The Temporal Length of the Universe

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Hello.

Today the sun is out. We were promised an Arctic Blast this week. The wind as it blows is icy, but my legs were warm as I pumped them in the sunshine this morning on my way to the Glass Library. I needed to get there quick, to make the most of the shorter opening hours for New Year’s Eve.

I forgot it was New Year’s Eve. It’s just like any other day to me. Nothing remarkably special. We are celebrating another revolution of our planet around the sun. The moon will carry on controlling the tides, the winds will carry on blowing across the marshes, cows will continue to graze, blinking their eyes lazily, unknowing.

The world doesn’t know that it is entering a ‘new year’. It just hurtles towards it, carrying on as it always does.

The only reason we celebrate it is because we have a meticulous time-keeping system. But I like to think that time doesn’t particularly care for our recording of it. It plunges ever on, nonchalant. It glances it through the window at the party, gives a little smirk, and on it rushes.

We, of course, in our own little planets of life, are oblivious. Putting our make-up on, combing our hair, showering, writing lists of resolutions because 2016 is IT. It is the year we take charge of our lives and lose weight (or gain it) and become successful entrepreneurs and become the perfect versions of ourselves because 2016 is a new ‘beginning’.

But it isn’t really. Time is older than any of us. Time is older than the universe. To Time, 2016 is another year to add on to the billions. Another weary revolution, another flash through someone’s life.

Time will continue to hurtle and plunge and soar and sail, growing ever faster as the years are packed on to our ages.

Those are my thoughts for today. I hope your day today is time-worthy. I hope mine is too!

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The Sunset of Life

Before you expire, what is it you hope to achieve?

I hope to achieve my life-ly goals, and also my after-life-ly goals, because I believe that life is a struggle because it is temporary. I think that much more awaits me out there and so I must prepare for it, much like I am preparing for my finals today, because I want a better life in the future.

It is all about balance, you see.

Balance your behaviour. Balance your personality. Balance your character. Balance your relationships. Balance your work and your play.

Life is a seesaw of things which we must balance.

I think that each of us is a little planet that spins around our axis of life. None of us share an axis. Our axises are comprised of our different life institutions, and while some of our life institutions may be similar, others aren’t.

Two sisters share a family and siblings but they have different spouses and children, and they might have gone to separate universities and have separate religions. They may share a passion for painting but one sister might like abstract while the other focuses solely on life like oil painting.

There is so much going on, and so many things that demand our attention, that it can sometimes be hard to give each its due focus.

 

I think that it is harmful to prioritise things unnecessarily. It’s harmful to make your family your sole focus in life, over your passions and beliefs. It is harmful to be so infatuated with somebody, that your life begins to be meaningless without said person. It is dangerous to fixate on work or your career at the expense of your real life relationships. You must feed your body as well as your soul.

Those are the things that I think are important, and the things I want to achieve before the sunset of my life begins. The thing is, it could be anytime. It could even be in the next ten minutes. That is why I have made it my priority to never go to sleep angry with anybody, and to mend all my disagreements with people. It’s good for your heart, and it’s good for your conscience.

 

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I had a notion

To create something really remarkable. But then I realised that actually all I had were the faint echoes of a vocabulary that once packed the shelves of my brains. Now a few words lie peppered around, some discarded in cobwebbed corners, others seizing their bags and donning their hats, not giving me a second glance as they walk out the front door.

They say there are some skills you never forget; how to ride a bike, how to swim, how to canter on a horse. Unfortunately, words are very easily forgotten.

You might meet a word one day, delight in its absolute unique wonderment. You might use it tirelessly in all your sentences, rolling it over your tongue, tasting it sweet and sour and bitter and salty, in all the seasons and in every situation imaginable.

After a few weeks when the novelty of the word has died away and a new one has taken its place, it is stacked away neatly in one of the many word shelves in your brain, to be picked out at a moment’s notice, and inserted gracefully in conversation or writing. It would adorn your creativity, deck your work for conquest. It would be your crown of inventive acumen.

You would, in short, have so many words at your beck and call, to use when you desire. Your work would only require imagination to spur it on.

But if you leave those words lying around for too long, collecting dust, unused and uncared for, they will eventually seek use elsewhere. They will seek another creator’s work, and you will see them in the crisp new pages of somebody else’s book.

The same could be said for knowledge. Knowledge is something that inspires creativity. Thinking the same things everyday, doing the same things everyday, watching the same things everyday is not enough to expand your mind. You would need to read in depth, and explore many subjects, and cross the boundaries of topics, join them together, like golden threads running between, creating new things which are built of old.

Knowledge which is not refreshed becomes old and outdated. It disengages people and eventually disengages you from life and from motivation.

I reached for my words, I reached for my knowledge, and found nothing. I think it’s time to cross some new boundaries.

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Hearts Were Hugged

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There was a precious time when all the town would join together in harmony. Voices would rise in melodious song. It was a beautiful summer of mystic moons and comfortable laughter. There was dinner for anybody who came a-knocking, nobody was left alone.

Hello, weary traveller, come and rest your tired bones on my living room chair. The children might dart about you chasing each other, there might be a bit of a mess here, but the meal is warm, and our hearts are open.

