A walking contradiction

Open the heart

Please excuse me as today this note will be more personal than philosophical or poetic.

Most of the time I like routine, but sometimes when I am bored of routine I crave adventure and when adventure becomes overwhelming I crave routine.  Probably like most women (or people) I am a walking contradiction most of the time.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Simple Kind of Life’ by No Doubt.  I seem to resonate with the sentiment.

The simple kind of life – but what is that really like? What is simplicity to me is not to my neighbour and vice versa.

Simplicity to me is waking when I am ready to wake. Walking my dog and sitting still for an hour before I do anything.  Simply reading a book brings me pleasure, as does watching a boxset I enjoy.  Simply making decisions that only affect me and not giving a damn whether it pleases anybody else.  Simply cooking a straight forward meal with no bizarre ingredients and too many steps but tastes delicious, that is a something I would enjoy – not thinking about whether what I am eating will harm me later.

Simplicity to me can be routine, something familiar and generic.

I am guilty of being an over-thinker, an analyser and fixator.  The mind is what makes things so complicated, so un-simplistic, because it needs to be working all the time. Because the mind is clever at keeping itself occupied.  But the mind should not rule and that is a lesson I am slowly learning.

Learning to focus purely on the NOW, not what is coming next or should be next or what I would like to say if I wasn’t so afraid.  Not what is past and how stupid I may have been or wishing what cannot be changed could be.  The NOW. It is frightening to the mind because it resets it.  The NOW is peaceful and ultimately simplistic.  In the NOW there are no problems, challenges, stress, anxiety or fear. The NOW simply IS.

What is simplicity to you?

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A time spent within clouds

I have long envied my Dad and my Aunt, when they recount their youth I feel that mine is nothing to write home about. I haven’t had many adventures in comparison, I am not a daredevil, and my dramatic side fixes on a movie quote “A life lived in fear is a life half lived” and I think a lot about the opportunities I have turned down out of fear.

Then I shake myself and realise that I have done things that others maybe wouldn’t. For example moving 300 miles away from home at 20 completely on my own to a place where I didn’t know anybody. The countries I have visited and explored (albeit with my parents, but still…. I have ventured).

But this time I have done something that my Dad hasn’t and is jealous of. While on holiday with said Aunt, I went parasailing.  I was nervous as hell and almost bottled it twice, but after a phone call to my Dad and encouragement from my Aunt I paid the man and got on his boat and into the harness.

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It is difficult to describe the level of enjoyment I experienced, but I will try. I had envisioned being strapped to the parachute and being flung up into the air with a huge amount of G-force pulling me backward until I was dragged behind the boat.  How far wrong could I have been!

I sat on the back of the boat, attached to the parachute there was a tug but I didn’t move, then the man released the winch and I gently rose up off the boat and out over the sea. It really was gentle and completely undramatic.

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Once up there with the clouds I settled into the harness; my bum and gravity teamed up at one point but after a slight shuffle it was quite comfortable suspended there above everything.

Although windy on the boat it was a breeze up there, the sky was so clear apart from the odd puff of cloud floating past. You are aware that you are incredibly high up but at the same time because the sea is so blue beneath your feet, looking down it didn’t feel that high at all.

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I waved to the people on jet skis going beneath me, they waved back (or first); a few people on another passing boat waved and I took a picture. The coastline was incredible, so densely populated.  The mountains in the distance were obscured most of the time by clouds but every now and then they parted to a wonderful clear view of them towering over the city.

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It was incredibly peaceful up there. No drama unfolding, no noise oddly except the whooshing of the chute as the boat changed direction. Time stood still you just couldn’t comprehend how long you were there floating above everything. I was gently winched back in and the boat took us back to the dock, it was over.

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What I learnt that day up in the clouds is to not let my perceived fear hold me back from doing things that have the potential to bring a lot of joy. Keep fear in check and context. Live.

