On this 15th day of November, I am prompted to write on Priorities.
Outside in our town garden, we have a long hedge of Pittosporum James Stirling. It is a wonderful noise break and privacy provider.
I am prompted to write on friendship because this week above all others, I have seen the most perfect examples of it first hand. I have seen love and loyalty conspire to form a foundation of friendship so strong that even approaching death cannot break it down.
I am prompted to write on envy because I look at my daughter’s skin and wish mine was as smooth and unmarked, with far less cartographic detail of my life’s journey. Sometimes I wonder if people look at that wrinkle and wonder at what vicissitude might have caused it. Or those freckles there and think ‘she spends far too much time in the sun.’ Because that is inevitably the kind of thing that I muse upon when I look at someone’s face or hands. What caused that? What happened there?
There is a little place by the sea that we call House.
Those who know me know that it is the place in which I feel most comfortable. That it is where I am content.
How is it that a place can make you feel so? Those who study the human psyche say that one should feel confident and happy anywhere, that being anchored to one place is unhealthy and shows lack of resilience and strength.
It’s an age since a Pillowbook has appeared on the blog. A Pillowbook, if it is in the style of Sei Shonagon, is a sharp-eyed look at life, maybe even acerbic. The last few months have been too… soulful for me to be acerbic. I re-learned how grief can pull you apart. How kind attention and love can put you back together. How loyal friends stick by you, how loyal readers keep you focused and stay loyal no matter that the book you have promised them seems like a mirage.
Some years ago, I heard about Oprah Winfrey’s Gratitude Journal… that each day, one take a small moment for reflection and jot down five things that one could be grateful for in that day. Oprah’s idea was that no matter how black the day, how deep the depths and how hard it might be to keep one’s head above the water, there was always something, maybe more than one thing, that one could find for which to be grateful.
Inspired by The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon.
Things that I hate:
Living in the city. Traffic lights and lines of traffic. Tarmac paths. Crowds. Being away from the city in a quiet village and finding that some selfish little 20-something has decided to have a party with boom-boom music which he feels obliged to have at full volume. No doubt he is from the city and is returning to the city on Sunday. I wanted so much to have the peace of wind, waves and nightbirds this evening. (Perhaps it will rain, driving the Spoilers and Soilers inside.) Realising its getting a little chilly to wear red shorts. The smell of garlic the next day. Autumn leaves. Missing my husband. Having no daylight saving. Having to go back to the city tomorrow and leaving House. Black clothing.
As new subscribers may not know, I just want to explain what the pillowbook is. Last year I read an ancient Japanese journal entitled The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon. It was filled with observations, witticisms, self-denigration and acerbic comment. Thus I decided to create my own journal for the blog and you’ll see it pop up every now and then. Really it’s just a bedtime diary …
Things that relax you… are the most perfect things in one’s life. Eclectic things: waves shushing in and out, a light breeze blowing through the leaves of a tree, the sounds of snowy silence, a dog asleep under one’s hand. There are sinful things as well: chocolate, a good wine, even medication when one has a serious ache or pain. But then there is massage: preferably a Bowen massage, the pressure of kind fingers, ambient music playing just within earshot, warm towels being laid over one’s body.