There was a time when pots boiled merrily, and food was blessed, so no matter how many people shared a meal, there was plenty to go around.

“Come in,” the older lady would say, throwing a scarf around her neck. Her eyes, behind large glasses, smiled kindly at everybody under hair that was more black than silver in those days. Her door was wide open, her home a refuge for broken hearts and sad faces.

Her kitchen was warm, her cooking was hearty, her house was full of love and life.

When the children came to stay, there were biscuits in her cupboards. Toys were strewn about the house and in the garden. Chubby fingers snatched at her precious herbs and mixed them in with murky water and stones to make a broth which they never ate. Snails were raced up red brick garden walls. Trees were climbed, moths captured, spiders let out to scuttle away amongst the garden cracks. Jammy dodgers stuffed into sticky mouths, a small little boy with the hoover head walking around the house ‘hoovering’, while the others darted over him. Mornings spent watching Teletubbies while she pottered about in the kitchen. Evenings we watched as she knitted in her favourite chair by the window, her roses nodding cheerily outside, as twilight hung over the world, and the street lamps lit up one by one.

The neighbour came to stay in one of the bedrooms for a while, a large old mirror pocked with age spots leaning against the wall.

“Hello, yes, they’re re-doing my house. I’ve got to book a BnB.”

“Don’t you dare, dear. Stay with me.”

The old lady from three streets away dropped in on her way home from the shops.

“My daughter can’t make it to see me,” she sighed, over a mug of steaming tea. “She doesn’t have time for me anymore.”

“Stay here for dinner.”

“Oh no, I’ve bought me ingredients already”

“Please stay”

“Yes please!” the children chimed in.

She stayed. She was cackling by bedtime, the children sat around the table avidly listening to her tales of funny people she met at the airport.

“Come on kids, time for bed”

They didn’t want to go. She looked so pleased.

All the hearts were hugged in that house.

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Walrus in my Throat

 

I was going to write a post moaning about my life.

But then I realised that my family loves me, and even though marriage is hard work and doesn’t always make you feel great, it’s still something worth fighting for.

All the Christmas cheer makes me feel irritable and prone to hide away like a grinch, but I am happy everybody else is happy. I am happy that happiness exists in the world, and that even in the most trying of times, people are willing to share and give to those less fortunate. There are so many heart warming stories out there. I guess this ‘Christmas cheer’ does something to cold hearts after all.

The sight of somebody I used to know made me feel as though I was going to vomit from fear this week. It ruined my whole mood and turned my day gloomy and dreadful. That is, full of dread. But then I realised that I am a strong lady, and even if he did come to me and make my life miserable again I can kick him out because nobody will rule my life like that. Nobody. I refuse to let it happen. The very idea that it used to happen makes me so angry. So if push comes to shove, I will resurrect all my anger and use it to my advantage. Strength, my dear, strength.

I don’t want to do anything. But if I don’t, I will underachieve. If there’s one thing I have learnt about life, it is that it is brutal. It carries on despite you not being able to keep up. The more you lag behind, the more it swiftly speeds on ahead. So I have learnt that the only way to keep up is to go through the motions.

Get out of bed. Complete all set tasks. Achieve short term goals, which are slow ticks on a list that add up to a long term goal. Along the way, you might burst through a ray of sunshine. A walk on a grassy hill. The wind in your hair as you sail down a hill. Rain pattering on the trees, releasing a deliciously rich, earthy smell. A surprise kiss. A piece of chocolate melting in your mouth after a particularly hard day. An evening of laughter.

I will be strong.

I will be happy.

I will be successful.

I will feed my soul. There is very little soul feeding going on in the world lately.

I will spread joy.

I will live life.

I will drown the demons. They cannot win.

Meanwhile there is a perpetual walrus in my chest and sometimes it climbs up into my throat and makes tear-water leak from my eyes. But I will smother him. It’s not the time. It’s not the time. Yet.

Soon I will be alone, to have a nice lonely cry and feel sorry for myself, get it out of my system and then dry my tears and carry on.

Merry Carrying On to you all!

Leaving the Green

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Photo credit: Yours truly.

This is a throwback to when it was warmer. I smelled the greenery and grass whenever I opened my windows. When I walked out the main door I was greeted with fields and the blossoming of spring into summer. It was food for the heart, mind and soul.

Now I still have that, and it’s still food; mighty mighty food. The trees may be bare, the fields muddy, but I love it. I can stand on top of my hill and see the meadows rolling away before me, the lake nestled in between cosy looking homes, orange lights twinkling out. It was my special place, and I am leaving so have to make the most of every single one of my last four days here. It’s day two, and I haven’t stepped out of my tiny little attic! Help! I am in a rut!

I don’t want to live in the city again. But I suppose it was inevitable, we aren’t farmers! Although the idea of farming doesn’t sound very distasteful you know.

But here are a few pictures of what it was like back in March.

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Is It Really Necessary?

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Well, is it?

You tell me.

An example. I wanted to buy a funky ornament. It was a motorbike (or motorcycle for you Americans) made out of old watch parts. Damnit. I wish I took a picture! It was stunning, gleaming and so steampunk. Also inventive, artistic and a fantastic way to use an old broken watch.

