Low tide on the River Colne lets the mud tell its stories.
I am too much
You are not enough
There’s a deep stillness
My own wine
A calm storm
Of the 366 in 2020. A leap year.
Returning to Essex, meant returning to work – two different employers, two different jobs, on three different sites in two different towns.
I was met by new faces, old faces, all: ‘Happy 2020!’
I step (rather than leap) into a new job in the third week of this month.
I’m apprehensive and curious; it’s energising. Step forward, 2020.
1. An optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions
2. An unrealistic hope or wish that cannot be achieved
Origin – early 19th century: from French se mirer ‘be reflected’, from Latin mirare ‘look at’.
(With thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary).
Lately, although I have felt that much appears unreal and that my life is being lived in suspension as I watch my reflection in a waiting game, I know that this time will pass. It will do so quickly enough, to make way for September with her new beginnings and a change of uniform. And I do believe that this year’s colours are going to suit me.
Last week, on the last day of July, I said goodbye to a dear friend at her funeral service in Southwark Cathedral.
The site has been a place of Christian worship since c. 606 AD, when the first church was erected there, and the current building became a cathedral upon the creation of the diocese of Southwark in 1905.
Throughout its history, the church has had links with many people of influence, including William Shakespeare. He was a resident of the parish of St Saviour’s (now Southwark Cathedral). His brother Edmund also lived in the parish, dying there in 1607.
So, it seemed fitting that one of the three readings at my friend’s funeral should have been written by William Shakespeare. It was delivered by her grand-daughter a short distance from both Edmund’s ledger stone and the Shakespeare Window, the left light of which depicts Puck.
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
William Shakespeare (c.1595) A Midsummer Night’s Dream – the Epilogue of Puck (V, i. 440-455)
‘It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.‘
Ursula K. Le Guin (2000) The Left Hand of Darkness
My ace in the hole.
Yesterday was a good day. To be clear, I do see most days that way; I can usually find occasion to smile and moments of gratitude. Unusually, yesterday was aware how good it was, too, and reminded me frequently.
Now, it’s almost daylight when I leave the house in the morning, telling me Spring is on the way. As usual, I traveled in to work on the top deck, front seat of the bus, with a good friend. Once on campus, we walked down together towards the lake, surrounded by many trees and few people. Then, he turned right to his office, and I turned left for coffee in the theatre cafe.
Served while I listened to the jazz playing in the background, I took the drink to my office. Since Christmas, I’ve been the only occupant. I like it that way and long may it continue. My day went from classroom to meeting to meeting to classroom with long enough breaks to walk from one venue to the next and no more. No time to waste or get up to any mischief.
For once, I consciously savoured that time, from my morning coffee, through my happy-hungover students, to my supportive colleagues and their great cups of tea. Starting the walk home, the sun was setting and I stopped to photograph those minutes when the sky is fiery and the trees are cutwork against a layered sky. Yesterday was a good day.