Fences

Tall grey steel meshing across the view
Barriers between one place and another, rocking in the winds
Hard wooden screens not view through, over or between

Fences topped with wire to barb you if you climb
Fences keeping evil within and innocence without
Fences for security but some for sheer malice

Fencing in the cattle, fencing out the people
Fencing one group of people away from another
Fences cloaking barracks or camps, who knows that they are there

Fences at the boarders, reserves and homesteads
Are they really necessary in every place they stand

Tulips at Chatsworth House
(c) A Girl from Devon

Rebuild, Reborn, Repeat

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It was a cold winter morning, the sun had not yet risen but dawn was breaking. The tall fern trees covered in snow stood high above, imposing almost, surrounding the small village of huts and cabins. The ground was hard and damp, blackened this time of year from lack of sunlight.  It was a dark village set far away from any other.

A small patch in the centre was smoking wistfully, the embers still burning but the fierce fire long gone out in the middle of the cold windy night. Bella looked around her, stood in the village centre shivering in her plain tunic. She had left her furs back in the hut, where blood dressed the walls and two bodies lie still forever more.  Her breathing was heavy, pressing out into the air in front of her.  Coming to her senses Bella picked up a long branch from the nearby campfire and dowsed it in oils. She needed one little spark and it was alight. She threw it back into the hut among those bodies and closed the door.  She turned and walked on towards the trees.

20180226_181648.jpgIt was time to rebuild her life. Far away from the terrors she had experienced these last few years. The depression, the hopelessness, the bullying; they had all deserved it for what they did.  This was her harvest, she had sown her seeds of hard learning and patience, it had grown into a quiet confidence until the time was right to strike out on her own and walk away.

Now is Bella’s time to rebuild her life to what she wanted it to be.  As she walked on, Rebel the wolf pack runt, strutted up to her side. Without a glance or a word they walked on together. Rebuilding their lives together, one step at a time.

Moment by moment they became each other’s eyes and ears, bonding into one being built on trust and respect. They ate and slept together, keeping each other surviving until they reached the next village. This village was Bella’s true home, where she was taken from as a child. Bella had come home to rebuild herself, reborn into the fiery pixie she always knew she would be.

Struggle

The heat was real, like an inferno in a city dwelling. But it was autumn when the leaves were meant to be turning and the temperatures dropping. This was a reverse, the struggle was real. Wild animals that should be building nests for hibernation, out sweating in the heat. Humans avoiding dehydration with pools, ice buckets and the sea.  This heat wave was unprecedented, compared to nothing that had previously been recorded. But it was all about to change. Nobody predicted what was coming.

IMG_4023.JPGOvernight the raging heat stopped suddenly, all the birds left the skies, wales, dolphins and seals began to beach themselves. The temperature plummeted and ice began to fall. Smashing cars and sheds, lakes freezing over trapping everything beneath. It wasn’t a slow stead progress, it wasn’t something anyone could prepare for. People froze in their beds overnight, a lucky few survived closed in underground but there was no food stores ready for them.

IMG_4049.JPGEverywhere you looked it was no longer yellow and orange sunshine. It was dark blue and white. 60 shades of blue from midnight to baby blue. Skyscrapers appeared steel grey, metallic stalagmites rising up from the ground like shards.

In the countryside, the rolling hills became more like craggy cliffs, stone bridges collapsed under the weight of all the ice and snow. Trees froze in position, never moving, swaying or whipping again. All the farm animals perished within hours, too cold for their coast to withstand. One day sweating the next day frozen.

IMG_4032.JPGIt was apocalyptic and it was our entire fault. The struggle to survive was real from now on.

Mountain

There it once stood, on the top of a dark damp heath; it had been black from fire damage and grey with age. Its very nature and structure imposing over the village in the valley below like a mountain, casting a shadow over them. Its thick dank shadow filled with all who viewed it with fear or dread. In those days when it stood over them with its mountainous rage there was suppression. Nothing grew, nothing thrived, nothing of love survived. Hatred and loathing seeped from its brickwork, nothing was happy and joy was unknown. But that was nothing compared to the man who lived inside.

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Once there was a happy man, a smiling man full of kindness and compassion. From a young boy he saw the goodness in people, as he grew he cherished the village he would one day be responsible for.  Charity was common from his home if the harvest had not produced enough, he would open his kitchens on a Sunday to ration what he could to those who needed it more.  A fine young man he was and eligible too.  Came his twenty first year he embarked on a quest to become his own man, to remove himself from his father’s shadow.

