The Pillow Book of Prudence . . . part 4
Things that unsettle me:
The noise of ravens in the orchard, scavenging the last of the windfalls before the privations of winter. Eight people and eight dogs walking on the beach when there should only be me and my dogs. Thus school-holidays now unsettle me and I wish everyone would go back to the city The thought that I am a grumpy old woman to wish such things. A month’s supply of leaves on the ground, which must be raked and disposed of. Bare trees. The wine bottle nearly empty. The older dog patently uncomfortable. The early dark of a winter’s night. The thought that there may be no chocolate for this evening.
Things that calm me:
Finding the chocolate. Looking at the colours of the embroidery silks with which I will embroider the butterfly wings. Reading a book called The Millefiore Paperweights. Finding the right word in a thesaurus. Breathing deep. Doing Tai Chi. Especially Cloud Hands. Being pain-free. Knowing that soft orange pumpkin soup is heating on the stove and that fresh bread cooks in the oven. Smelling the fragrance of both.
Today is the first Saturday of winter and the trees are mere skeletons on which must eventually hang the glorious green foliage of spring. The beach seems to be covered by a perpetually high tide and the water is as clear as a pitcher made of Venetian glass. I wonder why, as in winter none can enjoy the clarity whereas in summer, all swim in the waters and would welcome that transparency. I believe it is something to do with the winds which come from the sea in summer and stir the water more. To celebrate winter, I watched a ballet performance and was struck by the colours of one tutu, reminiscent of the watercolours of this place that I love. I visited the ballerina backstage and when I saw her costume, was excited at the depth of the colours in the tulle. First and furthest underneath was the navy of a deep dark sea, then a lighter shade as if she had moved closer to the shore. Five or more layers which gave the colour of the clearest water. When she stepped onto the stage and lifted her arms ready for the music to begin, her costume flashed and sparkled palest aqua and the theatre audibly sucked in their breath. She floated across the stage with the delicacy of a soft sea wave and I was transported to this place I call House.