Every life has dark tracts and long stretches of sombre tint, and no representation is true to fact which dips its pencil only in light, and flings no shadows on the canvas.
~ Alexander MacLaren
Image courtesy of Free Irish Photos
As spring makes its vibrant presence known, my mind, heart and soul is tuned into vibrant life. I celebrate life. All around me, the earth is awakening and shaking its feathers out. You can almost hear the tiny leaf buds bursting through the ground in search of the sun. I celebrate my own life too. My life is satisfying and each day that goes by, I’m grateful for new experiences and good health. I could go on, but I wanted to talk about death and no, this is not, in my opinion, a morbid subject.
A few people in my circle of friends and family have experienced death recently, either that of someone close to them or a beloved pet… perhaps even the death of a dream. It happens. It’s part of the cycle of life. The whole point of the ‘cycle’ is that it continues. We’re born, but we’re not born from nothing. As we live, life and death are part of our passage through time. When we die, however we choose to finally ‘go’, we return to the earth to once again nourish life.
We have a family joke that goes back for years where we vowed to donate HRM’s body to science (yes, it is possible – http://hta.gov.uk/index.cfm) when he goes. That should keep the scientists fascinated for a time, I’m sure. Death, to us, has never been a morbid or scary subject, though we do go through heartbreak when we lose someone close to us, but that is because we miss them dearly.
There are so many bewildering options for when a loved one dies – or oneself, if you’re doing some advanced preparation. We’ve been there, sadly saying goodbye to far too many who were close to us. Cremation, burial, a bewildering choice of coffins and procedures. Death, like much of life, has become terribly commercial. I can’t think of anything worse to put loved ones through if I were to go! There are good choices though…. Someone posted a link to an article, which got me looking into more articles, which got me reading (you know how it goes) about options and I have to tell you, I think I have found the perfect way to recycle and recreate myself… a tree! I’ve always said that when I die, I want to be planted without a coffin at the foot of a tree, but this is way better, or at the very least, just as good.
The Bios Urn – You get cremated and the ashes are put into a biodegradable pot along with the seed of a tree. The pot then gets planted, so your loved ones can tend the tree and watch it grow. Isn’t that perfect? The tree will absorb the nutrients from the ash, so I’d be part of the tree. This isn’t a dream of extending my life force, but a dream of being able to help nourish a living thing in my own death. That tree would then go on to provide a home and resting place for all the birds I’ve loved to watch. The tree will glory in each season, giving shelter… and possibly food and homes to animals. Even if the tree gets cut down, it’s not that bad. It will warm someone’s hearth, provide furniture or a part of a home, or possibly become the paper onto which a young soul could journal (or do maths – now that’s karma!) as they go through their own life’s journey.
Today, I truly feel like a farmer’s wife again. As I sit here, I have a pot of Hermit Soup (a name I’ve just given it… for fun) on the stove – to be served with buttery slices of crusty Killruddery cheese bread.
Jurgis is snoring in front of the fire, sinking ever lower into the couch. We have spent the dark afternoon time watching videos on permaculture planning and design, drawing up elaborate plans involving chickens, vegetables, fruit trees and forests. At this point, I’m relatively content.
It’s out second day at The Cottage in the Wicklow mountains. We woke up to what we thought was a thick frost layer this morning. It was, instead, thin, icy snow and it stayed. Needless to say, I slipped on an icy log. I consider the place now initiated into my stability. No harm was done, though my dignity suffered yet another blow.
I set up the compost bin today and frittered away 10 minutes picking up pine cones, which are now, hopefully, drying out nicely over the fire. If not, they look decorative(ish). Jurgis has started clearing the pine. That will be a major job. We’ll need to get some serious equipment in to clear the part we’ve demarcated for the veggies and fruit trees. Right now, cleaning and clearing is about as much as we can do… at least until we get to see the owner again. He was meant to arrive last night, then today… maybe tomorrow. Time will tell. I have an internet bone to pick with him *Needs Internet*. The cottage is warm. Barring a fairly serious plumbing issue that was meant to be sorted out today (I think the plumber got lost or something), we’re fairly comfortable. It’s a huge change from the ‘palace’, but has its own compensations.
So why hermitage? We’re about 4km away from the nearest village, Roundwood, which boasts a population of 800+ and 5 pubs. Yes, it’s like that. We’ve met one of the local population, a chap who came to drop the top halves of a few pines that were threatening to fall on the cottage. He was nice and is now a familiar face. We’re considering a walk into the village on the weekend to see what it’s like and perhaps meet a few locals.
Life, at this point, is pretty good. Now if I could just get online… I’m missing talking to my little girl.
As I gaze out at the Little Sugarloaf over the quiet gardens, I see the ‘ghosts’ of yesterday’s children laughing and frolicking on the lawn. Time (and weather) is a fleeting thing, is it not?
It was a glorious day yesterday. One father was rolling down the hills with his little ones. He looked bashful when he caught me watching. I commented that every garden needs a hill…and it does!