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He ventured far from home, over other valleys and met many men who counselled him on his way. He made his fortune and gave most of it away to the trampers he met in each town.  On his way back home, the last town before home, he met a child. A poor peevish child who anyone else could have easily dismissed and been on his way; but this child he saw to hold promise.  The boy was orphaned, barely six years old, no great skill for work and living on the streets.  The boy avoided the pimps and braggers and would not steal to feed himself, but he was cruel to those who tried to help him.  The happy man watched the boys game and come his last day he approached the child and scolded him.  Seeing that the happy man was not like the others, not simpering or petting him, the boy respected him.  The man took him home to be educated.

DSCN0390.JPGAlas all the happy man’s intentions fell foul, on deaf ears and an ungrateful heart. The boy took his lessons but would not be touched, he learnt a trade but would not share, he took what was offered but gave nothing in return.  The boy grew and the more he matured the greedier he became.  The once happy man despaired, ran himself fraught with how he could change the child, improve him and break through the hardy wall to allow the kindness he saw beneath to flourish.  But he could not and the happy man grew sorrowful.

With his sorrow the great house grew dim, villagers were no longer personally greeted on a Sunday and he kept to his room. The boy blasphemed at the villagers, he turned them away with spite and laughed at their poverty.  He roamed the halls and rooms surveying all the glorious objects willing them into his fortune. Until one night the boy woke pitying the unhappy man; he crept outside his room and sparked a fire and watched. The unhappy man woke from the smoke and broke through his door, confronted by the small boy standing before him looking unfeeling towards him.  As the man move towards him the small boy fell through the floor the fire had made weak and died.

What remained of the house was repaired, but the east wing stood part demolished forever more. The unhappy man could no longer find joy, happiness, kindness or charity for any one. He was haunted each and every day by the ghost of the small boy, standing motionless staring at the unhappy man. Over fifteen years that man grew coarse and unflattering to any who met him.  His home embodied his rage for not saving the boy, his sorrow for the boys death, his depression for not being able to care anymore, his loneliness and fear of the world beyond his walls.  As his feeling grew to what felt like a mountain, his home grew as a mountain over that village until the day a flood came.

The flood which drowned the villagers out of their homes and in to his, the flood that drowned him when he went out to save a child trapped in a tree. That child survived as he sank to the bottom of the valley and the in his memory the villagers pulled down his old broken home to let the sun dry out their land and rebuild their village in his name.

This post inspired by Daily Post: Mountain

venture to covehithe

It is nice to have places nearby to visit when you are at a loose end at a sunny weekend, one of my favourite spots is Covehithe.

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My stroll starts at St Andrew’s Church, classically known locally as the church within a church. The old building now in ruins surrounds the modern smaller church. The original church is believed to have been constructed early in the fifteenth century. The size of the church was out of all proportion to the population of the district, which according to local records never exceeded 300 people, and financed privately by William Yarmouth and his friends.

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It is often said that the old edifice was reduced to its present ruined state by the action of Cromwell’s agents, but although Dowsing, the Parliamentary Commissioner, has stated that he “broke down two hundred pictures …]” he does not in fact appear to have done much structural damage apart from breaking windows.  Thirty plus years after his visit when it became clear that the building was so much too large and the cost of maintenance beyond the means of the community, permission was granted by the Ecclesiastical Authorities in 1672 to erect the present day small church by utilising materials obtain from the original structure.

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The octagonal font, the old place of worship together with the pulpit, remain inside the church.

After wondering around the ruins and its wild flowers, I make my way along the public foot path across some farmland down to the marshes that lead down to a beautiful coastline beach.

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The beach is a mid-section of coastline running between Southwold and Kessingland. It is possible to walk the full length, and indeed, back to Lowestoft that way, but that covers just over 9 miles of sand and shingle.  Not for the faint hearted.

I prefer to meander along the beach for a while collecting driftwood and then make my way back towards Coverhithe village road to admire the quaint houses with their beautiful climbing roses and blossoms.

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