Month: August 2014

I did not expect this stillness


It is hard to believe how completely still everything has become. After a day cooled by a chill wind, in spite of intermittent sun, a good and energising swim in the sea, some tough asana practice, and the moving of rocks all kept a good strong beat to meet the cold, at least until now. But now, when I am weary, at last the wind’s died. Flies are dancing beside the escallonia. It is a good night for spiders whose webs have all been repaired in readiness for the feast. I can hear a blackbird and, in the distance, a dog’s muffled bark; a passing car. Nothing remarkable or new, except when I try to recall the sheer desperation to survive on winter evenings when the attempts to keep warm shrivel against the bullying roar of a gale and the driving waves of rain. It’s never very cold but the damp seeps in between the clothes and the wind follows like a thief, stealing any hoarded warmth so there is no comfort to be had. Suddenly the seasons have taken on more importance. Not just the prospect of a change: the increasing ferocity of storms, the erosion, the exodus of summer visitors (and therefore, of course, the dread of not being able to find enough work to meet bills). Finally, perhaps, it’s the anticipation of having been settled here for so long that at last I begin to feel a sense of the rhythm of my own life fitting more closely into the rhyme of the place. August becomes more urgent, a time for gathering in. September will bring – what? A final beguiling memory of warmth and October will extinguish it. We will go on meeting the days with an expectation of their continuity, their sameness. But we will change, ourselves, as they change, lose our summer colour, bury ourselves a little.
In a sense, of course, this will never be ‘home’. How could an immigrant ever presume, particularly one come to such a rural outpost, that they might belong? There’s the restlessness, too, of the ‘exile’ about me. Cast out, you always hanker back, even though the place you came from no longer exists in any recognisable way.
I’m posting this as an interlude, reflecting on these weeks, not of inactivity, of course, but of drift, cut loose from the thesis, unable to look at it, unsure whether I can dare to post any part of it, although because I almost retch at the idea of opening any chapter up to re-read it (I will do so soon. I will have to), the idea of mining it for ideas and perhaps putting together shorter papers is a distant fiction at present.
Instead I will go on practicing what it has taught me is a useful way of looking at, and responding within, the experience. It is an effort, and I am humiliated by how often I betray myself, but then I recall the importance of forgiveness, and begin again.