The Pillowbook of Prudence
On this 23rd day of August, one thinks on truths…
One of the things I love about being a writer and engaging with people online, is that one meets others and hears about their lives. I’m in awe about many who write wonderful novels whilst caring for little children, or for loved ones who might be housebound, or who work fulltime in another job, or who live in the country, the mountains, by the sea. In America, Canada, the UK, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, Africa. Even Australia.
I chat away with many folk on FB and often post pics of things I do and love and a couple of my new friends made the comment that they were in awe of my busy days and what I crammed into my life.
I felt a little embarrassed – not at all their fault, I assure you, but as though I was pretending to be some sort of superwoman which I most definitely am not.
Let me explain.
My cousin, who together with his brother have always inspired me, died very suddenly on Boxing Day 2012. One of the things I learned very early on in my life from those two cousins was that life was for living and it was a shame to waste time unless one wasted it in the best ways. (Like lying under the willows in the sun in summer). When my cousin died, he died after having a very full, very busy day doing something that he really loved. It was a true lesson in life.
Prior to that, some three years ago, I had an accident. I ruptured all the ligaments in my right ankle and was on crutches for three months. It was excruciating as I am someone who loves being outside, who walks every day and who values physical freedom. I vowed and declared that when I was mended, I would MOVE when I could. Walk every day, run (albeit a 60 year old’s version thereof) swim in summer, kayak. There may come a time for whatever reason, that I can’t move and it’s why I want to take advantage now.
As to everything else, they are interests. Important for my wellbeing and my mind.
I embroider. Every Friday if I can, I meet a group of likeminded women at A Stitch in Time and we stitch away and chat for a couple of hours. It’s a wonderful escape. It’s also a form of meditation for my hands at night when I pick up needle and thread, but I only do it a couple of times a week.
I cook because my family and I love home-baked sweet stuff. I HATE bought biscuits and cakes and it is no strain to mix something and then LICK THE DISH! Cook’s privilege.
Dogs? Necessary. Can’t live without them. They are my soulmates. Just like my husband.
Gardening? I think of NOTHING when I am gardening. The ultimate mind release apart from meditation.
Kayaking? How can I explain it? Unless you love being on the sea, you may not understand. But it’s the smell, the feel of the sea underneath, the sound of the water lapping against the side of the kayak, the stretch of muscles as the paddle pulls through the water. Apart from the paddling, it’s the same sensation in bigger boats. Or swimming. The sea and I are meant to be.
Farming? It’s a way of life. My husband was born to a farming family and determined to return to it. I support him in that. It’s what a marriage is all about. We love our farm.
And that’s it really.
You see? I’m no more special than any one else. I’m sure if you all told me about your lives, I would think you were pretty amazing too.
PS: Seeing as this is a type of Pillowbook and because my Pillowbook historically comments on colour and clothing, let me say how glad I am that winter is almost over and I won’t have to see copious people in unadulterated black. I am still in my blue phase and most will attest that I am indeed ‘The Woman with the Blue Shirt’.
What a wonderful, full life you have! In such a lovely place. And your puppies are beyond adorable.
It is full, Anne, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As well, Tasmania is a tremendous backdrop to my life, for sure. It’s a very quiet place, off the beaten track, far from the madding crowd. All the kinds of things that matter to me and my family. The pups? Sooo sweet. That snap was taken when we were trying to work out which one we wanted. We ended up buying the lighter one, on the left of the pic. The other one was a character but not as smoochy. His name was Jack Sparrow. Perhaps that’s why…
Love reading your blog, Like you writing has brought me friends round the world who have shared their lives, experiences and skills, and generally enhanced my everyday life. There is much that we share, Gardening being one of my passions, though I am into autumn flowers right now, while you are into spring blossoms.
Your embroidery is stunning, I am glad that you manage to make time for it.
Thanks, Caro. Truly friendships are the unsung benefits of being a writer. One of my favourite pics is the one you sent me of you standing at the door to Greenham Hall with The Stumpwork Robe under your arm! Cheers and very best wishes.
Thanks for your encouragement to live my life as fully as I’m able! I’m pretty limited, because of Lyme disease that I’ve had for 25 years. Physically, I lack the strength to do things like garden or kayak, although I’d love to. My nerve pain and rheumatoid arthritic symptoms in my shoulders, hands and wrists preclude me from the above activities, as well as needle work, sewing or reading sitting up ( lying down on my side with my Kindle propped against a pillow is best.
But God had given me new purpose as I spend time with children and grandchildren I may not have fit into a busier life. I’ve learned to accept the help and gentle understanding of my husband with grace and gratitude. The one activity I can do with some regularity is walking my beloved Labrador. She’s been trained to heel to my right side because of the pain in my left shoulder, and she is a love! Some days my purpose is to lay in bed, praying for others or listening to the Bible being read from my CD player – or inspiring music. Or I sit quietly on the patio ( well, as quietly as one can with a 3 year-old dog by one’s side) to watch hummingbirds flit from feeder to feeder. I’ve come to a place of acceptance and to work within my physical limits. Many times I must pay a high price in terms of pain when I chose certain activities, especially when playing with my grandkids. However, it’s a price well worth the cost, even if I must rest for a day or two after they’ve visited. I appreciated being reminded to live my life as fully as I’m able!
Welcome sherimatsumoto, and you are an example of what I mean about people filling their days with meaning under incredible circumstance. You, Louise who prompted my blog post in the first place with a tale of her own life, my friend Corinne who not only runs a farm but spends hours of every day bringing education to the underprivileged African child, and many more – you are all filled with substance and have found the meaning of ‘life, the universe and anything’ (Douglas Adams-A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). As for dogs – aren’t they the absolute best motivator of all? Take care and hope we talk again on further post