child so innocent, I write to thank you, and to vent. You were my friend when i felt afraid, You kept me going whenever i strayed I couldnt see you, but knew you were there Listening and watching and answering my prayers. So now dear God ive a favour to ask, Take special care of my dear dad, He’s left us now, gone back to you and its hard to feel happy when I feel so blue. I know i miss the sound of his voice And all the times that we’ve enjoyed Please dont let him feel afraid And tell him that the love has stayed. Thank you dear God, for always being there Even when life,, just doesn’t seem fair…..