State Of Mind

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I’m going down deep.
Every hour or so
When I’m edgy and rattled,
confused,
I’m going to breathe slow,
and simply let go.

I’m going up high.
I’m going to lie
on a cloud and head for
the sky!
I’ll put everything else to one side
and just go for a ride.

I’m going down deep,
and I’m going up high,
but I’m not going far.
An infinite distance
is right where we are.

One of the things about ME (or chronic fatigue syndrome) is that you have much less than most people of what in a computer is called RAM – random access memory – the part of your brain that can quickly recover things that you’re currently concerned with, and lets you do one thing while mentally stacking up a fair few others in the background. I can’t do this. If I try, or if I have to do it for more than about a minute, I crash, just like a computer with not much RAM. And I mean crash – both mentally and physically.

This has been happening a lot lately, and so I’ve been gently steering myself into calmer waters. Coping with ME a lot of the time involves trying to create new neural pathways, and at the pace of a snail, or a glacier, changing the patterns that are hard-wired in my brain.

There are lots of ways to do this. Lying on my back with my eyes shut, and letting words slide about without interfering with them until they arrange themselves into a poem is just one.

State of Mind is this week’s photo challenge.

Finding Time

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This is my grandfather’s pocket watch, which usually lies hidden at the back of a drawer along with other assorted things I’ve kept since I was a child. From time to time I think of it and remember where it is, and sometimes I’ll go and rummage about and find it, and hold it in my hand.

I’m glad I still have this thing that was once his. I used to have others – I remember a little wooden snuff box that still smelt tantalisingly of snuff – but no amount of thinking or rummaging in drawers will bring this back. It’s gone, and exists only in my memory.

I was still very young when my grandfather died and my memory of him is hazy and dim. But this watch, this small thing that he must have held often, and handled – it lies in my hand, smooth and round and surprisingly heavy, and I think of him. In another hundred years, or even in 50, what object that I use every day could find its way into another’s hand and be so full of delight? I can think of nothing at all.

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Weekly photo challenge: time

Vibrant Memories

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I’ve collected threads and fabrics for as long as I can remember. All of them were bought with the intention of using them in one way or another and most of them were, so that only off-cuts and scraps and half-used spools remain but they have such a beauty of their own I can’t bring myself to throw them out. (I even have lengths of silk bought 40 years ago when I worked for a while in Liberty’s, in the fabric department, that I never cut; instead every so often I get these yards of sheer delight out of their tissue paper wrappings and unfold them just for the simple pleasure of holding them in my hands.)

But these Indian rayon threads and sari fabrics I did use for embroidery 30 years ago, and bits of them still lie lovingly tucked away in a drawer and assail me with a sudden burst of colour and a rush of memories whenever I’m rummaging for something and  unearth them unexpectedly.

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Somehow I know that I’ll never be able to part with them. They’re too beautiful, too vibrant and still full of unrealised possibilities – they still have a quiet life of their own. I enjoy meeting up with them whenever we encounter each other – and surely this is a good enough reason to let them stay?

Time to wrap them up and put them carefully away in their drawer……

Ornate

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It was raining this afternoon and so I took refuge in the museum. I hadn’t been in there for months, but I’d been meaning to; I’ve been using my sketchbook as a way to record everyday things and I’d been idly musing about what everyday life meant for the Butterfield family who owned Cliffe Castle in, say, 1880.

The Butterfields, it would seem, were surrounded by a great deal of highly ornate clutter. There are some delightful things in these rooms, when taken individually – but overall this kind of ostentation is not my cup of tea. I have to concentrate on one thing at a time or else I have the urge to turn and run, so I let my eyes settle on the carved gilded mirror frame above the Carrara marble fireplace, and there I stayed, sketching, in the half hour that was left before closing time.
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A passing museum attendant new to the job (I overheard him tell a visitor he’d only been there for four days) came over to look at my drawing and said in astonishment ‘did you do that yourself?’ – at which we both laughed. I said ‘no, actually the artist just left the room’ and we laughed some more.
After all, it’s not a very good drawing. Henry Butterfield would not have been impressed.

Weekly Photo Challenge: ornate

Close Up

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No, this is not a knitted soft toy animal. I promise you, those lines that look so much like the ribbing on a Guernsey sweater are the real way the neck of an alpaca looks when it’s recently been sheared, and as for the rest of it – well, I wish I could tell you what it feels like to be this close up and personal with an alpaca, but I can’t, because I wasn’t there. How I wish I had been!

This wonderful picture was taken by my mother.

Half and Half

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There are times I take a photograph without knowing what I’m doing or why. Not consciously knowing in my head, that is; another part of me knows very well. This part sees and understands more quickly, bypassing thought. It uses images and not words.

Right brain, left brain; the two hemispheres governing the two very different ways we process and respond. Half and half. Sometimes I can even feel the change as my mind switches from one to the other.

With the rational, logical side I’m in control and plan what I’m doing.
I’m using it now as I write. But trying to pin down what’s happening when the other side’s working is like clutching at a dream that slips away as I’m waking up; the more I try to catch hold of it the quicker it slips away.

One complements the other, and the whole is more than a sum of the parts – we’re richer for using both these ways of thinking, if we can get the balance right.

Think it’s time I switched over. Time to go out and forget what I’m doing for a while, take a camera with me, and see what happens.

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Weekly Photo Challenge

Blur

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I’m extremely shortsighted, and without my glasses everything’s a blur. But I like this soft, fuzzy world. I enjoy crisp sharp focus, but there are times when I seek out the soft quietness of blurred images. I look for them in photographs, and I can spend happy hours diving into the background of pictures I’ve taken, discovering strange worlds of mysterious fog.

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See other blurred images here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/blur/

Against A Wall

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It’s a grey, damp day, and cold. It doesn’t feel like Spring when the wind whips icy rain against the window and when on the tops of the hills it falls as snow, lower down as sleet. Days like this with no sunshine and very little colour feel like a dead-end, a bit like running up against a brick wall.

But then again walls are not uninteresting. Whether brick or stone, they can be very promising. There’s always more to see when you settle in to where you are and look. They’re not as simple as they seem.

Walls have presence; even half broken down a wall is a substantial thing with a history and a meaning. Where doors and windows have been bricked up or moved, the whole purpose of the wall has changed but the story is still there to be told right from the beginning. People walked in and out through those doors, sat inside and worked by the light from those windows, and looked out. It’s tangible history, set in stone – and you can reach out and touch it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge

Reward

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We’re not there yet, not quite. But for me this is the reward for waiting through the long bare winter. Already there are signs; tiny buds that haven’t opened yet. When each one of these breaks open and shows the tiniest amount of green leaf, the whole landscape will change. A shading, a mist of green, the subtlest glaze that will deepen and strengthen every day.

Here, this year, it will come early. We haven’t long to wait.

Weekly photo challenge: Reward