Post-heroic stories aren’t focused on individual glory; they’re focused on community. On diversity. It’s not about slaying the dragon, but about harnessing his special skills – making him part of the team. It’s about understanding, and valuing, the black, feathery, croaking wisdom of a crow. It’s about living with a half-empty stomach so you can feed some of your porridge to the hungry mice – who, if you are lucky, will help you to sort the wheat from the chaff. Post-heroic stories aren’t about winning the hand of the simpering, golden-haired princess: they’re about kissing the boar-toothed, blue-faced hag.
I’m about to take my annual social media break. Time to slow down, retreat, re-boot.
Time to enjoy the way the light catches the petals of a wild honeysuckle, the scent of roses, a dunk in the cold summer sea. The magnificence of the ordinary, especially in summer; doors open, a soft breeze, the sound of bees.
As usual I am drawn to this dark yet strong quote by Sharon Blackie. Because while nature is at it’s most lush, the shadow of a tipping point is always present. Today the disappearance of butterflies is my concern. Every morning I look for the familiar peacocks, painted ladies and meadow browns. I hope they will come when the buddleia flowers. So far they are absent.
Taking time in nature you have to hold these two, opposite, and deeply felt positions on the earth. One is everything that we treasure and the other something we can only acknowledge. The fear that we are very quickly going past the point of no return. The Earth as we know it is changing. We can only hope it is temporary. We wonder if we can do anything to reverse it?
My contemplative photography practice fully embraces the light and the shade. The deepest black, the brightest whites. There is little to fear and a lot to embrace, about decline and death, as well as living in full colour. I know this only too well as my love of decay is the gift that keeps on giving, at least visually.
The seasons help to balance my edginess. Winter will come, which I don’t dread, but love! And the love of it gives a better perspective to ageing. But the other mystery, of “kissing the the boar-toothed, blue-faced hag” doesn’t really excite me!
I’m not ready to give up on a better future just yet.
Still I seem to find myself at another turning point. This time I haven’t really got a clue what it is or where it might lead. Perhaps its a further move inward, or maybe it’s a bigger step outwards? It seems I am always trying to balance these two but sometimes, as I get too comfortable, I wonder how I’m ever going to leave home again.
Home. That place of familiarity and certainty. Home from where the world looks chaotic and in a huge transition. Home where I feel safe and peaceful. From here I look out at so much turbulent change. Much of it we have no control over.
I read a lot. Trying to find writers of hope. They all veer towards the dark, like myself. I search for genuine voices. But there are none without the light and the shade. So harnessing the dragon and making use of his skills? What could that possibly mean for me and my bubble?
I’m watching a tiny field mouse scampering over a garden path with lightening instincts. I try to imagine and appreciate her world. I’ve made a pact with the giant tree spider living in the corner of my room. OK you may have already eaten your husband who is hanging on the outside of your web. You can stay, but don’t mess with me! She seems to be taking my words to heart.
But it won’t last. The mice will invade the house. The spider will appear like a spindly black corpse on the white walls. Every challenge will escalate and come closer.
I wonder if it’s about being older? The dragon of ageing? I’m collecting a box of medicines. It’s the one consumer area in my life. I’ve gotten to know the pharmacists and the herbalists. They must be able to smell the decline off me!
With all of this spinning around, the constant change and the turbulence of the world, I am taking this small break from blogging and posting for now. Swimming every day, writing and reading, planning for winter projects and talking to good people. That’s it for now.
And by the way, butterflies are flooding into the garden right now!! Wonder if I will be able to resist posting them to Instagram!!