Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hands.


Probably a year ago I started this and it only ever ended up in my drafts. But the idea stayed in my mind and has become more true and meaningful since my sister had her baby last Tuesday and I became an Auntie for the first time. So, I have taken the draft and changed and added parts so it suits the here and now

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It was early and grey, I was staring, glazed over eyes looking out onto a bleak London morning. My thoughts lingered back and forth over nothing in particular, mainly a rolling commentary on what I could see, a consistent humming of images turning over across my mind. You know, when you just zone out and you don't really consciously know anything because your in that place where only your mind can go.

But the dense fog and fuzz that buffered around my head was being cleared by the inquisitive, persistent voice of a 5 year old boy....."mummy, but what does that do?'"....."mummy where's the bendy bus?" "where are they going mummy?"......and so on. He just wanted to know about everything, he was amazed by everything and in awe of the world around him. Why does that wonder have to die out? Why do we loose it and become accustomed to this world we live in as nothing more than commonplace?

And so my entertainment for much of the bus journey became the questions of this little boy who wanted to know about everything. He was sat right in front of me, eagerly gazing out of the window, pointing and waving his hands around , wildly excited by the sights of London. And then I began to think about 'hands' because I couldn't not think about hands because his were constantly being wafted in front of my face.I mean I really began to think about them, these strange star-shaped things that stick out from the end of our arms, that bend and fold, that move without thinking, that animate conversation and hold so much potential to do what we do and aid us in becoming what we are supposed to be.



I thought of a babies hand that can wiggle in delight or clench tight in a crying fit. The tiny fingers that so knowingly clasp onto a mother's outstreched hand. Hands at this age, ask the questions, they reach out for the world around them, grabbing and poking here, there and everywhere. They speak words that cannot yet be verbalised. At this point these hands could be used for anything, they have the potential for so much.

One day they might delicately hold a paint brush that colours and shades the last strokes of a masterpiece. Tap keys on a computer, lightly pressing the enter key to send a heart-breaking e-mail or an email full of news of their life. Hands take our thoughts and throw them out into the world, they take our ephemeral thoughts which are nothing more than air and mould them into observable action that can be witnessed, actions that define us and lead us to where we need to be. Those tiny fingers might one day write the soul of their owner into each individual note being plucked on a guitar, bringing a melody into existence that will continue to be after those fingers are still again. The prop to a resting head, the feather touch on a loved ones cheek or the hand that saves a life.

More though are the everyday things they will do day by day that just allow us to keep being. Bringing food to our mouth, having the intricacy to pull a million buttons through a million button holes, tying shoe laces, steering a driving wheel or handing money over to a bus driver. When you really stop to think about all those things that having hands allows us to do, the list is endless and so is the potential they give us.

So when I visited my nephew Harrison, I looked at those delicate fingers with the perfect but tiny little nails and the lightly pressed lines and wondered at all they would do in his life and all the potential he holds. The world has not imbued his mind with cares or concerns, it is open to all experiences and right now the possibilities of everything are before him and that is the real beauty of a new life.

As his Auntie I hope that I can show him that 'A possibility was born the day he was born and will live with him as long as he lives' and seeing him and the beginning of a life reminds me of that too.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A timely reminder

I posted this a while ago.....I read it just now and it was the reminder I needed. Time keeps going doesn't it and you just have to keep moving with it and pausing to remember things sometimes.....


The wind and my thoughts are very similar.

I love chasing the weather, feeling it whip and snap, feeling the darkness of the sky leaning on you, urging you to quicken your step. The wind whirling and whipping at your skin, rushing through trees shaking the leaves, making them sound like hundreds of angry librarians 'shushing' at once.

Weather that makes you notice nature, real weather that heaves and sighs like the earth is breathing and exhaling it's woes. I can feel the rain heavy in the air about to fall and I'm alive and rushing trying to beat it. I walk faster and fumble for my key, then the door is open and I'm in.

And all of a sudden the noise stops, all is still again, my skin bites from the waves of freshness that have just washed against it. Every inch of me is wide awake and ready because this is what it is to be alive isn't it, feeling things with every inch of yourself, connecting to this world with your physical body, knowing this world with your mind and feeling it with your soul? I can hear the wind roaring and rumbling around the house, the rain begins to throw itself against the window, but the sound is muffled by the walls that now surround me.

The wildness of that walk followed by the stillness of home, is not lost on me. It makes me want to jump with joy, exclaim and dance for this earth of ours and this life of mine. The abundance of energy that is there for the taking, to be seized and transformed into something of my making.

The whirling weather today perfectly reflecting my whirling thoughts. One idea thrown around after another.

That somebody I know, just a few years older than me has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, how can that be?

How can our human minds make sense of or comprehend such a thing? To be told you don't have long to live, that there is a limit to your days here at my kind of age, when, at my kind of age, I feel like my life is just beginning, that I am just sorting out who I am and starting to edge in a direction, choosing my path and stumbling along it. I can't imagine being told, well you'll never know whether your stumbling turned into long, powerful strides because your path is being clipped short in the stumbling, finding your feet stage.

It is playing on my mind. But there has to be good out of terrible things else the human race would never cope and would have given up a long time ago. So I'm searching for the good and the good is the people it has brought together again and the effect it is having on people's lives in reminding them to enjoy what you have got right now, to see every day as a whole life lived. To not wish for things in the future at the cost of ignoring the vast opportunities and wealth of potential we have in each moment we live in the present.

I started my postgraduate masters course in History yesterday and I enjoyed and savoured every moment of it. Finally, after 2 years of trying and working, saving and struggling in jobs that were not me I have arrived at the point it was all for and doesn't that make this point so much more worthwhile than if it had just been handed to me with no effort or meaning 2 years ago?

The hard way is hard along the way but so much more worthwhile at the end of it. Everything I have got it is going into it this year, 2 years of hard and frustrating work means that I know now, the result of all that must get my 'all'. I am in such a better place to do well now than 2 years ago. Now, I know the true value of 'hard' work, how to motivate myself and just how much it means to me. Things I would have been too naive to know before.

This is a written reminder to myself, this whole post that life is a wonderous, far-fetched, all consuming thing, that events work out the way they do for reasons that will one day become known.

'What matters is not whether we preserve our lives at any cost, but how we preserve them. I sometimes think that every new situation, good or bad, can enrich us with new insights. But if we abandon the hard facts that we are forced to face, if we give them no shelter in our heads or hearts, do not allow them to settle and change into impulses through which we can grow and from which we can draw meaning-then we are not a viable generation.' (Etty Hillesum)