I was supposed to be in Chester discussing a Book Event, but an early text this morning postponed our meeting to a later date and instead I find myself at liberty to write and reflect. With my human rock, also known as my beloved husband, far flung across the seas this week, I am more reflective than normal. Good health comes from breathing in and out. Life flows and ebbs through periods of busyness and rest. I never sleep so well with him away, so tend to read a lot while he’s gone and here’s the parody while I sleep less: time to read I associate with rest and reflection.
I’m reading a beautifully written novel that I have both loved and hated. It’s been a long time since I have read something that I have put down and left in disgust and then gone back to because it is such a work of art. I am also naturally curious to know what happens next. In fact, it is very rare that I ever stretch out my reading of a novel over more that a couple of days, but this I have been reading on and off for a while and I still haven’t finished. My disgust has come because the writer encapsulates human nature too well. I don’t want reality in my fiction (well actually, I do!), but I am both unimpressed and impressed when I find it so finely captured and poetically portrayed as here. Can you hear the wonder in my voice? This chap’s a genius and I hope he doesn’t mind me quote his eloquence.
“After the war of course it will be like the starting of spring, which is always so brilliantly sudden. The leaves will burst back onto the trees and close the gaps between the branches and we shall be startled – shan’t we? – as we are startled at the end of every winter. We shall think: oh, I had quite forgotten there were three livable seasons.” (Everyone Brave is Forgiven – Chris Cleave)
My response when I read that was “Wow! Yeah”.
I have spotted catkins and bullfinches. I have stood outside without my coat on in the evening and listened to the blackbird heralding spring coming. I have seen snowdrops and some confused daffodils out and about. And I have noticed the sun arrive early and delay its departure to give us a little more time to think. It lifts my spirits and I celebrate with wonder, yet again! It gets me every time. I always find spring a surprise and it shows, as I have written thirteen posts tagged spring, within the last six years of keeping this blog.
There maybe more snow yet. I might be celebrating in haste. It’s not quite the end of winter. Miss Puddleduck tickled me, on Monday, when she was asked by her speech therapist what word she associated with ‘field’. “Mud”, she said! It will be a while before we see new growth in our mud.
Meanwhile, we have been enjoying the new growth in our youngsters. I noticed it particularly as Longshanks came home for a short break, just catching Dad before Dad flew to the States. There’s ‘spring’ in his step and he’s beginning to blossom on the path he has chosen. He brought the freshness of his humour and fertilised everyone else’s which made our car journey discussions quite hilarious. Boffin is as sparky with his ‘sarky’ comments as his older brother, but particularly shines when there’s another sharp mind to bounce his quips off. Our discussions filled me with laughter and “Wow! Yeah” moments of knowing that these kids are shifting. They are growing wiser. There were so many glimpses of beautiful blossom in their hearts and minds. Our discussion ranged from life, church, people, gender, politics, relationships, religions, to “What would you say if I was very different from who you think I am” questions and consolidated in my assurance it would be okay. I love and respect them for whoever they are. Love is a decision and so is our self-expression. I have chosen to love them unconditionally and they are free to make their own choices. My hope for them is that they will find the best and, however they express themselves, always put God and others before themselves. We laughed over the “Oh here we go!” moments as the boys teased my preacher approach to expanding my thoughts. I was left feeling so blessed by the pleasure of their company. They’re such fun to have around.
We went out one afternoon, in celebration of us all being together (minus Dad, of course), to sample a new independent coffee house that has just opened and we had intended to browse the shops after, with the possibility of spending Christmas vouchers. But somehow, as ones unique and true to ourselves, we got distracted by a three-storey antique shop. When we walked back to the car, we were without new school shoes for Boffin nor had any of the store specific vouchers been spent. Instead, we had a pair of white crocheted cotton gloves and a silk top hat. Last time Dad went to the National Prayer Breakfast, Longshanks got himself a ferret. This time he got himself a top hat. I swear he has spent equal care in, initially, looking after both. Mind you, he didn’t have to make a cage for his hat. It already came in a perfect, old hat box. Should I clarify that my boy is not batty? He needs a top hat for the work he does! He taught me that silk top hats were last made by some brothers in France and are no longer manufactured. He knew he’d got a bargain and had enjoyed the barter he’d engaged in to get it. Lots of banter followed over who in the family was permitted to touch the hat! It was all very satisfying.
Miss Puddleduck just asked me, “Mum, are you a writer?” And for once I didn’t hesitate to say “I am”. That’s a first. But I’m in my spring and I am looking forward to some more fresh, clear days working on novel number two. After a change of plan today, it feels refreshing to oil the cogs, sit down, spill out my thoughts in words and reflect a little on the things I treasure. They are growing up.
We have to capture the moment and I hope the farmer didn’t mind me running across his soggy field, this morning, to take this. I didn’t mind ruining my shoes to get it! Spring is coming!