Sea child

I’ve just returned from the South-West.  I based myself in Busselton and travelled around within a 100 km radius.  At dusk I walked the 1.7 km jetty and tried not to get blown off in the stiff breeze.  Like others, I stood as sunset and watched it, like I had never seen one before when a little girl caught my eye.  This post is for her and to those who bring joy to others unexpectedly.  The sequence of photographs is how I saw it.DSCN0118.jpgDSCN0119.jpgDSCN0120.jpgDSCN0117.jpg

Sea Child

Along a strip where sand meets the sea

a little girl plays tag

dipping her toes in

she races away

as the sea chases her unexpectedly

She returns once more

to do it again

a game of chicken, with the sea

this time the sea claims victory

she concedes

arms billowing, she spins in the breeze

throwing her head back with laughter

I watch this child of joy

listening, seeing, touching,

breathing in, senses alive

alone in a crowd, by the sea

yet connected to all

she dances in the space where,

with you, I yearn to be.

A dawnbird

 

Much like birds …

I find it fascinating that most birds pair for life.  How do they choose a life partner?  Do they ever make mistakes?  How do they work out differences? Do they ever fall out of love?  Do they ever yearn for the way it used to be?  How do they cope when their partner is no more?  So many questions.  I have no answers.

With the birds I observe, the males like the fairy blue wren are gorgeous whereas the female is less vivid.  Male birds work hard to get the female”s interest.  I once watched a bower bird diligently collect green objects (including an unattended key ring) for his potential love.  In the bird world, it’s Girl Power! all the way, it would seem.10960430_931215490224047_2663591319257657208_o.jpgThe pink galahs make me laugh!  It would appear, when it comes to love, no different than you and me.

I went through a phase after my divorce thinking it would be nice to be in a relationship.  I hadn’t factored in, life had changed me.  My standards and priorities were different.  I was stronger.  (Yes, Girl Power!).  Financially secure with adult children, was an attraction for some men, but they did not meet my criteria:  a man of integrity and social conscience.  I asked for nothing more.  You’d think I was asking for the world, but I know a man of that calibre would mean the world to me.

This evening the word prompt jogged my memory of a beautiful poem that encapsulated everything I felt in those days of search, so I’ll share it with you.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (@ http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com)

I love this poem.  It speaks of a journey and many other journeys, some taken, some yet to be taken, some to be taken individually, others jointly.  It speaks of togetherness, of oneness of self, and with another.  I love the inherent spiritual nature of relationship in this poem.

So where am I today?  I no longer look.  I found oneness and togetherness in Nature.  I am in a happy place.  The danger, I’m told, is “this is when it happens”!

How contrary is life?

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

The Healer Sea

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The tide arrived at night

It swirled around my head

It found the vault, where memories are kept

As the tide reached that sacrosanct shore

Bringing storms, spinning truth, distorting reality

What was once mine, was no longer mine to keep

So I opened the vault, and threw away the key

Swept off my feet, the tide carried me last night

Leaving only sea prints in the sand

I woke this morning, free, adrift, whole

the sea, my healer, found a tide

that brought me home, to love again.

a dawn bird

 

 

 

Three generations

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When I had a daughter I realised, to raise her, I needed to know myself.  To know myself I needed to know my mother.  And to know her was to, if not know, but understand her mother.  By peeling away the layers, I am in the present.

My grandmother Elizabeth, known as Bess, was 30 years younger than my grandfather.  A teenager when she married him, a widower with a small son.  My grandparents went on to have nine children and raised ten, the first always considered one of theirs.  We, the next generation, became aware of this history only in our teens.  It enthralled me.

I never knew Bess.  She died long before I was born but her memory lives in pictures and oral history.  She had a beautiful smile that captivated my grandfather, and a wonderful laugh that echoes in my daughter.  I’m told this but can’t be sure of it, Bess is always unsmiling in family photographs.  From the heart of old Goa, Bess spoke one language, Portuguese, in a lilting voice.  Family always recalled her “haughtiness” but, more than likely, she couldn’t communicate in the language of the region once she moved north.  She had her own tonga, a single horse drawn carriage, the transport of the time before cars.  She rode in it to church every day, a distance of less than a kilometre.  After Mass she arrived at the gates of the sprawling ancestral home.  To her own congregation at the gate, she dispensed a few coins, before she retired into the cavernous house.  Alone, a mother of many.  She died young following complications after the amputation of her leg from diabetes.

My grandfather had extensive business interests in mining and property.  With her husband away a lot, Bess was wealthy and bored.  She was a modern woman of her time.  Loneliness her company, she indulged in what she thought were the finer things in life.  My mother in a moment of indiscretion disclosed why her oldest sister never married and became the surrogate mother to them all.  With an army of home help for an infantry of children, my mother never knew a mother’s touch.  Among the gaggle of children, my mother tried to be “the good child”, hoping this strategy would be rewarded.  By all accounts, it didn’t.

My mother’s journey was similar in some ways to Bess.  My father was 12 years older than her, a gap considered too wide in her day.  My father adored her.  Fortune smiled at them later in life, so he indulged her every whim.  And, my mother found what she had been searching for in him.  We had an army of home help.  So I never knew a mother’s touch.  Unlike my mother, in a sibship of three, I was the infantry of one.  I rebelled every step of the way.  Fiercely independent and determined to shun the values of my heritage, I vowed on a daily basis, I would leave the home to travel the world.  A view that made my father chuckle and my mother collapse in a heap.  These are the memories of me when I was about six.  As the years went on, I misstepped into and out of my birth culture with regularity, and admittedly, sometimes got lost.  I defended my right to these stumbles by insisting, this was my life after all.

I did not escape the family cookie cutter when making a life choice.  Despite protests from my extended family, I married a man much older than myself.  The only difference, I was committed to breaking away from tradition.  I was never going to be like my mother.  But like many others, I found there is no compass to navigate being a parent.  Just history.  And, if not mindful, most likely to repeat itself.

Fast forward to the present.  I meet with my adult children on a regular basis.  We talk.  We laugh.  We share a life of family.  We are on the other side.  I respect my children for the young adults they have become.  It wasn’t always like this.

My daughter is like the young me.  Feisty and flinty when challenged, in her teen years, sharp edges would ignite a blaze.  Like me in my youth, the fire did not keep the home warm.  I had tried to rein my daughter in.  The other day my son reflected softly, “Big mistake!”

Bess had five daughters, three of whom had daughters, too.  Those five granddaughters went on to have daughters.  Of those four great granddaughters, Elizabeth is a memory in name.

And so the cycle began …

Generations

Unfurled from tangled roots

Life, a demarcation zone

The nebulous line of separation

drawn by heart-eye alone

in that no man’s land

all is forgiven

the writing on the wall fades

the toxic ground is pristine

the slate cleaned,

history rewritten

well, not quite …

a dawn bird