I could tell lots of care and attention went into making it. How proud the artist must be.

I also thought how artists and creative people gather a lot of clutter.

Before I married Damian and moved in with him my bedroom was like this:

Many tottering stacks of books from all genres in all the available nooks and crannies. Polished and varnished original floorboards with lime green vines painted on in one corner. A yellow wall covered in colourful postcards from around the country (also some from various places in Europe and three from Barbados when Aunty Jo was on holiday there).

These things covering every free surface:

Paintbrushes, pens, canvases, papers, scrapbooks, booklets, notebooks, doodles, folders, glittery pen holders, a ceramic hand draped with necklaces and rings and pretty bracelets, a glass bowl filled with beads, Sir Jiles Darcy (Lulu’s pet rock), pots and potions, purses, a teeny glass vial labelled ‘fairy dust’ and filled with superfine glittery sand (a memoir from childhood plays with friends), a large glass diamond, marbles, old coins, old stamps, lots and lots of keyring, fairy lights, calligraphy pens, mini globes, steampunk ornaments, candles…

I could go on all day. Honestly. I had so much, and always accumulated more. My room was warm and cosy and interesting and colourful and cluttered!

Now my room is clean and tidy, all my books are put neatly away, all my odd little trinkets have vanished, replaced by neat stacks of untouched paints and paintbrushes. The theme is white and grey and brown, compared to the blues and reds and yellows and greens and splashes of everything you could imagine before.

So today, I stood staring wistfully at the pretty watch motorbike, and I thought about all the things I have to pack away in boxes, and all the things I gave away, and the lack of colour in my home, but all the things I have to lug around with me as I move around the country living in many different homes and I said, aloud, “is that really necessary?”

Well, that is arguable.

Maybe it is not necessary in that I don’t need it. But I want it, I want interesting things to adorn my bare surfaces. I want things to look at and contemplate. I want colour and vividly and brightness and things, like thoughts, to crowd my room. It inspires me and gears my brain for creativity!

I think the state of my room now reflects the state of my brain. It feels empty, I am lacking creativity, my thoughts are stagnant and repetitive, I haven’t painted in years, I am not as witty as I used to be. Something needs to be done! I need to bring back some of my clutter! It’s too tidy!

This is my computer background, a delicious, colourful, vibrant mess!

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So I ask you, dear reader, is it really necessary?

A Disturbance in the Force

I have been re-watching Star Wars in preparation for the new film which will be released on the 17th of December 2015 (that is, if I am still alive to see it. Who knows, eh?).

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My husband has never watched the films, and since I want to take him to the IMAX in Milton Keynes (4D cinema, folks, now isn’t that something?), I thought it was time to get him educated. He thinks the originals are cheesy (“what the heck is that tin can doing with them now!?”) but certainly a classic because they “pushed the boundaries of the time”, to put it in his words.

So Damian is now acquainted with phrases such as “the force” and “I am your father” and “do, or do not, there is no try” and so on and so forth.

So today, folks, I am feeling very down. I have just had a shower, and I washed my hair, my head turned upside down (because I hear it helps blood flow to the roots), watching the black powdery gunk that I shake into my hair daily to hide my increasing baldness swirling down the drain. I swung my head upright, shook my hair dry very gently in an old T-shirt, and stood before the mirror as the fog slowly faded away, to survey the damage.

My heart sank. A wide, shiny baldness greeted me in the mirror. The sparseness of my hair on top goaded me. I bit my lip, because there is no way I am giving into this. I feel dreadful, hopeless, but I am holding on to hope because I am on a journey to find a cure. This is not a post in which I lament my hair… or lack thereof.

I numbly shook the black powder over the bald patch, moving my hair this way and that to make it look thicker. Who am I kidding. All I have are wet curly wisps where once was a mass of thick ringlets.

Anyway, so, feeling blue, I emerged from the loo and pottered about, creaming my legs and arms and getting into my PJs.

I think I must have sighed a little, because Damian, sitting at the desk, typing out an assignment, turned around as I passed him and grabbed my arm.

“What’s wrong, Len?”

“Nothing,” said I, smiling at him.

He looked sternly at me, one eyebrow raised, and then said, “I sense a disturbance in the force.”

Well that made me smile. I still feel an ache in my heart, but all will be well, as long as Damian senses a disturbance in the force.

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A Word for the Wise

Today I learnt something interesting about wisdom.

Wisdom, many of us think, comes hand in hand with experience. Some may argue that it doesn’t, and that it only appears to because some of us were blessed with hindsight or insight, or some of us were just lucky to have heard something wise that day and thought we would like to share it. Lord knows that’s happened to me many times.

But perhaps we are missing the bigger picture here. Isn’t wisdom only seen as such when it is relevant? A piece of ‘wisdom’ might not mean anything to Sheila, for example, but to Robert, it might mean the world. Wisdom is not applicable to each and every person, it is tailored specifically to people’s different perspectives and situations in life.

What, fellow bloggers, do you think wisdom is?

 

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Art: David James Cannon, wildlife artist.

Wise elephant photo.