Daily Post prompt: Feed your senses.
Mostly I’m a contented sleeper; I fall asleep easily at night and wake happily enough in the morning. But sometimes – this morning for instance – I wake with a faint shadow of unease, apprehension, something that makes my breath catch and my heart sink a little into my stomach.
When I open my eyes, I know what this feeling is. I see an empty space beside me. I see smooth sheets and pillow; lacking the creases and hollow made by my partner’s head.
I’ve woken up alone twenty out of the last thirty mornings and I will wake up alone for the next eight too. Then my partner of twenty five years will be home – for a while. Maybe a week or two, perhaps more.
He travels because his job requires him to. Although this last month has been worse than most, he still spends about a third of the year sleeping in other beds in other countries –places where I am not.
It’s been like this for a long time. Early in our relationship I travelled – though not nearly as often or for such long periods as he does now. But since our son was a toddler, my partner’s job has taken him away from us so much that I think our son’s school believes the child is being raised by a single parent.
Mostly I don’t think too much about this. I’m accustomed to friends and family opening conversations with “where is he this week?” or “is he in the country at the moment?” I’ve even got used to our son asking the same question. Continue reading
Sometimes I think I’ve let someone else record the soundtrack to my life. Sometimes I look back and think I wasn’t in charge here and I don’t really like the result.
But I’m changing that. I’m taking charge, writing my own script, recording my own soundtrack – performing from my soul. I’m doing things that nourish me and make me happy. That includes listening to music more, acknowledging how much it affects me and letting it happen. Sometimes it’s sad music, but more often these days I’m choosing a soundtrack that lifts me and makes me smile. Makes me dance even!
September was released when I was an angsty, pretentious teenager listening to SuperTramp and Black Sabbath. I didn’t like funk or disco. I didn’t like music that just made you happy. And although I’ve mellowed and have probably enjoyed Earth, Wind and Fire in the intervening years, I didn’t really “get it” until I saw the French film The Intouchables.
I’ve spent years choosing not to listen to music – afraid of how it makes me feel. It’s meant that my life has either – like I said above – been lived with someone else’s soundtrack, or more often, in silence.
If I’d written a response to the Daily Prompt yesterday, there would have been a different song in my head – this one:
This is the song that plays over my moments of blackness, of doubt and of grief. And you know, I’m ok with that. I’m ok because I can acknowledge those moments and still find beauty in them – the beauty of Jessye Norman’s voice and Henry Purcell’s music.
I wrote yesterday about our week of moments that have changed everything, and it seems the ripples will continue to spread for some time to come. One of the minor casualties has been my attempt to take better control of my health – especially my diet. A week of ferrying relatives, shuttling back and forth to hospitals and taking meals around everyone else’s needs has really taken its toll.
But I have some respite!
My boys have gone away for a few days – up north for some father-son time at the beach.
Although my guys are incredibly easy-going about food, it still feels really liberating to have three days of only me to feed.
I’ve decided to base my meals around what’s in the garden and am thinking spinach and sorrel soup for dinner tonight and roast butternut squash with sage tomorrow. We also have lots of bell peppers and herbs so salad lunches are looking good.
One of my goals is to totally avoid all grocery shopping, so meals could be really interesting!
I’m looking forward to this; not only for my physical health, but also because already feel more relaxed knowing that I don’t have to fight my way round the supermarket, or try to come up with meals that please everyone. I can eat what my body wants – when it wants it.
It has been a week of moments; and not all of them have been tragic.
On Wednesday the New Zealand Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Bill, making same-sex marriage legal in this country. New Zealand is the 13th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, and the first in the Asia-Pacific region.
The passing of the Bill is a culmination of many years of lobbying and many months of hard work by MPs and others. Before the debate, it seemed likely that the Bill would pass, but the actual moment when the result of the ballot was read out was definitely a moment that has changed everything. For same-sex couples who wish to marry, the change is obvious and profound. But for New Zealanders generally, it was a moment when our elected representatives chose equality over tradition.
At the risk of jumping on an already overcrowded bandwagon, I want to acknowledge two other “moments” from that night. The first is Maurice Williamson’s brilliant speech in support of the Bill; the second is the spontaneous waiata (song) from the public gallery when the Bill was passed.
In a week of tragic, cruel and painful moments that changed so many lives for the worse, it is good to be able to celebrate some moments of joy and of justice.
It has been a week of moments.
Some – like the Boston Marathon bombing, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas; or the earthquake in the Sichuan provence of China – are moments of public as well as intense personal tragedy. Wholly unexpected events which – quite literally in these cases – have torn worlds and lives asunder, leaving not only those directly involved, but the rest of us also trying to know what to do and how to respond. What does it mean? Why did it happen? How can we help?
While bomb blasts and industrial explosions are outside of my personal experience (earthquakes I know about), I cannot but share in the anguish and pain and sorrow and anger of my global brothers and sisters who have either lost those they loved and held dearest, or who must now build a much-different life because they, family members or friends have been injured or have become homeless.
And perhaps my empathy is stronger this week because my family too has experienced moments that have changed everything. Continue reading
I don’t write poetry much any more – probably since I found an old notebook from when I was an angsty teenager.
But then I bought some magnetic poetry – the Shakespeare edition, the food edition and the music edition for a bit of variety. Because it’s just taking words that are already there and playing around with them, it doesn’t feel like writing poetry; it just feels like having fun.
this luscious symphony
Of pink lust
and drunken lover's grace
And sing melancholy
from sweet jam tongue
For there is much ado about trifle