Walking through the veggie garden, the bees and bumble bees making the most of the sunny weather, I could almost See the peas growing fatter. I gave the chickens their treat and went on to the pigs. The piglets were out romping. We can’t get enough of watching them. Rough-‘n-tumble play in the mud. They’re just kids really. It’s remarkable to think they’re only a little over two weeks old.
Ah…. we’re in such a beautiful place and truly happy. I love my work, the people, the place. I go for walks in the forest and forage for the most fascinating mushrooms. We can walk the same path five times a day and see something new every time.
The mists of our lives, so far, have been fickle. Perhaps, just this time, the mists will clear to find us still here, happy in our new reality where the sun shines from within the soul even when the skies are grey.
We’re in daylight savings now, so I get to see the sun rise at a stop. Usually I’m in transit. Still fairly dark when I leave home though. It was only after I saved the photo to my pc that I noticed the rainbow… faint, but it’s there. I have no idea if it was really there or if it was caused somehow by my camera. I like it though.
So much to be grateful for today. Tat had a much better paper-chase experience today – more thanks go out to strangers reaching out. On that note, if you ever want to show random kindness towards a stranger, just know that it is never wasted. It can make all the difference!
My bus disappeared into the early morning semi-dark, so I settled into a stroll thinking I had at least 20 minutes to wait for the next one. Just then, the next bus came. Either the previous one was very late or this one was very early. I flagged the bus from a good distance away. The driver saw me, pulled up at the opposite corner and waited!! What and angel. And… the bus had scads of seating!
Cute… just passed a bridal dressmaking shop – a tortoiseshell and white cat is in the window watching the passing traffic.
There was a girl reading a book (translated) on the metro – Christiane F. – a book about a 14 year old girl who was caught up in a life of drugs and prostitution (true story). It came as recommended reading and viewing – there’s a movie too – when I was a teen. I can’t think of a more depressing book to start a day with.
The Christiane book girl has nodded off and is falling over onto the woman next to her. On the other side sits a girl trying very hard to look like she isn’t crying. I hope her day gets better.
At the bank building, outside, there is a beautiful old tree with branches that go on forever. Under it was a group of youngsters, their backpacks up against the wall. They were having a really good time. A cloud of smoke hovered over them as they puffed away on the bong. One played guitar off to the side. A few were passing around bottles of booze. The security looked uncomfortable, but did nothing about it. My student and I discussed conspiracy theories and voting (not too much difference between the two).
Afterwards, I went to the shopping centre near my next student. It’s already done up for Christmas!! And the Christmas shops are open! I wandered around there for about half an hour only to be called… my student cancelled… again. She thought changing her times back to her old times would help with cancellations. Uh huh. It helped, all right. So I mooched off home. My evening student has changed his time for Saturday morning. There go the weekends.
C’est la vie… and another week ends…
Photo taken by Jurgis. The butterfly landed on the soap bubbles as he was doing the dishes. He fished her out and she hung around a while. He then took photos before releasing her into the great outdoors.
I woke up completely and quickly. That, in itself, was unusual. I’m notoriously slow to surface. My first thought was… surely it’s 4:30 already? I checked my cell phone, which doubles as an alarm clock – 4:37! I hadn’t set the alarm! Strike one. Without an alarm, I’m usually incapable of surfacing on time.
I put the kettle on and turned on the pc. Ack! My internet wouldn’t connect. An overwhelmingly sickly smell drew me to the kitchen. The gas had run out (the gas stinks just as the bin empties for some reason) – coffee would be delayed. I shook Jurgis awake. Luckily, he’d asked me to wake him early. He tackled the gas (we keep a spare bin) and internet while I got ready. With coffee and toast going down well, the morning was saved.
The first bus that came along was an inter-municipal (the elusive Santana bus, Tat! *poke*) The smiling lady sharing my stop got on, so I asked the driver if it went my way. Yep, it did. What a ride! Everyone was smiling! I wish I could take this bus every day. It takes a grand tour of the city. The route was different and thus interesting. I wished I had a camera with me.
Because I took a bus instead of the usual metro, I ended up on the other end of Parque do Juventude, a large, concrete and wannabe-grass walking area. It has some funky buildings. I walked past the building and wadya know…. a library! An honest-to-goodness fancy-schmancy library here in São Paulo!! Sadly, it was only opening later, so I couldn’t go in. Not sure when I’ll get the chance to see it, as it’s far from home and my ours are a little crazy.
I walked over to where my student usually meets me. I had nearly reached my spot when a scruffy man walked past. I think he was homeless, but who knows. What was special about him? The big red nose he was sporting! When he caught someone staring, he’d grin. He was having a ball. He left many laughs and smiles in his wake.
I spent the rest of my time there being entertained by an impish (he looked like a little imp) hopelessly drunk man who was dancing and clowning around with a huge grin on his face. He was having a ball!
What was that they say about "Smile and the world smiles with you"? Today, the world seemed to be smiling. It was good : ) I felt as though a load had been taken off my shoulders.
And back to the ordinary world…
Romany was caught grinning in his sleep.
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